Citation
Linking Commercial Success to Community and Conservation Benefits

Material Information

Title:
Linking Commercial Success to Community and Conservation Benefits An Analysis of Tour Operators and Agencies in Costa Rica
Creator:
Seales, Lisa
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
english
Physical Description:
1 online resource (84 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.S.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Interdisciplinary Ecology
Committee Chair:
Stein, Taylor V.
Committee Members:
Schmink, Marianne C.
Buschbacher, Robert E.
Graduation Date:
5/1/2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Academic communities ( jstor )
Business ( jstor )
Business structures ( jstor )
Collaboration ( jstor )
Ecotourism ( jstor )
Entrepreneurs ( jstor )
Environmental conservation ( jstor )
Protected areas ( jstor )
Tourism ( jstor )
Tours ( jstor )
Interdisciplinary Ecology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
ecotourism, entrepreneurs, success
Genre:
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
Interdisciplinary Ecology thesis, M.S.

Notes

Abstract:
Throughout the world people are attempting to use tourism as a tool for economic growth, conservation, and improved quality of life for local residents, but negative environmental impacts and economic leakages are common. Since the impacts of tourism are variable, it is important to understand which businesses are providing conservation and community benefits. Commercial success is often cited as an important determinant of sustainable behavior. However, little research examines the relationship between commercial success and the provision of environmental and social benefits. This study explores the possible link between commercial success and conservation and community benefits. To obtain a diverse sample of tourism entrepreneurs, Costa Rica was chosen as the study area. A questionnaire was designed to answer the following questions: Is commercial success in tourism associated with conservation behavior and the provision of benefits to local communities? If so, what factors are most associated with commercial success? Tour operators (businesses that organize and run tours) and agencies (businesses that sell tours operated by others), offering nature-based tours and travel services in Costa Rica, comprised the population for this study. Researchers identified key tourism hubs, inventoried operators and agencies, and attempted to contact them all. The final sample size was 167 entrepreneurs out of 194, a response rate of 86.1%. Quantitative data were collected through questionnaires in June and July of 2006. Commercial success was operationalized using indicators such as growth, longevity, number of visitors and employees, and the entrepreneur's perceptions of success and profitability. Nine conservation behaviors and 13 community benefit variables were examined using Likert scales. Relationships between commercial success and benefit variables were analyzed using Spearman correlations. Results demonstrate that commercially successful entrepreneurs provided environmental education to visitors, supported conservation groups or initiatives, reduced, reused, and/or recycled, used environmentally friendly equipment, and built formal partnerships with community members. However, the frequency with which entrepreneurs educated and employed local people, purchased supplies locally, and patronized local accommodations was not related to commercial success. Overall, the results indicated that a relationship exists between an entrepreneur's level of commercial success and the provision of conservation benefits, but there is little evidence supporting a relationship between commercial success and community benefits. Nevertheless, it is important to note that tourism businesses are providing benefits to local communities; however, these benefits are not related to a business's level of commercial success. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local:
Adviser: Stein, Taylor V.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Lisa Seales

Record Information

Source Institution:
UFRGP
Rights Management:
Copyright by Lisa Seales. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
7/11/2008
Classification:
LD1780 2008 ( lcc )

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However, four community benefit variables were negatively correlated with business longevity.

Educating local people (p < .05), making contributions to the development of local infrastructure

(p < .05), building formal partnerships with other local businesses (p < .01), and communicating

with community members (p < .05) were all negatively correlated with business survival (Table

4-6). This means the longer a business had been in operation the less likely it was to practice

these behaviors. Therefore, there is no support for this hypothesis, and instead it appears that the

opposite is true.

Hypothesis 2b: There will be a positive relationship between the number of visitors
served and socially responsible behavior.

Again, there is little support for this hypothesis. Only one community involvement

variable, building partnerships with community members, was positively correlated with the

number of visitors served (p < .05). And, a second community involvement variable, providing

cultural education to visitors, was negatively correlated with the number of visitors served (p <

.01). Therefore, there is not a positive relationship between the number of visitors served and

socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2c: There will be a positive relationship between the number of employees
and socially responsible behavior.

The data show there is some support for this hypothesis. The number of employees was

positively correlated with both building formal partnerships with local officials and building

formal partnerships with community members (p < .05). However, there was also a significant

negative correlation between the number of employees and the provision of cultural education to

visitors (p < .05). Therefore, there is inconclusive evidence to support or reject this hypothesis.

Hypothesis 2d: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in the number
of visitors and socially responsible behavior.









success variables) are also significantly correlated with the conservation index, providing further

evidence to conclude that a relationship exists between size, growth, perceived success relative

to other similar businesses, and these conservation behaviors.

Conversely, the five other conservation behaviors seem to be not at all, or much less,

associated with commercial success. Two behaviors, paying fees to use or visit parks and

protected areas, and providing environmental or conservation training for employees, were only

negatively related to any of the commercial success variables. Three conservation behaviors

(using alternative energy sources, building formal partnerships with parks or protected areas, and

communicating with parks and protected areas) were significantly correlated with only one or

two aspects of commercial success. Therefore, it can be concluded that these five conservation

behaviors are not significantly related to commercial success.

Commercial Success and Community Benefits/Involvement

The next section reviews the association between the seven commercial success variables

and the 13 community benefits variables. Each of the seven sub-hypotheses are analyzed to gain

a better understanding of how the different dimensions of commercial success are linked to

community involvement. The hypotheses are analyzed using Spearman correlations.

Correlation coefficients and relative p values are listed in Table 4-6. To conclude, the

community benefits/involvement index is correlated with all seven commercial success variables

to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how commercial success relates to community

involvement.

Hypothesis 2a: There will be a positive relationship between the length of time a
business has been in operation and socially responsible behavior.

The data provide no support for this hypothesis. None of the community benefit

variables were positively correlated with the length of time a business had been in operation.









additional data related to community benefits, and also included two final questions, used for

verification purposes, inquiring about how strongly overall the business supports conservation

and the community. See Appendix A for a complete version of the survey.

Sample Description

General Business Information

Forty-two percent of businesses surveyed operated out of San Jose, compared to 8.6% in

Tamarindo, 16.7% in La Fortuna, 14.2% in Monteverde, 13% in Quepos, and 3.7% in Puerto

Viejo (Table 3-1). The large majority of businesses surveyed were corporations, 64%, whereas

21.7% were sole proprietorships, and 9.3% were partnerships (Table 3-2). Eighty-two percent of

the sample offered tours and travel services only in Costa Rica, compared to 18% of operators

and agencies that offered tours and services in both Costa Rica as well as in other countries

(Table 3-3). On average, tourism businesses had been in operation for 9.1 years, had 13.9

employees, and served 6324 customers over the last twelve months (Table 3-4).

Owner Demographic Information

Entrepreneurs were 58% male, 26% female, and 16% were male/female partnerships

(Table 3-5). The greatest majority of entrepreneurs were Costa Rican, 56.6%, with U.S.

nationals comprising the second largest nationality group at 17.2% (Table 3-6). Joint ownership

between Costa Rican and U.S. or European nationals accounted for 4.9% of the sample.

Additionally, 4.9% of businesses were owned by South Americans, compared to 9% owned by

Europeans. The remaining 7.4% of entrepreneurs reported being Canadian, Central American,

Caribbean, or Japanese. The mean age of entrepreneurs was 41.3 years old. Sixty-five percent

of business owners were married, compared with 25.6% who were single and 9.4% who were

divorced (Table 3-7). Over half of entrepreneurs had either no children (25.7%) or one child

(26.7%) (Table 3-8). Close to 35% had 2 or 3 children and less than 13% had 4 or more









2005). Therefore, subjective data is frequently used, and a considerable amount of research

supports the validity and reliability of subjective business owner reported performance measures

(Brush & Vanderwerf, 1992; Coviello et al., 2006; Venkatraman & Ramanujam, 1987).

Moreover, subjective data are found to strongly correlate with objective performance measures

(Coviello et al., 2006; Dess & Robinson Jr., 1984; Venkatraman & Ramanujam, 1986). Another

consideration in measuring commercial success is long-term versus short-term performance.

Again, a combination of both long and short-term measures are advocated by past research

(Haber & Reichel, 2007; Haber & Reichel, 2005). To obtain reliable and valid measures of

business performance and commercial success, this study employed the use of long-term and

short-term, subjective and objective, performance measures.

This research selected seven variables to measure performance or commercial success.

Longevity, number of visitors, number of employees, growth in the number of visitors, growth in

the number of employees, owner-reported profitability, and perceived success were used to

operationalize commercial success. These variables were selected in order to gauge both short

and long-term performance, using both subjective and objective measures. The first variable,

longevity (or business survival), is a long-term, as well as an objective, measure of performance.

Survival is identified by some researchers as a significant dimension of success (Lumpkin &

Dess, 1996; Van de Ven, Hudson, & Schroeder, 1984). The second and third variables, the

number of visitors and the number of employees, are short-term, objective measures of

performance that are indicative of size. Since accurate information regarding business revenue is

often difficult to obtain, the number of visitors served over a twelve month period was used as a

proxy instead. The number of visitors (indicative of revenue) and the number of employees are

widely used as measures of size and performance (Brush & Vanderwerf, 1992; Haber and



































To my mother

























50
0
=I



25






250 500 750 1000 1250

Please estimate the number of employees


Figure B-3. Histogram showing frequency distribution of number of employees







40-




30-









10-


0 100 200 300 400

How has the number of visitors changed over the last 5 years?


Figure B-4. Histogram showing frequency distribution of percent change in number of visitors
over 5 years





































Lisa Seales









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Descriptive Statistics

Commercial Success Data

As discussed previously, seven variables were used to measure commercial success: (1) the

length of time in business, (2) the number of visitor served over 12 months, (3) the number of

employees, (4) the percentage change in visitors over 5 years, (5) the percentage change in

employees over 5 years, (6) the owner-reported level of profitability, and (7) the perceived level

of success as compared to similar businesses. On average, sampled tourism businesses were in

operation for 9.1 years, served 6324 visitors over the past 12 months, and had 13.9 employees.

The mean change in number of visitors was 18.3%, and the mean change in the number of

employees was 45.6% over a 5 year period (Table 3-4). Few entrepreneurs rated their businesses

as either unsuccessful (3.8%) or unprofitable (5.4%) (Tables 4-1 and 4-2). Instead, over 75% of

businesses considered themselves successful, while 68% reported making a profit. Just over

20% reported being neither successful nor unsuccessful, and 26.7% reported breaking even

financially.

Conservation Behavior

Nine conservation behaviors were examined using Likert scales. These variables included

(1) providing environmental education to visitors, (2) supporting conservation groups and

initiatives, (3) reducing, reusing, and/or recycling, (4) using environmentally friendly equipment,

(5) providing environmental or conservation training for employees, (6) using alternative energy

sources, (7) paying fees to use or visit parks or protected areas, (8) building formal partnerships

with parks and protected areas, and (9) communicating with parks and protected areas. Over

30% of businesses reported to always provide environmental education to visitors, support









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hypothesis lb. Businesses serving more visitors do not act in more environmentally responsible

ways than companies serving fewer visitors.

Hypothesis Ic: There will be a positive relationship between the number of employees
and environmentally responsible behavior.

The data do provide some support this hypothesis. There is a significant positive

relationship between the number of employees and five of the nine conservation behaviors.

Reducing, reusing, and recycling, using environmentally friendly equipment, building formal

partnerships with parks and protected areas, and using alternative energy sources were all

significantly correlated (p < .01) with the number of employees. Supporting conservation groups

or initiatives was also found to be significant (p < .05). Therefore, we can reject the null

hypothesis and conclude that indeed a positive relationship exists between the number of

employees and certain environmentally responsible behaviors.

Hypothesis Id: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in number of
visitors and environmentally responsible behavior.

There is some support for this hypothesis. The data demonstrate that four of the nine

conservation behaviors correlate with growth in the number of visitors. These behaviors include

providing environmental education to visitors, supporting conservation groups and initiatives,

reducing, reusing and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment. Reducing,

reusing, and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment were significant at the .01

level, while providing environmental education to visitors and supporting conservation groups

and initiatives were significant at the .05 level. Therefore, there appears to be a positive

relationship between the growth in the number of visitors and environmentally responsible

behavior.

Hypothesis le: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in the number
of employees and environmentally responsible behavior.









perceived business success, as compared to similar businesses, and environmentally responsible

behavior.

Hypothesis 1: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will be better
environmental stewards than unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Spearman correlations revealed several commercial success variables were significantly

correlated with the conservation index (mean of all 9 conservation variables). The number of

employees (p < .01), the percentage change in visitors (p < .01), the percentage change in

employees (p < .01), and the business' perceived level of success relative to other similar

businesses (p < .05) were all positively correlated with environmental stewardship. Only the

length of time in business, the number of visitors served over 12 months, and the owner-reported

level of profitability were not associated with environmental stewardship. Overall, it appears

there is a relationship between commercial success and conservation behavior. Therefore, we

can reject the null hypothesis and conclude commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs are

better environmental stewards than unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

To conclude, four conservation behaviors, (1) providing environmental education to

visitors, (2) supporting conservation groups and initiatives, (3) reducing, reusing and recycling,

and (4) using environmentally friendly equipment, were found to be associated with growth

(both in visitors and employees) and perceived business success (relative to other similar

businesses). Additionally, three of these same conservation behaviors, supporting conservation

groups and initiatives, reducing, reusing and recycling, and using environmentally friendly

equipment, were also related to the size of a business (measured relative to the number of

employees). Therefore, it appears as though these specific conservation behaviors are indeed

related to various aspects of commercial success, such as size, growth, and perceived success

relative to other businesses. Moreover, these same dimensions of commercial success (the same









Commercial Success and Conservation Behavior

The following section investigates the relationship between the seven commercial success

variables and the nine different conservation behaviors. To better understand how the various

dimensions of commercial success are related to the different conservation behaviors, each sub-

hypothesis is examined individually using Spearman correlations. Correlation coefficients and

relative p values are listed in Table 4-5. Finally, the conservation index is correlated with all

seven commercial success variables to gain a more holistic understanding of how commercial

success relates to conservation behavior.

Hypothesis la: There will be a positive relationship between the length of time a
business has been in operation and environmentally responsible behavior.

The data do not support this hypothesis. Only one conservation behavior, providing

environmental or conservation training to employees, was significantly correlated with the length

of time a business had been in operation (Table 4-5). And actually, these variables were

negatively correlated with one another (p < .01). The longer a business had been in operation the

less environmental and conservation training it provided to its employees. Therefore, the data

provide no support for Hypothesis la.

Hypothesis lb: There will be a positive relationship between the number of visitors
served and environmentally responsible behavior.

Again, the data provide little support for this hypothesis. Only two conservation

behaviors were significantly correlated with the number of visitors served over a 12 month

period. There was a positive relationship between the number of visitors served and

communication with parks and protected areas (p < .05). However, the only other statistically

significant relationship was a negative correlation between the number of visitors served and

paying fees to use or visit parks and protected areas (p < .05). Therefore, the data do not support









conservation groups and initiatives, reduce, reuse, and/or recycle, and pay fees to use or visit

parks or protected areas (Table 4-3). These four conservation behaviors also had the highest

means, 3.58, 3.66, 3.66, and 3.75 (5 point Likert scale), along with the use of environmentally

friendly equipment, which had a mean of 3.62 (Table 4-3). Building formal partnerships with

parks or protected areas and using alternative energy sources had the lowest means, 2.83 and

2.55 respectively, and 30% of businesses never practiced these behaviors.

Community Benefits/Involvement

Thirteen community benefit or community involvement variables were measured using

Likert scales. These variables included (1) educating local people, (2) purchasing supplies

locally, (3) patronizing local accommodations, (4) employing local people, (5) providing cultural

education to visitors, (6) making contributions to the development of local infrastructure, (7)

providing cultural sensitivity training to employees, building formal partnerships with (8) other

local businesses, (9) with local officials, (10) and with community members, communicating

with (11) other local businesses, (12) with local officials, and (13) with community members. Of

these thirteen behaviors, purchasing local supplies, employing local people, and patronizing local

accommodations had the highest means (all above 4); over 50% of businesses reported to always

practice these behaviors, and a total of 80% of businesses reported to always or often practice

these behaviors (Table 4-4). Additionally, more than 30% of enterprises stated they always

communicated with other local businesses, provided cultural education to visitors, and

communicated with community members. Less than 20% of companies provided cultural

sensitivity training to employees, or built formal partnerships with community members or local

officials.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This work would not have been possible without the support and guidance of my

committee chair, Dr. Taylor Stein, as well as the members of my supervisory committee Dr.

Marianne Schmink and Dr. Robert Buschbacher. I would also like to thank Dr. Mickie Swisher

for her advice and time at various points throughout this research project. Additionally, I would

like to thank the Center for Latin American Studies and the Tropical Conservation and

Development Program for providing financial support for summer field work, as well as the

School of Natural Resources and Environment for the graduate assistantship that made my

master's work possible. Finally, I owe much thanks to my mother, Anne Seales, who has always

supported and encouraged me to work hard and follow my dreams. Without her love and

support I would not be where I am today.









patronizing local accommodations, employing local people, making contributions to the

development of local infrastructure) are associated with the various dimensions of commercial

success (longevity, the number of visitors, the number of employees, growth in the number of

visitors, growth in the number of employees, owner-reported profitability, and perceived success

as compared to similar businesses).


Short-Term


Time Frame


Long-Term


Objective
Objective, short-term
measures of success:
* Number of visitors
* Number of employees


Objective, long-term measures
of success:
* Longevity
* Growth in number of
visitors
Growth in number of
employees


Subjective
Subjective, short-term
measures of success:
* Owner-reported
profitability
Perceived success as
compared to similar
businesses

Subjective, long-term
measures of success:
* None


Figure 2-1 Matrix for success variables. Adapted from Haber, S., & Reichel, A. (2005).
Identifying performance measures of small ventures-The case of the tourism
industry. Journal of Small Business Management, 43(3), 257-286.









demonstrate that in most instances businesses are already purchasing local supplies, employing

local people, patronizing local accommodations, and communicating with other local businesses

(more than 80% of the sample reported always or often practicing these behaviors), regardless of

their relative level of commercial success. Therefore, in order to increase businesses' level of

community involvement, policy should focus on the behaviors that are being practiced less

frequently by businesses. These behaviors include building formal partnerships and providing

cultural sensitivity training to employees. Policy, therefore, should be aimed at increasing the

frequency of these behaviors across the entire population of nature-based tourism businesses.

Additionally, this study revealed that older businesses are less likely than their younger

counterparts to practice certain behaviors, such as educating local people, making contributions

to the development of local infrastructure, building formal partnerships with other local

businesses, and communicating with community members. Therefore, policy aimed at

increasing businesses' level of community involvement should also focus on older businesses.

Using neoclassical economic theory and the enlightened self-interest model, it stands to reason

that older businesses are not practicing these behaviors because they are no longer receiving

benefits from these behaviors. Consequently, policy should provide incentives for older

businesses to continue practicing these behaviors even after market benefits cease to exist. The

Costa Rica Sustainable Tourism Certification program may be one possible way in which to

accomplish this task. Tourists may recognize certified businesses, and therefore patronize them

more so than businesses which lack the certification. If certification requires businesses to

practice these behaviors regardless of age, then certification can help to provide market benefits

to businesses even after they cease to exist on their own. Based on this research, overall, policy

should be aimed at increasing incentives for behaviors that are not, or are no longer, being












500


400
-(67

300


200

09
100 o8


0-


-100


-200
N= 123
How has the number o

Figure B-11. Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the percent change in number
of visitors over 5 years


2000-








1000-








0-








-1000


How has the number o


Figure B-12. Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the percent change in number
of employees over 5 years


-161




-X99


--165


--38

I-44









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Question 20, continued


Activities


Use airplanes or helicopters as transportation
Use boats as transportation
Use other forms of transportation,
Please specify:


21. Please estimate the proportion of employees who are:


% Community Members


% Costa Ricans


% Non-Costa Ricans

22. Overall, no matter the position, how does the wage paid to community members and Costa
Ricans differ from the wages paid to non-local employees?


Less


No Difference


More


23. Please estimate the proportion of business supplies that are provided by local suppliers:
%


24. Please estimate the proportion of business income that remains in the local community:
%


25. Overall, comparing this business to similar businesses, how strongly does this business
support conservation?


Do Not Support


Moderately Supports


Strongly Supports


26. Overall, comparing this business to similar businesses, how strongly does this business
support the local community?


Moderately Supports


Do Not Support


Strongly Supports









between growth, as a dimension of commercial success, and environmental stewardship,

particularly with regard to these specific behaviors. The only difference between the two

commercial success variables (growth in visitors versus growth in employees) was that a

relationship exists between the growth in the number of employees and the building of formal

partnerships with parks and protected areas. This might be explained because as a business adds

new employees there is potentially more time for managers and owners to dedicate to tasks they

might not have had time to address previously. Since the building of partnerships most likely

takes a considerable time commitment, it may be necessary for business owners to have enough

employees to take care of other business aspects before time can be freed up for building these

relationships.

Furthermore, there is considerable overlap between the conservation behaviors that are

related to growth and those that are related to perceived success relative to other similar

businesses. Again, the same four variables, providing environmental education to visitors,

supporting conservation groups or initiatives, reducing, reusing, and recycling, and using

environmentally friendly equipment are all linked to perceived success, along with a fifth

behavior, using alternative energy sources. It appears as though these four conservation

behaviors are most notably related to the various distinct aspects of commercial success.

Additionally, none of the conservation variables were found to be significantly associated

with owner-reported profitability. There could be several explanations for these findings.

Perhaps profitability is completely unrelated to the provision of conservation benefits. Or,

maybe there are problems inherent in measuring profitability. Many researchers warn against the

use of profitability as a single determinant of success because it can be misleading (Haber &

Reichel, 2005; Lumpkin & Dess, 1996), and often data are difficult to obtain (Cragg & King;









of other tourism business has not been investigated, small and medium sized, nature-based tour

operators and agencies, offering tours and travel services in Costa Rica, were selected as the

population for this study.

Research Design and Sample Selection

This study utilized a cross-sectional research design, and a purposive, cluster sampling

approach. Sample study areas (clusters) were selected after preliminary surveys of 36 San Jose

operators and agents, and after contacting the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), as well as

several other tour associations including Canatur and Costa Rica Tour Operator Association

(ACOT). Six major tourism clusters were identified. The remainder of the study's sample was

drawn from these five areas: (1) Central San Jose, (2) Tamarindo, on the north Pacific Coast, (3)

La Fortuna, at the base of the Arenal Volcano, (4) Monteverde, with its famous cloud forest

reserves, (5) Quepos, the gateway to the popular Manuel Antonio National Park (the only Costa

Rican national park on the Pacific Ocean), and (6) Puerto Viejo, a small Caribbean town

sandwiched between two national parks on the Caribbean coast. Tour operators (businesses that

organize and run tours), as well as agencies (businesses that sell tours operated by others), were

inventoried in each of the various locales. All, or almost all, operators were inventoried and

surveyed in each tourism cluster with the exception of San Jose. Since there are hundreds of

operators and agencies in this metropolitan area, this study focused on operators and agencies

located in central San Jose, which represents the most significant tourism area in the city.

Quantitative data for this research were collected through surveys conducted in June and July of

2006.

Survey Methodology

The researcher visited the main office of each tourism operator and agency to explain the

purpose of the study and obtain consent for participation. In most cases, if participants agreed to









served or number of employees, there may be some distinction between the type of education

provided to visitors. Using the enlightened self-interest model as an explanation, businesses may

receive more benefits from providing environmental education to visitors than they do from

providing cultural education to visitors. Visitors and the tourism market in Costa Rica might

expect and demand environmental education as a component of a nature-based tour, but perhaps

cultural education is not an anticipated part of the tourism experience.

Of the 98 possible associations between the various aspects of commercial success and

community involvement, only four proved to be significant and positively related, providing

little support for the hypothesis that commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs provide more

benefits to local communities than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Additionally, all four of these

associations involved the building of formal partnerships of some kind, which most likely

resulted in a reciprocal relationship; meaning the entrepreneurs may have received something in

return for their involvement with the local communities. For instance, the relationship between

growth in the number of visitors and the building of partnerships with community members

could be explained because building partnerships might lead to more visitors. A partnership

between a tour operator and a hotel, for example, might involve a referral agreement, which

could definitely result in growth in the number of visitors. Therefore, these four positive and

significant relationships actually provide additional support for the enlightened self-interest

model (Besser, 1999).

Furthermore, half of the positive associations between commercial success and

community involvement were found with relation to the number of employees a business has and

the building of formal partnerships with local officials or community members. As previously

noted, there was also a positive relationship between number of employees and the building of









There seems to be some support for this hypothesis. Five out of nine conservation

behaviors significantly correlate with growth in the number of employees. The same four

behaviors that correlated with growth in number of visitors were also correlated with growth in

the number of employees. Providing environmental education to visitors (p < .01), supporting

conservation groups and initiatives (p < .05), reducing, reusing, and recycling (p < .05), and

using environmentally friendly equipment (p < .05) were all positively correlated with this

success variables, as was building formal partnerships with parks and protected areas (p < .05).

Therefore, the data show a positive relationship exists between the growth in the number of

employees and environmentally responsible behavior.

Hypothesis If: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported
profitability and environmentally responsible behavior.

The data show absolutely no support for this hypothesis. None of the conservation

variables are significantly correlated with owner-reported profitability. In fact, none of the

conservation behaviors are even correlated with owner-reported profitability at the .1 level.

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that no relationship exists between owner-reported profitability

and environmentally responsible behavior.

Hypothesis Ig: There will be a positive relationship between perceived business success
as compared to similar businesses and environmentally responsible behavior.

The data support this hypothesis. Five of the nine conservation variables are significantly

correlated with perceived business success as compared to similar businesses. Once again,

providing environmental education to visitors (p < .05), supporting conservation groups and

initiatives (p < .05), reducing, reusing, and recycling (p < .01), and using environmentally

friendly equipment (p < .01) were all positively correlated with perceived business success.

Additionally, the use of alternative energy sources was also positively correlated with perceived

success (p < .05). Hence, it can be concluded that a positive relationship exists between









the case of owner-managed business and entrepreneurship, one's business and one's life are

inseparable, and therefore, personal ethos and business behavior are inseparable (2003).

Furthermore, other research suggests "that the commercial imperative is not the sole driver of

CSR decision-making" (Hemingway & Maclagan, 2004). Nevertheless, viability and success

might still be important considerations, which allow entrepreneurs to make socially and

environmentally responsible business decisions.

Although the present study is not concerned with identifying why entrepreneurs behave

socially and environmentally responsibly, it is important to recognize there are various reasons

for businesses behaving in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Some researchers

argue that entrepreneurs value the appearance of a high degree of social concern to help increase

profits (Wilson, 1984), or that it is in the best interests of the business to behave ethically and

responsibly (Jenkins, 2006). Others argue that businesses are aware of their social

responsibilities and operate accordingly (Chrisman & Archer, 1984). Regardless of the rationale

or motive behind socially and environmentally responsible behavior, it can be argued that a

relationship exists between profit, commercial success, and sustainable behavior. As Drucker

states "a company can make a social contribution only if it is highly profitable" (2001, pp. 20).

Therefore, the present research explores the relationship between commercial success and

responsible behavior.

Previous research investigated the relationship between commercial success and

responsible behavior. However, the results have been inconclusive, inconsistent, and conflicting.

Results from some studies support a positive relationship between commercial success and

responsible behavior (Bowman & Haire, 1975; McGuire, Sundgren, & Schneeweis, 1988; Parket

& Eilbirt, 1975; Sturdivant & Ginter, 1977), while others support a negative one (Baron, 2007;









supported by the market, but that will provide valuable benefits to conservation and the local

community.

Study Limitations

This study has several important limitations. First, the sample selected was not a random

sample. Due to the large number of tour operators and agents dispersed throughout the country,

and various problems identifying all of these businesses, taking a truly random sample proved

extremely difficult. Given the budget and time constraints of this study, a purposive, cluster

sampling approach was used instead. However, this might not have been the best approach, and

a random sample may have yielded results that could be more generalizable to the population as

a whole.

Another important limitation of this study relates to the measurement of profitability and

revenue. As a result of the difficulties noted by past research in obtaining accurate data

regarding revenue and profitability, for this study the researchers elected to use number of

visitors as a proxy for revenue, and measure profitability on a five point, owner-reported, Likert

scale. However, there could be problems inherent in these choices, particularly since owner-

reported profitability was the only dimension of commercial success not found to be significantly

related to any of the nine conservation, or 13 community benefit variables.

Finally, the most significant limitation of this study is that the data gathered represents

only information self-reported by the entrepreneurs. No attempt was made to verify or

triangulate this information with other sources. This study could be improved by the use of

additional methods to verify the information provided by the entrepreneurs. These methods

might include participant observation, visitor, or community surveys.








APPENDIX A
QUESTIONNAIRE



UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA

IFAS




COSTA RICAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP
AND
TOURISM STUDY






A study endorsed by the University of Florida, The Tropical Conservation and Development
Program, The School of Natural Resources and Environment, and The School of Forest
Resources and Conservation









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Lisa Seales was born in 1976, in Miami, Florida. Her family moved to Eugene, Oregon,

when she was very young. There, she attended a Henry D. Sheldon International High School

and participated in a Spanish immersion program. Half of her primary and secondary education

was in Spanish, which introduced her to Latin American cultures and perspectives. She

graduated in 1994 and went to both the University of Arizona and the University of Oregon

where she earned a bachelor's degree in geography and environmental studies in 1998. Upon

graduation, she did an internship in Ecuador and traveled extensively throughout the U.S.,

Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. During this time, she also worked for the Bureau of

Land Management as an interpretive specialist creating, implementing, and publicizing natural

resource education programs. After years in that position, she took a job as a program director

for a nonprofit organization, where she continued to develop and teach natural resource

education programming. Her career as an environmental educator and her travel experiences led

her to the University of Florida to pursue a degree in interdisciplinary ecology with a focus in

tropical conservation and development. Upon completion of her master's degree, she will pursue

a doctoral degree and continue her research in promoting conservation and sustainable

development.



























20





0 400 800 1200

How has the number of employees changed over the last 5 years?


Figure B-5. Histogram showing frequency distribution of percent change in employees over 5
years


Figure B-6.


0_Std. Dev = .83
Mean= 3.8
0 N = 150.00
1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0

Please rate this business's level of profitability

Histogram showing frequency distribution of owner-reported level of profitability









Overall Findings

This study shows that a relationship exists between commercial success and conservation

behavior, but little evidence supports a positive link between commercial success and the

provision of community benefits. The data from this study establish a clear link between

environmental stewardship and the size, growth, and perceived relative level of success as

compared to similar businesses. However, this research illustrates that there is actually a

negative relationship between longevity, business size (both number of visitors and number of

employees), and one or more community benefits. In fact, the only positive association between

commercial success and community involvement entailed the building of formal partnerships.

Most of these positive relationships point to a link between size and the building of partnerships.

As mentioned previously, this could confirm that having more employees enables entrepreneurs

to establish partnerships they wouldn't have had time to do otherwise.

The data from this study support the idea that commercial success is indeed a

multidimensional concept, as the literature suggests. The concept of commercial success cannot

be fully understood by measuring a single dimension, such as profitability. As noted by previous

research, and reiterated by this study, using profitability as a single determinant of commercial

success can be problematic. Instead, it is important to examine various dimensions of this

concept to better understand the role it plays with regard to the provision of benefits to both

conservation and the local community. It is also important to note that just as commercial

success cannot be considered in terms of a single dimension, neither can the concepts of benefits

to conservation and the community. The data from this study demonstrate the importance of

looking at the different dimensions of these three ideas, to better understand the various ways

they converge and conflict with one another. This study contributes to this overall

understanding.









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS

This study found that the majority of nature-based tourism businesses in Costa Rica were

small corporations, with fewer than 20 employees, which offer tours and services only in Costa

Rica (as opposed to, or in addition to, other countries). On average, these businesses had been in

operation just over 9 years, had approximately 14 employees, and served about 6300 visitors a

year. Most ventures experienced some growth in the number of visitors, and significant growth

in the number of employees, over the last five years. The enterprises also reported being

somewhat successful and somewhat profitable. The vast majority of entrepreneurs surveyed

were university educated, married, Costa Rican males in their thirties or forties, with one or no

children.

After investigating the conservation behavior and the provision of benefits to local

communities, this research discovered that a quarter of the businesses sampled are in fact

ecotourism businesses, according to The International Ecotourism Society's definition. These

businesses reported that they almost always, or often, are involved in the local community, as

well as always or often practicing the various conservation behaviors. Therefore, Costa Rica

does have some ecotourism businesses, but it is safe to say that the majority of tourism

businesses are not actually living up to the ecotourism definition.

Commercial Success and Conservation Behavior

When attempting to answer the first research question, is commercial success in tourism

ventures associated with environmental stewardship and conservation behavior, the results of this

study show that there is a relatively strong relationship between the commercial success

variables and conservation behavior. The conservation index was positively associated with the

size, the amount of growth, and the perceived relative success of a business as compared to









Directions for Future Research

This study illuminated several interesting factors that warrant future study. First, there was

a negative association between business size and paying fees to use or visit parks and protected

areas. This may indicate that larger tourism businesses also own land. This relationship, the

concepts of land tenure and land ownership, and how these concepts relate to commercial

success, and the provision of benefits to conservation and local communities, merits future

research.

Second, there appears to be a link between both educating visitors and building formal

partnerships, and commercial success, which might suggest that communication and

collaboration play an important role in successful entrepreneurship. Recently, collaboration and

participatory decision making have been touted as superior means to achieve management

objectives (Stringer, Dougill, Fraser, Hubacek, Prell, & Reed, 2006). Therefore, it follows that

collaboration might also be beneficial for entrepreneurs and local communities as well, in

addition to being helpful for achieving conservation goals. Consequently, the role of

communication and collaboration is also worthy of future research.

Third, since this research provides support for the enlightened self-interest model, and

demonstrates entrepreneurs are likely to behave in a socially and environmentally responsible

manner when it benefits their businesses, future research is needed to more specifically

investigate which business behaviors provide valuable benefits to conservation and the

community, but are not supported by the marketplace. Future research is also warranted to

identify incentives that might encourage entrepreneurs to practice behaviors beneficial to

conservation and the community, even when these behaviors do not result in remuneration in the

marketplace.









Weaver, D.B., & Schluter, R. (2001). Latin America and the Caribbean. In D.B. Weaver (Ed.),
The encyclopedia ofecotourism (pp.173-188). Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI
Publishing.

Weintraub, R.E. (2007). Neoclassical economics. The concise encyclopedia of economics.
Retrieved November 24, 2007, from
http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/NeoclassicalEconomics.html.

Westhead, P., Wright, M., & Ucbasaran, D. (2001). The internationalization of new and small
firms: A resource-based view. Journal of Business Venturing, 16(4), 333-358.

Wight, P.A. (2003). Ecotourists: Not a homogeneous market segment. In D.B. Weaver (Ed.), The
encyclopedia ofecotourism (pp. 37-62). Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI
Publishing.

Wilson, E. (1980). Social responsibility of business: What are the small business perspectives?
Journal of Small Business Management, 18(3): 17-24.

WTO, World Tourism Organization. (2006a). Why tourism? Retrieved December 4, 2005, from
http://www.world-tourism.org/.

WTO, World Tourism Organization. (2006b). UNWTO world tourism barometer, Vol. 4, No.1.
Retrieved February 20, 2006, from http://www.world-tourism.org/facts/wtb.html.









Vance, 1975), and others still report no clear relationship in one direction or the other (Abbott &

Monsen, 1979; Arlow & Cannon, 1982; Aupperle, Carroll, & Hatfield, 1985; Cochran & Wood,

1984; Owen & Scherer, 1993; Ullmann, 1985). Although a considerable amount of research

examines this relationship across many industries within the context of developed countries, little

research investigates this association with regard to tourism businesses in developing countries.

Additionally, little research investigates the performance of entrepreneurs in the tourism industry

at all (Kirsten & Rogerson, 2002; Learner & Haber, 2001). This study addresses this gap.

Theories of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Studies dealing with social responsibility have proliferated in both academic and

managerial literature for decades. As a result, various theories have been used to try and explain

corporate social responsibility, such as neoclassical economic theory and the enlightened self-

interest model.

First, neoclassical economic theory has been used to explain Corporate Social

Responsibility (CSR). Neoclassical economic theory is based on three general principles; (1)

"people have rational preferences among outcomes", (2) "individuals maximize utility and firms

maximize profits", and (3) "people act independently on the basis of full and relevant

information" (Weintraub, 2007, pp.1). Thus, neoclassical economic theory maintains that the

greatest good will be achieved when individuals pursue their own self interests (Swanson, 1995).

Therefore, neoclassical theory posits that CSR is simply a means of maximizing profits (Stormer,

2003).

Next, the enlightened self-interest model was introduced and used to explain CSR. Alexis

de Tocqueville introduced the concept of enlightened self-interest in his book Democracy in

America (1835), and later it was applied to CSR. This model predicts that businesses that are

more socially responsible will be more successful (Besser, 1999; Keim, 1978). Under this









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

2-1 M atrix for success variables...................................................................... ...................24

3-1 Map of Costa Rica and research sites ............. ............. ............... 31

B-l Histogram showing frequency distribution of business longevity......................... 70

B-2 Histogram showing frequency distribution of number of visitors served over 12
m months ................ ........................... ................. ................................. 70

B-3 Histogram showing frequency distribution of number of employees.............................71

B-4 Histogram showing frequency distribution of percent change in number of visitors
ov er 5 y ears ........................ ... ............ .. ..............................................7 1

B-5 Histogram showing frequency distribution of percent change in employees over 5
y ears ............. .... .................................................. ...........................72

B-6 Histogram showing frequency distribution of owner-reported level of profitability ........72

B-7 Histogram of frequency distribution of businesses' perceived level of success................73

B-8 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for business longevity......................73

B-9 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the number of visitors served
over 12 m months ....................................................... ................. 74

B-10 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the number of employees .............74

B-11 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the percent change in number
of visitors over 5 years ............... .. ........................ .... ...... 75

B-12 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the percent change in number
of em ploy ees ov er 5 y ears......................................................................... ...................75











APPENDIX B
HISTOGRAMS AND BOXPLOTS OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS DATA


1000 2000 3000 4000 5000
How long has this business been in operation?

Figure B-1. Histogram showing frequency distribution of business longevity


25




25000 50000 75000 100000

Please estimate the number of visitors this business served over the last 12 months


Figure B-2. Histogram showing frequency distribution of number of visitors served over 12
months









Finally, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-Wilk tests were run (Table 3-4). These

tests are used to establish if the distributions as a whole differ from comparable normal

distributions with the same mean and standard deviation (Field, 2005). Both tests were highly

significant (p < 0.001) for all success variables, indicating the distributions were not normal.

The Kolmogorov-Smimov test revealed that the length of time a business has been in operation,

D(102) = 0.155, p < .001, the number of visitors served over 12 months, D(102) = 0.329, p <

.001, the number of employees, D(102) = 0.238, p < .001, the percentage change in visitors,

D(102) = 0.217, p < .001, and employees D(102) = 0.337, p < .001, the owner-reported level of

profitability, D(102) = 0.281, p < .001, and the perceived level of success D(102) = 0.251, p <

.001, were all significantly non-normal.

Boxplots, histograms of frequency distributions, the skewness statistic, the kurtosis

statistic, z-scores, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic, and the Shapiro-Wilk statistic all validate

that the data is non-normal. Deviations from normality such as these demonstrate that

parametric tests cannot be used, because the assumption of normality is not defensible (Field,

2005).

