Measuring responsibility: An appraisal of a Scottish National Park's sustainable tourism indicators

Kirsty L. Blackstock*, Vicki White, Gillian McCrum, Alister Scott, Colin Hunter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Descriptions of the ambivalent role that tourism plays in sustaining fragile environments, communities and cultures are well rehearsed in the tourism literature. Tourism indicators are increasingly seen as a way to measure and monitor impacts (both positive and negative) in order to practice adaptive management. Responsible tourism focuses on the choices made by visitors and their hosts, emphasising changing behaviour in order to change tourism outcomes. Thus, responsible tourism provides a particular lens by which to consider how to improve the sustainability of tourism. This paper explores whether a draft sustainable tourism indicator set for one of Scotland's new National Parks measures responsible behaviour (by both tourists and the host communities) and responsible tourism practices. Therefore, the analysis focuses on issues of responsibility for what, by whom and whether the tourism strategy in question will result in responsible tourism. The paper reports our findings and reflects on how the lens of responsible tourism might provide a useful perspective from which to appraise tourism indicators in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-297
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes


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