Pilot study to assess the readiness of the tourism industry in Wales to change to sustainable tourism business practices.The adoption of sustainable tourism practices requires tourism organisations to change existing practices. Despite the expected benefits of such new practices, implementing change in organisations is challenging (Caldwell, 2003; Dent & Goldberg, 1999; Kotter & Schelsinger, 2008). An important factor in the implementation of these change programs is the 'readiness to change" of the individuals involved in the process (Diclemente & Proehaska, 1998; Tabor & Lopez, 2004; Zimmerman, Olsen, & Bosworth, 2000). As the value of sustainability principles in the tourism industry has gained prominence, Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) have been charged with implementing sustainable tourism practices within their destinations. Often lacking formal authority to mandate change, these DMOs rely on internal marketing and education to stimulate the adoption of sustainable tourism within organisations in their destinations. The current study examines the readiness of managers within the Welsh tourism industry to change behaviour and adopt sustainable tourism practices. One hundred and twenty-nine responses were received from managers within the Welsh tourism industry. The current study utilises 'readiness to change" scales based on the five stages of change to show readiness of the managers in the industry to adopt sustainable tourism practices. A cluster analysis was also undertaken that indicates members of a tourism destination system can be segmented by 'readiness to change' enabling targeted marketing communication to destination members. The present study also provides practical applications for DMOs to implement change based on the "readiness to change' model.
Keywords: sustainable tourism, business practices, change management, sustainable tourism, destination management
The present study focuses on the challenges faced by Visit Wales (VW), formerly known as the Wales Tourist Board, to help the tourism industry change to more sustainable tourism business practices. The researchers begin by reviewing the literature on change theory and practices to understand the factors that influence the organisational and individual levels to effect change. The current research recognises that destinations are comprised of independent, largely autonomous organisations, and recognises that behavioural change by individual members of the destination is critical to destination system change. Efforts that VW utilised to encourage the tourism industry to manage their businesses in a more sustainable manner are also discussed. The researchers then address the survey of tourism businesses conducted to assess the readiness of tourism businesses to change to more sustainable business practices so that VW can become more effective to nurture change. The study concludes with a reflection about the results of the survey to identify key barriers to change and recommends strategies for VW to be a more effective change agent in the future.
Encouraging Change to Sustainable Tourism Practices
The topic of Sustainable Tourism (ST) has proven appealing to researchers, tourism practitioners, and policy-makers. The concept of sustainable tourism can be traced back to the 1983 United Nations Commission on the Environment and Development, the Brundtland Commission. The Commission popularised the idea that sustainable development 'meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs' (WCED, 1987). A second and related concept at the foundation of many definitions of sustainable tourism is the 'Triple Bottom Line' (TBL). The term was first attributed to Elkington (1997) and proposes that organisations consider three distinct 'bottom lines'--the economic bottom line, the people's bottom line which concerns social responsibility, and a 'planet' bottom line that concerns environmental impacts of any given activity. Elkington proposed that '... only a company that produces a TBL is taking account of the full cost of doing business' (Hindle, 2008). The two core fundamental concepts--sustainable development and TBL--are clearly evident in the United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UN WTO's) definition of sustainable tourism. The UN WTO claims that 'Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability' (UNWTO, 2009). During recent years, there has been increasing understanding of the key components of effective sustainability programs, yet a variety of challenges to implement that knowledge to action remains. Some possible reasons for the failure have been identified. Ruhanen (2008), for instance, has noted the failure of knowledge management strategies to support the implementation of sustainable tourism. Despite considerable examination of what constitutes sustainable tourism, there has been little examination of what it takes to encourage tourism businesses to change from traditional business practices to those that are considered more sustainable.
The implementation of Sustainable Tourism (ST) practices within the tourism industry presents many challenges for destination managers and policy makers. Although there is evidence that ST provides significant benefits to both communities and individual companies and although there are resources available to companies motivated to change, the adoption of the practices has been far from universal. The challenge for those assigned the task of implementing comprehensive ST programs across the tourism businesses that comprise a destination are complex. The change agents typically charged with the responsibility of encouraging tourism businesses to change from traditional to sustainable business practices tend to be National Tourist Authorities (NTA) and DMOs. As noted by the WTO: 'NTAs have been responsible for marketing, planning, and advising central government on travel and tourism issues. In this capacity, it is likely that many of the tasks required to facilitate the transition to sustainable tourism will fall to them' (UNWTO, 1997, p. 37). Consequently, many NTAs and DMOs have adopted organisational commitments to the development of sustainable tourism in their mission statements and strategic goals. At the destination level, this requires the creation of appropriate policy frameworks and destination-based programs designed to promote sustainable practices. However, the achievement of the goals set by these DMOs requires change across the tourism system itself and adoption by both companies and individuals within the system. Destinations are 'amalgams of tourism products, offering integrated experiences to customers' (Buhalis, 2000) that act freely and independently of the DMO. In most cases, NTAs/DMOs have little authority to enforce change and must rely on programs that include education, encouragement, and persuasion to achieve system-wide change.
