Tourism Businesses’ Perceptions on Sustainable Practices and Barriers in Coastal North Carolina, USA

  •  Huili Hao    
  •  Jeffery M Hill    


The objective of this study was to investigate tourism business owners’ and operators’ perceptions of sustainable practices which would facilitate the success of their tourism businesses in the long term, as well as their perception of barriers to implementation of these sustainable practices. The study area was the North Carolina coastal counties where tourism is a major economic driver. Data were collected from 90 tourism businesses in 20 coastal counties in North Carolina. The study profiled the tourism business segments using a factor-cluster grouping approach that identified tourism business clusters. Three clusters were identified representing different levels of tourism business owners’ and operators’ perceptions of sustainable practices: Advocators, Accepters, and Anticipators. Comparative analyses were then conducted among these three groups to profile them based upon perceived barriers that prevent them from implementing sustainable practices. The results showed that prevalent barriers to implementing sustainable techniques were lack of funds, lack of financial incentives, complexity of implementation and cost. These findings could provide informed guidance to tourism entities when considering their sustainable actions, as well as provide data which may influence the role that state tourism officials play in advocating best practices that maintain and present tourism products in a sustainable manner.

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