Sustainable Tourism Behaviour: The Perspective of Economic Sustainability

Lui Ming Mak, Denis Ching Hei Chan

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


There seems to be a raising awareness of sustainability in the global tourism industry; despite the implementation of sustainable practices of governments and tourism service providers, studies show that sustainable tourist behaviours are crucial to promote tourism sustainability. Regarding the economic sustainability of tourism, the behaviour of tourists choosing local businesses and local products could be economically beneficial to local communities in destinations, minimising leakage effect at the same time.Primary data was collected from 383 Hongkongers to investigate their behaviours, choices, and preferences on choosing local business and purchasing local products in destinations through a questionnaire survey in 2017. In addition, their understanding and attitude towards the concepts about sustainability and sustainable tourism were investigated. Descriptive statistics and cluster analysis were adopted in this study. Subsequently, the most and the least sustainable area(s) of Hongkongers, as well as the potential demographic characteristics and travel patterns of more and less sustainable tourists were identified.People who tend to be more sustainable are likely to have visited more geographic areas. 66% of them have visited three or more geographic areas; while people who tend to be less sustainable may have relatively visited less geographic areas, with 40% of them visited three or more geographic areas. In other words, people who are more sustainable may have more travel experiences. It was found that people who are more sustainable tend to plan for a longer stay in destinations and vice versa. People who are more sustainable are less likely to join all-inclusive guided tours. In addition, it appears that there is relatively a higher number (62.3%) in the younger age group of “18 – 30” among more sustainable respondents. There seems to be many more people who are single to travel more sustainably, while the number of single and married people who are less sustainable is likely to be similar. From the findings there may be relatively more people with higher education level who travel more sustainably, and vice versa.This study has also identified two areas (i.e. shopping and F&B) that Hongkongers are likely to be more sustainable and one least sustainable area (i.e. transportation). It was discovered that they have a higher likelihood on going for local businesses and products than international. Respondents with highest scores in choosing local businesses and products are more likely to have a higher frequency of travelling as nearly half of them usually travel three to five times a year. However, their behaviours may not be in consideration of sustainability or local communities but of their own experiences, as a majority of them do not have a good understanding of sustainable tourism and do not care about the local communities.These findings may be of importance in further exploring the novel concept of sustainable tourist behaviours. In addition, they may be relevant for authorities, policymakers, and destination managing organisations (DMOs).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019
Event9th Advances in Hospitality & Tourism Marketing and Management (AHTMM) Conference - University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Jul 201912 Jul 2019


Conference9th Advances in Hospitality & Tourism Marketing and Management (AHTMM) Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • sustainable tourist behavior, tourism sustainability, economic sustainability, Hong Kong


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