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Everyday and Holiday Behaviors Regarding Sustainable Consumption Choices Humanistic Management Perspectives for an International Destination

Mariangela Franch, Pier Luigi Novi Inver ardi, Federica Buff a, and Eleonora Moratti

1. Introduction

Within the area of humanistic management studies at least two key issues

can be identified:

  • • A humanistic management ethos includes the aim of ensuring the “dignity” of those who work within an organization; as Bowie (1999) points out, however, in management studies this aspect is often underanalyzed, or even “neglected”.
  • • Humanistic management encourages the spread of a culture of “common goods” both within a company and among the stakeholders with whom it engages. Studies based on this assumption have usually focused on the need to adopt a truly sustainable model (thus discarding the standard economic model) and to use the common good matrix (Felber, 2015; Dyllick &t Muff, 2016) to assess the extent to which stakeholders adopt humanistic management models. In tourism management studies, references to humanistic management can be traced back to the truly sustainable model within which the dimension of social sustainability encompasses attention to dignity, common goods, and other socio-cultural factors. O’Neill, Hershauer and Golden (2006, p. 34) emphasize “that the[ir] cultural characteristics play a significant role in influencing the values that sustainable enterprises would like to create”. This definition provides a new insight into sustainable enterprises (SE), as suggested by Nurse (2006): SEs should incorporate culture as well as social equity, environmental responsibility, and economic viability.

In this chapter, we consider whether (and if so, how) socio-cultural factors linked to tourists’ country of origin (COO) and the general awareness of environmental issues in these countries determine:

  • • Holiday behaviors at variance with everyday behavior;
  • • Different propensities to pay a premium price (levels of willingness to pay—WTP) for more sustainable products and tourism services.

With regard to the first topic, we investigate whether the culture of tourists’ COO influences their vacation behaviors. This analysis enables us to assess the findings of a study by Khan and Amann (2013) which indicated that in countries with a strong culture of environmental and social concern, and where institutions and businesses are more aware of these issues, humanistic management values are more widespread and are, in turn, reflected in the behaviors (even when on holiday abroad) of the population. In other words, our research examines whether such factors as sensitivity to the importance of natural resource conservation, quality of life, the common good, and the socio-cultural elements of the community are reflected in tourist behaviors. To date, research findings in this area have been contentious. Nonetheless, any coherence in people’s behaviors at home and abroad revealed by the results of our study suggests that humanistic management could support decision-makers within tourism enterprises.

With regard to the second topic, our research investigates whether tourists are willing to pay more for more sustainable tourism services, and in doing so contribute to and co-finance investments identified with environmental and cultural common goods (such as sustainable mobility, the valorization of local culture by the tourist offering, etc.).

The chapter is divided into three main sections. In the following section, we indicate the principal sources in the literature from which our three research hypotheses originated. The research methodology adopted is then described, followed by a discussion of the main findings from a study of a representative sample of 384 tourists in the area of Lake Garda (Italy). The final section presents our conclusions.

  • 2. Theoretical Background and Research Hypotheses
  • 2.1 COO and Sustainable Behavior

Since the publication in 1997 of Elkington’s seminal book, introducing the concept of the “triple bottom line”, there has been increasing interest, both in the academic community and among international organizations, in the relationship between business management and the theory and practice of sustainability (Wheeler &c Elkington, 2001; Sherman, 2012).

Dyllick & Muff (2016) introduced the concept of “true business sustainability” (TBS), emphasizing that sustainability cannot only create economic benefits but also contribute to social and environmental well-being. This observation is linked with a new approach to “doing business”, adopting a new business model in which the economic dimension is integrated with social and environmental goals (Boons & Liideke- Freund, 2013; Bocken, Short, Rana &c Evans, 2014). This approach strongly emphasizes the importance of a business’s capacity to look outward; the more it can do so, the more easily it will be able to implement TBS. One of the most relevant aspects consists in changing

organizational perspectives, from an inside-out perspective with a focus on the business itself to an outside-in perspective with a focus on society and the sustainability challenges it is facing. This moves the value creation perspective from the triple bottom line to creating value for the common good.

(Dvllick & Muff, 2016, p. 168)

The change in perspective required of businesses necessitates a re- evaluation of the role of the individual, the potential consumer, whose needs and consumption habits must be understood; it is also essential that steps are taken to understand the cultural background against which the process of “informing and educating customers about unsustainable choices and practices” (Dyllick &c Muff, 2016, p. 167) will take place.