Sustainable Tourism Programs of Visit Wales
Visit Wales (VW), formerly known as the Wales Tourist Board (WTB), is the Welsh Assembly Government's DMO, a team within the Department for Heritage responsible for the promotion and development of tourism in Wales. Its primary mission is to maximise tourism's contribution to the economic, social, cultural, and environmental wellbeing of Wales. As indicated on the VW website (WTB, 2000a), the concept of sustainability has been at the core of the national tourism strategy, 'Achieving Our Potential' (WTB, 2000b) since its inception and has been reinforced through the midterm review of strategy 'Achieving Our Potential, 2006-2013' (WTB, 2006). Over the years, VW and its partners have provided support to a number of initiatives to help develop tourism in a sustainable way. One such initiative is the Sustainable Tourism Framework, which outlines what sustainable development means to the tourism sector in Wales. That initiative consists of the following: (a) promoting local prosperity, (b) supporting community wellbeing and involvement, (c) minimising tourism's environmental impact, and (d) protecting and giving value to natural heritage and culture. This framework aligns with the definition of sustainability and the TBL previously discussed. Along with the resources posted on its website and the expertise of its staff, VW conducts training and information-sharing road shows around Wales that keep owners/operators up to date on the latest sustainable tourism initiatives and explains how to get involved. Such programs are generally well supported and there is evidence that the Wales tourism industry recognises the benefits of ST and adopting ST activities. However, despite recognising the benefits, not all organisations within the industry have adopted the techniques and 'changed' to more sustainable tourism practices. In order to identify ways of stimulating the change process within the Wales tourism system, and review of current 'change' research was undertaken.
Change in Organisations
'Change' is an important field of study in social and human sciences ranging from health to business and management. Each of these fields contributes greater understanding to the complex processes required to change behaviours. In order to understand change, one must review the definition of 'change' and how it can be applied to current research. In social systems such as business organisations, change can be defined as an empirical observation of difference in form, quality, or state over time in an organisational entity (Van de Hen & Poole, 1995). That entity may be an individual's job, a work group, an organisational strategy, a program, or an organization as a whole. According to Ford and Ford (1995), change also can be defined as the difference(s) between two (or more) successive conditions, states, or moments of time. To determine if change has occurred, one must look at two or more states compared over time to see if there is a difference from the original state to a decidedly new one. Change can be either intentional or unintentional. Intentional change occurs when a change agent deliberately attempts to establish a future state condition that is different from a current state through a series of actions and interventions alone or in collaboration with other people. In other words, the change was made by intent and there is a change agent that can be attributed to making it. On the other hand, unintentional change manifests itself through side effects, incidents, secondary effects, or unanticipated consequences of action. One key difference in the two is that intentional change is created, sustained, and maintained by managers who recognise that they can have substantial impact on a change by what they say, especially through clearly defined requests for action or results.
The implementation of change in organisations and other human systems is challenging and has been the subject of considerable research. Organisational change is typically framed in terms of individual behavioural change within the organisation (Blanchard, 2010; Caldwell, 2003; Chiang, 2010; Dent & Goldberg, 1999; Kotter, 1996; Kotter & Schelsinger, 2008). For example, Caldwell (2003) sees change as a complex interaction that takes place between different change agents within an organisation. Despite the role of change agents, overcoming resistance at both the organisational and personal levels is a critical success factor in the change process. As Blanchard (2010) noted, if '... people can't see the need for change, they don't want it, won't stand for it, and will go out of their way to avoid it, if not sabotage it ... and the reason that 70% of all change initiatives fail; a figure so high it means that most change initiatives are doomed to failure from the start' (p. 44). Dent and Goldberg (1999) suggested that people do not resist change, per se; their resistance comes from the fear of losing status, pay, and comfort not to mention a reluctance to embrace the change that management wants to implement in the first place. Possibly change is slow to happen because employees may indeed embrace the new vision and want to make change happen, but they find too many obstacles in their path that prevent execution. Far too many change efforts have resulted in making the situation worse than it was initially. In a study of barriers to change in the hotel industry, Chiang (2010) identified the following as barriers and resistance to change: '... high cost of change, financial difficulties, time limitations, other business priorities, technical difficulties, fear of insecurity, losing something valuable, lack of skills and resources, unpleasant previous experiences, commitment to current practices, strong organisational culture, internal politics, powerful trade unions, and government regulations' (p. 158). Financial difficulties, cost of change, and lack of resources were identified as the most important constraints to change in hotels and that, before making any changes, market research should be conducted to assess whether or not the proposed change would upset existing customers or attract new customers to the hotel, making the change feasible to owners and/or operators.