Data Analysis

Since the data for this study violate the assumption of normality, parametric tests cannot

be used. Instead, non-parametric tests must be employed. In order to examine the relationship

between commercial success and environmentally or socially responsible behavior, Spearman

correlations were used. To investigate hypotheses 1 and 2, it was necessary to create an index

for conservation behavior, and another index for community involvement. These indices were

created by calculating the mean for all nine conservation variables and all 13 community

involvement variables. These means could then be correlated with the seven commercial success

variables to assess the overall relationship between commercial success and responsible









Table 4-1. Mean and distribution of businesses by owner-reported level of profitability
Owner-Reported Level of Valid % Mean
Profitability
A Loss (1) 0.7
Small Loss (2) 4.7
Break Even (3) 26.7 3.82
Small Profit (4) 48
A Profit (5) 20

Table 4-2. Mean and distribution of businesses by perceived level of success as compared to
similar businesses
Perceived Level of Success Valid % Mean
Unsuccessful (1) 0.6
Somewhat Unsuccessful (2) 3.2
Neither (3) 20.6 3.97
Somewhat Successful (4) 49
Successful (5) 26.5









investigate the behavior of tourism businesses, to determine if they warrant the ecotourism label,

as defined by the International Ecotourism Society, or if these businesses would be more

accurately classified as nature-based tourism.

Entrepreneurship, Business Behavior, and Corporate Social Responsibility

In order to establish whether or not tourism businesses are ecotourism operations,

business behavior and decision making need to be investigated. Business behavior and business

decisions, whether financial or social, are often dictated and carried out by entrepreneurs. An

entrepreneur as defined by Merriam-Webster (2005) is "one who organizes, manages, and

assumes the risks of a business or enterprise." Though entrepreneurs are usually thought of as

being driven by profit motives, it is now acknowledged that they also "seek to bring about

change and new opportunities, both for themselves and for the communities they belong to"

(Schaper, 2002, p.27). Therefore, it is possible that ecotourism entrepreneurs can provide

benefits to conservation and the local community. However, to do so, these businesses must

survive and make a profit. This research investigates this assertion.

In order to examine this assertion, it is necessary to consider business behavior. Since

entrepreneurs are often responsible for business decision-making, it follows that business

behavior is dictated directly by the entrepreneur or the owner/operator of the business,

particularly in the case of small and medium sized enterprises. Therefore, these key individuals,

the entrepreneurs, are responsible for formulating and implementing socially responsible policies

(Hemingway & Maclagan, 2004). "The literature shows that CSR [Corporate Social

Responsibility] can be the result of championing by a few managers" (Jenkins, 2006, pp. 251;

Hemingway & Maclagan, 2004). Consequently, entrepreneurs must be the focus of investigation

to better understand the role commercial success plays in relation to conservation and

community goals. Additionally, entrepreneurs often have personality traits that increase the









participate, the questionnaire was filled out on the spot while the researcher waited to collect it.

Typically this took 15 to 20 minutes. On occasion, the person with the pertinent information

necessary to complete the questionnaire was not in the office at the time of the visit. Under these

circumstances, the researcher left the questionnaire and returned the next day to pick it up. Most

participants followed through and the questionnaire was completed the next day. In a few

instances, a third (or even fourth) visit was necessary to collect the completed questionnaire, but

if the questionnaire remained incomplete after several attempts, those businesses were counted as

ones who declined to participate. The final sample size for the study was 167 surveys out of 194,

a response rate of 86.1%.

Questionnaire Design

The questionnaire was designed by the researcher and was used to collect quantitative data.

The data were grouped into five categories. The first category identified general business

information, such as business name, location, owner, manager, and business type. The second

category of the survey consisted of commercial success variables, discussed previously in the

literature review. The third portion of the survey asked for basic owner demographic

information, such as age, nationality, and level of education. The fourth part of the survey used a

Likert scale to assess the frequencies with which each business participated in various activities

that provide conservation and community benefits. These benefits include providing

environmental education to visitors, supporting conservation groups and initiatives, educating

local people, and purchasing local supplies. This portion of the survey was designed after

consulting the literature and contacting relevant experts in the field of ecotourism, including

nature-based tourism entrepreneurs in Florida. Experts were asked to list all the possible ways in

which a tourism business could benefit conservation or the local community. All responses were

utilized and compiled for use in this part of the survey. The final portion of the survey collected









Finally, it is important to note that although this study did not find a relationship between

commercial success and the provision of benefits to local communities, this study did determine

that the vast majority of tourism businesses surveyed provide benefits to local communities

regardless of their relative level of commercial success. In the case of certain community

involvement variables, such as purchasing local supplies, employing local people, patronizing

local accommodations, and communicating with other local businesses, the percentage of

businesses that often or always practices these behaviors exceeds 80%. For the remaining 13

community benefit variables, at least 35% of entrepreneurs reported to often or always practice

these behaviors. Therefore, although this study did not find a link between community

involvement and commercial success, this study found that overall tourism businesses are

providing these benefits.

To conclude, one might ask, why is there a relationship between commercial success and

conservation behavior, but not between commercial success and socially responsible behavior?

Perhaps commercial success and behaving in an environmentally responsible manner are related

because visitors expect, maybe even demand, nature-based tourism enterprises in Costa Rica

provide benefits to conservation. The most frequently significant conservation behaviors seem

to be actions that are both the most visible, or obvious to customers, and the simplest to perform.

In the end, it may come down to what is in the best interest of the business. Therefore, perhaps

we have not moved beyond neoclassical economic theory and the enlightened self-interest model

just yet. Perhaps, we can only hope that businesses will "do well by doing good."

Management Implications

Since this study shows that commercial success is not related to the provision of

community benefits, or in some cases is actually negatively related to community involvement,

the question then arises: how to promote the provision of these benefits? The study's data









Business Information


1. Business Name:

2. Do you own this business?
[ ] No [ ] Yes

If "NO," who owns the business?

3. What type of business is this?

[ ] Sole proprietorship
[] Partnership
[ ] Corporation
[ ] Other

4. Do you run/manage this business?
[ ] No [ ] Yes

If "NO" who runs/manages this business?

If "Yes," please check the option that best describes your position
[ ] Sole Manager
[ ] Primary Manager
[ ] Shared Management

5. How long has this business been in operation? years months

6. For all the services this business provides, please estimate the (average) number of visitors
this business served over the last 12 months:



7. How has the number of visitors changed over the last 5 years?

% Decrease % Increase

8. Please estimate the number of employees:

9. How has the number of employees changed over the last 5 years?

% Decrease % Increase


10. This business offers tours and travel services:











[ ] Only in Costa Rica
[ ] In other countries
[] Both

11. Please indicate the origin of the capital invested in this business:


% Costa Rican


% United States


% Other Countries, please list:

12. Please rate this business's level of profitability:


5
A Profit


Break Even


13. Overall, comparing this business to other similar businesses, please rate the business's level
of success:


Unsuccessful


Owner's Demographic Information


14. Date of birth:

15. Nationality:


16. Length of time living in Costa Rica?


17. Marital status:


[ ] Married [ ] Divorced
[ ] Single [ ] Widowed

18. Number of children:


years


males


females


19. Highest level of education completed:

[ ] Eighth grade or less
[ ] Some High School
[ ] High School Graduate or GED
[ ] Some University


[ ] University Graduate
[ ] Some Graduate School
[ ] Graduate Degree or beyond


1
A Loss


5
Successful


months









CHAPTER 3
METHODS

Study Site

Because Costa Rica is the best-known nature-based tourism destination in the world

(Weaver & Schluter, 2001; Honey, 1999), it was selected as the study site. More than one

million tourists visit Costa Rica every year (ICT About Costa Rica, 2007a), mostly for its rich

biodiversity and varied natural resources. The country's well-established system of national

parks and protected areas-covering about 25% of its area-offer many nature-based tourism

opportunities. Although Costa Rica's economy has historically been based on agriculture, during

the last few years tourism has earned more than any single export crop (ICT Business and

Economy, 2007b). International tourists in 2005 generated $ 1.57 billion in revenue, an increase

of 17% from 2004 (ICT Tourism Statistical Yearly Report, 2007c).

The country's involvement in the tourism industry began in the 1930s when Costa Rica

established a national tourism board. In 1955 the board became the Costa Rican Tourism Board

(Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, ICT), which remains the leading tourism institution in the

nation today. The board's mission is to "promote a wholesome tourism development, with the

purpose of improving Costa Ricans' quality of life, by maintaining a balance between the

economic and social boundaries, environmental protection, culture and facilities" (ICT General

Framework, 2007d). In an effort to meet its mission, Costa Rica developed one of the most

successful sustainable tourism certification programs in the world. The Costa Rican Sustainable

Tourism Certification (CST) program began in 1999, attempting to categorize and certify

businesses' level of sustainability. To date, the CST program has certified 61 hotels (CST,

2006). The ICT is currently working on extending the program to other businesses as well.

Since no other types of tourism businesses are currently certified by CST, and hence the behavior

































Std. Dev = .81
Mean = 4.0
N = 155.00


1.0


J.u


Please rate this business's level of success

Figure B-7. Histogram of frequency distribution of businesses' perceived level of success


N = 166
How long has this bu

Figure B-8. Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for business longevity


Z.u









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Tourism is the number one industry in many countries, the largest international export

earner, and one of the world's most important sources of employment (WTO, 2006a). It

represents the largest business sector in the world economy, employing 200 million people,

generating $3.6 trillion in economic activity, and accounting for one in every 12, or 8%, of jobs

worldwide (TIES, 2007). In 2005, international tourism increased by 5.5% from the previous

year, with a total of 808 million arrivals (WTO, 2006b).

As this industry continues to grow, the impacts of tourism are not always positive.

Negative environmental impacts of tourism are well documented in the literature (Buckley,

2001; Ceballos-Lascurain, 1996; Sirakaya, 2001; Stonich, 1998; Brohman,1996; Mtillner et al,

2004; Orams, 2000; Duffus, 1996; Backman & Morais, 2001; UNEP, 2006a). Tourism has also

been linked to negative social and cultural impacts (Boo, 1990; Brandon, 1996; McLaren, 1998).

Additionally, economic leakages commonly occur, thus limiting the benefits to local

communities (Backman & Morais, 2001). For example, the United Nations Environmental

Program states "of each US $ 100 spent on a vacation tour by a tourist from a developed country,

only around US$ 5 actually stays in a developing-country destination's economy" (UNEP,

2006b, para. 5). Previous research also demonstrates many tourism operations contribute

minimally to local development, with local people receiving few benefits from tourism (Stone &

Wall, 2004: Jacobson & Robles 1992; Healy, 1994; Bookbinder et al., 1998; McLaren, 1998).

Frequently, the conservation benefits of tourism "come at the cost of the socioeconomic well-

being of local residents" (Charnley, 2005, pp. 80).

The question then arises: how to promote tourism development in developing countries

that will not deplete or degrade the environment and will contribute to improving the lives of









Haber & Reichel, 2005). This study used an owner-reported, Likert scale to assess profitability,

because past research noted small firms are notoriously unwilling to share financial information

(Coviello et al., 2006; Covin & Slevin, 1989; Sapienza et al., 1988), and such data are often

found to be inaccurate (Coviello et al., 2006; Dess & Robinson Jr., 1984), and are difficult or

impossible to verify (Covin & Slevin, 1989; Haber & Reichel, 2005). However, it is possible

that using an owner-reported, Likert scale to measure profitability did not effectively circumvent

the pitfalls of assessing profitability. Whatever the reason, the results of this study are clear.

There is no relationship between owner-reported, profitability and environmentally responsible

behavior.

Finally, this study demonstrates that two commercial success variables, length of time in

business and number of visitors served, were actually negatively associated with certain

conservation behaviors. There are several possible explanations for the negative relationship

between these two commercial success variables and various conservation behaviors. The

results show the longer a business had been in operation the less environmental and conservation

training it provided to its employees. Perhaps this is because older businesses require fewer new

employees overall, or have long-standing employees who have already received such training,

and therefore this training is unnecessary. The other significant negative association between

commercial success and conservation behavior was found between the number of visitors served

and the paying of fees to use or visit parks and protected areas. This may be explained because

larger companies might have privately owed lands where they take their visitors for tours. Also,

it stands to reason that smaller businesses, serving fewer customers, may not have land holdings

large enough to suffice for running tours. Instead, these smaller companies might need to

depend more on paying fees to use or visit the parks and protected areas. Just as there was a













140000


120000


100000


80000


60000


40000


20000


0-


-20000


138
Please estimate the


Figure B-9. Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the number of visitors served
over 12 months



160


140- -X4


120
*-101
100
*-99
80
4-94

60- -X*


40


20




-20
N = 162
Please estimate the

Figure B-10. Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the number of employees


-X64







*X99



-M64


24









model, similar to neoclassical economic theory, entrepreneurs and business owners only act in

responsible ways to further their own interests (Fry, Keim, & Meiners, 1982), or that it is in the

best interests of the businesses to behave ethically and responsibly (Jenkins, 2006).

Therefore, according to both neoclassical economic theory and the enlightened self-interest

model, responsible behavior is wholly tied to success and profitability (Stormer, 2003). This

research examines this relationship between social/environmental responsibility and commercial

success.

Additionally, it is important to note that the focus of previous CSR research and theory

building has been almost entirely on large companies, and little attention was paid to small and

medium sized enterprises (SMEs) (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006; Spence, 1999). There is evidence

that "small firms are not little big firms and have a number of specific characteristics" which set

them apart from larger companies, particularly with regard to CSR (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006,

pp.257). Therefore, recognizing that SMEs encompass a significant portion of businesses

operating today, a shift has recently occurred towards investigating CSR within small and

medium sized enterprises (Spence, Schmidpeter, & Habisch, 2003). It is now acknowledged that

there are many more small firms than large ones (Spence, 1999), and the majority of businesses

are in fact small firms (Carr, 2003; Cooper, 1981). This may be particularly true with regard to

nature-based tourism businesses. The growing recognition of these facts has led to an increase in

research and literature focusing on small business social responsibility (SBSR) (Lepoutre &

Heene, 2006). A small business is defined as a business with fewer than 50 employees (Lepoutre

& Heene, 2006; Spence, 1999). Despite the new interest in CSR with regard to SMEs, a

theoretical framework has yet to be developed (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006). Also, a very limited

amount of literature investigates small and medium sized enterprises in developing countries









Swanson, D. L. (1995). Addressing a theoretical problem by reorienting the corporate social
performance model. Academy ofManagement Review, 20(1), 43-64.

Teal, E. J., & Carroll, A. B. (1999). Moral reasoning skills: Are entrepreneurs different? Journal
ofBusiness Ethics, 19(3), 229-240.

TIES, The International Ecotourism Society. (2006). What is ecotourism? Retrieved November,
15, 2005, from http://www.ecotourism.org/index2.php?what-is-ecotourism.

TIES, The International Ecotourism Society. (2007). Ecotourismfact sheet. Retrieved October 7,
2007, from http://www.ecotourism.org/WebModules/WebArticlesNet/articlefiles/15-
NEW%20Ecotourism%20Factsheet%20Sept%2005.pdf.

Tisdell, C. (1998). Ecotourism: Aspects of its sustainability and compatibility with conservation,
social, and other objectives. Australian Journal ofHospitality Management, 5(2), 11-22.

UNEP, United Nations Environmental Program. (2006a). Environmental impacts of tourism.
Retrieved January 15, 2006, from http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/sust-tourism/env-
3main.htm.

UNEP, United Nations Environmental Program. (2006b). Economic impacts of tourism.
Retrieved January 15, 2006, from http://www.uneptie.org/pc/tourism/sust-
tourism/economic.htm.

Ullmann, A. A. (1985). Data in search of a theory: A critical examination of the relationships
among social performance, social disclosure, and economic performance of U.S. firms.
Academy ofManagement Review, 10(3), 540-557.

Valentine, P. (1992). Review: Nature-based tourism. In T. Weiler & C. Hall (Eds.), Special
interest tourism (pp. 105-128). London, UK: Belhaven Press.

Vance, S. G. (1975). Are socially responsible corporations good investment risks? Management
Review, 64(8), 18.

Van de Ven, A. H., Hudson, R., & Schroeder, D. M. (1984). Designing new business startups:
Entrepreneurial, organizational, and ecological considerations. Journal ofManagement,
10(1), 87-107.

Venkatraman, N., & Ramanujam, V. (1986). Measurement of business performance in strategy
research: A comparison of approaches. Academy ofManagement Review, 11(4), 801-814.

Venkatraman, N., & Ramanujam, V. (1987). Measurement of business economic performance:
An examination of method convergence. Journal ofManagement, 13(1), 109.

Volery, T. (2002). An entrepreneur commercialises Conservation. Greener Management
International, 38, 109-116.









LINKING COMMERCIAL SUCCESS
TO COMMUNITY AND CONSERVATION BENEFITS:
AN ANALYSIS OF TOUR OPERATORS AND AGENCIES IN COSTA RICA




















By

LISA SALES


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008









Reichel, 2005; Haber & Reichel, 2007; Lerner, Brush, & Hisrich, 1997), and are found to be

particularly relevant to small businesses (Orser, Hogarth-Scott, & Riding, 2000). The fourth and

fifth variables, growth in number of visitors and growth in number of employees, are objective,

long-term measures of commercial success. These variables are commonly used to determine

the growth of an organization (Brush & Vanderwerf, 1992; Haber & Reichel, 2005; Haber &

Reichel, 2007). Finally, the sixth and seventh variables, owner-reported profitability and

perceived success compared to similar businesses, are subjective, short-term performance

measures previously used by researchers to assess commercial success and performance (Lerner

& Haber, 2001; Cooper, Gimeno-Gascon, & Woo, 1994). The matrix in figure 2-1 graphically

depicts the short and long-term, subjective and objective measure of performance used in this

study.

Study Objectives

Based on considerable past research investigating the multidimensional nature of

commercial success, this project will examine the variables discussed above, and their

relationship to conservation behavior and the provision of benefits to local people. Therefore,

this study seeks to answer the following questions: Is commercial success in tourism ventures

associated with environmental stewardship and conservation behavior? Is the commercial

success of these businesses associated with the provision of benefits to local communities?

Hypothesis 1: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will be better
environmental stewards than unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Hypothesis la: There will be a positive relationship between the length of
time a business has been in operation and environmentally responsible
behavior.

Hypothesis Ib: There will be a positive relationship between the number of
visitors served and environmentally responsible behavior.









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

LINKING COMMERCIAL SUCCESS
TO COMMUNITY AND CONSERVATION BENEFITS:
AN ANALYSIS OF TOUR OPERATORS AND AGENCIES IN COSTA RICA

By

Lisa Seales

May 2008

Chair: Taylor Stein
Major: Interdisciplinary Ecology

Throughout the world people are attempting to use tourism as a tool for economic

growth, conservation, and improved quality of life for local residents, but negative

environmental impacts and economic leakages are common. Since the impacts of tourism are

variable, it is important to understand which businesses are providing conservation and

community benefits. Commercial success is often cited as an important determinant of

sustainable behavior. However, little research examines the relationship between commercial

success and the provision of environmental and social benefits. This study explores the possible

link between commercial success and conservation and community benefits. To obtain a diverse

sample of tourism entrepreneurs, Costa Rica was chosen as the study area. A questionnaire was

designed to answer the following questions: Is commercial success in tourism associated with

conservation behavior and the provision of benefits to local communities? If so, what factors are

most associated with commercial success? Tour operators (businesses that organize and run

tours) and agencies (businesses that sell tours operated by others), offering nature-based tours

and travel services in Costa Rica, comprised the population for this study. Researchers identified

key tourism hubs, inventoried operators and agencies, and attempted to contact them all. The









Fourth, although entrepreneurial characteristics and the various factors that contribute to

success are large areas of research, there has been little research investigating which factors

might contribute to the overall commercial success of nature-based tourism enterprises. Also,

few studies explore the challenges that entrepreneurs might face in establishing and operating

their businesses. These topics also merit future research because better understanding both the

factors that contribute to commercial success and the challenges entrepreneurs face may help

empower local people and inform policy decisions.

Finally, examining how entrepreneurs define success, as well as the various ways they can

and do provide benefits to conservation and local communities is worthy of future research.

Although this research does contribute to answering these questions, more research could

explore these topics using different research methods such as free listing and weighting factors

related to success, conservation, and community benefits









Nevertheless, in order to distribute revenue and provide conservation and social benefits to local

communities, it is imperative that businesses are profitable and successful. In fact, ecotourism

businesses can only provide benefits to the environment and local communities if they are

commercially viable (Tisdell, 1998; McKercher, 2001). Like any business, ecotourism

businesses must be able to afford the costs of environmental and social responsibility. Stormer

even goes so far as to state that "socially desirable behavior will cease as soon as it becomes

uneconomic" (2003, pp. 288). Additionally, ecotourism businesses must be able to compete with

other more resource consumptive alternatives (McKercher, 2001; Kiss, 2004). To test this

argument, this research will investigate the extent to which commercially successful

entrepreneurs are realizing the objectives of ecotourism.

