Ethical and responsible tourism: a tool for promoting values and social justice. Two case studies of Sicily, Italy

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In recent decades an ethical and responsible tourism has become increasingly important in the context of a general orientation to promote sustainable development models in the world. The recognition of the negative impacts of mass tourism has led to a profound reflection on tourism and its contribution to the development of a territory. The debate has highlighted the importance of promoting a sustainable and responsible tourism development that brings economic, social and environmental benefits to the local community and its members. The importance of promoting an ethic of tourism for the progress of society has been equally emphasized. Values must not be forgotten in leisure time as they contribute to the civil growth of territories and people. Today, even the tourists are more informed and aware, often interested in travelling responsibly and having significant experiences that satisfy social needs. Studies have also highlighted a widespread need for authenticity and a greater sensitivity of consumers to the ethical aspects of a travel. Organizing ethical and responsible tourism activities means to embrace these principles and to consider these tourists’ expectations. This paper emphasizes and explores the role of tourism in promoting values that favor the development of territories and visitors (such as those of legality, justice and honesty), as well as its aptitude to foster an economic and social redemption of the local community. To this end, we present two case studies concerning innovative forms of ethical and responsible tourism recently established in Southern Italy in a more favorable institutional and cultural context. These are initiatives characterized by a strong ethical profile, being related to the fight against organized crime in Sicily. The analysis shows how the emergence of ethical tourist practices that exploit opportunities and the potential of a disadvantaged area generate various positive effects (economic, social, cultural and symbolic) on the territory, on the local community and tourists, also thanks to a full enhancement of the educational function of the travelling. The cases highlight that: i) human values have a central role both in the development of the entrepreneurial idea and in the contribution to the personal growth of visitors; ii) tourism can be a tool for promoting social and economic justice in a local community with specific problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalAfrican Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Volumevol. 8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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