Exploring the Current Trend of Tourism Social Enterprises: Going Beyond CSR
Over the past few years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has garnered considerable recognition and has become a crucial aspect of business operations across diverse sectors. In the realm of hospitality, the significance of CSR has been acknowledged, leading researchers to delve into its implications and advantages. However, amidst the evolving landscape of the tourism industry, a novel trend has emerged: Tourism Social Enterprises (TSEs). These enterprises transcend the conventional boundaries of CSR, embracing a more proactive and all-encompassing approach to fulfilling societal obligations. In this blog, we will delve into the concept of TSEs, examining their distinctiveness from traditional CSR practices and how the Toronto School of Management (TSoM) integrates such important tourism trends into its tourism and hospitality management programs.
Understanding CSR in the Hospitality Context
CSR involves a company’s efforts to fulfill its perceived societal obligations. The hospitality sector, in particular, has been a focal point for examining the role and impact of CSR initiatives. Implementing CSR practices in hospitality businesses has been shown to positively influence consumer behavior, enhance brand reputation, and attract socially conscious consumers. Moreover, CSR initiatives can contribute to long-term sustainability, financial performance, and the overall competitiveness of the hospitality organization. Additionally, responsible practices can enhance the destination’s reputation and contribute to the well-being of local communities, fostering positive relationships and contributing to the success of the tourism industry.
The Role of Stakeholders in CSR Tourism Management
Stakeholders play a crucial role in the effective management and implementation of CSR initiatives in the tourism and hospitality industry. Recognizing and engaging stakeholders is vital for developing meaningful and effective CSR strategies that align with the needs and interests of all involved parties. Hospitality organizations need to understand the perspectives and expectations of stakeholders, as they have the power to influence a company’s actions, reputation, and long-term sustainability. By actively involving stakeholders in the CSR process, organizations can gain valuable insights, resources, and support, while also fostering accountability and transparency.
Differentiating Tourism Social Enterprises from CSR
While traditional CSR practices are often reactive approaches to fulfilling societal obligations, TSEs take a more proactive stance. TSEs integrate social responsibility into their core operations, pursuing economic, social, and environmental goals simultaneously. They prioritize sustainable impacts on the communities and destinations they operate in, going beyond occasional CSR activities. TSEs adopt innovative and entrepreneurial strategies to address social and environmental challenges while ensuring financial viability and long-term sustainability. By embedding social responsibility into their core operations, TSEs build trust with stakeholders and foster a culture of accountability and transparency.
Exploring Immigrant and Refugee Employment Experiences in TSEs
Integrating immigrant and refugee employment within TSEs adds another layer of significance to the discussion of social responsibility and stakeholder involvement in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Research conducted at the Magdas Hotel in Vienna, Austria—a TSE employing refugees—highlighted the importance of creating employment opportunities that cater to the unique circumstances of refugees. The study revealed that TSEs can serve as a starting point for refugee job seekers, benefiting both individual refugees and the reputation of the hospitality sector. The findings emphasize the importance of policy development based.
In line with the recognition of stakeholders’ crucial role in the tourism and hospitality industry, TSoM places great emphasis on educating its students about the significance of stakeholders in CSR practices. TSoM understands that future professionals in the field need to be aware of the diverse stakeholder groups and their expectations to effectively navigate the complex landscape of responsible tourism and hospitality.
At TSoM, students are provided with comprehensive education and training through tourism and hospitality courses that includes a deep understanding of CSR principles and stakeholder engagement strategies. Through coursework, case studies, and interactive discussions, students gain insights into the perspectives and interests of various stakeholders, such as employees, customers, local communities, and industry associations.
Throughout the integration of stakeholder perspectives into the curriculum, TSoM ensures that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to recognize, engage, and respond to stakeholders in their future careers. This awareness allows students to consider the broader societal implications of their actions and decisions within the tourism and hospitality sector.
Apart from our extensive hospitality and tourism programs, TSoM fosters an interactive learning environment that encourages students to actively engage with stakeholders during their studies. Through industry partnerships, guest lectures, and networking events, students have the opportunity to connect with professionals, industry leaders, and representatives from stakeholder groups.
At TSoM, we prepare our students for their future careers in the hospitality and tourism industry by equipping them with an awareness of the important trends in these sectors. By recognizing the significance of social responsibility and sustainable practices, we aim to prepare future professionals who can contribute to the long-term viability and ethical development of the tourism industry. As the industry evolves, the insights gained from research on TSEs and refugee employment experiences provide a solid foundation for future studies and policy developments. Together, we can work towards creating a tourism sector that is not only economically prosperous but also socially responsible and environmentally sustainable.
To download the full academic report on The Future of Tourism and Hospitality Management: Trends and Predictions – Exploring the Current Trend of Tourism Social Enterprises: Going Beyond CSR click here.
About the Authors:
Eddy Sulaiman is a Hospitality and Tourism professional with a PMP certification and over a decade of experience. As an Academic Manager at the Toronto School of Management, he combines his diverse background in hospitality and education. Having worked at renowned hotels like Four Seasons Hotel & Resorts Toronto and Hilton Hotels, Eddy transitioned to the educational sector, instructing college students for over five years. With expertise in project management methodologies, he merges efficient approaches in the hospitality industry. Eddy’s passion for hospitality and tourism management is complemented by his role as an Academic Manager, shaping future leaders and guiding them to adapt to industry trends.
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Dr. Thabit Alomari is a highly respected tourism professional with over three decades of experience as a consultant and academic. He has made significant contributions to tourism research and policy development, focusing on human resource development, employment, and training within the industry. Holding three graduate degrees in tourism, Dr. Alomari is particularly interested in alternative forms of tourism, sustainability, social enterprises, and integrating technology like blockchain into the sector. As a senior management consultant, he guides organizations and drives positive change. With a profound understanding of qualitative research methods, he provides valuable insights and recommendations to students, clients, and colleagues. Dr. Alomari currently serves as a Faculty Member at the School of Hospitality and Tourism, Toronto School of Management.
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