Schneider, Brief and Guzzo (1996) claimed that there is one key reason that change efforts introduced by a company do not have the intended impact. They maintained that '... organisations as we know them are the people in them; if the people do not change, there is no organisational change. Changes in hierarchy, technology, communication networks, and so forth are effective only to the degree that these structural changes are associated with changes in the psychology of employees' (p. 7). To effect change, they recommended that the organisation first assesses whether morale is high enough to undergo change and whether management has been successful in the past with change initiatives. Second, they suggested managers also should expect that introducing changes counter to existing organisational climate and culture will require tremendous amounts of time and effort. Third, the planned change must have detailed goals and objectives to increase the possibility of success. Fourth, the organisation must assess whether reward systems in place motivate employees to focus their energies and competencies on implementing and sustaining the planned change. Fifth, change will not occur unless the employees are given proper resources to develop and implement it. Finally, management must monitor if the goals of the change initiative were accomplished and, if so, they should learn from the process to be better prepared for future changes.
Based on the findings from their qualitative study of how managers may or may not apply what is learned in the classroom to effect change in the workplace, Andrews, Cameron, and Harris (2008) did not reject the concept that management can be active agents in controlling organisational change. However, they were sceptical about prescriptive theories and non-reflective or non-contextualised approaches to make change possible. Accordingly, each situation requires willingness on the part of managers to be flexible and take a collaborative approach to the implementation of change.
Indeed, Kotter and Schlesinger (2008) reported that change initiatives often backfire because managers apply a one-size-fits-all approach instead of a situational approach that anticipates the four most common reasons why people resist change: (a) desire not to lose something of value, (b) misunderstanding of the change and its implications, (c) belief that the change does not make sense for the organisation, and (d) low tolerance for change. They suggested that managers can take six approaches to overcome resistance to change. First, educate people about the available courses of action beforehand so they will understand the logic of the planned change. Second, those affected by the change should participate in designing it so that they find ways to overcome their own resistance. Third, the importance of providing facilitation and support throughout the change initiative (e.g., training, emotional support, time off) will help to reduce resistance to change. Fourth, incentives for those who typically resist change may be offered to encourage them to cooperate and contribute to the effort. Fifth, managers can elect to co-opt those who may resist change and give them a desirable role in the design or implementation of the change. When all else fails, the sixth approach management can utilise for those who resist or block change is explicitly or implicitly threaten them with losing their job or actually fire them. Other researchers identify similar strategies for overcoming resistance to change. Okumus and Hemmington (1998), for instance, identified training, communication, participation, involvement, and organisational culture as strategies to overcome resistance to change.
Tourism and hospitality researchers also have identified the importance of individual behaviour in the organisational change process. Several researchers have focused on managerial attitudes in addressing the adoption of environmental management systems (Bohdanowicz, 2005; Chan, 2008; Kasim, 2009). Liu, Lui, and Man (2009), in their study of Macau casino operations, suggested that employee reactions to change are a function of their individualised schema that serves as a framework for understanding the change and making predictions about potential events due to change. Accordingly, change schemas are conceptualised as having three dimensions--change salience, change valence, and change inference. Change salience is the recognition that there is a need for change and willingness to help make those changes. Motivations to enact and participate in the change depend on the level of threats faced by the organisation: the greater the threat, the greater the sense of change from the current state to an improved state. Change valence refers to an individual's perceptions of the meaning and significance of a particular change in that he or she is more likely to participate in a change that he or she considers meaningful and significant. Change inference describes the process by which an individual estimates the probability of outcomes that will occur from the change event. If this leads to scepticism, he is reluctant to participate in the change. In essence, employees who do not become skeptical of change and but see it as meaningful will actively participate in the change process. That is why Lui, Lui, and Man (2009) suggested that organisations survey employees about their change schemas to allow managers to identify potential reactions to change before implementing the change. In particular, if employees discuss their scepticism and fear toward organisational change via their core discussion network, the organisation will find it more difficult to initially develop and implement a change strategy.