The connection between TBS and the principles of humanistic management emerges clearly from the foregoing, as does the importance of the cultural backgrounds of both businesses and individuals. Writing on the latter dimension, Khan and Amann (2013) placed particular emphasis on the influence that the prevailing culture in their COO can have on individuals’ behavior and, more specifically, on their choices and behaviors with regard to sustainability. Since the 1990s, academic interest in this topic has been growing, as has consumer (and business) interest in environmental issues (Akehurst, Afonso & Martins Gonqalves, 2012). Roberts (1996) described and discussed ecologically conscious consumer behavior (ECCB) in the 1990s, highlighting ways in which profiles had changed since the 1960s and 1970s. A gap in the literature review (ibidem) emerges with regard to the influence of someone’s “place of residence” on their consumer behavior. This variable has not always been taken into account; when it is, however, there is usually a positive relation between it and environmental concern. The influence of COO on ECCB continued to be an open question in subsequent studies (Straughan & Roberts, 1999) and has (at least until recently); green behaviors continued to be a debated research topic (Akehurst et ah, 2012). A recent study in the field of management (Golob &c Kronegger, 2019) supports Khan and Amann’s findings, pointing out that COO counts, that is, sustainable behavior (or pro-environmental behavior as defined in previous studies and recalled by Golob & Kronegger, 2019) and sustainable production vary from country to country. This observation, however, while it reveals a connection between COO and pro-environmental behavior, also highlights the knowledge gap with regard ro rhe issue, particularly in Europe, where few studies have been carried out (Gross & Telesiene, 2017), and the existing findings, moreover, are sometimes contradictory (Golob & Kronegger,

2019). The critical issues related to this research area also emerge where green behaviors are linked to other, very closely connected, dimensions, such as green attitudes. Here, too, the results are not unanimous, and the factors that support the existence of this relationship are related to specific environmental practices and/or influenced by diverse factors (Sheth, Sethia & Srinivas, 2011; Yilmazsoy, Schmidbauer 8c Rosch, 2015).

In the European context, Austria, Denmark, and Germany have been identified in some studies as being the most environmentally aware countries (‘pro-environmentalists’, ‘moderate environmentalists’, according to Golob & Kronegger, 2019); while Italy and the Netherlands are— to varying degrees—“moderate” and “sideline” environmentalists {ibidem). Similar results emerge from the Environmental Performance Index (2018) which ranks each country according to its environmental performance: Denmark, Austria, and Germany score higher on environmental protection than Italy and the Netherlands. The Special Eurobarometer 468 Report (EC, 2017) highlights the fact that awareness about environmental issues has a direct effect on inhabitants’ daily life and records the differences among European countries.

Garda-Alvarez and Moreno (2018) proposed a composite index of environmental impact assessment for the countries of Europe (then, the EU-28) that takes into account the dimension of sustainable and efficient resource use: Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Italy, and Germany performed best on their index. Ruiz de Maya, Lopez-Lopez and Munuera (2011) investigated organic food consumption in a number of European countries. Ruiz de Maya et al. (2011) investigated organic food consumption in a number of European countries. In some cases (such as Denmark and Sweden), the socio-cultural dimension influences purchase intention, but in others (like Spain) this relation is not supported. The Special Eurobarometer 468 Report (EC, 2017) confirms these results: in countries such as Denmark and Sweden, the presence of the Ecolabel on a product positively influenced consumer buying. Once again, the relation between COO and pro-environmental behaviors is underlined, revealing the sensitivity in certain countries to environmentally sustainable policies and choices. Nevertheless, the need for further research to understand if and how sustainable behaviors are influenced by COO is undoubted.

2.2 COO and Sustainable Behavior on Holiday

The influence of COO on sustainable behavior has also, of course, proven of interest in tourism management studies, where there is continued disagreement about whether tourists’ everyday behavior (Barr, Shaw, Coles &C Prillwitz, 2010; Ganglmair-Wooliscroft & Wooliscroft, 2017) and environmental awareness (Aman Harun & Hussein, 2012; Juvan & Dolnicar, 2014) influence their sustainable behaviors while on holiday (Knezevic Cvelbar, Grim & Dolnicar, 2017). The fact that there is a gap between people’s everyday and holiday green behaviors is particularly hotly debated. Anable, Lane and Kelay (2006) draw attention to this gap in their investigation of some environmentally friendly behaviors (such as energy efficiency and conservation), which reveals that people in general behave in a more ‘green’ way when at home than they do on holiday—an attitude which the authors describe as an attempt to be “green on balance”. Barr et al. (2010) confirm this tendency: most tourists, in fact, while tending to be ‘environmentally friendly’, aware of the environmental impacts of their behaviors and adopting green behaviors in their everyday life, seem to use the fact that they are on holiday to “justify” fewer conscientious behaviors when away from home. Becken (2007) points out the complexity of behaving environmentally responsibly while on holiday and further emphasizes the different perceptions that people have of their responsibility to the environment in different contexts.

