Emerald Publishing

Emerald Publishing
June 1, 2020


Innovation in Hospitality and Tourism: Ethical Issues & Challenges

Call for papers for: Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights

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Guest Editors

Jeroen Oskam
Hotelschool The Hague, the Netherlands

Anna de Visser-Amundson
Hotelschool The Hague, the Netherlands


Business innovations are generally studied from a strategic perspective, as a source of competitive advantage (Schumpeter, 1942). This has been the dominant focus in the study of recent innovations in hospitality and tourism, with examples such as environmental sustainability (Walsh & Dodds, 2017), online distribution (Buhalis & Zoge, 2007; Inversini & Masiero, 2014; Law, Buhalis, & Cobanoglu, 2014), ‘sharing’ and the platform economy (Guttentag, 2015; Dolnicar, 2017; Guttentag, 2019), New Urban Tourism (Maitland & Newman, 2014; Russo & Richards, 2016), co-creation and experience (Chathoth, Ungson, Harrington, & Chan, 2016; Buonincontri, Morvillo, Okumus, & van Niekerk, 2017; Helkkula, Kowalkowski, & Tronvoll, 2018) and technology-enhanced experiences (Sarmah, Kamboj, & Rahman, 2017; Tung & Au, 2018; Buhalis et al., 2019). This issue proposes an exploration of the ethical impacts of these and other business innovations in hospitality.

In the last decade, several literature reviews have underscored the importance attributed to ethics in tourism and hospitality professions (Lynn, 2010; Knani, 2014; Myung, 2018).  Ethics is in fact considered as the most important academic subject required for professional success (Swanger & Gursoy, 2010); a possible explanation is that hospitality professionals and businesses are faced with a number of delicate issues specific for their discipline, such as financial dependence of service workers on gratuities, the consumption of alcohol and other substances (Reynolds, 2000), as well as the scarcely documented presence of criminal agents and activities in hospitality businesses. Meanwhile, as the literature reviews by Knani (2014) and Myung (2018) show, the academic literature on ethics in hospitality and tourism tends to privilege either the domains of Human Resources, or that of sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The UNWTO’s global code of ethics (2001) provides a basic voluntary framework for tourism operators, policy makers and other stakeholders on ethics, with obligations such as fomenting understanding and respect between peoples and societies. The goal is to contribute to individual and collective fulfillment as key factors in sustainable development and in embracing cultural heritage. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (2015) provide a more ambitious agenda which is highly relevant for a globalized industry as ever more organizations include these goals in their mission statements. They are expected, for example, to contribute to eradicating poverty (Goal 1), to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being (Goal 3), to achieve gender equality (Goal 5), to reduce inequality within and among countries (Goal 10) and to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (Goals 12).

Business innovations in hospitality also introduce new ethical questions. Who is responsible for algorithmic decision making? How are the costs of platform intermediation distributed? What is the impact of the ‘gig’ economy on labor relations? How does ‘living like a local’ affect resident communities? What is the impact of robotization on labor markets in destinations? At the same time, it can be argued that evolving ethical frameworks act as a source of innovation. Whereas offering unhealthy or excessive food used to be considered as ethical business practices, today even fast food chains advertise responsible choices, and ever more restaurants embrace food waste reduction initiatives. Sustainable HRM practices have been identified as a remedy against staff turnover and shortages. Environmental concerns have inspired innovations in hotel architecture and in operations design.

This issue will welcome contributions on the ethical aspects of innovations in hospitality and tourism. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Talent management and working conditions
  • Flexibilization and the ‘gig’ economy
  • Consumer protection and discrimination in unregulated hospitality
  • The consequences of electronic payments
  • Data driven customization and consumer rights
  • Individualized pricing
  • The impact of emotional labor on professionals and guests
  • Certified B Corporations in Hospitality and Tourism
  • Paternalism and the ethics of nudging visitors to make responsible decisions
  • Commercialism of sustainable tourism and hospitality innovations
  • Unhealthy food and regulatory practices in food service outlets
  • Food waste reduction
  • Sustainable foods and visitor education
  • Travelers’ behavior in relation to their expected and perceived culinary experiences and food waste management
  • Visual perfection, abundance and variety of food on menu’s and buffets and the competition for resources and demand for ethical practices
  • Economic and social relations between tourists and residents
  • The commodification of recreational experiences and ‘staged’ authenticity
  • Hotels and their role in ‘placemaking’
  • The ethics of ‘sharing’ and urban vacation rentals
  • Female leadership and innovation
  • Oligopolistic market power and competitive forces.

Submission Procedure

Prospective authors are strongly encouraged to contact the special issue guest editors regarding potential topics of interest or any questions/suggestions regarding the special issue. Abstracts (up to 750 words) can be submitted directly to the guest editors via email by 15 January 2021 at the following addresses:

Jeroen Oskam, Hotelschool The Hague, the Netherlands.

