Sustainable development in the accommodation sector: a social dilemma perspective

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26 Citations (Scopus)


This paper identifies and analyses a specific psychological barrier that plays a crucial role in explaining why the tourism accommodation sector so far has only made a limited contribution to sustainable development. This barrier represents a so-called social dilemma and relates to behavioural patterns and conflicting interests of relevant stakeholders and their inability to resolve the resulting lock-in. Through presenting and reviewing the outcomes of three empirical studies and relating them to relevant literature, this paper explores the details of this particular social dilemma. It also establishes promising avenues for moving beyond the current stagnation point. The paper concludes that there is an urgent need for more research into the social, cultural and psychological structures and barriers that lock-in the behaviour of relevant stakeholders. However, it is also concludes that actually resolving the dilemma is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders and requires more than just research, for instance setting up galvanising action groups and adjusting tourism and hospitality curricula.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-150
Number of pages10
JournalTourism Management Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • accommodation sector
  • Delphi
  • hospitality
  • participatory research
  • social dilemma
  • social sustainability
  • stakeholders
  • sustainable development


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