An Outlook on Responsible Tourism in Southeast Asia

Despite the influx of wealth and business opportunities tourism brings, its degrading impact on the environment and local destinations remain as a major concern. Although the importance of sustainable tourism is undeniable, it often becomes a concept or catchphrase which is found value-laden, ambiguous or onerous. One main reason is because the local issues and priorities in a destination or region are usually dissimilar to another. While the discourse on sustainable development in tourism continues largely for good cause, the importance of responsibility begins to emerge. Responsible Tourism is an important, urgent and significant call for action, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. As tourism development and recovery is essential to the economy of developing region, managing priorities and harnessing partnership between stakeholders in a responsible manner become increasingly crucial. As scholars and residents in Southeast Asia, our viewpoints offer some insights about responsible tourism in this region. In addition, a qualitative approach via online survey was administered to elicit the perceptions of tourism academics, practitioners and frequent travellers towards responsible tourism. A framework was subsequently proposed to articulate what responsible tourism is in the Southeast Asian context.

Keywords: responsible tourism; Southeast Asia; sustainable tourism; priorities; stakeholders

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