However, like in any other industry, the value of CSR in tourism operations has not been practiced universally though recognized by industry players in recent years.
One of the main reasons for the limited practice is the view that it is often considered non-essential in operations or is a secondary financial and operational priority (Campbell, 2006). At the same time, most management principles designed for the industry are focused on direct clients and sustainability has only become a recent priority for the industry (Voultsaki, 2000). Henderson (2007) points out however that recent global events, such as the Indian Ocean tsunami, have greatly challenged this viewpoint. The realization is that as tourism industries have become more significant for economies and become more accessible to global markets, it is impacting social interactions, communications and collaborations in a similar scale.
In a study developed by Weaver and Lawton (2004), the concern that tourism is affecting local communities negatively developed from the limited insight on how visitor's movements and activities can change social, political and cultural dynamics. Though tourism generally boosts local economies, it also increases the demand for social services, potential for crime and victimization and environmental stress (Voultsaki, 2000). The scale of tourism has been increased dramatically by innovations communication transportation and has challenged even long-established tourist hot spots to deal with the influx of visitors (Henderson, 2007). Though many of the issues have been dealt with effectively as they developed, there was also the realization the most efforts were reactive rather than responsive to the developing needs of tourism industries. Thus, the initiative to improve industry sustainability concepts and practices became a major area of interest for research and management.
According to Campbell (2006), one of the challenges for the adaptation of CSR principles is communicating effectively that the quantified costs of CSR programs are justified. Since CSR-based or initiated program benefits can not be justified directly by quantitative measures, the cost-benefit analysis often negates implementation. Though companies may be able to have fiscal justification, Henderson (2007) points out that such perspectives do not only diminish the social involvement and participation of company and ultimately lessen not only their own social value but the rest of the industry as well. This in turn can compromise public support for tourism initiatives or create deterrents to the development of policies and regulations for the industry. From the other end of the spectrum the when companies adapt CSR philosophies, the state and the community are able mitigate or regulate corporate social power which may be pervading particularly in the case of large multinational operators in least developed countries (Whitehouse, 2003; UNCTAD, 2002).
Thus, in establishing their social relevance and concern, tourism operators are able to maintain socio-political