Knowledge dynamics in setting sustainable standards in tourism – the case of ‘Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa’

Current Issues in Tourism


Simone Strambacha* & Annika Surmeiera


The development of standards and certification programmes in global tourism has gained importance in the production-consumption-nexus. This paper deals with the ‘Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa’ standard, one of the first innovative service standards with a focus on the social dimension of sustainability. Until now, there has been little detailed exploration in the evolutionary trajectories of sustainable tourism standards from a knowledge-based perspective. This paper contributes to a deeper understanding of standard creation in global–local interaction processes over time and its impacts on the micro level of firms. Conceptually, it builds on two scientific debates: the neo-institutional approaches in organisational theory focusing on institution building and the research on innovation and knowledge dynamics. Empirically, it is based on 32 interviews conducted with different actor groups.

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