Title: Niche tourism in Cyprus: conceptualising the importance of social entrepreneurship for the sustainable development of islands

Authors: Nikolaos Boukas; Pieris Chourides

Addresses: Center for Sustainable Management of Tourism, Sport & Events (CESMATSE), European University Cyprus, 6 Diogenes Str. Engomi, P.O. Box 22006, Nicosia 1516, Cyprus ' Department of Management and Marketing, European University Cyprus, 6 Diogenes Str. Engomi, P.O. Box 22006, Nicosia 1516, Cyprus

Abstract: The idiomorphic character of islands makes them important destinations worldwide. However, in an effort for islands to be competitive in the global economic sphere, their resources are often overutilised for the sake of tourism and the unregulated pressures of human development. Cyprus is an example of an island that, despite its long past in regard to tourism, faces problems of saturation, decreased competitiveness, and unbalanced development. As such, sustainability concerns regarding islands' future are raised and more emphasis towards their sustainable development is needed. Nonetheless, social entrepreneurship focusing on the creation of innovative products and procedures that would benefit the entire local community could become an important vehicle for sustainable development of sensitive destinations, such as islands. The aim of this conceptual paper is to explore the notion of social entrepreneurship in an island context focusing on the island of Cyprus. In this regard, the paper explores how islands' distinctive elements as small destinations can address the concept of social entrepreneurship in a sustainable manner. The paper proposes that niche tourism products and more specifically, volunteer, cultural heritage and eco-tourism, under the prism of social entrepreneurship, can become the means towards islands' product diversification and long-term environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

Keywords: Cyprus; island tourism; niche tourism; social entrepreneurship; sustainable tourism; sustainable development; cultural heritage; eco-tourism; product diversification; environmental sustainability; social sustainability; economic sustainability; islands; local communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLTM.2016.077128

International Journal of Leisure and Tourism Marketing, 2016 Vol.5 No.1, pp.26 - 43

Received: 19 Dec 2015
Accepted: 31 Dec 2015

Published online: 21 Jun 2016 *

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