Publication Details

Dolnicar, S. & Leisch, F. (2008). An investigation of tourists' patterns of obligation to protect the environment. Journal of Travel Research, 46 (4), 381-391.


Destinations are increasingly concerned about the environmental sustainability of the local tourism industry. A number of authors have proposed a demand-driven approach to sustainable destination management as a complementary measure to traditional supply-sided interventions. However, there is little empirical evidence to support the feasibility of such a demand-driven approach. This study contributes to this gap by investigating whether individuals who feel morally obliged to behave in an environmentally friendly manner represent useful target segments for destination management aiming to improve the ecological sustainability of the local tourism industry. Results indicate that distinctly different moral obligation segments exist that differ in pro-environmental behavior and attitudes. These segments are associated with distinctly different vacation preferences and can consequently be used by destination management for target marketing. Gaps between people’s pro-environmental behavior at home and at the destination differ systematically across segments, leading to the conclusion that different combinations of demand and supply-sided measures may be suitable to reduce the environmental footprint of different segments.

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