Ganglmair-Wooliscroft and Wooliscroft (2017), however, had different results: they draw attention to the coherence between people’s everyday and holiday behaviors. This consistency is particularly marked when— whether at home or away—the activities involve similar procedures and levels of effort.

In light of the foregoing, our chapter analyses the influence of people’s COO on their everyday and holiday behaviors and discusses whether their environmental awareness influences their holiday behaviors. The hypotheses that the research aims to test are therefore:

  • • Hypothesis 1: People’s everyday sustainable behaviors are replicated while on holiday.
  • • Hypothesis 2: Environmental awareness influences holiday behaviors.
  • 2.3 COO and Willingness to Pay on Holiday

Another—inescapable—topic in any analysis of tourists’ sustainable behaviors is willingness to pay (WTP)—the propensity to pay a higher holiday cost in order to support sustainable investment in the destination (consistent with the truly sustainable model). The debate within tourism management studies—as in the management field generally (see Didier & Lucie, 2008)—is intense, and the findings on WTP for sustainable destinations are not unanimous, as highlighted in some studies done in maritime destinations. Cetin, Alrawadieh, Dinner, Dincer and Ioannides (2017) investigated WTP to mitigate the negative externalities generated by tourism in Istanbul. The tourists said they were willing to pay more for their holiday if the increases were going to be invested in measures to preserve environmental and social resources. The tourists were concerned about minimizing the negative effects of tourist activities on the local environment and its inhabitants. These results are in line with those of a study by Birdir, Unal, Birdir and Williams (2013) into tourists’ WTP for the protection of three of Turkey’s biggest beaches: a majority of their respondents said that they were willing to pay (up to between 1.77 and 2.33 euros a day) more for their holiday if this meant that (man-made) tidal waste was cleaned up, the beaches were enhanced, and the area’s services improved. Studies by Logar and van den Bergh (2014) and Sayan, Williams, Johnson and Unal (2011)—the former conducted to investigate tourists’ WTP to prevent beach erosion in Crikvenica (Croatia), the latter examining their willingness to contribute to the protection of natural resources in the coastal zone of Antalya (Turkey)—also provide convincing evidences of tourists’ propensity to contribute financially to more sustainable resource management.

Two other studies, however, demonstrate less environmental concern on the part of tourists (evidenced by a lower WTP): Pulido-Fernandez and Lopez-Sanchez (2016), conducted on the Western Costa del Sol (Andalusia, Spain), and Blakemore, Williams, Coman, Micallef and Unal (2002), conducted in seaside resorts in Malta, Romania and Turkey.

Our research, as part of this debate on tourists’ WTP to support sustainable practices and initiatives, includes a further hypothesis:

• Hypothesis 3: Tourists are willing to pay for more sustainable tourism services.

Based on this evidence of tourists’ self-declared WTP, we can point to demand-side propensities and requirements which it would be possible for policy-makers to exploit in order to direct investment toward the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural development of the territory, consistent with the principles of humanistic management.

  • 3. Methodology
  • 3.1 Sample and Data Analysis

The area of investigation was Lake Garda, a well-known destination in northern Italy, chosen because it provided an opportunity to test our research hypotheses in an international tourist destination which suffers, particularly in the summer, from the effects of high tourist flows. The sustainable management of tourist flows is thus a challenge faced both by destination managers and by public actors endeavoring to guarantee the local community’s quality of life.

A face-to-face questionnaire was administered to a statistically significant sample of 384 tourists (from Italy, Austria, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands) to investigate the existence of a link between green-oriented behaviors at home and on holiday. The stratification of the sample according to COO was weighted according to the relative share of tourist presences (in the Lake Garda area) from the five countries included in the survey, for the years 2015-16.

A payment card was attached to the questionnaire to collect the interviewees’ statements about their WTP. There were Italian, English, and German versions of the questionnaire, which was administered following a sequential sampling scheme in the main tourist areas of the lake during July and August 2017.