Individual Readiness to Change
From the extant research, personal commitment to the change process is a critical success factor in implementing organisational change. Organisational change is not the only form of change that meets resistance. While tourism and management researchers have addressed change within organisations, where the personal stakes of not changing can be relatively low, researchers from other fields, such as medicine, have addressed behavioural change in which the stakes to the individual are high and failure to adopt and maintain the new behaviours can have serious consequences; that met many of the same challenges described in business literature. The challenge of supporting behavioural change is apparent when considered in terms of the failure of individuals to adopt and maintain behaviours that will literally save their lives. For several decades, health researchers have addressed the issue of behavioural change to assist patients to adopt healthier behaviour such as smoking cessation and healthier lifestyles. One widely accepted model for understanding how to support the change process is the Readiness to Change model. The Readiness to Change approach advocates understanding an individual's readiness to change behaviour so that customised plans can be used to support the individual's progress through a change process. According to the Readiness to Change model, behaviour change is a gradual process wherein people move through five identifiable stages (Diclemente & Prochaska, 1998; Tabor & Lopez, 2004; Zimmerman et al., 2000). This model has been utilised by the healthcare profession to understand why patients will not take their medication as prescribed by the physician, especially when their health hangs in the balance (AdultMeducation.com, 2009). The change model works by first identifying the stage of change of the individual and then employs measures aimed at intrinsically motivating the individual to begin and ultimately maintain a targeted beneficial behaviour. The five stages in the change model are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance and relapse prevention. In the precontemplation stage, the individual is not even considering change. The person may be in denial about the existence of a problem that warrants a change of behaviour; he or she may have tried unsuccessfully to make a change and gave up trying. To help an individual move beyond this stage, he or she may be educated on the risks versus the benefits of not changing, with emphasis placed upon the positive outcomes of changing one's behaviour. In the contemplation stage, the individual is ambivalent about changing as one weighs the benefits and costs, or barriers to change, to determine if change is worth it. To help an individual move beyond this stage, he or she may need help to identify the barriers to change or address any misconceptions related to making the change and recognise proper support systems to help make the change. In the preparation stage, the individual is prepared to experiment with small behavioural changes. To enable the person to move past this stage, he or she must be encouraged to develop realistic goals and timelines for change along with positive reinforcement mechanisms to make the change rewarding. In the action stage, the person takes definitive action to make the transition necessary to make a successful change in behaviour. To enable the person to find success at this stage, there needs to be ample positive reinforcement so that the rewards for making such a change are clear. Finally, in the maintenance and relapse prevention stage, the challenge the person faces is to maintain the new behaviour for the long term so that there is no relapse to the former behaviour. Also at this point, he or she needs substantial encouragement and support so that there is a low probability of relapse. While it is recognised that adoption of sustainable tourism practices in the tourism industry does not translate to 'life or death' decisions for individuals in the destination system, the readiness to change model--with its focus on customised approaches to behavioural change--is useful in encouraging practices that have strategic benefits for destinations.
Sustainable tourism has been examined extensively in recent years, but there is relatively little research examining the processes required to change to sustainable tourism practices at the destination, organisation, or individual level. Nevertheless, NTAs and DMOs are charged with the responsibility to implement sustainable tourism programs in their destinations, often without any ability to enforce the implementation of these programs. As such, they must rely on influence and persuasion to stimulate this change within organisations at their destinations. Extant research indicates that organisational change requires change by individuals within the organisation and that a variety of factors can cause individual resistance to change. Research also shows that behaviour change is challenging to implement and maintain, even when the stakes to the individual are high and failure to change will result in serious, direct threats to the individual, as is the case in failing to take life saving medicines, ceasing smoking or adopting healthier lifestyles. The readiness to change model has proven useful in a variety of circumstances and it proposed that it can be utilised by NTAs/DMOs in achieving their strategic objectives. The current research is designed to assist NTAs and DMOs effectively enact change in their organisation utilisation of the readiness to change model. The current research addresses the significant knowledge gap that exists in the behavioural and organisational change literature relating to change within the tourism destination system.
* The purpose of the present study is to assist VW's efforts to implement change to sustainable tourism by understanding the readiness of industry members to change from traditional to sustainable business practices. The purpose will be achieved by addressing two primary research goals:
* To determine whether the readiness to change model can be adopted to assist NTAs/DMOs in implementing change agendas to support the adoption of sustainable tourism activities.
To determine if members of the destination system can be segmented using the readiness to change model to allow more targeted training and education programs.
An initial call to 500 tourism businesses to participate in the online survey was made in the fall of 2008 by The Wales Tourism Alliance, which was formed when the National Assembly for Wales was established and the responsibility for tourism in Wales was shifted from Westminster to Cardiff. A second call to participate in the survey was made to the industry in February of 2009 by VW.
