Sustainability in the Travel Industry: Empirical Findings from the Biggest Travel Companies Operating in Finland

By Ulla Kotonen and Taina Savonen.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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The purpose of the paper is to analyze the current state of sustainability and socially responsible behavior on the top four tour operators operating in Finnish markets.
In the theoretical part of the paper, we first shortly define responsible and sustainable tourism and describe the global sustainable tourism criteria. Second, we discuss sustainable tourism and CSR standards, guidelines and codes of conduct as well as reporting and certifications in tourism industry.
In the empirical part, we analyze sustainability and CSR practices on the top four tour operators (Oy Finnmatkat Ab/ TUI Travel plc, Apollomatkat Oy/Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd, Oy Tjäreborg Ab/Thomas Cook Group plc, Oy Aurinkomatkat - Suntours Ltd Ab/Finnair Group) operating in Finland. The empirical analyses are done by content analysis method and are based on the information presented in web sites, annual reports and corporate social responsibility reports of the companies.
The study reveals that companies are reporting CSR to the consumers mainly on environmental and human right angles. In addition, the companies reported socially responsible activities relating to some form of charitable donations. Vision or statements of CSR policies weren’t available on national sites. Companies were highly focused on providing information on different CSR projects but without specifying real figures on project development.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Travel Industry, Tour Operators, Finland

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 10, Issue 3-4, July 2015, pp.15-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 659.729KB).

Dr. Ulla Kotonen

RDI Director, Research, Development, and Innovations, Faculty of Business Studies, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Lahti, Finland

Taina Savonen

Master’s Degree Student, Faculty of Business Studies, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Lahti, Finland