International Marketing Review 12,4 38
Tourism marketing ethics: an introduction
Lee Valley Regional Park, Enfield, UK
Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries but little attention has been focused on ethical marketing of the tourism product. This article considers the nature of the tourism product, paradoxes which occur with its development, the role that ethical marketing can play in the marketing of the tourism product and “green” tourism as an example of the industry’s response to ethical considerations. Literature review Many authors in the tourism area have considered the phenomena of tourism marketing, (Haywood, 1990; Middleton, 1988) but few have related ...view middle of the document...
Each party is owed duties and has responsibilities to the extent that the fulfilment of these leads to conflicts and marketing ethical problems. Davis (1992) stated that a common theme of discussion about ethics and marketing is the idea of truth, specifically the distinction between consumer and scientific truth in product claims. Not all violations of marketing ethics
International Marketing Review, Vol. 12 No. 4, 1995, pp. 38-49. © MCB University Press, 0265-1335
have equal immediate or long-term consequences for consumers or society as a whole. The effects can be arranged along a continuum. At one extreme are ethical product violations which have slight, immediate, long-term or harmful consequences although society does not suffer any long-term harm. At the other extreme there are ethical violations which have the potential to produce severe harm at both the individual and societal level. Ethical violations resulting in deception at this level have a potentially profound long-term negative impact. This level has been related to “green” marketing where claims imply that a specific product is better for the consumer and less destructive to the environment. Thus, there is a need to change the nature of the product claims by increasing specificity about where the environmental benefit in the product or services lies; increasing precision in terminology accompanied by definitional support; and increasing specificity in product benefits. Craig-Smith (1988) highlights a number of situations where there are ethical dimensions to marketing decision making. Within product management there is product liability and the ethical considerations in going beyond legal requirements in the provision of tamper-proof packaging and product recalls. In new product development, there are safety and testing on animal considerations. In advertising, ethical aspects include the representation of minorities, the use of doubtful (though legal) claims and the use of sex-role stereotypes. Singhapakdi and Vitell (1990) built on Taylor’s (1975) definition of marketing ethics to state that it is an inquiry into the nature and grounds of moral judgements, standards and rules of conduct relating to marketing decisions and marketing situations. Perhaps the same could be said of “tourism marketing situations”? However, Wheeler (1991, 1993) provides an example of where marketing ethics have been applied to one aspect of the tourism industry. Wheeler was concerned with the critical issues and ethical components that a tourism marketeer encounters while working in the local government environment. By means of the stakeholder concept, the extent to which each group of stakeholders had influence on the marketeer’s final decision became apparent. The stakeholders in the local government office are illustrated in Figure 1. Those which wielded the most influence, the primary stakeholders in the decision process, were found to be the departmental heads, the councillors, the...