Based on the literature concerning change, especially based on the Readiness to Change Model and the expertise of the lead author in psychometric scale development, five summative scales were developed to determine which one of the five stages a tourism business might be from Precontemplation to Maintenance and Relapse Prevention. The method used to develop the Readiness to Change Scale (RCS) was recommended by Spector (1992) that starts with the definitions noted previously in the present study for the different stages of the Readiness to Change model. Beginning with the definitions, a series of scale items were drafted by the lead researcher indicative of the definitions they were intended to measure to ultimately determine in which stage of change a survey respondent was at the time of the survey. The process began by writing as many statements as possible in an attempt to determine reliable scales. The reason for writing as many statements as possible for each of the five scales was to develop five or more statements that would produce reliable scales for the RCS. To that end, seven statements initially were written for the Precontemplation Scale, ten for the Contemplation Scale, ten for the Preparation Scale, eight for the Action Scale, and 12 for the Maintenance & Relapse Prevention Scale. Then the statements were turned into Likert Scale items using the following: 1 (Not at all true), 2 (Slightly true), 3 (About halfway true), 4 (Mostly true), and 5 (Exactly true).
To test the reliability of the scales, statements written for each of the five summated scales were randomly distributed, using a random number generator, to form Section 1 of the online questionnaire. This required respondents to react to each statement on its own merits rather than as part of the scale. The end result reduced response bias and increased the reliability of the results and the reliability of the scales. A copy of the RCS as used in the present study is available upon request from the lead author. To serve as a common reference point for those respondents completing the scale, a 'sustainable business' was defined as one that is part of the tourism industry and that has dedicated itself to: (a) supporting the local economy, Co) promoting the Welsh culture, and (c) minimising its impact on the environment.
Queries regarding demographic and company data also were collected during the survey process. The demographic data asked of respondents included number of employees, geographic location, business location (e.g., city, coast), age of the establishment, independent or group-owned (chain), and 12 business classifications (e.g., guesthouse, bed and breakfast, restaurant, cafe, hotel, public house).
In addition to the scale development, a cluster analysis was performed. To perform the analysis, responses for the questions from scale 1 and 2 (precontemplation and contemplation) were reversed to ensure all questions shared the same orientation towards sustainable tourism practice. In total, 35 variables associated with the 5 stages of 'readiness to change' were examined. The researcher reviewed outcomes of several cluster methods including K-cluster and Wards Cluster method and found general consistency in the results. The method used for this analysis was a hierarchical clustering using the K-Cluster method.
Data were collected using the Hosted Survey available on the server at the principle researcher's university in the United States. Data were analysed using SPSS v.16. Reliability coefficients of each scale were determined using Cronbach's alpha.
Results and Discussion
There were 129 responses from the call to participate in the survey from The Wales Tourism Alliance and Visit Wales (VW). The response rate for the survey was approximately 25%. The sample size was deemed sufficient to formulate the methods used in this study to assess readiness of the tourism industry in Wales to change to sustainable tourism business practices. The research enables an exploratory analysis of the readiness of the Welsh tourism industry to adopt sustainable tourism practices.
Although not depicted, respondents tended to be those who had independently owned businesses, of which 35% were self-catering businesses established in 1977 with staff of two (mode) full-time employees, that were VW graded (71%), located in Southwest Wales (40.5%), and in a rural setting (62%). The 129 responses were used to establish the reliability tests performed on the five scales belonging to the RCS. Given the standard that a reliable scale is one that exceeds a standardised alpha of .70, the scales developed for the RCS were determined to be reliable measures given the standardised alpha reported in the parentheses of the five scales: Precontemplation Scale (.83), Contemplation Scale (.82), Preparation Scale (.83), Action Scale (.81) and Maintenance & Relapse Prevention Scale (.87).
The mean response to the statements belonging to the Precontemplation Scale is shown in Table 1. The item scale mean of 1.62 indicates the responses to the statements belonging to this scale were only Slightly true. If this finding is indicative of the industry as a whole, or a particular segment within it, the finding suggests that little time and money need to be spent by VW to educate business owners/operators about the risks versus the benefits of not changing. As defined in the present study, the industry respondents were already aware of sustainability and sustainable tourism.
The mean response to the statements belonging to the Contemplation Scale is shown in Table 2. The item scale mean of 3.21 indicates that the response to the items belonging to this scale were About halfway true according to those who responded to the survey. That suggests that many of the respondents were in the contemplation phase of sustainability.
The mean response to the statements belonging to the Preparation Scale is shown in Table 3. The item scale mean of 3.32 indicates that the response to the items belonging to this scale is also About halfway true according to responding businesses. This item scale mean bodes well for VW as further evidence that those who responded to the survey are working to make their business sustainable. Respondents need to be encouraged to develop realistic goals and timelines for change and receive positive reinforcement to reward change.
The mean response to the statements belonging to the Action Scale is shown in Table 4. The item scale mean of 3.04 indicates that the responses to the items belonging to this scale were also About halfway true. Those belonging to this stage would need substantial positive reinforcement so that the rewards for making such a change are clear. To determine success, the survey could be read-ministered at a later date to see if the item scale mean had moved to 5.0.
Finally, the mean response to the statements belonging to the Maintenance & Relapse Prevention Scale is presented in Table 5. The item scale mean of 3.20 indicates that the responses to the items in this scale also were About halfway true as in previous scales. If the item scale mean had turned out to be close to 5 (Exactly true), the challenge for Visit Wales would have been to maintain sustainable behaviours for the long term to avoid a relapse to previous ways of doing business.
In addition to the review of the scales, a cluster analysis was performed on the data. As noted, this analysis first required the responses for the questions from scales 1 and 2 (precontemplation and contemplation) to be reversed to ensure all questions shared the same orientation towards sustainable tourism practice. Due to the limited number of responses, the cluster method used was a hierarchical clustering using the K-cluster method. Three clusters best explained the data. Although the results are depicted in tabular form, an ANOVAs test was conducted to determine the significance of each variable in forming the clusters. The majority of the variables were statistically significant. The variables that were not statistically significant at the .05 significance level were 'I wish I'd started sooner' (,p =.15), 'Would like to but have limited resources'(p = .1), 'Like to but not enough hours' (p = .1) and 'Would if I could find inexpensive ways to become sustainable' (p = .1) .Of the 129 responses, 56 respondents were in the first cluster, 57 in the second cluster, and 16 in the third cluster. The analysis outlined in Table 6 indicates that Cluster 1 scores highest in the questions related to the preparation, action, and maintenance stages of the Readiness to Change model. Cluster 2 scores in the middle of the range across the model from contemplation to maintenance, and Cluster 3 scores highest in precontemplation and contemplation.
Implications and Conclusions
The Readiness to Change model and the RCS provide useful diagnostic tools for the NTAs/DMOs to assess the readiness of their constituents to adopt sustainable tourism activities. In the current study, the RCS shows VW that those who manage in the tourism industry fall into a variety of levels of readiness to change to sustainable tourism practices. The study reveals that although many espouse a willingness to change, the actual behaviour observed can be better understood by the range of stages outlined in the Readiness to Change model. As noted previously, '... many change programs fail because managers apply a one-size-fits-all' (Kotter & Schelsinger, 2008, p. 132) strategy. From these findings, to avoid this pitfall, the Welsh internal marketing program must address several different sets of needs based on the level of readiness. The research of the present study suggests that communication efforts are required throughout the process and that specific strategies should be implemented to encourage and support those companies in the preparation, action, and maintenance and relapse prevention stages.
Based on the study's findings, the RCS is a reliable measure for those wanting to do future research on tourism business sustainability. The high reliability coefficients for the SBRS indicate it has a high degree of precision if administered to a single business or segment to determine its readiness to adopt sustainable business practices. Such information provides practical direction for sustainability program managers to undertake initiatives to support the new business practice adoption. The RCS enables VW to effectively customise internal marketing activities to support the adoption of sustainable practices. For example, if a business were at the Precontemplation Stage of change, the owner/operator could be informed about the costs versus the benefits of being sustainable, according to the Readiness to Change model, to educate them about the benefits of sustainability. Then motivational interviewing could be utilised to find the most effective ways to motivate business owners/operators to change. Follow-up would be needed to see if the changes are taking place to move from one stage to the next until sustainable. The challenge then becomes to maintain efforts and avoid a relapse to past practices. Table 7 identifies ways that insights from the Readiness to Change model can inform DMO actions to support sustainability initiatives.
While extant research, and the readiness to change model itself focus on customised, one-on-one programs to support change in organisations and at destinations, the research also shows that NTAs and DMOs can segment managers within the destination system to meet the needs of managers in various stages of the change process. The preliminary cluster analysis suggests that communications and education strategies can be adopted to address specific needs of each cluster. In general, the vast majority of respondents report some level of readiness to adopt sustainable tourism practices and are in the contemplation stage or higher. From the clusters, one can reasonably propose that VW should nurture and encourage managers who have actively adopted sustainability programs (Cluster 1); educate and support managers who are considering adopting sustainability programs or have begun to act upon green initiatives while recognising and encouraging action undertaken by this group (Cluster 2); and develop communication designed to encourage action from the final group (Cluster 3). Clearly, DMOs should not assume that managers within the destination are homogenous in terms of the information and support of program needs. DMOs should recognise that the most effective internal marketing is not 'one size fits all'.
