Sustainability, Vol. 12, Pages 1470: Could Smart Tourists Be Sustainable and Responsible as Well? The Contribution of Social Networking Sites to Improving Their Sustainable and Responsible Behavior (Sustainability)
A key strategic aim of tourism destinations within the smart tourism paradigm is to achieve efficient, responsible and sustainable use of tourism resources. This aim can be achieved by promoting the appropriate practices and making tourists co-managers, co-designers and co-creators of tourism experiences. This paper argues that smart tourism destinations should manage their resources in a sustainable way and that smart technologies can make their contribution. Could a smart technology such as social media/social networking sites make a contribution to sustainable tourism within the smart tourism paradigm? To address this research question, a project was carried out to explore the perceptions and attitudes of Chinese tourist consumers about the contribution of social networking sites to adopting a sustainable and responsible behavior within the context of a smart tourism framework. First a research framework encompassing three hypotheses related to the influence of social networking sites at the three main stages of the travel cycle/tourist journey was designed. An exploratory quantitative research was then carried out using the online survey technique. The study’s findings indicate that the use of social networking sites influences the smart tourists at all three stages on adoption of sustainable and responsible behavior, the most significant influence is at the first two stages. The article is completed by discussing the related conclusions and management implications in the smart tourism management framework.