Specifically, this study seeks to answer the following questions: Is commercial success

in tourism ventures associated with environmental stewardship and conservation behavior? Is

the commercial success of these businesses associated with the provision of benefits to local

communities?

Hypothesis: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will be better
environmental stewards than unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Hypothesis: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will provide more
benefits to local communities than unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Additionally, this study aims to identify which factors of conservation behavior and the provision

of benefits to local communities are associated with commercial success.









Spearman correlations showed that only one commercial success variable, the length of

time a business had been in operation, was significantly correlated (p < .01) with the index for

community benefits/involvement. Furthermore, this variable was actually negatively correlated

with the index, which reveals the longer a business is around, the less involved it is in the local

community. None of the other six commercial success variables proved to be significantly

related to a businesses level of involvement with the local community. Therefore, there is no

support for hypothesis 2, demonstrating that there is not a positive relationship between

commercial success and the provision of benefits to local communities. Commercially

successful tourism entrepreneurs do not provide more benefits to local communities than

unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

To conclude, six of the 13 community benefit variables were not correlated with any of

the seven commercial success variables. These variables included purchasing local supplies,

patronizing local accommodations, employing local people, providing cultural sensitivity

training to employees, communicating with other local businesses, and communicating with

local officials. Another five community involvement variables (educating local people,

providing cultural education to visitors, making contributions to the development of local

infrastructure, building formal partnerships with other local businesses, and communicating with

community members) were only negatively related to the various dimensions of commercial

success. That left only two community benefit variables, building formal partnerships with local

officials and building formal partnerships with community members, which were positively

associated with any of the commercial success variables. This further demonstrates that there is

little evidence linking commercial success to the provision of benefits to local communities.










behavior. Additionally, all nine conservation variables and all 13 community benefit variables

were correlated with the seven commercial success variables individually to determine

specifically which behaviors were related to commercial success.





----" ..------- "

-7--7
















Location of research site ,-'--
-- ......-






















Figure 3-1. Map of Costa Rica and research sites

Table 3-1. Distribution of tourism businesses by location
Business Location Valid %
San Jose 42
Tamarindo 8.6
LaFortuna 16.7
Monteverde 14.2
Quepos 13
Puerto Viejo 3.7
Osa Peninsula 1.2
Tortuguero 0.6
Table~ ~~~L+ 3-1 Ditiuin ftuim uiessylcto
Business~-~ Loato Vald





















Tortuguero 0.6










Table 4-4. Means and percent distribution of community benefit/involvement variables


Community Benefit Variables


Purchase local supplies

Employ local people

Patronize local accommodations

Communicate with other local
businesses

Provide cultural education to
visitors

Communicate with community
members

Educate local people

Make contributions to the
development of local infrastructure

Communicate with local officials

Build formal partnerships with
other local businesses

Provide cultural sensitivity training
to employees

Build formal partnerships with
community members

Build formal partnerships with local
officials


4.48

4.35

4.3

4.11


vl


156

158

159

158


's



7.1

5.1

10.1

12.7


0
31.4

29.7

32.7

40.5


59.6

58.2

52.2

39.9


3.82 161 5.6 8.1 22.4 26.7 37.3


3.54 153 9.8 13.7 19 27.5 30.1


3.51

3.4


3.19

3.18


3.13 156


7.9

10.1


15.1

19.7


11.8

11.4


17

11.5


24.3

29.1


23.9

23.6


32.9

27.2


21.4

21.7


23

22.2


22.6

23.6


14.7 12.2 34 23.1 16


3.02 155 21.9 15.5 20.6 22.6 19.4


2.67


159 32.1 18.9 13.8 20.8 14.5









Field, A. (2005). Discovering statistics using SPSS. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Fry, L. W., Keim, G. D., & Meiners, R. E. (1982). Corporate contributions: Altruistic or for-
profit? Academy ofManagement Journal, 25(1), 94-106.

Fuller, T., & Tian, Y. (2006). Social and symbolic capital and responsible entrepreneurship: An
empirical investigation of SME narratives. Journal of Business Ethics, 67(3), 287-304.

Haber, S., & Reichel, A. (2005). Identifying performance measures of small ventures-The case
of the tourism industry. Journal of Small Business Management, 43(3), 257-286.

Haber, S., & Reichel, A. (2007). The cumulative nature of the entrepreneurial process: The
contribution of human capital, planning and environment resources to small venture
performance. Journal of Business Venturing, 22(1), 119-145.

Hawkins, D.E., & Lamoureux, K. (2001). Global growth and magnitude of ecotourism. In D.B.
Weaver (Ed.), The encyclopedia ofecotourism (pp.63-72). Wallingford, Oxfordshire,
UK: CABI Publishing.

Healy, R.G. (1994). 'Tourist merchandise' as a means of generating local benefits from
ecotourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2(3), 137-151.

Hemingway, C., & Maclagan, P. (2004). Managers' personal values as drivers of corporate social
responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 50(1), 33-44.

Honey, M. (2002). Ecotourism & certification setting standards in practice. Washington, DC:
Island Press.

Honey, M. (1999). Ecotourism and sustainable development, Who owns paradise? Washington
DC: Island Press.

ICT, Costa Rica Tourism Board. (2007a) About Costa Rica. Retrieved September 28, 2007,
from http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/informacion.asp

ICT, Costa Rica Tourism Board. (2007b). Business and economy. Retrieved September 28, 2007,
from http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/ictnota.asp?idnota=73

ICT, Costa Rica Tourism Board. (2007d). General framework. Retrieved September 28, 2007,
from http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/TourismBoard.asp

ICT, Costa Rica Tourism Board. (2007c). Tourism statistical yearly report. Retrieved September
28, 2007, from http://www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/statistics/Yearly_2005.pdf

Isaak, R. (2002). The making of the ecopreneur. Greener Management International, 38, 81-91.

Jacobson, S.K. & Robles, R. (1992). Ecotourism, sustainable development, and conservation
education: Development of a tour guide training program in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.
Environmental Management, 16(6), 701-713.












Table 3-2. Distribution of businesses by type
Business Type Valid %
Sole Proprietorship 21.7
Partnership 9.3
Corporation 64
Other Type 5


Table 3-3. Distribution of businesses by tours and services offered
Offers Tours & Services Valid %
Only in Costa Rica 82
Costa Rica and Other Countries 18


Table 3-4. Means, skewness statistic, kurtosis statistic, z-scores, Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic,
and Shapiro-Wilk statistic for the commercial success variables


Commercial Success
Variables

Years in business
Number of visitors
Number of
employees
Percent change in
visitors over 5 yrs
Percent change in
employees over 5 yrs
Owner-reported level
of profitability
Perceived level of
success


C


9.1
6324
13.9


'V3
0


8.6
33.8
15.9


S3

(/3
12.7
25.1
19.1


t 3


22.8
82.5
42.1


18.3 4.1 24.5 18.6 56.7

45.6 6.3 48.1 30.1 114.8


3.82 -0.44 0.16 2.2


0.40


3.97 -0.61 0.46 3.1 1.2


>





.155
.329

.217
.217


E w
0



.000
.000

.000


*& .2


.771
.445

.668


I



.000
.000

.000


.238 .000 .630 .000

.337 .000 .377 .000

.281 .000 .838 .000

.251 .000 .823 .000


Table 3-5. Distribution of entrepreneurs by sex
Owner's Sex
Male
Female
Male/Female partnership


Valid %
57.6
26.1
16.3









final sample size was 167 entrepreneurs out of 194, a response rate of 86.1%. Quantitative data

were collected through questionnaires in June and July of 2006. Commercial success was

operationalized using indicators such as growth, longevity, number of visitors and employees,

and the entrepreneur's perceptions of success and profitability. Nine conservation behaviors and

13 community benefit variables were examined using Likert scales. Relationships between

commercial success and benefit variables were analyzed using Spearman correlations. Results

demonstrate that commercially successful entrepreneurs provided environmental education to

visitors, supported conservation groups or initiatives, reduced, reused, and/or recycled, used

environmentally friendly equipment, and built formal partnerships with community members.

However, the frequency with which entrepreneurs educated and employed local people,

purchased supplies locally, and patronized local accommodations was not related to commercial

success. Overall, the results indicated that a relationship exists between an entrepreneur's level

of commercial success and the provision of conservation benefits, but there is little evidence

supporting a relationship between commercial success and community benefits. Nevertheless, it

is important to note that tourism businesses are providing benefits to local communities;

however, these benefits are not related to a business's level of commercial success.









LIST OF TABLES
Table page

3-1 Distribution of tourism businesses by location......................... ....... ..................31

3-2 Distribution of businesses by type ......................................... ...... ............... 32

3-3 Distribution of businesses by tours and services offered................... .............. 32

3-4 Means, skewness statistic, kurtosis statistic, z-scores, Kolmogorov-Smimov statistic,
and Shapiro-Wilk statistic for the commercial success variables..................................32

3-5 Distribution of entrepreneurs by sex ................................................... ..................32

3-6 Distribution of entrepreneurs by nationality ..................................... ........ ............... 33

3-7 Distribution of entrepreneurs by marital status......................................... .................. 33

3-8 Distribution of entrepreneurs by number of children ................................ ............... 33

3-9 Distribution of entrepreneurs by level of education .................................. ............... 33

4-1 Mean and distribution of businesses by owner-reported level of profitability ..................44

4-2 Mean and distribution of businesses by perceived level of success as compared to
sim ilar bu sinesses ........... ................................................................... ..... ............. 44

4-3 Means and percent distribution of conservation variables.....................................45

4-4 Means and percent distribution of community benefit/involvement variables..................46

4-5 Correlation coefficients for commercial success and conservation variables ...................47

4-6 Correlation coefficients for commercial success and community benefit/involvement
v a ria b le s ................................................... ........................ ................ 4 8









likelihood of responsible behavior (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006; Solymossy & Masters, 2002; Teal

& Carroll, 1999). Indeed, "idealistic values can be translated into valuable economic

assets"(Dixon & Clifford, 2007). This research investigates entrepreneurs and the relationship

between responsible behavior and commercial success.

The 1990s saw the advent of the concepts of social entrepreneurs and ecological

entrepreneurs, or ecopreneurs (Paktakia, 1998). Social entrepreneurs can be defined as

enterprising individuals who seek to address social issues or change society (Swamy, 1990). An

ecopreneur is an eco-conscious individual "who seeks to transform a sector of the economy

towards sustainability" (Isaak, 2002, p.82) or "entrepreneurs whose business efforts are not only

driven by profit, but also by a concern for the environment" (Schuyler, 1998, pp.1). Using these

definitions, ecotourism entrepreneurs theoretically should be both social entrepreneurs and

ecopreneurs. This research tests this assumption.

There is a considerable amount of research suggesting that, particularly with regard to

small and medium enterprises (SME), business behavior can be understood specifically in terms

of the values, ethics, and psychological characteristics of their owner/managers or entrepreneurs

(Fuller, 2006; Hemingway & Maclagan, 2004; Jenkins, 2006; Kotey & Meredith, 1997). "The

literature in this area suggests that owner/managers' personalities, in particular their values and

goals, are indistinguishable from the goals of their businesses" (Kotey & Meredith, 1997).

Previous research also negates the notion of the profit-maximizing owner-manager as the

standard entrepreneur (Spence & Rutherfoord, 2000; Jenkins, 2006). Fuller notes "the nature of

small enterprises cannot be fully understood by reference to market economics. The interaction

of the personal and social with the business in family and owner-managed firms is key to

understanding responsible behaviour and ethics in SMEs" (2006, pp. 288). Carr argues that in









(Perrini, 2006). Therefore, in an effort to further the understanding of socially responsible

behavior with regard to SMEs in developing countries the population for this study includes

small and medium sized tourism enterprises in Costa Rica.

Commercial Success and Performance

In order to investigate the relationship between commercial success and the provision of

benefits to conservation and local communities, one must first operationalize commercial

success. Commercial success and business performance are themselves large areas of research.

Commercial success or business performance is a complex concept, and is now recognized as

being multidimensional (Lerner & Haber, 2001; Lumpkin & Dess, 1996; Reichel & Haber,

2005). Therefore, research investigating only one performance measure, such as profitability,

can be misleading (Haber & Reichel, 2005; Lumpkin & Dess, 1996). Instead, to more accurately

capture a concept like commercial success, various performance measures should be employed

(Cooper, Gimeno-Gascon, & Woo, 1994; Kalleberg & Leicht, 1991; Westhead, Wright, &

Ucbasaran, 2001).

The use of both subjective and objective performance data is recommended by various

researchers (Brush & Vanderwerf, 1992; Coviello, Winklhofer, & Hamilton, 2006; Haber and

Reichel, 2005; Matear, Osborne, Garrett, & Gray, 2002; Sin, Tse, Yau, Lee, & Chow, 2002).

However, it is often difficult to obtain objective financial performance data (Cragg & King,

1988; Haber & Reichel, 2005), because small firms are notorious for their unwillingness to share

financial information (Coviello, Winklhofer, & Hamilton, 2006; Covin & Slevin, 1989;

Sapienza, Smith, & Gannon, 1988). Also, objective data are often found to be inaccurate

(Coviello et al., 2006; Dess & Robinson Jr., 1984), and since such data is typically not made

available to the public (Coviello et al., 2006; Covin & Slevin, 1989), it can be difficult or

impossible to verify the accuracy of the information (Covin & Slevin, 1989; Haber & Reichel,









demonstrates that there is a clear relationship between the size, growth, and perceived relative

success of a business, and certain conservation behaviors.

Commercial Success and Community Benefits/Involvement

Next, this study sought to answer the question, is the commercial success of tourism

businesses associated with the provision of benefits to local communities? The results of this

study reveal that commercial success is not clearly associated with providing benefits to, or

being involved with, local communities. When examining the relationship between the

community involvement/benefit index and the various commercial success variables, it became

apparent that there really was no relationship between commercial success and community

involvement. Only one commercial success variable, the length of time in business, was related

to the community index, and this variable was negatively associated with the level of community

involvement. There are several possible explanations for the negative relationship between

longevity and community involvement. First, it stands to reason that newer businesses might

make the extra effort to reach out to the community to garner support necessary for survival.

Since business survival is dependent on building a customer base, the local community may

prove to be an excellent resource to help achieve this objective. As businesses age, they may

feel less pressure to make the extra effort to reach out to the community. They may be more set

in their ways, have a stable customer base, have well established relationships with suppliers, etc.

These already-established relationships may result in fewer opportunities, or less of a need, to

reach out to the community.

This study provides further evidence that commercial success is not clearly related to the

provision of benefits to, or involvement with, local communities. Of the 13 community

involvement variables, only seven were related to any aspect of commercial success, and more

than half of these associations were negative relationships. Also, typically the community









If you have any questions or comments, please write them in the space below.


Thank you for your help with this study









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Ecotourism versus Nature-Based Tourism

Ecotourism, defined by The International Ecotourism Society as "responsible travel to

natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people" (2006,

home pg), is often confused with nature-based tourism. In fact, it can be so difficult to

distinguish between the two types of tourism, that even The International Ecotourism Society

lumps the two types together when citing ecotourism statistics. Regardless of the two types of

tourism often being grouped together, nature-based tourism differs substantially from

ecotourism. Nature-based tourism can be "defined as tourism primarily concerned with the

direct enjoyment of some relatively undisturbed phenomenon of nature" (Nyaupane, 2004,

pp.540; Valentine, 1992) or "any form of tourism that relies primarily on the natural environment

for its attractions or settings" (TIES, 2007). Nature-based tourism makes no claims about aiding

conservation or improving the well-being of local people. In contrast, ecotourism is based on the

concept of benefiting the environment and local people. Using TIES' commonly used definition,

nature-based tourism cannot be considered ecotourism unless those providing the tourism

opportunities are helping to ensure responsible travel, conserve the environment, and improve

the well-being of local people. Therefore, not all nature-based tourism should be classified as

ecotourism.

The unclear distinction between the two terms has led to a significant amount of

"greenwashing," or simply using the ecotourism label for marketing and image building (Honey,

2002). Many businesses, which call themselves "ecotourism" businesses, do not deliver

environmental and social benefits that would distinguish them as true ecotourism businesses.

These businesses are "ecotourism" only in name. One of the goals of this research is to









LIST OF REFERENCES


Abbott, W. F., & Monsen, R. J. (1979). On the measurement of corporate social responsibility:
Self-reported disclosures as a method of measuring corporate social involvement.
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Arlow, P., & Cannon, M. J. (1982). Social responsiveness, corporate structure, and economic
performance. Academy ofManagement Review, 7(2), 235-241.

Aupperle, K. E., Carroll, A. B., & Hatfield, J. D. (1985). An empirical examination of the
relationship between corporate social responsibility and profitability. Academy of
Management Journal, 28(2), 446-463.

Backman, K.F., & Morais, D.B. (2001). Methodological approaches used in the literature. In
D.B. Weaver (Ed.) The encyclopedia ofecotourism (pp.597-609). Wallingford,
Oxfordshire, UK: CABI Publishing.

Baron, D. P. (2007). Corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. Journal of
Economics & Management Strategy, 16(3), 683-717.

Besser, T. L. (1999). Community involvement and the perception of success among small
business operators in small towns. Journal of Small Business Management, 3 7(4), 16-29.

Boo, E. (1990). Ecotourism: The potentials andpitfalls, 2 vols. Washington, DC: World Wildlife
Fund.

Bookbinder, M.P., Dinerstein, E., Arun, R., Cauley, H., & Arup, R. (1998). Ecotourism's support
of biodiversity conservation. Conservation Biology, 12(6), 1399-1404.

Bowman, E. H., & Haire, M. (1975). A strategic posture toward corporate social responsibility.
California Management Review, 18(2), 2-58.

Brandon, K. (1996). Ecotourism and conservation: A review of key issues. Washington, DC:
World Bank.

Brohman, J. (1996). New directions in tourism for third world development. Annals of Tourism
Research, 23(1): 48-70.

Brush, C. G., & Vanderwerf, P. A. (1992). A comparison of methods and sources for obtaining
estimates of new venture performance. Journal of Business Venturing, 7(2), 157-170.

Buckley, R. (2001). Environmental impacts. In D.B. Weaver (Ed.), The encyclopedia of
ecotourism (pp. 379-394). Wallingford, Oxfordshire, UK: CABI Publishing.

Carr, P. (2003). Revisiting the protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism: Understanding the
relationship between ethics and enterprise. Journal of Business Ethics, 47(1), 7-16.









Business Operations

20. To better understand how this business operates, we'd like to know how often this business
conducts certain activities.

Please indicate how often this business does each activity listed below.


