Sustainability practices in the Hospitality Industry: Evidence from Chain Hotels in Kandy




Sustainability, Sustainable Practices, Sustainable Tourism, Sri Lanka Tourism


The tourism and hospitality industry has typically been at the forefront of integrating sustainability practices in its overall operations globally. Nonetheless, there has been a continued paucity in the tourism and hospitality academia, with limited research being conducted on adopting sustainable practices and their impacts on developing tourism destinations. Therefore, this research primarily focuses on exploring the current context of sustainability practice adoption and its implications from the perspective of a developing tourism destination through a case study research based in Kandy, Sri Lanka. This research initially builds on the works of Mihalič, Žabkar, & Cvelbar (2012), where their Hotel Sustainable Business Model is used as a benchmark in exploring the sustainability practices within Kandy, Sri Lanka. This study employed a qualitative research methodology, where semi-structured interviews were conducted with eleven senior managerial employees representing 11 chain hotels in Kandy, Sri Lanka, selected through a purposive sampling. The interview findings were further validated using participant observation facilitated through individual field visits across all chosen establishments in the sample. The key results of the research suggested that hotels in Kandy, Sri Lanka, had already adopted a wide array of sustainability practices, especially across the environmental and socio-cultural bottom lines of their operation. The findings further suggested that despite all hotels emphasizing their economic progression, most practitioners had a limited understanding of how economic indicators related to their sustainability commitments. The overall findings also indicated that hotels belonging to larger hotel chains had a greater tendency to implement sustainable practices, while hotels belonging to smaller ones showcased significant inconsistencies in their overall sustainability practice adoption. Furthermore, this research provided theoretical and practical implications for future researchers and local hospitality practitioners by providing a comprehensive overview of the current context of sustainability practice adoption in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

Author Biographies

Janith Iddawala , NSBM Green University

Janith Iddawala is a lecturer and researcher attached to the Department of Marketing and Tourism Management of NSBM Green University, Sri Lanka. His research activities primarily focus on sustainable tourism in the context of developing tourism destinations.

Binuri Mehara Welengoda, NSBM Green University

Binuri Mehara Welengoda is an undergraduate at the NSBM Green University in Sri Lanka pursuing a Bachelor's in Tourism, Hospitality, and Events. She serves as an executive member at the International Center for Tourism and Hospitality, significantly fostering sustainable tourism and hospitality initiatives within the student community and beyond.

Banudee Thisali Rathnayaka, NSBM Green University

Banudee Thisali Rathnayaka, an undergraduate at NSBM Green University in Homagama, Sri Lanka, is currently pursuing a degree in BBM in Tourism, Hospitality, and Events. She serves as an executive member of the prestigious International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality, showcasing her commitment to student leadership in the field.