A total of 276 people from the aforementioned countries responded to the questionnaire. Different hypotheses of interest were tested, with the aim of ascertaining whether or not certain behaviors adopted by tourists at home and on holiday had a significant correlation with their COO. In doing this, it was necessary to take the following factor into account: the statistical methods principally employed in the analysis of collected data use the information contained within the combined distribution (contingency tables) to investigate any significant association between the various elements under investigation (behaviors, WTP, levels of awareness, and/or knowledge, etc.) and between these elements and a respondent’s COO. Because these analysis methods are sensitive to the presence of low- frequency cells in the tables, a reaggregation of the tourists into three (geographically and/or culturally, see section 4.1) similar groups was sometimes undertaken, exploiting the additivity of the chi-squared statistic:

  • • Group 1: Italian tourists (n, = 53)
  • • Group 2: Austrian and German tourists (n, = 169)
  • • Group 3: Dutch and Danish tourists (n, = 54)

This reaggregation is also justified in relation to the environmental awareness declared by the tourists involved in the survey. On a l-to-10 scale, environmental awareness associated with the tourists from each country included in the analysis is as follows: Austria (8.36), Germany (7.55), Italy (6.50), Denmark (6.64), and the Netherlands (6.00).

The gender composition of the sample reveals a majority of Italian (64.15%), German (62.67%), and Danish (57.14%) women, and Dutch (55.00%) and Austrian (57.89%) men. The 36-55 age group was the largest (56.16% of respondents). Across nationalities, the best-represented education level was the high school diploma (Italy, 54.72%). Among the Dutch and Danish tourists, graduates (with bachelor’s degrees) comprised 37.50% and 35.71%, respectively of the respondents, while a significant proportion of the Austrians and Germans possessed a lower educational level (Austria, 36.84%; Germany, 30.67%).

As a general rule, in the comparison of everyday versus holiday behaviors, the hypothesis being tested—which is indicated by H0 (or null hypothesis)—is that of independence, understood as nonconformity between everyday and holiday behaviors (for details on the analysis of contingency tables, see Agresti, 1992, 2018). The p-value of each hypothesis, representing the probability of hypothesis H0 in the light of the information contained in the data, is given. A low p-value signifies the rejection of the null hypothesis in favor of the alternative hypothesis which usually represents the research hypothesis and which, as such, challenges the status quo established by the null hypothesis.

For example:

H0: Everyday and holiday behaviors differ with regard to waste separation versus Hp There is NO difference between everyday and holiday behaviors with regard to waste separation.

(p-value = 0.00023)

This result leads to the rejection of H0 in favor of H( since the low p-value indicates insufficient evidence for H0.

To further confirm the decision in favor of H0 and to have a reference by which to establish when the measured p-value is low, it is usual to compare the p-value with a significance level a (here defined as 0.05) which thus serves as the base value and allows us to reject H0 whenever the p-value is less than a.

3.2 Testing the Research Hypothesis

To investigate whether people’s everyday sustainable behaviors are replicated while on holiday (hypothesis 1), it was important to measure behaviors related to waste separation (item a), the use of public transport (item b), and how often people bought local products (item c). The decision to analyze these items was determined by their importance for describing pro-environmental behavior, as demonstrated by Golob and Kronegger (2019) and the aforementioned European study (EC, 2017). These behaviors contribute to the creation of a common good and produce socio-economic benefits for the territory and the local community.

Tourists’ choices to separate waste (item a) and use public transport (item b) enable us to assess the extent to which they can contribute to reducing the negative environmental impact of their holiday presence. The careful separation of waste and greater use of public transport naturally help to reduce the anthropic impact on, and negative externalities for, the environment, thereby making the destination more sustainable.

The measurement of how often people bought local products (item c), on the other hand, allows us to assess their contribution to economic sustainability and the strengthening of short supply chains.

The intensity of the behaviors related to the three aforementioned items, both in everyday life and on holiday, was measured using a five- level Likert scale. Behavior coherence in the two different situations was studied by means of the correspondence analysis technique.

To verify whether environmental awareness has a significant influence on holiday behaviors (hypothesis 2), each interviewee was asked to evaluate their own level of information on environmental issues by using a traditional score scale from 1 (min) to 10 (max).

Starting from the assumption that environmental awareness—as well as knowledge—is the self-awareness of the possession of information on environmental issues (see Golob & Kronegger, 2019) on the basis of the level of information, each of the five respondent groups was divided into two subgroups:

  • • The first—made up of those who were on average more informed— was simply obtained by collecting the individuals with above-average (as a group) environmental awareness;
  • • The second—made up of those who were on average less informed— was obtained by collecting the individuals with below-average (as a group) environmental awareness.

The next step was to verify the hypothesis relative to the effect of levels of awareness on the three identified items (a, b, c), using a box plot comparative analysis of the subgroups of the members of the above-average and below-average subgroups (see Agresti (2018) for more details on the statistical techniques adopted). We chose to perform the different subgroup comparisons using the box plots; they represent a particularly appropriate tool since they include information on different—but complementary—aspects such as the center, dispersion shape, and concentration of the dataset upon which they are built; exploiting these characteristics we were able to capture the most relevant part of the information contained in the data, which facilitated the identification of any similarities and dissimilarities among the subgroups.

The box plot comparative analysis allows us to examine the effects of the (various) levels of environmental awareness on the (various) behaviors adopted by the two subgroups in the three areas of investigation (a, b, c). In this part of the analysis, groups 2 and 3 were further subdivided in relation to the geographical origin of the components—German and Austrian, Dutch and Danish, respectively—with the aim of verifying whether geographical origin and information level could together help to explain the dynamics of green-oriented holiday behaviors.

The third hypothesis regards WTP: Tourists are willing to pay for more sustainable tourism services. Its aim is to investigate whether the premium price can support investments that benefit the territory and the local community within a humanistic management framework. The payment card was chosen as the measurement tool in this investigation of WTP; it consists of a survey form where prices increase from 0.10 euro/day up to 0.50 euro/day (or more). The respondents had to choose the option which represented the maximum that they would be willing to pay.

The areas in which they were asked to express their WTP were:

  • 1) Increasing the efficiency of waste disposal systems
  • 2) Improving public transport
  • 3) Increasing the availability of local products
  • 4) Increasing the destination’s renewable energy use
  • 5) Increasing funding for the local population and culture
  • 6) Increasing involvement of the local community in tourist offerings
  • 7) Preserving better the authenticity of the area
  • 8) Purchasing of organic products
  • 9) Purchasing of green/eco-friendly services

Interviewees were provided with some extra information about items 3 and 7. With regard to “local products”, it was decided not to give a precise kilometer range, since “local” is a subjective term and closely linked to each individual’s knowledge of the territory: a local product is thus one which the tourist her/himself considers to be local. The “authenticity of the area” is understood as the unique features of the territory. It was suggested to the interviewees that the territory’s authenticity lies in its most distinctive feature: the natural beauty of Lake Garda. Therefore, the aim was to understand tourists’ WTP to preserve the landscape of the area.

To assess the potential economic benefits for the destination if one or more of the aforementioned policies were implemented, their economic impact was estimated multiplying the average daily premium price per person by the number of nights spent by tourists from the five countries (data from 2015-2016). It is widely acknowledged that respondents’ statements and the ways in which they actually choose to allocate their money almost always differ significantly: the so-called social desirability bias (Grimm, 2010). This mechanism, which distorts responses, is well known in the psychology and social science literature; it pushes people to provide responses generally considered more—morally and socially— acceptable, coherent with the (perceived) norm and the social context of reference. To cope with this response distortion, which can produce an unrealistic overestimation of the interviewees’ effective willingness to pay, a corrective mechanism for the WTP values was adopted, which applied the highest value (equal to 3) of a correction factor interval given by [2.6, 3] to the WTP values as suggested by Loomis (2011); consequently we obtaining the so-called bias-corrected WTP.

  • 4. Results
  • 4.1 People’s Everyday and Holiday Sustainable Behaviors

Our research examined whether (and what) links existed between people’s everyday and holiday behaviors, identifying the items that had most

Everyday and Holiday Behaviors 223

influenced any behavior gaps. This analysis enabled us ro answer the first research question: COO influences tourists’ holiday behaviors. On the other hand, there seems to be no significant association between the accommodation type and the holiday behaviors of tourists: environmental attitudes are uniformly distributed across the different types of accommodation.

With regard to waste separation, the results are statistically significant for all three groups (Table 12.1).

Italian tourists tend not to modify their everyday behavior while on holiday: the data association is very robust, and the Italians are consistently conscientious in their separation of waste. Tourists from the Netherlands and Denmark follow a similar (although somewhat less rigorous) pattern. The values on the main diagonal of the contingency table are therefore more closely associated, indicating strong uniformity between everyday and holiday behaviors. In contrast, the segment that includes the Austrians and the Germans reveals a weaker association between virtuous behaviors in everyday life and on holiday. Among the respondents in this segment, 61% said that they were less attentive in disposing of their waste while on holiday, compared with a higher percentage registered at home, where 91 % of the respondents carefully separates their waste.

With regard to the frequency with which they used public transport (Table 12.2), two of the three groups expressed low approval of the routes in the destination generally. For groups 1 and 3 in particular, there is not enough evidence in the data to support the hypothesis of coherence between everyday and holiday behavior. The group comprising the

Table 12.1 People’s everyday sustainable behaviors are replicated while on holiday (hypothesis 1—item a)


Confirmation of the first research hypothesis

Waste separation (item a)

Group 1: YES (p-value < 0.0001) Group 2: YES (p-value = 0.026) Group 3: YES (p-value = 0.002)

Source: Authors’ own elaboration

Table 12.2 People’s everyday sustainable behaviors are replicated while on holiday (hypothesis 1—item b)


Confirmation of the first research hypothesis

Use of public transport (item b)

Group 1: NO (p-value = 0.428) Group 2: YES (p-value < 0.0001) Group 3: NO (p-value = 0.088)

Source: Authors’ own elaboration

224 Mariangela Francb, et al.

Table 12.3 People’s everyday sustainable behaviors are replicated while on holiday (hypothesis 1—item c)


Confirmation of the first research hypothesis

Frequency of purchase of local products (item c)

Group 1: NO (p-value = 0.117) Group 2: YES (p-value = 0.000) Group 3: YES (p-value = 0.008)

Source: Authors’ own elaboration

Table 12.4 People’s everyday sustainable behaviors are replicated while on holiday (hypothesis 1—items a, b, c). Analysis by tourists’ COO.



Item a

Item b

Item c






Austria and Germany





Denmark and the Netherlands





Source: Authors’ own elaboration

Austrian and German tourists, on the other hand, did register statistically significant results, from which we can conclude that people’s limited use of public transport at home is closely linked with the same behavior while on holiday.

The respondents’ purchase of local products (Table 12.3) in groups 2 and 3 did not differ significantly whether they were at home or on holiday. The data on the Italian tourists, in particular, show lack of homogeneity in behaviors (p-value = 0.117), while the results for the second and third groups highlight a decidedly greater and more significant coherence of local product purchasing behavior at home and on holiday (p-value Group 2 = 0.000; p-value Group 3 = 0.008).

Table 12.4 summarizes the main findings just described, subdivided according to COO.

4.2 Awareness of Environmental Issues and Holiday Behaviors

Analyzing holiday behaviors in greater depth, we considered whether the level of environmental awareness declared by the respondents and the need they felt to behave in more sustainable ways while on holiday was a variable which could potentially explain behaviors. (Here, it is useful to remember that, with regard to levels of awareness, each group was divided into two subgroups: that of the more aware than average tourist, and that of the less aware than average.)

The analysis of waste separation—carried out by comparing the box plots corresponding to the two subgroups—revealed that among the

Italian tourists there were significant differences between the two aforementioned subgroups. Although almost all of the respondents demonstrated virtuous behaviors independently of their declared level of awareness, those who said that they were less aware in fact demonstrated behaviors that were more careful and more homogeneous with regard to environmental protection. Most of the respondents, whichever subgroup they were in, fell clearly within the “extremely conscientious” behavior segment with regard to waste separation.

The Austrian tourists also demonstrated different behaviors depending on which subgroup they were in. Although the average and median values for the subgroups did not reveal substantial differences, the holiday behaviors of those who declared themselves to be below average in their level of environmental awareness tended to differ more. The subgroup of above-average tourists revealed noticeably more homogeneous behaviors—further proof of the impact of higher awareness levels. In the German group, too, the average and median values did not seem to differ greatly between the two subgroups, although the more aware individuals evidenced more homogeneous behavior because of higher awareness levels. Similar results were found for the Danish group.

The virtuous holiday behaviors of the Dutch tourists, however, did not seem to be linked to greater awareness. In fact, just as for the Italians, it seems that the subgroup of less aware Dutch tourists actually reveals itself to be (very slightly) more conscientious than average in its waste separation.

Moving now to the frequency of public transport use, we see that no significant difference emerges in the behaviors of Italian tourists in the two subgroups.

With regard to groups 2 and 3 we can see that:

  • • For the Austrian tourists, although in general their use of public transport was relatively low, the hypothesis that awareness levels and behavior choices are associated is confirmed. In fact, 50% of the more aware individuals are above the maximum value in the subgroup of less aware tourists.
  • • The German tourists partially upset the results—their relative levels of awareness did not appear to influence use of sustainable mobility while on holiday.
  • • The Dutch and Danish tourists confirm the hypothesis that awareness levels have a positive influence on behaviors, although for these two groups the influence of awareness was weak.

Analyzing the box plot of the frequency with which local products were purchased, we find that the less aware Italian and German tourists did not buy these products significantly less frequently than their more aware compatriots. The hypothesis that greater environmental awareness

226 Mariangela Francb, et al.

Table 12.5 Environmental awareness influences holiday behaviors (hypothesis 2)


Waste separation (item a)

Use of public transport (item b)

Frequency of purchase of local products (item c)















YES, weak




YES, weak


Source: Authors’ own elaboration

leads to more frequent purchases of local products is therefore not confirmed (for these two groups) by the data.

