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Creating a scale for assessing socially sustainable tourism

As destinations absorb even increasing number of visitors, destination managers become progressively more concerned about the longer term viability of tourism from a resident’s perspective. However, few studies have examined the application of real time social sustainability within tourism, particularly how to measure impacts on social sustainability.

This study outlines the development of a valid and reliable scale – the Scale of Social Sustainability (SSS) - for tourism that provides an assessment of social sustainability in destination settings. A 10-step procedure was developed drawing upon the related literature. A telephone poll-based survey generated 1,839 valid responses from Hong Kong residents. Hong Kong’s growing popularity as a destination provides a rich array of host–guest conflict situations. Dimensionality was identified using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Construct validity, reliability, and stability were assessed, and found good, showing that the scale could be used by other destinations worldwide. The theoretical and managerial implications of the scale are discussed, including options for annual surveys giving policy makers alerts before situations worsen. Detailed host resident viewpoints, and the large scale of the survey can help local residents be informed about tourism development and better involved in the policy formation process.

  1. What do you think of sustainable tourism development?
  2. Can you suggest some other dimensions of socially sustainable tourism?

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This article is from the free online course:

Research Methods in Tourism Studies

Nankai University