The study provides two diagnostic tools for VW, and other NTAs/DMOs to use as they implement programs designed to change behaviours and encourage the implementation of sustainable tourism programs. The first tool, the RSC, is useful to address the readiness to change of individuals in the tourism industry. This can be used in determining the best educational tools and support VW can provide the individual industry member. The second tool, the cluster analysis based on the 'readiness to change' model, gives a 'snapshot' of the status of the industry from the readiness to change model and allows VW to allocate resources to achieve goals in moving the industry to change.
In the broadest sense, the present research highlights the need of destination marketing organisations to manage more effectively their 'internal marketing' to stakeholders within the destination. With activities where change is being encouraged, such as sustainable tourism initiatives, DMOs must recognise that they are dealing with various segments with diverse needs. While many DMOs are expert in target marketing to customer groups, apparently little attention is paid to marketing efforts within the destination itself. General approaches, such as websites and training programs, may only address the needs of certain segments of the destination community. Significant behavioural change, such as adopting sustainable tourism practices, may need segmented or customised efforts to achieve the desired results. Finally, by addressing the adoption of sustainable tourism practices as a behavioural change issue rather than product diffusion issue, VW is provided with a set of specific actions to support the change process.
Limitations and Recommendations for Future Research
While the study presents some important findings, one must note some limitations. The first limitation is that the sample is not necessarily representative of the Wales Tourism Industry in that it is likely that the sample is biased to operators interested in sustainability and the study itself. That more representative sample would have allowed for the intended analysis of determining the change to sustainable tourism practices within various industry segments such as lodging
or foodservice. It would have helped discern whether change is a function of the five discrete steps suggested by the Readiness to Change theory or, indeed, three key stages as suggested by the results of the cluster analysis performed in the present study.
The current study was to enable VW to take a more strategic approach to effect change efforts of tourism businesses to sustainable business practices. It provides a deeper understanding of the individual behavioural issues associated with changing behaviours and adopting sustainable tourism. The current research provides insights that can be used to guide the efforts of NTAs/DMOs to develop a sustainable tourism industry. Based on the procedures and results of the study, future research could be conducted to understand change efforts required to launch successful ST initiatives. First, researchers should consider market segmentation within destinations in order to create more effective change programs. Second, research should be conducted to determine the most effective programs to help tourism businesses change from one stage to another until the majority of the industry can move to the maintenance and prevention of relapse stage.
In conclusion, the challenges for destinations, especially DMOs, to implement ST programs are significant. The study findings should provide destination marketers and developers with useful insights that can support these important programs.
The authors acknowledge the positive contribution of Dr Brent Ritchie and the two anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and recommendations. The authors also wish to acknowledge the cooperation of Visit Wales and the Wales Tourism Alliance, especially the efforts of Tim Beddoe and John Walsh-Heron, who made this research possible.
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Joseph "Mick" La Lopa and Jonathon Day
Department of Hospitality and Tourism
Management, Purdue University, United States of America
Joseph La Lopa, Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, 700 West State Street, Room 103, West Lafayette IN 47907, USA.
