Definition of Tourism Social Entrepreneurship

After reviewing a number of definitions, this book will use the generic definition of social entrepreneurship from Alvord, Brown, and Letts (2004) upon which to build a tourism specific definition. Their definition captures most of the factors discussed above and also includes the concept of the longevity or sustainability of the impact, which we feel is particularly important to the tourism and hospitality fields. Their definition is:

a process that creates innovative solutions to immediate social problems and mobilizes the ideas, capacities, resources, and social agreements required for this sustainable social transformation.

We will now consider this definition in the unique tourism context. TSE is uniquely defined in that it is operationalized in a tourism destination (local, regional or national, or two or more in collaboration) with a primary mission to enhance the destination’s environmental, social and economic fabric. The tourism social entrepreneur could be a resident of the destination or related region, or someone from outside the destination who knows it well (e.g. a repeat visitor or previous resident) and sees a solution to one or more of its problems. It is implicit that tourism social enterprises are related to the tourism sector (e.g. tour, transportation, attraction, or event) and or the hospitality sector (e.g. accommodation, food and beverage, hosting) and it is through these activities that the social transformation occurs. As the tourism industry is complex and fragmented it is not easily defined. There are many locations where the tourist interacts with the destination economically, socially or environmentally meaning there are many possible touch points where tourism social entrepreneurs can make an impact. The ideas, processes and resources used to create the tourism social enterprise could be from within or outside the destination. Often much of the work to prepare for the operationalization of a social enterprise in the destination occurs in one or more tourism generating countries. For example, the case of Adventure Alternatives (discussed in chapter “Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains Trust: A Hybrid Business Model for Social Entrepreneurship in Tourism”) would not be successful in Nepal or Kenya without the work in the UK where it operates and generates participants for their activities.

Therefore we define TSE as:

a process that uses tourism to create innovative solutions to immediate social, environmental and economic problems in destinations by mobilizing the ideas, capacities, resources and social agreements, from within or outside the destination, required for its sustainable social transformation.

Having defined tourism social entrepreneurship, we need to also define the related terms: tourism social entrepreneur and tourism social enterprise. We base these definitions on the generic work of Mair and Marti (2006). Tourism social entrepreneurs are defined as the change agents in a destination’s social entrepreneurship system; the people who bring their vision, characteristics and ideas to solve the social problem and bring about the transformation of the tourist destination. Tourism social enterprises are organizations created by the entrepreneurs as private, semi-private organizations or foundations dedicated to solving the social problems in the destination. Throughout the book we will use the abbreviation TSE for tourism social entrepreneurship and will spell out the two terms above to avoid confusion.

We will now expand on the unique situations in tourism destinations that are ripe for social enterprise networks/ecosystems to be developed.

< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >