Managing the Engagement of Sustainable Tourism in Natural Protected Areas Through Social Media

Managing the Engagement of Sustainable Tourism in Natural Protected Areas Through Social Media

Federico Galán-Valdivieso (University of Almería, Spain), Juana Alonso-Cañadas (University of Almería, Spain), Laura Saraite-Sariene (University of Almería, Spain) and Carmen Caba-Pérez (University of Almería, Spain)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5772-2.ch011


Tourism in protected natural areas is one of the main economic drivers of rural economies in Europe, and Spain is the European country with the highest number of protected areas awarded as sustainable destinations by the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas. The involvement of both local businesses and tourists is vital to the effective management of sustainable tourism, and social media is increasingly becoming a relevant tool to this task. Taking these considerations into account, this chapter has two goals: first is to examine the online activities performed by tourists in Facebook pages of local tourist businesses, aiming to enhance customer engagement with sustainable tourism; second is to perform a comparative analysis on the impact and degree of engagement achieved of firms from different Spanish regions. Findings will contribute significantly to our understanding of the influence of social media in fostering citizen engagement with sustainable tourism.
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Sustainable Tourism In Protected Natural Areas And The Mediating Role Of Tourism Businesses

Based on the guidelines reported by the WTO (United Nations, 2003), sustainable tourism must manage natural, historical and cultural resources in order to satisfy the present needs of tourists, local businesses and host communities, and at the same time preserving those resources to ensure they maintain their essence and attractive in the future. But this is not a consensual definition. Researchers, professionals and authorities have not reached an agreement in defining sustainable tourism (Boley, McGehee, & Tom Hammett, 2017), nor distinguishing it clearly from other similar constructs such as responsible tourism (Mihalic, 2013). What is common to those concepts, though, is the notion that tourism activities must be aware of, respect and protect the fragility of the environment in which they take place, cultural, natural and economically, so as to ensure its particular conditions for the future.

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