La Lopa, J., & Day, J. (2011). Pilot study to assess the readiness of the tourism industry in Wales to change to sustainable tourism business practices. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 18, 130-139. DOI 10.1375/jhtm.18.1.130
Table 1 Scale Item Means for Precontemplation Scale Statements (scale items) Mean My customers do not care if my business is sustainable 1.78 so why should I I really do not see the point of making my business 1.43 sustainable. I have no intention of making my business sustainable. 1.33 I tried in the past to make my business sustainable but 1.40 gave up. There is no need to make my business sustainable because 1.97 it will not lead to more tourists visiting Wales. Other area businesses that cater to tourists are not doing 1.81 what it takes to become sustainable so why should I. Item scale mean 1.62 Note: Scale: 1 (Not at all true), 2 (Slightly true), 3 (About halfway true), 4 (Mostly true), 5 (Exactly true) Table 2 Scale Item Means for Contemplation Scale Statements (scale items) Mean I would like to make my business sustainable but have 2.81 limited access to the support it would take to do it. I would like to make my business sustainable, but there 2.73 are not enough hours in the day. I would consider making my business sustainable if I could 3.21 learn inexpensive ways to do it. I would like to make my business sustainable, but have 1.98 no idea where to start. I just do not have the time to make my business sustainable. 2.15 I would like to make my business sustainable, but the 2.33 return on profits do not justify the required investment. Any attempt to make my business sustainable would be a 1.43 complete waste of my time. Item scale mean 2.38 Note: Scale: 1 (Not at all true), 2 (Slightly true), 3 (About halfway true), 4 (Mostly true), 5 (Exactly true) Table 3 Scale Item Means for Preparation Scale Statements (Scale Items) Mean I have short-term goals for making my 3.19 business sustainable. I have come to realise that making my business 3.45 sustainable will not cut into profits. I have taken some small steps to make my 3.69 business sustainable. I am in the process of learning how I can make 3.14 my business sustainable. I have developed a plan for making my 3.22 business sustainable. I am committed to making my business sustainable. 4.02 I have met with people who have expertise in 2.91 sustainability to find ways to make my business sustainable. I am learning all I can about sustainability so 3.36 that I can take steps toward making my business sustainable. Item scale mean 3.32 Note: Scale: 1 (Not at all true), 2 (Slightly true), 3 (About halfway true), 4 (Mostly true), 5 (Exactly true) Table 4 Scale Item Means for Action Scale Statements (Scale Items) Mean I have plans in place to modify my business to 3.39 make it sustainable. My customers have reacted favorably to the changes I have 3.47 made to make my business sustainable. I wake up each day with the intent of making my 2.57 business sustainable. I am well on my way to accomplishing the goals I set to 3.36 make my business sustainable. It was easier than I once thought to make my business 2.92 sustainable. I now run the day-to-day affairs of my business in ways 2.52 I did not think possible before making it sustainable. Item scale mean 3.04 Note: Scale: 1 (Not at all true), 2 (Slightly true), 3 (About halfway true), 4 (Mostly true), 5 (Exactly true) Table 5 Scale Item Means for Maintenance & Relapse Prevention Scale Statements (Scale Items) Mean It was easier than I thought to accomplish the goal of 3.00 making my business sustainable. My business is more profitable now that I have made 2.57 it sustainable. Thanks to my resourcefulness, I knew how to go about 3.12 making my business sustainable. Now that I have made my business as sustainable as 3.38 possible, the challenge is to keep it that way. As it turns out, I was up to the challenge of making my 3.59 business sustainable. I encountered problems along the way to making my business 3.08 sustainable but was able to sort them out. It is deeply gratifying to run a business that is 3.67 completely sustainable. Item scale mean 3.20 Note: Scale: 1 (Not at all true), 2 (Slightly true), 3 (About halfway true), 4 (Mostly true), 5 (Exactly true) Table 6 Examination of 'Readiness to Change' by Clusters Readiness stage Cluster Precontemplation Contemplation C 1 Mean 1.2202 1.8648 N = 56 SD .35406 .65856 C 2 Mean 1.7895 2.6867 N = 57 SD .53408 .76047 C 3 Mean 2.4167 3.0536 N = 16 SD 1.09206 1.19850 Total Mean 1.6202 2.3754 N = 129 SD .69315 .90687 Readiness stage Cluster Preparation Action Maintenance C 1 Mean 4.0112 3.7649 3.9643 N = 56 SD .58982 .50028 .50102 C 2 Mean 3.1601 2.7749 2.9098 N = 57 SD .47349 .47715 0.49973 C 3 Mean 1.8203 1.4271 1.5804 N = 16 SD .61740 .40354 .43478 Total Mean 3.3634 3.0375 3.2027 N = 129 SD .88986 .90145 .92749 Table 7 DMO Responses to Stages of Readiness for Change: Sustainability Stage Behavioural DMO action response Precontemplation Education of Education about benefits of risks and ST for the organisation benefits of action Education about benefits for industry Education about specific actions Contemplation Identification Education about benefits of of barriers ST for the organization and address misconceptions Education about benefits for industry Education about 'first stops' programs that allow easy entrance to the process Preparation Realistic Flexible 'first steps' goals programs to allow organisations to begin program Positive reinforcement Recognition programs to support new adopters Action Positive Flexible sustainable tourism reinforcement programs covering broad TBL but allowing each organization to adopt specific actions suitable to its business Recognition programs to support participation in broad programs Maintenance and Positive Flexible sustainable tourism relapse prevention reinforcement programs covering broad TBL but allowing each organization Encouragement to adopt specific actions suitable to its business Recognition programs to support participation in broad programs Programs designed to support length of commitment'-- rewards for length of commitment to programs