The data on the purchasing habits of the Austrian tourists, in contrast, do confirm this hypothesis: most of the more aware individuals bought local products more frequently than did the members of the less aware subgroup.

The more environmentally aware Danish tourists revealed a clear propensity to purchase local products and were noticeably more likely to do so than the subgroup of less aware tourists.

The Dutch tourists also confirmed the hypothesis that frequency of purchase is associated with higher levels of awareness.

Table 12.5 summarizes the main findings described in this section and subdivided by COO.

4.3 Willingness to Pay for More Sustainable Tourism Services

To assess the importance that tourists accord to sustainability, we measured their WTP for certain environmentally and socially responsible choices made by operators in the destination.

Regardless of where they came from, 88% of the respondents said they were willing to pay a premium price of between 0 and 9.99% more than their usual daily holiday expenditure to stay in a more sustainable destination. About 10% said they would be willing to pay between 10 and 19.99% more than their usual daily spend.

In general, we can see that the lowest WTP is associated with potential improvements to public transport and the higher value with greater attention to the preservation of place authenticity (Table 12.6); each value reflects the percentage of additional WTP that tourists wished to allocate to a given investment in sustainability. The main differences among the countries can be summarized as follows:

• Italian tourists’ WTP is principally oriented toward the preservation of place authenticity (13.59%), the increased use of renewable

Table 12.6 Tourists are willing to pay for more sustainable tourism services (hypothesis 3)

Potential sustainable action

Total (n = 276)







More efficient waste disposal







Better public transport







Increased use of renewable energy in the destination







Greater availability of local products







More support for local culture and population







More integration of local community' in the tourism offering







Greater emphasis on preservation of place authenticity







Purchase of organic products







Purchase of green/eco-friendly services







Source: Authors’ own elaboration energy in rhe territory (12.74%), and more efficient waste disposal (12.44%). This last result is consistent with their greater conscientiousness with regard to waste separation.

  • • The Austrian tourists declared a willingness to pay a premium of more than 14% for the “preservation of place authenticity”. The WTP values for a more efficient waste disposal system and for greater availability of local products are both greater than 13%.
  • • The German tourists, too, showed a clear preference for the protection of authenticity and wanted to allocate 12.9% of the total WTP to this item, followed by availability of local products (12.13%) and support for population and culture (11.76%).
  • • Tourists from the Netherlands are particularly interested in the culture and local population and declared themselves willing to allocate 13.46% of the total price increase to their preservation. Their WTP for increased renewable energy use was also significant (12.82%).
  • • The Danish tourists demonstrated themselves to be most willing to pay for activities and initiatives that supported the local population and culture (12.23%). Next came the greater availability of green services (12.04%) and local products (11.84%) in the destination.

Overall, the tourists declared themselves to be willing to increase their average daily spend per person by about 3 euros/day (Italian, 3.16 euros; Austrian, 2.84 euros; German, 3.56 euros; Dutch, 2.34 euros, Danish, 3.68 euros) if this money was invested in the destination’s sustainability.

An interesting relationship between WTP and accommodation type was also observed: the subjects who demonstrated the highest WTP (40-50 cents per day) were those who stayed in tourism villages, private house rentals, or B&Bs. These results were valid for all the investigated dimensions except organic products and the preservation of place authenticity.

Another aspect taken into account when analyzing the data, in particular the information contained in the open questions, relates to the question of whether a tourist’s WTP can be linked to their expectation of benefits connected to the services for which their WTP is being investigated. Our findings indicate that:

  • • Respondents who said that they were satisfied with a particular service declared a high (in 41% of cases), medium (also 41%), and low (18%) WTP for improvement to that service;
  • • Respondents who said that they were not satisfied with a particular service declared a high (44%), medium (39%), and low (17%) WTP for improvement to that service.

The WTP in relation to the expected benefits from a particular service presents—initially—a similar trend, both when people are satisfied and when they are not. Further stressing the analysis of the data, when people

Everyday and Holiday Behaviors 229 Table 12.7 Stated and bias-corrected WTP



Stated WTP

Bias-corrected WTP



12,524,094 €

4,174,698 €



2,672,379 €

890,793 €


36,081,565 €

12,027,188 €



4,301,513 €

1,433,837 €


4,193,040 €

1,397,680 €


59,772,591 €

19,924,196 €

Source: Authors’ own elaboration

are not satisfied, we can link the differences in the WTP distribution to their expectation of greater benefits as a result of improvements to a service. On the contrary, when people are satisfied, the WTP is associated with the strength of their satisfaction.

