The Taiwanese Hotel Sector’s Response to Climate Change: Environmental Behaviours and Practices
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis examines the response of Taiwanese hotels to climate change. Climate change is increasingly recognised by industry, governments and researchers as one of the most substantial challenges to the sustainability of tourism at both a destination and business level in both the short and long-term. Hall (2008) observed that tourism was explicitly recognised by the IPCC as one of the most important industries in Asia, yet the lack of research on tourism and climate change in an Asian context was identified, with especially little explicit research on the climate change response of the hospitality and accommodation sector. This is also despite the accommodation sector being the most significant tourism sector contributor to emissions after aviation (United Nations World Tourism Organisation [UNWTO] and United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] 2008; World Economic Forum [WEF] 2009; Scott et al. 2012). Therefore this research seeks to explicitly respond to this knowledge gap by examining the response of the Taiwanese hotel sector to climate change. It is also the first known study that explores the extent to which the hotel sector meets the specific recommendations of the UNWTO-UNEP (2008) with respect to accommodation sector measures in relation to climate change.
In order to provide a firm basis of methodological comparison with the previous international literature on environmental studies of the accommodation sector, this thesis conducted a baseline survey to investigate the response of Taiwanese hotels towards environment and climate change with respect to four main dimensions, including perception, attitudes, actions, and influencing factors for environmental and climate change practices. Overall, 270 hotel participants answered the email-based questionnaire survey of the total population of Taiwanese hotels, reflecting a response rate of approximately 10%.
Taiwanese hotel respondents acknowledged the existence of climate change, but rarely related this phenomenon to their daily business operations. Their attitude towards their own hotel’s contribution to climate change was especially reserved. In addition to waste management, energy-saving practice, and the offer of local-produced cuisine, the level of implementation of environmental practices in Taiwanese hotels was relatively limited. There were also low compliance rates with existing environmental policy, although they were aware of environmental schemes.
The factors of size and extreme weather event experience were identified as the more significant variables to differentiate Taiwanese hotel response to environment and climate change. The significance of hotel size, standard, and experience of weather extreme variables were also examined. Finally, this research discussed the prospective contributions and issues of the results of this study, and argues for their application in the fields of climate change research, benchmarking development, education and and training, government regulation and policy, and hotel management.