Sustainable human resource management as a driver in tourism policy and planning: a serious sin of omission?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


This paper focuses on the neglect of an employment or workforce focus in policy engagement and planning for sustainable tourism. Tourism is of interest here because there is an established role for government and the private sector in policy engagement and strategic planning with respect to product development, infrastructure, marketing and human resource capacity and the focus has increasingly emphasized sustainable goals within this process. The discussion addresses the central role of people and work within concepts of sustainability and sustainable communities and questions why this has been, substantially, ignored in tourism. The paper starts by recognising the interconnectedness of employment in tourism and its workforce concerns with a wide range of inter-linked policy and operational considerations. This, in turn, points to the utility of the sustainable HRM model as a means by which to frame tourism work. Thereafter, this paper introduces new approaches through the proposal of sustainability indicators that have both theoretical and practical policy formation value in relation to the workforce. These Sustainable Employment Capacity (SEC), Service Delivery Capacity (SDC) and Service Quality Capacity (SQC) with which policymakers can gauge their readiness for sustainable growth in tourism employment. The research and application implications for this approach are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Early online date23 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2018


  • tourism work
  • sustainable tourism
  • sustainable HRM
  • workforce planning
  • tourism policy

Cite this