Tourism and the environment: The response of privately owned accommodation businesses in Da Nang city, Vietnam
The purpose of the study is to investigate the response of privately-owned hospitality enterprises in Da Nang city, Vietnam to environmental concerns. The study is inspired by global growing attention to how sustainable development in general and sustainable development in the tourism industry in particular can be promoted, especially the environmental aspect. Given the vital role of the private sector in achieving sustainable development and the fact that in the context of Vietnam, the private sector is still a less powerful economic player than the state-owned sector, the study only focuses on the privately-owned hotels. The study was conducted with the aims of (i) filling in the gap of understanding of the issue in developing countries, (ii) seeing how effective the private sector’s contribution in Da Nang city and in Vietnam in general has been in promoting sustainable tourism development, and (iii) coming to suitable recommendations, based on the research results, to increase the effectiveness of the private sector in sustainable tourism development. Qualitative methodology was used. Fifteen hotel managers participated in the semi-structured interviews. Some governmental officers also joined the research to provide supplementary information. The research findings show that the hotel managers in Da Nang city generally had good understanding of relevant environmental issues in the accommodation sector and tourism industry. All hotels researched were using environmental practices but the smaller ones tended to have less practices. Noticeably, not all hotels were using obligatory practices described by laws. Reducing costs was the most chosen motivation for hotels to go green. Simultaneously, it was picked up by most participants as the biggest difficulty that prevented them from pursuing an environmental path. The research also revealed a weak collaboration between the city government and the accommodation businesses in dealing with environmental concerns.