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|Author :||Susanne Reimann & Sandro Carnicelli|
|School/Work Place :||University of the West of Scotland Germany|
In the tourism industry, whilst some companies have taken active steps towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), others are yet to adopt a responsible approaching to business. According to Betz (2010), CSR is a relatively new concept in the tourism industry and some companies operating in this sector do not comprehend the significance of engaging in CSR activities. Although some companies often invest in CSR purely for the benefit of society, others seem to engage in CSR activities merely for reputation building and brand image, so they are frequently accused of greenwash (Cherry & Sneirson, 2011) or corporate hypocrisy (Wagner, Lutz, &Weitz, 2009) when the policies they espouse fail to match the actual practice.
Whilst research regarding CSR in the tourist sector has been conducted by many researchers (Povlsen, 2011; Dodds & Kuehnel, 2010; Ciuchete et. al., 2012), a gap can be detected related to knowledge of comparative CSR practices in small, medium and large tour operators. Hence, the motivation for this research is to add to the existing knowledge of CSR focusing on a range of tour operators. This research provides an overview of how German tour operators conceptualise the phenomenon of CSR and discuss the challenges they are facing. The problem reviewed in this research regards the awareness of CSR practices in German tour operators, and the extent to which these companies are effective in designing and implementing CSR to leverage performance, whilst satisfying the needs of stakeholders and society. Therefore, the overall aim of this research is to look at the conceptualisation of CSR at small, medium and large tour operators and to identify the differences in that regards.