Chapter 21: Staffing ecotourism businesses
This conceptual chapter is intended to consider the nexus that is created when the challenging characteristics of the workplace environment within the tourism sector intersect with the business context of ecotourism enterprises in terms of their guiding environmental principles, economic realities and geographical location. The purpose of this chapter is to address the gaps in the literature with respect to a considered reflection of human resource issues within ecotourism businesses. As Zimmermann (2006) rightly points out, sustainable tourism requires the involvement of local communities and in order for tourism development to be sustainable, human resources must be included in the overall development policies of an ecotourism destination. This chapter will endeavour to demonstrate that the challenges faced by organizations operating in an ecotourism context with respect to their labour market features, sourcing and recruitment of staff to work in the sector, employee retention, training and development and career progression have dimensions that set them apart in both kind and extent from the issues faced by enterprises located in more ‘mainstream’ tourism environments.
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