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News Article

User generated content - a powerful tool for sustainable tourism


Social media can help DMO’s promote responsible tourist behaviour

Social media is being used to protect vulnerable coastal sites and promote sustainable tourism by changing behaviours and encouraging users to create content to further promote responsible behaviour.

As, Destination Management Organisations (DMO’s) are embracing social media, and user generated content, as a way to encourage visitors to be more responsible when visiting coastal sites and beaches.

The research published in Sustainability, focussed on Cox’s Bazar beach, one of the world’s most famous beaches, and a top tourism destination in Bangladesh.

Sustainable coastal tourism remains challenging partly due to irresponsible behaviour of tourists, but also the communities which host tourists are often underdeveloped or have inadequate infrastructure to provide for them, all of this has a negative impact environmental conservation of the destination.

The researchers investigated the impact that usage of social media has to encourage positive travel actions and positive environmental movements .Interestingly user generated content, such as online posts, messages, or interactions were more convincing than the information provided by tour operators.

The researchers advised that DMO’s harness the power of environmentally related UGC, as it can be useful tool to educate travellers on responsible tourism practices.

Poor tourism behaviour in coastal areas can be direct and range from littering and fires on the beaches, to the harassment of wildlife and destruction of both land and marine habitat, as well as the harvesting of collection of corals, shells, and other marine souvenirs.

Indirect effects from less environmentally responsible tourism can be careless tour operators, increased traffic on the shoreline both daytime and at night, increased seafood consumption from tourists meaning overfishing of vulnerable marine environments, excess sewage from hotels being directly released into the sea.

Reference:

Sultan, Mohammad T., Farzana Sharmin, Alina Badulescu, Elena Stiubea, and Ke Xue. 2021. "Travelers’ Responsible Environmental Behavior towards Sustainable Coastal Tourism: An Empirical Investigation on Social Media User-Generated Content" Sustainability 13, no. 1: 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010056

 

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