Activities J E


Provide environmental education to visitors 1 2 3 4 5
Support conservation groups and initiatives 1 2 3 4 5
Reduce, Reuse, and/or recycle 1 2 3 4 5
Use environmentally friendly equipment 1 2 3 4 5
Educate local people 1 2 3 4 5

Purchase local supplies 1 2 3 4 5
Patronize local accommodations 1 2 3 4 5
Employ local people 1 2 3 4 5
Provide environmental or conservation training for employees 1 2 3 4 5
Use alternative energy sources 1 2 3 4 5

Pay fees to use or visit parks or protected areas 1 2 3 4 5
Provide cultural education to visitors 1 2 3 4 5
Make contributions to the development of local infrastructure 1 2 3 4 5
Provide cultural sensitivity training to your employees 1 2 3 4 5
Build formal partnerships with other local businesses 1 2 3 4 5

Build formal partnerships with parks and protected areas 1 2 3 4 5
Build formal partnerships with local officials 1 2 3 4 5
Build formal partnerships with community members 1 2 3 4 5
Communicate with other local businesses 1 2 3 4 5
Communicate with parks and protected areas 1 2 3 4 5

Communicate with local officials 1 2 3 4 5
Communicate with community members 1 2 3 4 5
Use passenger cars as transportation 1 2 3 4 5
Use trucks as transportation 1 2 3 4 5
Use SUVs as transportation 1 2 3 4 5

Use buses as transportation 1 2 3 4 5
Use motor boats as transportation 1 2 3 4 5
Use trains as transportation 1 2 3 4 5
Use animals as transportation 1 2 3 4 5
Use bicycles as transportation 1 2 3 4 5










Table 4-6. Correlation coefficients for commercial success and community benefit/involvement


variables



Community
Involvement Variables


Cc~ m
08
e o
E "a
5E


Mean of all 13
community benefit
variables
Educate local people
Purchase local
supplies
Patronize local
accommodations
Employ local people
Provide cultural
education to visitors
Make contributions to
the development of
local infrastructure
Provide cultural
sensitivity training to
employees
Build formal
partnerships with other
local businesses
Build formal
partnerships with local
officials
Build formal
partnerships with
community members
Communicate with
other local businesses
Communicate with
local officials
Communicate with
community members


-.210** .093


-.166*

-.046

-.071

-.022


-.027

-.004

-.043

.103


.115

.114

.034

.071

.015


.146

.174

.107

.048

-.008


.121 -.006


.081

.087

.116

.089


-.042

-.001

-.128

-.008


-.142 -.259** -.160* .101 -.016 -.006 -.038


-.169* .067


-.072 .056


-.225**


-.138


-.003


.143


.097 -.007


.055


.054


.168*


.157


.141


.155


-.158 .174* .184* .212*


-.123


.033


-.056 .097

-.293** .108


-.086

.077

.020


-.024

.069

.079


.083


.045


.117


.055


.097


.018


.016


.036


.022


.017


-.017


.038


-.016 .010

.038 -.052


** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).


0
-e
3



>- m


.089

.013

.088

.032

.068


.063


.100


.039


.134


.147


.000

.021

.068









Factors of Environmental and Social Responsibility Most Related to Commercial
S u c c e ss ................... ...................5...................7..........
O v e ra ll F in d in g s ............................................................................................................... 5 8
M anagem ent Im plications .................................................................... ............................59
S tu d y L im itatio n s............................. .................................................................. ............... 6 1
D directions for Future R esearch.......................................................................... ............... 62

APPENDIX

A Q U E ST IO N N A IR E ....................................................................................... ................... 64

Business Inform ation ................................................. ............... ............ 65
Ow ner's D em graphic Inform ation........................ ...................... ................. ................66
Business Operations.......... .................... .. .... ..... ..................67

B HISTOGRAMS AND BOXPLOTS OF COMMERCIAL SUCCESS DATA ......................70

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S .................................................................................... .....................76

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H .............................................................................. .....................84

































6









children. Entrepreneurs were highly educated. The majority had a university degree (46.5%)

(Table 3-9). An additional 12.3% had a graduate degree as well, and 17.5% attended university

without completing a degree. This left less than a quarter of entrepreneurs who had a high

school education or less. On average this study's data describe the average Costa Rican tourism

entrepreneur to be a highly educated, married, Costa Rican, male in his early 40's.

Data Exploration

In preparing the data for analysis, the assumption of normality was tested to determine the

type of analyses necessary, and whether parametric or non-parametric tests were appropriate for

the data set. First, the researcher examined boxplots of the commercial success data (Figures B-

8 -12). The boxplots highlighted the outliers that existed within the data set. After checking the

raw data, the researcher confirmed the outliers were not errors, and there was no good reason to

believe these cases came from a different population. Therefore, it was inappropriate to remove

the outliers from the data set.

Next, the researcher checked the histograms to look at the distribution of the commercial

success variables. The histograms revealed that some variables were negatively skewed while

others were positively skewed (Figures B-1-7). Therefore, transforming the data was not an

option, since no one transformation would correct all the problems throughout the data set.

Additionally, it appeared as though there was significant kurtosis in several of the variables. To

confirm the extent of the skewness and kurtosis, these scores were standardized by converting

them to z-scores (Table 3-4). The z-scores demonstrated all data are significantly skewed (p <

.05), 6 out of 7 variables were significant at the .01 level, and 5 out of 7 were significant at the

.001 level. Also, there is a significant kurtosis for all variables except owner-reported

profitability and perceived success (p < .001). See table 3-4 for a summary of the scores.









negative association between the number of visitors served and paying fees to parks and

protected areas, at the same time there was a significant positive relationship between the

number of visitors served and communication with parks and protected areas. In some ways,

these two significant correlations do seem to be in contradiction with one another. Larger

businesses do not appear to pay fees to parks and protected areas, yet they do communicate with

managers of these area. Perhaps these larger businesses communicate with the parks and

protected areas in order to corral visitors from these areas to their own private lands for tours, or

vice versa. This relationship warrants further investigation.

In summary, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that there is an association between

commercial success and environmentally responsible behavior. Overall, the businesses that

reported behaving in an environmentally responsible manner were larger (having more

employees), enjoyed more growth, and perceived themselves as being more successful than their

comparable counterparts. Although the results of this study do not determine if commercial

success causes environmentally responsible behavior or vice versa, there does seem to be a clear

relationship between these aspects of commercial success and environmentally responsible

behavior. Also, it is important to note that four conservation behaviors were consistently found

to be related to various dimensions of commercial success. Providing environmental education

to visitors, supporting conservation groups or initiatives, reducing, reusing, and recycling, and

using environmentally friendly equipment were significantly associated with growth (both in

number of visitors and number of employees) and perceived success as compared to similar

businesses. Moreover, three of these behaviors (supporting conservation groups and initiatives,

reducing, reusing, and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment) were also

significantly related to the size of a business (number of employees). Therefore, this study










TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ................................................................. ........... ............. .....

LIST OF FIGURES .................................. .. ..... ..... ................. .8

ABSTRAC T ...........................................................................................

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... ................. ........... ......................... .... 11

2 L ITE R A TU R E R E V IE W ......................................................................... ........................ 14

Ecotourism versus N ature-Based Tourism ........................................................ ................. .14
Entrepreneurship, Business Behavior, and Corporate Social Responsibility .........................15
Theories of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) .............................................................18
Com m ercial Success and Perform ance........................................................ ............... 20
S tu d y O b je c tiv e s ............................................................................................................... 2 2

3 METHODS .........................................25

Stu dy Site .....................................................................................................2 5
Research Design and Sample Selection ................................ ...........................26
Survey M methodology ................................................................... 26
Q u estio n n aire D esig n ........................................................................................................ 2 7
S am p le D e scrip tio n ........................................................................................................... 2 8
General Business Inform ation ............................................................. ...............28
Owner Demographic Information ..................................................28
D ata E x p lo ratio n ............................................................................................................... 2 9
D ata A analysis ................................................... 30

4 R E SU L T S .............. ... ................................................................34

D descriptive Statistics ................................................................... 34
Commercial Success Data ................................................................ ......... 34
C on serve action B eh av ior .............................................................................................. 34
Community Benefits/Involvement .................................................35
Commercial Success and Conservation Behavior ......... ...... ..... ...................36
Commercial Success and Community Benefits/Involvement .................................... 40

5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS .................................................49

Commercial Success and Conservation Behavior .......... .... ....................... 49
Commercial Success and Community Benefits/Involvement .................................... 54










Table 4-5. Correlation coefficients for commercial success and conservation variables


Conservation Variables


Mean of all 9
conservation variables
Provide environmental
education to visitors
Support conservation
groups and initiatives
Reduce, Reuse, and/or
recycle
Use environmentally
friendly equipment
Provide environmental
or conservation training
for employees
Use alternative energy
sources
Pay fees to use or visit
parks or protected areas
Build formal
partnerships with parks
and protected areas
Communicate with
parks and protected
areas


-.098 .141 .272** .244** .233** .120 .195*

-.082 .062 .132 .230* .252** .092 .203*


-.076

.099

-.077


-.207*


-001


-.148


.114 .186* .205* .197*

.151 .316** .247** .228*

.121 .261** .321** .192*


.030


.084


.161


120 .257** .092


.159 .224** .151


-.150 .178* .067


.067


.069


.010

.066


.213*


.053


.047 .210*

.107 .285**

.120 .214**


-.024


049


-.012


179*


.065 -.106


.097


.125


** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).


co
^ 0


-.043 -.213* -.145 -.091









similar businesses. Also, four commercial success variables, number of employees, growth in

number of visitors, growth in the number of employees, and perceived success relative to other

similar businesses, were all positively associated with one or more aspects of conservation.

Overall, there is a reasonable amount of support demonstrating that commercial success and

environmentally responsible behavior are positively related to one another.

The size of a business, measured by the number of employees, was positively associated

with more than half of the conservation behaviors. Perhaps this is because businesses with larger

staffs have more opportunities to go the extra mile and practice these behaviors. Since it stands

to reason that all of the conservation behaviors take a certain amount of time and effort, it makes

sense that businesses with more employees may have more human-power to dedicate to these

endeavors. Yet, the data also show that businesses with more employees do not necessarily

provide environmental education to visitors or environmental or conservation training to

employees, or pay fees to visit parks and protected areas, or communicate with these areas. The

data also reveal, though, that over half of the sample often or always practices these behaviors,

regardless of their level of commercial success. Therefore, perhaps these behaviors are

commonplace, regardless of business size or number of employees.

There is considerable overlap between the conservation behaviors that correlate with both

growth in the number of visitors and growth in the number of employees. Four out of nine of the

conservation behaviors were associated with both aspects of growth. These include providing

environmental education to visitors, supporting conservation groups or initiatives, reducing,

reusing, and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment. Since both these

commercial success variables were used to gauge the overall growth of a business, the

similarities seem appropriate. As a consequence, it is safe to say that there is relationship









local people? Ecotourism, defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the

environment and improves the well-being of local people" (TIES, 2006, home pg), seems to

offer a potential solution. Ecotourism is often considered a subset of nature-based tourism

(Orams, 2001), which is defined as tourism "primarily concerned with the direct enjoyment of

some relatively undisturbed phenomenon of nature" (Valentine, 1992, pp. 108). Recently, there

is an increasing trend towards both ecotourism and nature-based tourism (Lordkipanidze et al,

2005), making these the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry (Wight, 2001;

Hawkins & Lamoureux, 2001; McKercher, 2001; Reingold, 1993). In 2004, ecotourism and

nature-based tourism globally grew 3 times faster than the tourism industry as a whole (TIES,

2007). However, since no internationally agreed upon standard exists for what constitutes

ecotourism (i.e. what is "responsible travel that conserves the environment and improves the

well-being of local people"?), much of what is marketed as ecotourism remains so only in name,

while contributing minimally to conservation or improving the lives of local people (Chamley,

2005).

Since it is widely acknowledged that entrepreneurs are a key resource in promoting

development and economic growth (Lordkipanidze et al, 2005; Volery, 2002; Paktakia, 1998;

Kent, 1982), entrepreneurs may be responsible for a significant portion of ecotourism's growth.

Additionally, entrepreneurs could play a significant role in the distribution of benefits to

conservation and local communities. This research will investigate whether entrepreneurs and

tourism businesses provide conservation and community benefits.

Given that entrepreneurs and businesses exist to make a profit, it stands to reason that

tourism businesses are no exception. However, the importance of profitability and commercial

success are critical factors often excluded from discussions regarding the goals of ecotourism.









The data provide minimal support for this hypothesis. Only one community involvement

variable, building formal partnerships with community members, was significantly correlated

with growth in the number of visitors served (p < .05). Thus, there is very limited evidence of a

positive relationship between the growth in the number of visitors and socially responsible

behavior.

Hypothesis 2e: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in the number
of employees and socially responsible behavior.

The data provide no support for this hypothesis whatsoever. None of the community

involvement variables were significantly correlated with the growth in the number of employees,

even at the .1 level. Hence, it can be concluded that there is no relationship between growth in

the number of employees and socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2f: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported
profitability and socially responsible behavior.

The data do not support this hypothesis. None of the community benefits variables were

significantly correlated with owner-reported profitability. Consequently, there is no evidence

that any relationship exists between owner-reported profitability and socially responsible

behavior.

Hypothesis 2g: There will be a positive relationship between perceived business success
as compared to similar businesses and socially responsible behavior.

The data do not provide any evidence to support this hypothesis. There were no

significant correlations between perceived business success and any of the 13 community

involvement variables. Therefore, this hypothesis can be rejected and one can conclude there is

no relationship between perceived success relative to other similar businesses and socially

responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will provide more
benefits to local communities than unsuccessful entrepreneurs.









formal partnership with parks and protected areas. This provides more evidence to demonstrate

that perhaps having more employees frees up time for business owners/entrepreneurs, which

allows them to build formal partnerships that they wouldn't have had the opportunity to do

otherwise. From these data it seems likely that the number of man-hours a business has available

to direct towards building relationships has a large impact on partnership building.

In summary, there is little to no evidence positively linking commercial success to

socially responsible behavior. Instead, there is some indication that there may actually be a

negative relationship between longevity and socially responsible behavior. Size may also be

negatively related to socially responsible behavior. The data also show owner-reported

profitability and perceived success relative to other similar businesses were not at all related to

socially responsible behavior. The only indication that there is any positive relationship at all

between commercial success and socially responsible behavior is in reference to the building of

partnerships with local officials and community members. This provides support for both

neoclassical economic theory and the enlightened self-interest model which both state that

businesses will only act responsibly if it is in their best interests, in other words, if it will

maximize profits (Stormer, 2003).

Factors of Environmental and Social Responsibility Most Related to Commercial Success

Finally, this study aimed to identify which factors of conservation behavior and the

provision of benefits to local communities are associated with commercial success. The results

indicate that providing environmental education to visitors, supporting conservation groups and

initiatives, reducing, reusing, and recycling, using environmentally friendly equipment, and

building formal partnerships with community members are the factors most related to

commercial success.









Hypothesis Ic: There will be a positive relationship between the number of
employees and environmentally responsible behavior.

Hypothesis Id: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in
number of visitors and environmentally responsible behavior.

Hypothesis le: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in
the number of employees and environmentally responsible behavior.

Hypothesis If: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported
profitability and environmentally responsible behavior.

Hypothesis Ig: There will be a positive relationship between perceived
business success as compared to similar businesses and environmentally
responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will provide more benefits
to local communities than unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

Hypothesis 2a: There will be a positive relationship between the length of
time a business has been in operation and socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2b: There will be a positive relationship between the number of
visitors served and socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2c: There will be a positive relationship between the number of
employees and socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2d: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in
number of visitors and socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2e: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in
the number of employees and socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2f: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported
profitability and socially responsible behavior.

Hypothesis 2g: There will be a positive relationship between perceived
business success as compared to similar businesses and socially responsible
behavior.

Additionally, this study aims to identify which factors of conservation behavior (e.g.,

providing environmental education to visitors, supporting conservation groups and initiatives,

reducing, reusing, and/or recycling, using environmentally friendly equipment) and the provision

of benefits to local communities (e.g., educating local people, purchasing supplies locally,









benefit variables that were related to commercial success were related to only one or two aspects

of commercial success, rather than being related to the majority of them. This demonstrates that

the relationship between commercial success and socially responsible behavior is tenuous at best.

Rather than supporting a positive relationship between commercial success and socially

responsible behavior, the data from this study illustrate that perhaps there is a negative

association between the two concepts. About half of the commercial success variables (i.e.

length of time in business, number of visitors served, and number of employees), were

negatively correlated to one or more of the community benefit variables. For instance, the length

of time a business had been in operation was negatively correlated with four community

involvement variables. The enlightened self-interest model can be used to explain this finding.

Using this framework, "it is a possibility that socially responsible behavior will directly enhance

a firm's public image and prestige" (Besser, 1999, pp. 17). Since older firms probably already

have a well established public image, maybe these businesses do not see the benefits of acting in

a socially responsible manner. However, younger businesses, struggling to get established in the

communities to which they belong, may have more motivation to practice these behaviors. It

may be that acting in a socially responsible manner brings more benefits to younger businesses.

The size of a business, measured by both the number of visitors and the number of

employees, was also found to be negatively related to the provision of cultural education to

visitors. The results of this study show that the bigger the business, the less likely it is to provide

cultural education to visitors. Since size is not positively correlated with providing

environmental education to visitors either, perhaps once a business reaches a certain size, it

becomes busy and does not dedicate the time to educating visitors. However, since providing

environmental education to visitors is not negatively correlated with the number of visitors









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Table 4-3. Means and percent distribution of conservation variables


Conservation Variables a b o a
Z v l 0 <
Pay fees to use or visit parks or 3.75 159 13.2 11.3 10.1 17.6 47.8
protected areas

Support conservation groups and 3.66 160 6.9 13.8 21.9 21.9 35.6
initiatives

Reduce, reuse, and/or recycle 3.66 158 7.6 10.8 21.5 27.8 32.3

Use environmentally friendly 3.62 153 9.2 8.5 22.9 30.1 29.4
equipment

Provide environmental education 3.59 159 10.7 9.4 21.4 27 31.4
to visitors

Provide environmental or 3.53 153 7.8 13.1 25.5 25.5 28.1
conservation training for
employees

Communicate with parks and 3.42 156 13.5 11.5 20.5 28.2 26.3
protected areas

Build formal partnerships with 2.83 158 26.6 19 15.2 23.4 15.8
parks and protected areas

Use alternative energy sources 2.55 149 32.2 17.4 22.8 18.1 9.4









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Table 3-6. Distribution of entrepreneurs by nationality
Nationality Valid %
Costa Rican 56.6
USA 17.2
Costa Rican, USA 3.3
Costa Rican, European 1.6
South American 4.9
Central American/Caribbean 4.1
European 9
Canadian 2.5
Japanese 0.8


Table 3-7. Distribution of entrepreneurs by marital status
Marital Status Valid %
Married 65
Single 25.6
Divorced 9.4


Table 3-8. Distribution of entrepreneurs by number of children
Number of Children Valid %
0 25.7
1 26.7
2 17.8
3 16.8
4 or more 12.9

Table 3-9. Distribution of entrepreneurs by level of education
Level of Education Valid %
Incomplete primary 0.9
Primary 3.5
Incomplete secondary 5.3
Secondary 12.3
Technical School 1.8
Incomplete University 17.5
University Graduate 46.5
Postgraduate Degree 12.3




Full Text

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1 LINKING COMMERCIAL SUCCESS TO COMMUNITY AND CONSERVATION BENEFITS: AN ANALYSIS OF TOUR OPERATORS AND AGENCIES IN COSTA RICA By LISA SEALES A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 Lisa Seales

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3 To my mother

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This work would not have been possibl e without the support and guidance of m y committee chair, Dr. Taylor Stein, as well as the members of my supervisory committee Dr. Marianne Schmink and Dr. Robert Buschbacher. I would also like to th ank Dr. Mickie Swisher for her advice and time at various points throughout this research project. Additionally, I would like to thank the Center for Latin American Studies and the Tropical Conservation and Development Program for providi ng financial support for summer field work, as well as the School of Natural Resources and Environment fo r the graduate assistantship that made my masters work possible. Finally, I owe much tha nks to my mother, Anne Seales, who has always supported and encouraged me to work hard and follow my dreams. Without her love and support I would not be where I am today.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................8 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................11 2 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................14 Ecotourism versus Nature-Based Tourism............................................................................. 14 Entrepreneurship, Business Behavior, a nd Corporate Social Responsibility ......................... 15 Theories of Corporate Soci al Responsibility (CSR) ............................................................... 18 Commercial Success and Performance...................................................................................20 Study Objectives.....................................................................................................................22 3 METHODS.............................................................................................................................25 Study Site..................................................................................................................... ...........25 Research Design and Sample Selection..................................................................................26 Survey Methodology..............................................................................................................26 Questionnaire Design........................................................................................................... ...27 Sample Description.................................................................................................................28 General Business Information......................................................................................... 28 Owner Demographic Information................................................................................... 28 Data Exploration............................................................................................................... ......29 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................30 4 RESULTS...............................................................................................................................34 Descriptive Statistics......................................................................................................... .....34 Commercial Success Data...............................................................................................34 Conservation Behavior....................................................................................................34 Community Benefits/Involvement.................................................................................. 35 Commercial Success and C onservation Behavior ..................................................................36 Commercial Success and Commun ity Benefits/Involvem ent................................................40 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS.................................................................................. 49 Commercial Success and C onservation Behavior ..................................................................49 Commercial Success and Commun ity Benefits/Involvem ent................................................54