The estimate of total WTP, reconstructed on the basis of the real nights measured for the five tourist nationalities chosen for our survey, is almost 60 million euros. The breakdown per group/country is described in Table 12.7. To avoid excessive distortion related to social desirability bias, a prudential calibration of WTP by a factor of three was used (see section 3). The resulting total economic value is therefore under 20 million euros, to which each group/country contributes as indicated in the column “bias corrected” WTP.

These extra resources could be directed by public decision-makers to the areas that Lake Garda’s tourists, according to these findings, appear to prioritize: increased preservation of place authenticity, initiatives that support the local population and culture, waste disposal, and greater use of renewable energy.

5. Conclusions

Starting with an investigation of tourist behaviors, this work then discusses how humanistic management can inspire sustainable tourism policies.

The sustainable approach, implemented on the basis of its three pillars—social, environmental, and economic—seemed to be the model best suited to our purposes. Environmental and social equity are both expressions of the culture of a country and can be translated into behaviors attentive to the latter’s protection and conservation.

Taking this as our basic premise, we conducted a study on the cultural profiles of tourists, framed in terms of the coherence between their sustainable behaviors and environmental awareness on holiday and in their COO. The propensity of these tourists to pay a premium price for improvement of the destination’s sustainability was also assessed.

Some of our most significant data revealed the popularity of investment in the preservation of the landscape, the local culture and population, and greater utilization of low-impact energy sources.

Business leaders and policy-makers who want to work in accordance with the principles of humanistic management will find much of value in the findings of this study. It would be particularly advantageous for them to:

  • • Acquaint themselves with the behavior profiles of the tourists who stay in the destination and understand the extent to which these reflect the cultures of their COO. When the two profiles are coherent, they can serve as useful guides in local policy-making;
  • • Identify investment opportunities on the grounds of tourists’ willingness to pay a higher price for their stay. Such choices could strengthen the inter- and intra-generational pact implicit in both sustainable development approaches and humanistic management.

In relation to the first point, the answers to two questions seem significant: if and how the culture of a tourist’s COO is reflected in their holiday behaviors and if and how their level of awareness can predict environmentally friendly holiday behavior.

Khan and Amann (2013)’s hypothesis that the culture of a tourist’s COO is reflected in their holiday behaviors—a topic of considerable debate in the tourism management literature—is partially confirmed by our findings. In fact, the everyday and holiday behaviors of the German and Austrian tourists tend (to varying degrees) to be coherent. Dutch and Danish tourists maintain their virtuous everyday behaviors while on holiday for waste separation and purchasing of local products, while Italian tourists tend to be coherent only for waste separation. The attempt to be “green on balance” described in Anable et al. (2006), Barr et al. (2010) and Becken (2007) in terms of the three observed behaviors, can be seen—to varying degrees—in all the groups of tourists and, although they all tend to behave consistently in both contexts, greater environmental concern is evident in their COO.

Our findings confirm that the Danish and Austrian tourists’ awareness of environmental issues is associated with a stronger environmental ethos. These results confirm those of Golob and Kronegger (2019) and the findings of the Environmental Performance Index (2018). The Dutch tourists’ environmental awareness could predict their propensity to use public transport and buy local products. In contrast, the German tourists’ environmental awareness was found only to influence their propensity to separate waste. Finally, no difference was found between the more and the less aware Italian (sub)groups. These results partially confirm the aforementioned studies.

With regard to the second point (WTP), the results show that, regardless of their provenance, most of the tourists were willing to pay a premium price of between 0 and 9.99% of their average holiday cost, provided that the increased revenue was used by policy-makers to adopt humanistic management strategies aimed at making the destination more sustainable. Specifically, the most popular areas of future investment were the preservation of place authenticity and the increased valorization of local culture, while the lowest values were associated with improving public transport. While these elements are the preferred recipients of the extra money tourists are willing to pay at the aggregate level, the five countries differ in their item preferences. The preservation of place authenticity and increased use of renewable energy are particularly popular among Italian and Austrian tourists. The Germans, Dutch, and Danish, on the other hand, are willing to pay more to support local culture and population. COO can thus be seen not only to influence behaviors but also the allocation of tourists’ WTP for more sustainable tourist services.

The overall WTP—even the conservative figure decided upon here— could fund significant investment in the local territory and community, thereby fully aligning the choices of policy-makers and operators with key humanistic management objectives.


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