Anna de Visser-Amundson, Hotelschool The Hague, the Netherlands.

Abstracts must be concise and to the point, with appropriate references. The abstracts will be reviewed by all guest editors, and those that make significant contributions and fit the theme of the special issue will be invited for full paper submission. Full papers must be submitted online by 30 September 2020 through ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. When submitting your manuscript, please select the special issue on “Ethical issues and challenges”

Please use our JHTI Author guidelines

Review process

Each paper submitted to this special issue will be subject to the following review procedures:

  • It will be reviewed by the guest editors for general suitability for this special issue
  • If it is judged suitable, three reviewers will be selected for a rigorous double-blind review process
  • Based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the guest editors and the Editor-in-Chief will decide whether the particular paper should be accepted as it is, revised and re-submitted, or rejected.


Description Date
Abstracts submissions 15 January 2021
Abstract decisions 15 February 2021
FULL paper submissions 15 June 2021
Revisions and decisions 15 December 2021 
Publication 2022


Buhalis, D., Harwood, T., Bogicevic, V., Viglia, G., Beldona, S., & Hofacker, C. (2019). Technological disruptions in services: lessons from tourism and hospitality. Journal of Service Management, 30(4), 484-506.
Buhalis, D., & Zoge, M. (2007). The strategic impact of the Internet on the tourism industry. In Information and communication technologies in tourism 2007 (pp. 481-492): Springer.
Buonincontri, P., Morvillo, A., Okumus, F., & van Niekerk, M. (2017). Managing the experience co-creation process in tourism destinations: Empirical findings from Naples. Tourism Management, 62, 264-277.
Chathoth, P. K., Ungson, G. R., Harrington, R. J., & Chan, E. S. (2016). Co-creation and higher order customer engagement in hospitality and tourism services. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
Dolnicar, S. (2017). Peer-to-peer accommodation networks: Goodfellow Publishers Oxford, United Kingdom.
Guttentag, D. (2019). Progress on Airbnb: A literature review. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology.
Guttentag, D. A. (2015). Airbnb: disruptive innovation and the rise of an informal tourism accommodation sector. Current Issues in Tourism, 18(12), 1192-1217.
Helkkula, A., Kowalkowski, C., & Tronvoll, B. (2018). Archetypes of service innovation: implications for value cocreation. Journal of Service Research, 21(3), 284-301.
Inversini, A., & Masiero, L. (2014). Selling rooms online: the use of social media and online travel agents. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
Knani, M. (2014). Ethics in the hospitality industry: Review and research agenda. International Journal of Business and Management, 9(3), 1.
Law, R., Buhalis, D., & Cobanoglu, C. (2014). Progress on information and communication technologies in hospitality and tourism. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
Lombarts, A. (2018). The hospitality model revisited: Developing a hospitality model for today and tomorrow. Hospitality & Society, 8(3), 297-311.
Lynn, C. (2010). Review of hospitality ethics research in 2008. Paper presented at the 2010 ICHRIE – Refereed Track, Amherst MA. https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1265&context=refereed
Maitland, R., & Newman, P. (2014). Developing world tourism cities. In R. Maitland & P. Newman (Eds.), World Tourism Cities (pp. 15-35). London: Routledge.
Myung, E. (2018). Progress in Hospitality Ethics Research: A Review and Implications for Future Research. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 19(1), 26-51.
Närvänen, E., Mesiranta, N., Mattila, M., & Heikkinen, A. (2020). Food Waste Management: Springer.
Reynolds, D. (2000). An exploratory investigation into behaviorally based success characteristics of foodservice managers. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 24(1), 92-103.
Rossman, J. R., & Ellis, G. D. (2008). A rejoinder to Charles Sylvester. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 26(4), 42-46.
Russo, A. P., & Richards, G. (2016). Reinventing the local in tourism: Producing, consuming and negotiating place: Channel View Publications.
Sarmah, B., Kamboj, S., & Rahman, Z. (2017). Co-creation in hotel service innovation using smart phone apps: an empirical study. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
Schumpeter, J. A. (1942). Capitalism, socialism and democracy. New York/London: Harper.
Swanger, N., & Gursoy, D. (2010). An industry-driven model of hospitality curriculum for programs housed in accredited colleges of business: E-assessment tool (e-AT)–Part IV. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education, 22(2), 5-19.
Sylvester, C. (2008). The Ethics of Experience in Recreation and Leisure Services. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 26(4).
Tung, V. W. S., & Au, N. (2018). Exploring customer experiences with robotics in hospitality. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30(7), 2680-2697.
United Nations. (2015). Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld, 12 March 2020.
UNWTO. (2001). Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Madrid: 2001
Walsh, P. R., & Dodds, R. (2017). Measuring the choice of environmental sustainability strategies in creating a competitive advantage. Business Strategy and the Environment, 26(5), 672-687.

Emerald Publishing

Emerald Publishing
June 1, 2020

Last updated on June 3, 2020