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6 Factors of Environmental and Social Res ponsibility Most Related to Comm ercial Success................................................................................................................................57 Overall Findings.....................................................................................................................58 Management Implications......................................................................................................59 Study Limitations.............................................................................................................. ......61 Directions for Future Research............................................................................................... 62 APPENDIX A QUESTIONNAIRE................................................................................................................64 Business Information..............................................................................................................65 Owners Demographic Information........................................................................................66 Business Operations............................................................................................................ ....67 B HISTOGRAMS AND BOXPLOTS OF COMM ERCIAL SUCCESS DATA...................... 70 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................76 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................84

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Distribution of tourism businesses by location.................................................................. 31 3-2 Distribution of businesses by type..................................................................................... 32 3-3 Distribution of businesses by tours and services offered ................................................... 32 3-4 Means, skewness statistic, kurtosis statistic, z-scores, Kolm ogorov-Smirnov statistic, and Shapiro-Wilk statistic for the commercial success variables...................................... 32 3-5 Distribution of en trepreneurs by sex .................................................................................. 32 3-6 Distribution of entr epreneurs by nationality ...................................................................... 33 3-7 Distribution of entrep reneurs by m arital status.................................................................. 33 3-8 Distribution of entrepre neurs by number of children ........................................................33 3-9 Distribution of entreprene urs by level of education ..........................................................33 4-1 Mean and distribution of businesses by owner-reported level of profitability .................. 44 4-2 Mean and distribution of businesses by pe rceived level of su ccess as compared to similar businesses............................................................................................................. ..44 4-3 Means and percent distributi on of conservation variables .................................................45 4-4 Means and percent distribution of community benefit/involvement variables.................. 46 4-5 Correlation coefficients for commerci al success and conserv ation variables................... 47 4-6 Correlation coefficients for commercial success and community benefit/involvem ent variables.............................................................................................................................48

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Matrix for success variables............................................................................................... 24 3-1 Map of Costa Rica and research sites................................................................................ 31 B-1 Histogram showing frequency di stribution of business longevity ..................................... 70 B-2 Histogram showing frequency distribution of number of visitors served over 12 months ................................................................................................................................70 B-3 Histogram showing frequency di stribution of number of e mployees................................ 71 B-4 Histogram showing frequency distribution of percent change in num ber of visitors over 5 years........................................................................................................................71 B-5 Histogram showing frequency distribution of percent change in em ployees over 5 years...................................................................................................................................72 B-6 Histogram showing frequency distribution of owner-reported level of profitability ........72 B-7 Histogram of frequency di stribution of businesses pe rceived level of success ................ 73 B-8 Boxplot showing distribution of da ta and outliers for business longevity......................... 73 B-9 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the number of visitors served over 12 m onths................................................................................................................. ..74 B-10 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the number of em ployees.............. 74 B-11 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the percent change in num ber of visitors over 5 years.......................................................................................................75 B-12 Boxplot showing distribution of data and outliers for the percent change in num ber of employees over 5 years.................................................................................................. 75

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9Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science LINKING COMMERCIAL SUCCESS TO COMMUNITY AND CONSERVATION BENEFITS: AN ANALYSIS OF TOUR OPERATORS AND AGENCIES IN COSTA RICA By Lisa Seales May 2008 Chair: Taylor Stein Major: Interdisciplinary Ecology Throughout the world people are attempting to use tourism as a tool for economic growth, conservation, and improved quality of life for local resi dents, but negative environmental impacts and economic leakages are common. Since the impacts of tourism are variable, it is important to understand which businesses are providing conservation and community benefits. Commercial success is of ten cited as an important determinant of sustainable behavior. However, little research examines the relationship between commercial success and the provision of envir onmental and social benefits. Th is study explores the possible link between commercial success a nd conservation and community benefits. To obtain a diverse sample of tourism entrepreneurs, Costa Rica was chosen as the study area. A questionnaire was designed to answer the following questions: Is commercial success in tourism associated with conservation behavior and the provision of benefits to local communities? If so, what factors are most associated with commercial success? Tour operators (businesses that organize and run tours) and agencies (businesses that sell tours operated by others), offering nature-based tours and travel services in Costa Ri ca, comprised the population for this study. Researchers identified key tourism hubs, inventoried operators and agencies, and attempted to contact them all. The

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10 final sample size was 167 entrepreneurs out of 194, a response rate of 86.1%. Quantitative data were collected through questionnaires in June and July of 2006. Commercial success was operationalized using indicators su ch as growth, longevity, number of visitors and employees, and the entrepreneurs perceptions of success and profitability. Nine conservation behaviors and 13 community benefit variables we re examined using Likert scales. Relationships between commercial success and benefit variables were an alyzed using Spearman correlations. Results demonstrate that commercially successful entrep reneurs provided environmental education to visitors, supported conservation groups or initiatives, reduced, reused, and/or recycled, used environmentally friendly equipment, and built fo rmal partnerships with community members. However, the frequency with which entrepre neurs educated and employed local people, purchased supplies locally, and patronized local accommodations was not related to commercial success. Overall, the results indi cated that a relationship exists between an entrepreneurs level of commercial success and the provision of conservation benefits, but there is little evidence supporting a relationship between commercial success and community benef its. Nevertheless, it is important to note that tourism businesses are providing benefits to local communities; however, these benefits are not related to a businesss level of commercial success.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Tourism is the number one industry in many countries, the largest international export earner, and one of the worlds most importa nt sources of employment (WTO, 2006a). It represents the largest business sector in the world economy, employing 200 million people, generating $3.6 trillion in economic activity, and accounting for one in every 12, or 8%, of jobs worldwide (TIES, 2007). In 2005, international tourism incr eased by 5.5% from the previous year, with a total of 808 m illion arrivals (WTO, 2006b). As this industry continues to grow, the impacts of tourism are not always positive. Negative environmental impacts of tourism ar e well documented in the literature (Buckley, 2001; Ceballos-Lascurain, 1996; Sirakaya, 2001; Stonich, 1998; Brohman,1996; Mllner et al, 2004; Orams, 2000; Duffus, 1996; Backman & Morais, 2001; UNEP, 2006a). Tourism has also been linked to negative social and cultur al im pacts (Boo, 1990; Brandon, 1996; McLaren, 1998). Additionally, economic leakages commonly occu r, thus limiting the benefits to local communities (Backman & Morais, 2001). For ex ample, the United Nations Environmental Program states of each US $ 100 spent on a vacation tour by a tourist from a developed country, only around US$ 5 actually stays in a developi ng-country destination's economy (UNEP, 2006b, para. 5). Previous research also dem onstrates many tourism operations contribute minimally to local development, with local peop le receiving few benefits from tourism (Stone & Wall, 2004: Jacobson & Robles 1992; Healy, 1994; Bookbinder et al., 199 8; McLaren, 1998). Frequently, the conservation benef its of tourism come at the cost of the socioeconomic wellbeing of local residents (Charnley, 2005, pp. 80). The question then arises: how to promote tourism development in developing countries that will not deplete or degrade the environmen t and will contribute to improving the lives of

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12 local people? Ecotourism, defined as responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people (TIES, 2006, home pg), seems to offer a potential solution. Ecotourism is often considered a subset of nature-based tourism (Orams, 2001), which is defined as tourism primarily concerned with the direct enjoyment of some relatively undisturbed phenomenon of natu re (Valentine, 1992, pp.108). Recently, there is an increasing trend towards both ecotourism a nd nature-based tourism (Lordkipanidze et al, 2005), making these the fastest growing segmen ts of the tourism industry (Wight, 2001; Hawkins & Lamoureux, 2001; McKercher, 2001; Reingold, 1993). In 2004, ecotourism and nature-based tourism globally grew 3 times faster than the tourism industry as a whole (TIES, 2007). However, since no internationally agr eed upon standard exists for what constitutes ecotourism (i.e. what is responsible travel that conserves th e environment and improves the well-being of local people?), much of what is marketed as ecotourism remains so only in name, while contributing minimally to conservation or improving the lives of local people (Charnley, 2005). Since it is widely acknowledged that entr epreneurs are a key re source in promoting development and economic growth (Lordkipanid ze et al, 2005; Volery, 2002; Paktakia, 1998; Kent, 1982), entrepreneurs may be responsible for a significant portion of ecotourisms growth. Additionally, entrepreneur s could play a significant role in the distribution of benefits to conservation and local communities. This resear ch will investigate whether entrepreneurs and tourism businesses provide conservation and community benefits. Given that entrepreneurs and businesses exist to make a profit, it st ands to reason that tourism businesses are no exception. However, the importance of profitability and commercial success are critical factors often excluded from di scussions regarding the goals of ecotourism.

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13 Nevertheless, in order to distribute revenue and pr ovide conservation and social benefits to local communities, it is imperative that businesses are profitable and successful. In fact, ecotourism businesses can only provide benefits to the en vironment and local communities if they are commercially viable (Tisdell, 1998; McKercher, 2001). Like any business, ecotourism businesses must be able to afford the costs of environmental and social responsibility. Stormer even goes so far as to state th at socially desirabl e behavior will cease as soon as it becomes uneconomic (2003, pp. 288). Additionally, ecotourism businesses must be able to compete with other more resource consumptive alternatives (M cKercher, 2001; Kiss, 2004). To test this argument, this research will investigate th e extent to which commercially successful entrepreneurs are realizing the objectives of ecotourism. Specifically, this study seeks to answer the fo llowing questions: Is commercial success in tourism ventures associated with environmental stewardship and conservation behavior? Is the commercial success of these businesses associ ated with the provision of benefits to local communities? Hypothesis : Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will be better environmental stewards than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Hypothesis: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will provide more benefits to local communities th an unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Additionally, this study aims to identify which f actors of conservation be havior and the provision of benefits to local communities are associated with commercial success.

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14 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Ecotourism versus Nature-Based Tourism Ecotourism, defined by The International Ecot ourism Society as r esponsible travel to natural areas that conserves th e environment and improves the we ll-being of local people (2006, home pg), is often confused with nature-based tourism. In fact, it can be so difficult to distinguish between the two types of tourism, that even The International Ecotourism Society lumps the two types together when citing ecotourism statistics. Regardless of the two types of tourism often being grouped together, nature-based tourism differs substantially from ecotourism. Nature-based tourism can be def ined as tourism primarily concerned with the direct enjoyment of some relatively undist urbed phenomenon of nature (Nyaupane, 2004, pp.540; Valentine, 1992) or any form of tourism th at relies primarily on the natural environment for its attractions or settings (TIES, 2007). Nature-based tour ism makes no claims about aiding conservation or improving the well-being of local pe ople. In contrast, ecotourism is based on the concept of benefiting the environment and local people. Using TIES commonly used definition, nature-based tourism cannot be considered ecotourism unless those providing the tourism opportunities are helping to ensure responsible travel, conserve the environment, and improve the well-being of local people. Therefore, not a ll nature-based tourism should be classified as ecotourism. The unclear distinction between the two terms has led to a significant amount of greenwashing, or simply using the ecotouris m label for marketing and image building (Honey, 2002). Many businesses, which call themselves ecotourism businesses, do not deliver environmental and social benefits that would di stinguish them as true ecotourism businesses. These businesses are ecotourism only in name. One of the goals of this research is to

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15 investigate the behavior of tourism businesses, to determine if they warrant the ecotourism label, as defined by the International Ecotourism So ciety, or if these businesses would be more accurately classified as na ture-based tourism. Entrepreneurship, Business Behavior, a nd Corporate Social Responsibility In order to establish whether or not t ourism businesses are ecotourism operations, business behavior and decision making need to be investigated. Busine ss behavior and business decisions, whether financial or social, are often di ctated and carried out by entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur as defined by Merriam-Webster (2 005) is one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise. Though entrepreneurs are usually thought of as being driven by profit motives, it is now acknowledged that they also seek to bring about change and new opportunities, both for themselv es and for the commun ities they belong to (Schaper, 2002, p.27). Therefore, it is possibl e that ecotourism entrepreneurs can provide benefits to conservation and th e local community. However, to do so, these businesses must survive and make a profit. This rese arch investigates this assertion. In order to examine this assertion, it is n ecessary to consider business behavior. Since entrepreneurs are often responsible for busin ess decision-making, it follows that business behavior is dictated directly by the entrepreneur or the owner/operator of the business, particularly in the case of small and medium sized enterprises. Therefor e, these key individuals, the entrepreneurs, are responsible for formulati ng and implementing social ly responsible policies (Hemingway & Maclagan, 2004). The literature shows that CSR [Corporate Social Responsibility] can be the result of cham pioning by a few managers (Jenkins, 2006, pp. 251; Hemingway & Maclagan, 2004). Consequently, entrep reneurs must be the focus of investigation to better understand the role commercial success plays in relation to conservation and community goals. Additionally, entrepreneurs often have personali ty traits that increase the

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16 likelihood of responsible behavi or (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006; So lymossy & Masters, 2002; Teal & Carroll, 1999). Indeed, ide alistic values can be transl ated into valuable economic assets"(Dixon & Clifford, 2007). This research investigates entreprene urs and the relationship between responsible behavior and commercial success. The 1990s saw the advent of the concepts of social entrepreneurs and ecological entrepreneurs, or ecopreneurs (Paktakia, 1998). Social entr epreneurs can be defined as enterprising individuals who seek to address social issues or ch ange society (Swamy, 1990). An ecopreneur is an eco-conscious individual who seeks to transform a sector of the economy towards sustainability (Isaak, 2002, p.82) or entr epreneurs whose business efforts are not only driven by profit, but also by a concern for the environment (Schuyler, 1998, pp.1). Using these definitions, ecotourism entrepreneurs theoretical ly should be both social entrepreneurs and ecopreneurs. This resear ch tests this assumption. There is a considerable amount of research suggesting that, particularly with regard to small and medium enterprises (SME), business be havior can be understood specifically in terms of the values, ethics, and psychological characteris tics of their owner/managers or entrepreneurs (Fuller, 2006; Hemingway & Maclagan, 2004; Je nkins, 2006; Kotey & Meredith, 1997). "The literature in this area suggests that owner/manage rs' personalities, in particular their values and goals, are indistinguishable from the goals of their businesses (Kotey & Meredith, 1997). Previous research also negates the notion of the profit-maximizing owner-manager as the standard entrepreneur (Spence & Rutherfoord, 2000; Jenkins, 2006). Fuller notes the nature of small enterprises cannot be fully understood by reference to market economics. The interaction of the personal and social with the business in family and owner-managed firms is key to understanding responsible behaviour and ethics in SMEs (2006, pp. 288). Carr argues that in

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17 the case of owner-managed business and entrepre neurship, ones business and ones life are inseparable, and therefore, personal ethos a nd business behavior are inseparable (2003). Furthermore, other research suggests that the co mmercial imperative is not the sole driver of CSR decision-making (Hemingway & Maclaga n, 2004). Nevertheless, viability and success might still be important considerations, which allow entrepreneurs to make socially and environmentally responsible business decisions. Although the present study is not concerned with identifying why entrepreneurs behave socially and environmentally responsibly, it is important to recognize th ere are various reasons for businesses behaving in a social ly and environmentally responsible manner. Some researchers argue that entrepreneurs value the appearance of a high degree of social concern to help increase profits (Wilson, 1984), or that it is in the best in terests of the business to behave ethically and responsibly (Jenkins, 2006). Others argue that businesses are aware of their social responsibilities and operate acco rdingly (Chrisman & Archer, 1984). Regardless of the rationale or motive behind socially and environmentally responsible behavior, it can be argued that a relationship exists between profit, commercial su ccess, and sustainable be havior. As Drucker states a company can make a social contributi on only if it is highly pr ofitable (2001, pp. 20). Therefore, the present research explores th e relationship between commercial success and responsible behavior. Previous research investigated the re lationship between commercial success and responsible behavior. However, the results have been inconclusi ve, inconsistent, and conflicting. Results from some studies support a positive re lationship between commercial success and responsible behavior (Bowman & Haire, 1975; McGuire, Sundgren, & Schneeweis, 1988; Parket & Eilbirt, 1975; Sturdivant & Ginter, 1977), while others supp ort a negative one (Baron, 2007;

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18 Vance, 1975), and others still re port no clear relationship in one direction or the other (Abbott & Monsen, 1979; Arlow & Cannon, 1982; Aupperle, Carroll, & Hatfield, 1985; Cochran & Wood, 1984; Owen & Scherer, 1993; Ullmann, 1985). A lthough a considerable amount of research examines this relationship across many industries w ithin the context of deve loped countries, little research investigates this association with rega rd to tourism businesses in developing countries. Additionally, little re search investigates the pe rformance of entrepreneurs in the tourism industry at all (Kirsten & Rogerson, 2002; Learner & Haber, 2001). This study addresses this gap. Theories of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Studies dealing with social responsibility have prolif erated in both academ ic and managerial literature for decades. As a result, va rious theories have been used to try and explain corporate social responsibility, such as neoclassical economic th eory and the enlightened selfinterest model. First, neoclassical economic theory has b een used to explain Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Neoclassical economic th eory is based on three general principles; (1) people have rational preferences among outcomes (2) individuals maximize utility and firms maximize profits, and (3) people act indepe ndently on the basis of full and relevant information (Weintraub, 2007, pp.1). Thus, neocla ssical economic theory maintains that the greatest good will be achieved when individuals pursue their own self interests (Swanson, 1995). Therefore, neoclassical theory posits that CSR is simply a means of maxi mizing profits (Stormer, 2003). Next, the enlightened self-inter est model was introduced and used to explain CSR. Alexis de Tocqueville introduced th e concept of enlightened self-interest in his book Democracy in America (1835), and later it was applied to CSR. Th is model predicts that businesses that are more socially responsible will be more successful (Besser, 1999; Keim, 1978). Under this

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19 model, similar to neoclassical economic theory, entrepreneurs and business owners only act in responsible ways to further their own interests (F ry, Keim, & Meiners, 1982), or that it is in the best interests of the businesses to behave ethically and responsibly (Jenkins, 2006). Therefore, according to both ne oclassical economic theory and the enlightened self-interest model, responsible behavior is wholly tied to success and profitability (Stormer, 2003). This research examines this relationship between social/environmental responsibility and commercial success. Additionally, it is important to note that the focus of previous CSR research and theory building has been almost entirely on large compan ies, and little attention was paid to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006; Spence, 1999). There is evidence that small firms are not little big firms and have a number of specific characteristics which set them apart from larger companies, particular ly with regard to CS R (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006, pp.257). Therefore, recognizing that SMEs enco mpass a significant portion of businesses operating today, a shift has recently occurred towards investigating CSR within small and medium sized enterprises (Spence, Schmidpeter, & Habisch, 2003). It is now acknowledged that there are many more small firms than large ones (Spence, 1999), and the majority of businesses are in fact small firms (Carr, 2003; Cooper, 1981). This may be particularly true with regard to nature-based tourism businesses. The growing recognition of these facts has led to an increase in research and literature focusing on small busines s social responsibility (SBSR) (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006). A small business is defined as a bu siness with fewer than 50 employees (Lepoutre & Heene, 2006; Spence, 1999). Despite the new interest in CSR with regard to SMEs, a theoretical framework has yet to be developed (Lepoutre & Heen e, 2006). Also, a very limited amount of literature investigates small and medium sized enterprises in developing countries

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20 (Perrini, 2006). Therefore, in an effort to further the understanding of socially responsible behavior with regard to SMEs in developing countries the p opulation for this study includes small and medium sized tourism enterprises in Costa Rica. Commercial Success and Performance In order to investigat e th e relationship between commerci al success and the provision of benefits to conservation and local communities, one must first operationalize commercial success. Commercial success and business performa nce are themselves large areas of research. Commercial success or business performance is a complex concept, and is now recognized as being multidimensional (Lerner & Haber, 2001; Lumpkin & Dess, 1996; Reichel & Haber, 2005). Therefore, research investigating only one performance measure, such as profitability, can be misleading (Haber & Reichel, 2005; Lum pkin & Dess, 1996). Instead, to more accurately capture a concept like commerc ial success, various performance measures should be employed (Cooper, Gimeno-Gascon, & Woo, 1994; Kallebe rg & Leicht, 1991; Westhead, Wright, & Ucbasaran, 2001). The use of both subjective and objective pe rformance data is recommended by various researchers (Brush & Vanderwerf, 1992; Covi ello, Winklhofer, & Hamilton, 2006; Haber and Reichel, 2005; Matear, Osborne, Garrett, & Gray, 2002; Sin, Tse, Yau, Lee, & Chow, 2002). However, it is often difficult to obtain object ive financial performance data (Cragg & King, 1988; Haber & Reichel, 2005), because small firms are notorious for their unwillingness to share financial information (Coviello, Winklhofer & Hamilton, 2006; C ovin & Slevin, 1989; Sapienza, Smith, & Gannon, 1988). Also, objective data are often found to be inaccurate (Coviello et al., 2006; Dess & Robinson Jr., 1984), and since such data is typically not made available to the public (Coviello et al., 2006; Covin & Slevin 1989), it can be difficult or impossible to verify the accuracy of the information (Covin & Slevin, 1989; Haber & Reichel,

