Title: Responsible tourism: cosmetics, utopia or reality? An analysis of the scientific literature

Authors: Edgar Bernardo; Xerardo Pereiro

Addresses: Departamento de Economia, Sociologia e Gestão (DESG), Escola de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (ECHS), Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), Edifício do Pólo II da ECHS, Quinta de Prados, 5000-103-Folhadela-VILA REAL, Portugal ' Departamento de Economia, Sociologia e Gestão (DESG), Escola de Ciências Humanas e Sociais (ECHS), Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), Edifício do Pólo II da ECHS, Quinta de Prados, 5000-103-Folhadela-VILA REAL, Portugal

Abstract: Responsible tourism is an increasingly important subject in tourism research, political discourse, and business practice. This paper reviews both the concept of responsible tourism, as well as the use of the concept of responsibility in the scientific literature of tourism from 1988 to 2018. We reflect on the social role of responsible tourism in relation to the term as concept, the practices of companies, and the communities and public administrations affected by it. The results are an exhaustive, complete and updated picture of the meanings of responsible tourism for academics; the paper also represents a debate focused on the moralisation of tourism and the critical meaning of responsible tourism as a concept, social practice of consumption, behaviour, social movement and agency for sustainable tourism change. Finally, a unified theory for responsible tourism is proposed, based on accountability, sustainability and behaviour, for a new definition of ethical tourism practice.

Keywords: responsible tourism; accountability; sustainability; behaviour change; critical turn; sustainable tourism; anthropology of responsible tourism; moralisation of tourism; greenwashing tourism; ethical tourism.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2020.113923

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2020 Vol.8 No.1, pp.22 - 43

Accepted: 04 Aug 2020
Published online: 21 Mar 2021 *

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