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21 2005). Therefore, subjective data is frequently used, and a considerab le amount of research supports the validity and reliability of subjectiv e business owner reported performance measures (Brush & Vanderwerf, 1992; Coviello et al ., 2006; Venkatraman & Ramanujam, 1987). Moreover, subjective data are f ound to strongly correlate with objective performance measures (Coviello et al., 2006; Dess & Robinson Jr., 1984 ; Venkatraman & Ramanujam, 1986). Another consideration in measuring comme rcial success is long-term versus short-term performance. Again, a combination of both long and short-term measures are advocated by past research (Haber & Reichel, 2007; Haber & Reichel, 2005). To obtain reli able and valid measures of business performance and commercial success, this study employed the use of long-term and short-term, subjective and object ive, performance measures. This research selected seven variables to measure performance or commercial success. Longevity, number of visitors, number of employees growth in the number of visitors, growth in the number of employees, owner-reported profitability, and perceived success were used to operationalize commercial success. These variable s were selected in order to gauge both short and long-term performance, using both subjecti ve and objective measures. The first variable, longevity (or business survival), is a long-term, as well as an objective, measure of performance. Survival is identified by some researchers as a significant dimension of success (Lumpkin & Dess, 1996; Van de Ven, Hudson, & Schroeder, 1 984). The second and third variables, the number of visitors and the number of empl oyees, are short-term, objective measures of performance that are indicative of size. Since a ccurate information regarding business revenue is often difficult to obtain, the number of visitors served over a twelve month period was used as a proxy instead. The number of visi tors (indicative of revenue) and the number of employees are widely used as measures of size and perf ormance (Brush & Vanderwerf, 1992; Haber and

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22 Reichel, 2005; Haber & Reichel, 2007; Lern er, Brush, & Hisrich, 1997), and are found to be particularly relevant to small businesses (Orser, Hogarth-Scott, & Riding, 2000). The fourth and fifth variables, growth in number of visitors and growth in number of employees, are objective, long-term measures of commerci al success. These variables are commonly used to determine the growth of an organization (Brush & Va nderwerf, 1992; Haber & Reichel, 2005; Haber & Reichel, 2007). Finally, the si xth and seventh variables, ow ner-reported profitability and perceived success compared to similar businesse s, are subjective, short-term performance measures previously used by researchers to a ssess commercial success and performance (Lerner & Haber, 2001; Cooper, Gimeno-Gascon, & Woo, 1994). The matrix in figure 2-1 graphically depicts the short and long-term, subjective and objective measure of performance used in this study. Study Objectives Based on considerab le past research investigating the multidimensional nature of commercial success, this project will examin e the variables discussed above, and their relationship to conservation behavi or and the provision of benefits to local people. Therefore, this study seeks to answer the following questions : Is commercial success in tourism ventures associated with environmental stewardship and conservation behavior? Is the commercial success of these businesses associated with the provision of benefits to local communities? Hypothesis 1 : Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will be better environmental stewards than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Hypothesis 1a: There will be a positive relationship between the length of time a business has been in operation and environmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1b: There will be a positive relationship between the number of visitors served and environm entally responsible behavior.

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23 Hypothesis 1c: There will be a positive relationship between the number of employees and environmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1d: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in number of visitors and environmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1e: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in the number of employees and envi ronmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1f: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported profitability and environmen tally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1g: There will be a positive relationship between perceived business success as compared to si milar businesses and environmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will provide more benefits to local communities than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Hypothesis 2a: There will be a positive relationship between the length of time a business has been in operation and socially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2b: There will be a positive relationship between the number of visitors served and soci ally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2c: There will be a positive relationship between the number of employees and socially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2d: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in number of visitors and so cially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2e: There will be a positive relatio nship between the growth in the number of employees and socially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2f: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported profitability and socia lly responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2g: There will be a positive relationship between perceived business success as compared to simila r businesses and socially responsible behavior. Additionally, this study aims to identify which factors of conservation behavior (e.g., providing environmental education to visitors, suppor ting conservation groups and initiatives, reducing, reusing, and/or recycling, using environmentally friendl y equipment) and the provision of benefits to local communities (e.g., educat ing local people, purchasing supplies locally,

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24 patronizing local accommodations, employing lo cal people, making contributions to the development of local infrastructure) are associat ed with the various dimensions of commercial success (longevity, the number of visitors, the number of employ ees, growth in the number of visitors, growth in the number of employees, ow ner-reported profitability and perceived success as compared to similar businesses). Objective Subjective Objective, short-term measures of success: Number of visitors Number of employees Subjective, short-term measures of success: Owner-reported profitability Perceived success as compared to similar businesses Time Frame Short-Term Long-Term Objective, long-term measures of success: Longevity Growth in number of visitors Growth in number of employees Subjective, long-term measures of success: None Figure 2-1 Matrix for success variables. Adapte d from Haber, S., & Reichel, A. (2005). Identifying performance measures of sm all venturesThe case of the tourism industry. Journal of Small Business Management, 43 (3), 257-286.

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25 CHAPTER 3 METHODS Study Site Because Costa Rica is the best-kno wn nature -based tourism destination in the world (Weaver & Schluter, 2001; Honey, 1999), it was se lected as the study site. More than one million tourists visit Costa Rica every year (ICT About Costa Rica, 2007a), mostly for its rich biodiversity and varied natural resources. The countrys well-e stablished system of national parks and protected areascovering about 25% of its areaoffer many nature-based tourism opportunities. Although Costa Ricas economy has hi storically been based on agriculture, during the last few years tourism has earned more than any single export crop (ICT Business and Economy, 2007b). International tourists in 2005 gene rated $ 1.57 billion in re venue, an increase of 17% from 2004 (ICT Tourism Statistical Yearly Report, 2007c). The countrys involvement in the tourism i ndustry began in the 1930s when Costa Rica established a national tourism board. In 1955 th e board became the Costa Rican Tourism Board (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, ICT), which remains the leading tourism institution in the nation today. The boards mission is to promo te a wholesome tourism development, with the purpose of improving Costa Ricans' quality of life, by maintaining a balance between the economic and social boundaries, environmental pr otection, culture and fac ilities (ICT General Framework, 2007d). In an effort to meet its mission, Costa Rica developed one of the most successful sustainable tourism certification program s in the world. The Costa Rican Sustainable Tourism Certification (CST) program began in 1999, attempting to categorize and certify businesses level of sustainability. To date the CST program has certified 61 hotels (CST, 2006). The ICT is currently working on extending the program to other businesses as well. Since no other types of tourism businesses are curre ntly certified by CST, and hence the behavior

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26 of other tourism business has not been investigat ed, small and medium sized, nature-based tour operators and agencies, offering tours and travel services in Costa Rica, were selected as the population for this study. Research Design and Sample Selection This study utilized a cross-se ctional research design, and a purposive, cluster sampling approach. Sample study areas (clu sters) were selected after pre liminary surveys of 36 San Jose operators and agents, and afte r contacting the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT), as well as several other tour associations including Canatur and Costa Ri ca Tour Operator Association (ACOT). Six major tourism clusters were iden tified. The remainder of the studys sample was drawn from these five areas: (1 ) Central San Jose, (2) Tamarindo, on the north Pacific Coast, (3) La Fortuna, at the base of th e Arenal Volcano, (4) Monteverde with its famous cloud forest reserves, (5) Quepos, the gateway to the popular Manuel Antonio National Park (the only Costa Rican national park on the Pacific Ocean), a nd (6) Puerto Viejo, a small Caribbean town sandwiched between two national parks on the Caribbean coast. Tour opera tors (businesses that organize and run tours), as well as agencies (businesses that sell tours operated by others), were inventoried in each of the various locales. All, or almost all, operators were inventoried and surveyed in each tourism cluster with the excep tion of San Jose. Since there are hundreds of operators and agencies in this metropolitan area, this study focused on operators and agencies located in central San Jose, which represents th e most significant tourism area in the city. Quantitative data for this research were collecte d through surveys conducted in June and July of 2006. Survey Methodology The researcher visited the main office of each tourism operator and agency to explain the purpose of the study and obtain consent for participati on. In most cases, if participants agreed to

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27 participate, the questionnaire was filled out on the spot while the re searcher waited to collect it. Typically this took 15 to 20 minutes. On occasio n, the person with the pertinent information necessary to complete the questionna ire was not in the office at the time of the visit. Under these circumstances, the researcher left the questionnaire and returned th e next day to pick it up. Most participants followed through a nd the questionnaire was complete d the next day. In a few instances, a third (or even fourth ) visit was necessary to collect the completed questionnaire, but if the questionnaire remained inco mplete after several attempts, t hose businesses were counted as ones who declined to participat e. The final sample size for the study was 167 surveys out of 194, a response rate of 86.1%. Questionnaire Design The questionnaire was designed by the researcher and was used to collect quantitative data. The data were grouped into five categories. The first category identified general business information, such as business name, location, owner, manager, and business type. The second category of the survey consisted of commercial success variables, discu ssed previously in the literature review. The third portion of the survey asked for basic owner demographic information, such as age, nationali ty, and level of education. The fourth part of the survey used a Likert scale to assess the frequencies with which each business participated in various activities that provide conservation a nd community benefits. These benefits include providing environmental education to vi sitors, supporting conservation gr oups and initiatives, educating local people, and purchasing local supplies. This portion of the surv ey was designed after consulting the literature and contacting relevant experts in the field of ecotourism, including nature-based tourism entrepreneurs in Florida. Ex perts were asked to list all the possible ways in which a tourism business could benefit conservati on or the local community. All responses were utilized and compiled for use in th is part of the survey. The fina l portion of the survey collected

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28 additional data related to community benefits, a nd also included two final questions, used for verification purposes, inquiring a bout how strongly ove rall the business s upports conservation and the community. See Appendix A for a complete version of the survey. Sample Description General Business Information Forty-two percent of businesses surveyed operated out of San Jose, compared to 8.6% in Tamarindo, 16.7% in La Fortuna, 14.2% in Montev erde, 13% in Quepos, and 3.7% in Puerto Viejo (Table 3-1). The large majority of busin esses surveyed were cor porations, 64%, whereas 21.7% were sole proprietorships, and 9.3% were partnerships (Table 3-2). Eighty-two percent of the sample offered tours and trav el services only in Costa Rica, compared to 18% of operators and agencies that offered tours and services in both Costa Rica as well as in other countries (Table 3-3). On average, tourism businesses had been in operation for 9.1 years, had 13.9 employees, and served 6324 customers over the last twelve months (Table 3-4). Owner Demographic Information Entrepreneurs were 58% male, 26% female, and 16% were male/female partnerships (Table 3-5). The greatest majority of entr epreneurs were Costa Rican, 56.6%, with U.S. nationals comprising the second la rgest nationality group at 17.2% (Table 3-6) Joint ownership between Costa Rican and U.S. or European na tionals accounted for 4.9% of the sample. Additionally, 4.9% of businesses were owned by South Americans, compared to 9% owned by Europeans. The remaining 7.4% of entreprene urs reported being Canadian, Central American, Caribbean, or Japanese. The mean age of entr epreneurs was 41.3 years ol d. Sixty-five percent of business owners were marri ed, compared with 25.6% who we re single and 9.4% who were divorced (Table 3-7). Over half of entreprene urs had either no child ren (25.7%) or one child (26.7%) (Table 3-8). Close to 35% had 2 or 3 children and less than 13% had 4 or more

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29 children. Entrepreneurs were highly educated. The majority had a university degree (46.5%) (Table 3-9). An additional 12.3% had a gradua te degree as well, and 17.5% attended university without completing a degree. This left less than a quarter of entrep reneurs who had a high school education or less. On average this study s data describe the aver age Costa Rican tourism entrepreneur to be a highly educated, ma rried, Costa Rican, male in his early 40s. Data Exploration In preparing the data for analysis, the assumption of normality was tested to determine the type of analyses necessary, and whether parametr ic or non-parametric tests were appropriate for the data set. First, the researcher examined boxplots of the commercial success data (Figures B8 -12). The boxplots highlighted th e outliers that existed within the data set. After checking the raw data, the researcher confir med the outliers were not errors and there was no good reason to believe these cases came from a different population. Therefore, it was inappropriate to remove the outliers from the data set. Next, the researcher checked the histograms to look at the distribution of the commercial success variables. The histograms revealed that some variables were negatively skewed while others were positively skewed (Figures B-1-7). Therefore, transforming the data was not an option, since no one transformati on would correct all the proble ms throughout the data set. Additionally, it appeared as though there was significant kurtosis in several of the variables. To confirm the extent of the skewness and kurtosis, these scores were standardized by converting them to z-scores (Table 3-4). The z-scores dem onstrated all data are si gnificantly skewed (p < .05), 6 out of 7 variables were significant at the .0 1 level, and 5 out of 7 were significant at the .001 level. Also, there is a significant kurtosis for all variables except owner-reported profitability and perceived su ccess (p < .001). See table 3-4 for a summary of the scores.

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30 Finally, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Shapiro-W ilk tests were run (Table 3-4). These tests are used to establish if the distributi ons as a whole differ fr om comparable normal distributions with the sa me mean and standard deviation (F ield, 2005). Both tests were highly significant (p < 0.001) for all success variables, indicating the distributio ns were not normal. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test reveal ed that the length of time a business has been in operation, D(102) = 0.155, p < .001, the number of visitors served over 12 months, D(102) = 0.329, p < .001, the number of employees, D(102) = 0.238, p < .001, the percentage change in visitors, D(102) = 0.217, p < .001, and employees D(102) = 0.337, p < .001, the owner-reported level of profitability, D(102) = 0.281, p < .001, and the pe rceived level of success D(102) = 0.251, p < .001, were all significantly non-normal. Boxplots, histograms of frequency distribu tions, the skewness statistic, the kurtosis statistic, z-scores, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic, and the Shapiro-Wilk statistic all validate that the data is non-normal. Deviations fr om normality such as these demonstrate that parametric tests cannot be used, because the as sumption of normality is not defensible (Field, 2005). Data Analysis Since the data for this study violate the assumption of normality, parametric tests cannot be used. Instead, non-parametric tests must be employed. In order to examine the relationship between commercial success and en vironmentally or socially re sponsible behavior, Spearman correlations were used. To investigate hypothese s 1 and 2, it was necessary to create an index for conservation behavior, and a nother index for community involvement. These indices were created by calculating the mean for all nine conservation variables and all 13 community involvement variables. These m eans could then be correlated w ith the seven commercial success variables to assess the overal l relationship between commer cial success and responsible

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31 behavior. Additionally, all nine conservation variables and all 13 community benefit variables were correlated with the seven commercial success variables indi vidually to determine specifically which behaviors were related to commercial success. Figure 3-1. Map of Costa Rica and research sites Table 3-1. Distribution of t ourism businesses by location Business Location Valid % San Jose 42 Tamarindo 8.6 La Fortuna 16.7 Monteverde 14.2 Quepos 13 Puerto Viejo 3.7 Osa Peninsula 1.2 Tortuguero 0.6

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32 Table 3-2. Distribution of businesses by type Business Type Valid % Sole Proprietorship 21.7 Partnership 9.3 Corporation 64 Other Type 5 Table 3-3. Distribution of businesse s by tours and services offered Offers Tours & Services Valid % Only in Costa Rica 82 Costa Rica and Other Countries 18 Table 3-4. Means, skewness statistic, kurtosis st atistic, z-scores, Kolmogorov-Smirnov statistic, and Shapiro-Wilk statistic for the commercial success variables Commercial Success Variables Means Skewness Kurtosis z-score Skewness z-score Kurtosis KolmogorovSmirnov Statistic KolmogorovSmirnov Sig. Shapiro-Wilk Statistic Shapiro-Wilk Sig. Years in business 9.1 2.4 8.6 12.7 22.8 .155.000 .771 .000 Number of visitors 6324 5.2 33.8 25.1 82.5 .329.000 .445 .000 Number of employees 13.9 3.7 15.9 19.1 42.1 .217.000 .668 .000 Percent change in visitors over 5 yrs 18.3 4.1 24.5 18.6 56.7 .238.000 .630 .000 Percent change in employees over 5 yrs 45.6 6.3 48.1 30.1 114.8 .337.000 .377 .000 Owner-reported level of profitability 3.82 -0.44 0.16 2.2 0.40 .281.000 .838 .000 Perceived level of success 3.97 -0.61 0.46 3.1 1.2 .251.000 .823 .000 Table 3-5. Distribution of entrepreneurs by sex Owners Sex Valid % Male 57.6 Female 26.1 Male/Female partnership 16.3

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33 Table 3-6. Distribution of entrepreneurs by nationality Nationality Valid % Costa Rican 56.6 USA 17.2 Costa Rican, USA 3.3 Costa Rican, European 1.6 South American 4.9 Central American/Caribbean 4.1 European 9 Canadian 2.5 Japanese 0.8 Table 3-7. Distribution of entrepreneurs by marital status Marital Status Valid % Married 65 Single 25.6 Divorced 9.4 Table 3-8. Distribution of entrepreneurs by number of children Number of Children Valid % 0 25.7 1 26.7 2 17.8 3 16.8 4 or more 12.9 Table 3-9. Distribution of entrep reneurs by level of education Level of Education Valid % Incomplete primary 0.9 Primary 3.5 Incomplete secondary 5.3 Secondary 12.3 Technical School 1.8 Incomplete University 17.5 University Graduate 46.5 Postgraduate Degree 12.3

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34 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Descriptive Statistics Commercial Success Data As discussed previously, seven variables were us ed to measure commercial success: (1) the length of time in business, (2) the number of vi sitor served over 12 months, (3) the number of employees, (4) the percentage change in visitors over 5 years, (5) the percentage change in employees over 5 years, (6) the owner-reported leve l of profitability, and (7) the perceived level of success as compared to similar businesses. On average, sampled tourism businesses were in operation for 9.1 years, served 6324 visitors ove r the past 12 months, and had 13.9 employees. The mean change in number of visitors was 18.3%, and the mean change in the number of employees was 45.6% over a 5 year period (Table 34). Few entrepreneurs rated their businesses as either unsuccessful (3.8%) or unprofitable (5.4%) (Tab les 4-1 and 4-2). Instead, over 75% of businesses considered themselves successful, wh ile 68% reported making a profit. Just over 20% reported being neither successful nor unsuccessful, and 26.7% reported breaking even financially. Conservation Behavior Nine conservation behaviors were exam ined us ing Likert scales. Th ese variables included (1) providing environmental ed ucation to visitors, (2) suppo rting conservation groups and initiatives, (3) reducing, reusing, and/or recycling, (4) using envi ronmentally friendly equipment, (5) providing environmental or conservation trai ning for employees, (6) using alternative energy sources, (7) paying fees to use or visit parks or protected areas, (8) building formal partnerships with parks and protected areas, and (9) communica ting with parks and protected areas. Over 30% of businesses reported to always provide environmental education to visitors, support

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35 conservation groups and initiatives, reduce, reuse, and/or recycle, and pay fees to use or visit parks or protected areas (Table 4-3). These four conservation behavior s also had the highest means, 3.58, 3.66, 3.66, and 3.75 (5 point Likert scale), along with the use of environmentally friendly equipment, which had a mean of 3.62 (Tab le 4-3). Building form al partnerships with parks or protected areas and us ing alternative energy sources had the lowest means, 2.83 and 2.55 respectively, and 30% of businesse s never practiced these behaviors. Community Benefits/Involvement Thirteen community benefit or com munity i nvolvement variables were measured using Likert scales. These variables included (1) educating local people, (2) purchasing supplies locally, (3) patronizing local accommodations, (4) employing lo cal people, (5) providing cultural education to visitors, (6 ) making contributions to the development of local infrastructure, (7) providing cultural sensitivity traini ng to employees, building formal partnerships with (8) other local businesses, (9) with local officials, (1 0) and with community members, communicating with (11) other local businesses, (12) with local officials, and (13) with community members. Of these thirteen behaviors, purchas ing local supplies, employing local people, and patronizing local accommodations had the highest means (all above 4); over 50% of businesses reported to always practice these behaviors, and a to tal of 80% of businesses reported to always or often practice these behaviors (Table 4-4). Additionally, more than 30% of enterprises stated they always communicated with other local businesses, provided cultural education to visitors, and communicated with community members. Less than 20% of companies provided cultural sensitivity training to employees, or built formal partnerships with community members or local officials.

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36 Commercial Success and Conservation Behavior The f ollowing section investigates the relatio nship between the seven commercial success variables and the nine different conservation be haviors. To better understand how the various dimensions of commercial succe ss are related to the different conservation behaviors, each subhypothesis is examined individually using Spearma n correlations. Correlation coefficients and relative p values are listed in Table 4-5. Fina lly, the conservation index is correlated with all seven commercial success variables to gain a mo re holistic understandi ng of how commercial success relates to conservation behavior. Hypothesis 1a: There will be a positive relationship between the length of time a business has been in operation and environmentally responsible behavior. The data do not support this hypothesis. Only one conservation behavior, providing environmental or conservation training to employ ees, was significantly correlated with the length of time a business had been in operation (Table 4-5). And ac tually, these variables were negatively correlated with one another (p < .01). The longer a business had been in operation the less environmental and conservati on training it provided to its em ployees. Therefore, the data provide no support for Hypothesis 1a. Hypothesis 1b: There will be a positive relationship between the number of visitors served and environmentally responsible behavior. Again, the data provide little support fo r this hypothesis. Only two conservation behaviors were significantly co rrelated with the number of vi sitors served over a 12 month period. There was a positive relationship be tween the number of visitors served and communication with parks and prot ected areas (p < .05). However, the only other statistically significant relationship was a negative correlatio n between the number of visitors served and paying fees to use or visit parks and protected areas (p < .05). Therefore, the data do not support

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37 hypothesis 1b. Businesses serving more visitors do not act in more environm entally responsible ways than companies serving fewer visitors. Hypothesis 1c: There will be a positive relationship between the number of employees and environmentally responsible behavior. The data do provide some support this hypot hesis. There is a significant positive relationship between the number of employees and five of the nine conservation behaviors. Reducing, reusing, and recycling, using environmen tally friendly equipment, building formal partnerships with parks and pr otected areas, and using alterna tive energy sources were all significantly correlated (p < .01) with the numbe r of employees. Supporting conservation groups or initiatives was also found to be significant (p < .05). Therefore, we can reject the null hypothesis and conclude that indeed a positive relationship exists between the number of employees and certain environmentally responsible behaviors. Hypothesis 1d: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in number of visitors and environmenta lly responsible behavior. There is some support for this hypothesis. Th e data demonstrate that four of the nine conservation behaviors correlate with growth in the number of visitors. These behaviors include providing environmental education to visitors, suppor ting conservation groups and initiatives, reducing, reusing and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment. Reducing, reusing, and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment were significant at the .01 level, while providing environmental education to visitors and supporting conservation groups and initiatives were sign ificant at the .05 level. Therefor e, there appears to be a positive relationship between the growth in the number of visitors a nd environmentally responsible behavior Hypothesis 1e: There will be a positive relationshi p between the growth in the number of employees and environmen tally responsible behavior.

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38 There seems to be some support for this hypothesis. Five out of nine conservation behaviors significantly correlate with growth in the number of employees. The same four behaviors that correlated with growth in number of visitors we re also correlated with growth in the number of employees. Providing environmen tal education to visito rs (p < .01), supporting conservation groups and initiatives (p < .05), re ducing, reusing, and recy cling (p < .05), and using environmentally friendly equipment (p < .05) were all positively correlated with this success variables, as was building formal partners hips with parks and protected areas (p < .05). Therefore, the data show a positive relationship exists between the growth in the number of employees and environmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1f: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported profitability and environmen tally responsible behavior. The data show absolutely no support for th is hypothesis. None of the conservation variables are significantly correlated with owner-reported profitabi lity. In fact, none of the conservation behaviors are even correlated with owner-reported profitability at the .1 level. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that no relati onship exists between owne r-reported profitability and environmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1g: There will be a positive relationship between perceived business success as compared to similar businesses and environmentally responsible behavior. The data support this hypothesis. Five of the nine conservation vari ables are significantly correlated with perceived business success as co mpared to similar businesses. Once again, providing environmental educati on to visitors (p < .05), s upporting conservation groups and initiatives (p < .05), reducing, reusing, and recycling (p < .01 ), and using environmentally friendly equipment (p < .01) were all positively correlated with perceived business success. Additionally, the use of alternative energy sources was also positively correlated with perceived success (p < .05). Hence, it can be conclude d that a positive relationship exists between

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39 perceived business success, as compared to sim ilar businesses, and environmentally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 1 : Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will be better environmental stewards than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Spearman correlations revealed several commer cial success variables were significantly correlated with the conservation index (mean of all 9 conservation variab les). The number of employees (p < .01), the percentage change in vi sitors (p < .01), the percentage change in employees (p < .01), and the business perceived level of success relative to other similar businesses (p < .05) were all positively correlat ed with environmental stewardship. Only the length of time in business, the number of visito rs served over 12 months and the owner-reported level of profitability were not associated with environmental stewardship. Overall, it appears there is a relationship between commercial succ ess and conservation behavior. Therefore, we can reject the null hypothesis and conclude co mmercially successful tourism entrepreneurs are better environmental stewards th an unsuccessful entrepreneurs. To conclude, four conservation behaviors, (1) providing environmental education to visitors, (2) supporting conservation groups and initiatives, (3) reducing, reusing and recycling, and (4) using environmentally friendly equipment, were found to be associated with growth (both in visitors and employees) and perceive d business success (rela tive to other similar businesses). Additionally, three of these same conservation be haviors, supporting conservation groups and initiatives, reducing, reusing and re cycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment, were also related to the size of a business (measured relative to the number of employees). Therefore, it appears as though th ese specific conservation behaviors are indeed related to various aspects of commercial succes s, such as size, growth, and perceived success relative to other businesses. Mo reover, these same dimensions of commercial success (the same

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40 success variables) are also signifi cantly correlated with the cons ervation index, providing further evidence to conclude that a rela tionship exists between size, gr owth, perceived success relative to other similar businesses, a nd these conservation behaviors. Conversely, the five other conservation behavior s seem to be not at all, or much less, associated with commercial success. Two beha viors, paying fees to use or visit parks and protected areas, and providing environmental or conservation training fo r employees, were only negatively related to any of the commercial su ccess variables. Three conservation behaviors (using alternative energy sources, building formal partnerships with parks or protected areas, and communicating with parks and protected areas) were significantly correlated with only one or two aspects of commercial succe ss. Therefore, it can be concl uded that these five conservation behaviors are not significantly related to commercial success. Commercial Success and Communi ty Benefits/Involvemen t The next section reviews the association between the seven commercial success variables and the 13 community benefits variables. Each of the seven sub-hypotheses are analyzed to gain a better understanding of how the different di mensions of commercial success are linked to community involvement. The hypotheses are analyzed using Spearman correlations. Correlation coefficients and relative p values are listed in Table 4-6. To conclude, the community benefits/involvement index is correlat ed with all seven commercial success variables to gain a more comprehensive understanding of how commercial success relates to community involvement. Hypothesis 2a: There will be a positive relationship between the length of time a business has been in operation and socially responsible behavior. The data provide no support for this hypot hesis. None of the community benefit variables were positively correlate d with the length of time a bus iness had been in operation.

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41 However, four community benefit variables were negatively correlated with business longevity. Educating local people (p < .05), making contributi ons to the development of local infrastructure (p < .05), building formal partnerships with ot her local businesses (p < .01), and communicating with community members (p < .05) were all negati vely correlated with business survival (Table 4-6). This means the longer a business had been in operation the less li kely it was to practice these behaviors. Therefore, there is no support for this hypothesis, and instead it appears that the opposite is true. Hypothesis 2b: There will be a positive relationship between the number of visitors served and socially responsible behavior. Again, there is little support for this hypothesis. Only one community involvement variable, building partnerships with community members, was positively correlated with the number of visitors served (p < .05). And, a second community involvement vari able, providing cultural education to visitors, was negatively corre lated with the number of visitors served (p < .01). Therefore, there is not a positive relations hip between the number of visitors served and socially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2c: There will be a positive relationshi p between the number of employees and socially responsible behavior. The data show there is some support for th is hypothesis. The number of employees was positively correlated with both building formal partnerships with local officials and building formal partnerships with community members (p < .05). However, there was also a significant negative correlation between the nu mber of employees and the provision of cultura l education to visitors (p < .05). Therefore, th ere is inconclusive evidence to s upport or reject this hypothesis. Hypothesis 2d: There will be a positive relationship between the growth in the number of visitors and socially responsible behavior.

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42 The data provide minimal support for this hypothesis. Only one community involvement variable, building formal partnerships with community members, was significantly correlated with growth in the number of visi tors served (p < .05). Thus, th ere is very limited evidence of a positive relationship between the growth in the nu mber of visitors and socially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2e: There will be a positive relationshi p between the growth in the number of employees and socially responsible behavior. The data provide no support for this hypot hesis whatsoever. None of the community involvement variables were signif icantly correlated with the grow th in the number of employees, even at the .1 level. Hence, it can be conclude d that there is no relati onship between growth in the number of employees and soci ally responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2f: There will be a positive relationship between owner-reported profitability and socially responsible behavior. The data do not support this hypothesis. None of the community benefits variables were significantly correlated w ith owner-reported profitability. C onsequently, there is no evidence that any relationship exists between owner-repo rted profitability and socially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2g: There will be a positive relationship between perceived business success as compared to similar businesses and socially responsible behavior. The data do not provide any evidence to support this hypothesis. There were no significant correlations between perceived business success and any of the 13 community involvement variables. Therefor e, this hypothesis can be rejected and one can conclude there is no relationship between perceive d success relative to other sim ilar businesses and socially responsible behavior. Hypothesis 2: Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs will provide more benefits to local communities th an unsuccessful entrepreneurs.

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43 Spearman correlations showed that only one commercial success vari able, the length of time a business had been in operation, was signifi cantly correlated (p < .01) with the index for community benefits/involvement. Furthermore, this variable was actually negatively correlated with the index, which reveals the longer a business is around, the le ss involved it is in the local community. None of the other six commercial success variables proved to be significantly related to a businesses level of involvement with the local comm unity. Therefore, there is no support for hypothesis 2, demonstrating that th ere is not a positive relationship between commercial success and the provision of benef its to local communities. Commercially successful tourism entrepreneurs do not provide more benefits to local communities than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. To conclude, six of the 13 community benef it variables were not correlated with any of the seven commercial success variables. These variables included purchasing local supplies, patronizing local accommodations, employing lo cal people, providing cu ltural sensitivity training to employees, communicat ing with other local businesses, and communicating with local officials. Another five community involvement variables (educating local people, providing cultural education to visitors, making contributions to the development of local infrastructure, building formal partnerships with other local businesses, and communicating with community members) were only negatively relate d to the various dimensions of commercial success. That left only two community benefit va riables, building formal partnerships with local officials and building formal partnerships w ith community members, which were positively associated with any of the commercial success vari ables. This further demonstrates that there is little evidence linking commercial success to the provision of benefits to local communities.

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44 Table 4-1. Mean and distribution of busine sses by owner-reported level of profitability Owner-Reported Level of Profitability Valid % Mean A Loss (1) 0.7 Small Loss (2) 4.7 Break Even (3) 26.7 Small Profit (4) 48 A Profit (5) 20 3.82 Table 4-2. Mean and distribution of businesses by perceived level of su ccess as compared to similar businesses Perceived Level of Success Valid % Mean Unsuccessful (1) 0.6 Somewhat Unsuccessful (2) 3.2 Neither (3) 20.6 Somewhat Successful (4) 49 Successful (5) 26.5 3.97

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45 Table 4-3. Means and percent distri bution of conservation variables Conservation Variables Mean Sample Size Never (1) Seldom (2) Sometimes (3) Often (4) Always (5) Pay fees to use or visit parks or protected areas 3.75 159 13.2 11.3 10.1 17.6 47.8 Support conservation groups and initiatives 3.66 160 6.9 13.8 21.9 21.9 35.6 Reduce, reuse, and/or recycle 3.66 158 7.6 10.8 21.5 27.8 32.3 Use environmentally friendly equipment 3.62 153 9.2 8.5 22.9 30.1 29.4 Provide environmental education to visitors 3.59 159 10.7 9.4 21.4 27 31.4 Provide environmental or conservation training for employees 3.53 153 7.8 13.1 25.5 25.5 28.1 Communicate with parks and protected areas 3.42 156 13.5 11.5 20.5 28.2 26.3 Build formal partnerships with parks and protected areas 2.83 158 26.6 19 15.2 23.4 15.8 Use alternative energy sources 2.55 149 32.2 17.4 22.8 18.1 9.4

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46 Table 4-4. Means and percent distribution of community benefit/involvement variables Community Benefit Variables Mean Sample Size Never (1) Seldom (2) Sometimes (3) Often (4) Always (5) Purchase local supplies 4.48 156 0.6 1.3 7.1 31.4 59.6 Employ local people 4.35 158 4.4 2.5 5.1 29.7 58.2 Patronize local accommodations 4.3 159 1.9 3.1 10.1 32.7 52.2 Communicate with other local businesses 4.11 158 1.9 5.1 12.7 40.5 39.9 Provide cultural education to visitors 3.82 161 5.6 8.1 22.4 26.7 37.3 Communicate with community members 3.54 153 9.8 13.7 19 27.5 30.1 Educate local people 3.51 152 7.9 11.8 24.3 32.9 23 Make contributions to the development of local infrastructure 3.4 158 10.1 11.4 29.1 27.2 22.2 Communicate with local officials 3.19 159 15.1 17 23.9 21.4 22.6 Build formal partnerships with other local businesses 3.18 157 19.7 11.5 23.6 21.7 23.6 Provide cultural sensitivity training to employees 3.13 156 14.7 12.2 34 23.1 16 Build formal partnerships with community members 3.02 155 21.9 15.5 20.6 22.6 19.4 Build formal partnerships with local officials 2.67 159 32.1 18.9 13.8 20.8 14.5

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47 Table 4-5. Correlation coefficients for commercial success and conservation variables Conservation Variables Years in business Number of visitors Number of employees Percent change in visitors Percent change in employees Owner-reported level of profitability Perceived level of success Mean of all 9 conservation variables -.098 .141 .272** .244** .233** .120 .195* Provide environmental education to visitors -.082 .062 .132 .230* .252** .092 .203* Support conservation groups and initiatives -.076 .114 .186* .205* .197* .047 .210* Reduce, Reuse, and/or recycle .099 .151 .316** .247** .228* .107 .285** Use environmentally friendly equipment -.077 .121 .261** .321** .192* .120 .214** Provide environmental or conservation training for employees -.207* .030 .084 .161 .069 -.024 -.012 Use alternative energy sources -.001 .120 .257** .092 .010 .049 .179* Pay fees to use or visit parks or protected areas -.043 -.213* -.145 -.091 .066 .065 -.106 Build formal partnerships with parks and protected areas -.148 .159 .224** .151 .213* .097 .058 Communicate with parks and protected areas -.150 .178* .067 .067 .053 .125 .035 ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

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48 Table 4-6. Correlation coefficients for commercial success and community benefit/involvement variables Community Involvement Variables Years in business Number of visitors Number of employees Percent change in visitors Percent change in employees Owner-reported level of profitability Perceived level of success Mean of all 13 community benefit variables -.210** .093 .115 .146 .121 -.006 .089 Educate local people -.166* -.027 .114 .174 .081 -.042 .013 Purchase local supplies -.046 -.004 .034 .107 .087 -.001 .088 Patronize local accommodations -.071 -.043 .071 .048 .116 -.128 .032 Employ local people -.022 .103 .015 -.008 .089 -.008 .068 Provide cultural education to visitors -.142 -.259**-.160* .101 -.016 -.006 -.038 Make contributions to the development of local infrastructure -.169* .067 .097 -.007 .083 .016 .063 Provide cultural sensitivity training to employees -.072 .056 .055 .157 .045 .036 .100 Build formal partnerships with other local businesses -.225** -.003 .054 .141 .117 .022 .039 Build formal partnerships with local officials -.138 .143 .168* .155 .055 .017 .134 Build formal partnerships with community members -.158 .174* .184* .212* .097 -.017 .147 Communicate with other local businesses -.123 .033 -.086 -.024 .018 .038 .000 Communicate with local officials -.056 .097 .077 .069 -.016 .010 .021 Communicate with community members -.293** .108 .020 .079 .038 -.052 .068 ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

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49 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS This study found that the majority of nature -based tourism businesse s in Costa Rica were small corporations, with fewer than 20 employees which offer tours and services only in Costa Rica (as opposed to, or in addition to, other countries). On averag e, these businesses had been in operation just over 9 years, had approximately 14 employees, and served about 6300 visitors a year. Most ventures experienced some growth in the number of visitors, and significant growth in the number of employees, over the last five years. The enterprises also reported being somewhat successful and somewhat profitable. The vast majority of entrepreneurs surveyed were university educated, married, Costa Rican males in their thirti es or forties, with one or no children. After investigating the conservation behavior and the provision of benefits to local communities, this research discovered that a quarter of the businesses sampled are in fact ecotourism businesses, according to The International Ecotourism Societys definition. These businesses reported that they almost always, or often, are involved in the local community, as well as always or often practicing the various co nservation behaviors. Therefore, Costa Rica does have some ecotourism businesses, but it is safe to say that the majority of tourism businesses are not actually living up to the ecotourism definition. Commercial Success and Conservation Behavior When attempting to answer the first research question, is commercial success in tourism ventures associated with envir onmental stewardship and conservati on behavior, the results of this study show that there is a relatively strong relationship between the commercial success variables and conservation behavior. The conservation index was positively associated with the size, the amount of growth, and the perceived re lative success of a business as compared to

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50 similar businesses. Also, four commercial succ ess variables, number of employees, growth in number of visitors, growth in the number of employees, and pe rceived success relative to other similar businesses, were all positively associated with one or more aspects of conservation. Overall, there is a reasonable amount of support demonstrating that commercial success and environmentally responsible behavior ar e positively related to one another. The size of a business, measured by the numbe r of employees, was positively associated with more than half of the conservation behaviors. Perhaps this is because businesses with larger staffs have more opportunities to go the extra mile and practice these behaviors. Since it stands to reason that all of the conser vation behaviors take a certain am ount of time and effort, it makes sense that businesses with more employees may have more human-power to dedicate to these endeavors. Yet, the data also show that bus inesses with more employees do not necessarily provide environmental education to visitors or environmental or cons ervation training to employees, or pay fees to visit parks and protecte d areas, or communicate with these areas. The data also reveal, though, that over half of the samp le often or always prac tices these behaviors, regardless of their level of commercial succe ss. Therefore, perhap s these behaviors are commonplace, regardless of business size or number of employees. There is considerable overlap between the c onservation behaviors that correlate with both growth in the number of vi sitors and growth in th e number of employees. Four out of nine of the conservation behaviors were associated with bot h aspects of growth. These include providing environmental education to vi sitors, supporting conservation gr oups or initiatives, reducing, reusing, and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment. Since both these commercial success variables were used to ga uge the overall growth of a business, the similarities seem appropriate. As a consequence, it is safe to say that there is relationship

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51 between growth, as a dimension of commerc ial success, and environmental stewardship, particularly with regard to these specific behaviors. The only difference between the two commercial success variables (growth in visitors versus growth in employees) was that a relationship exists between the growth in the number of employees and the building of formal partnerships with parks and prot ected areas. This might be expl ained because as a business adds new employees there is potentially more time for ma nagers and owners to dedicate to tasks they might not have had time to address previously. Since the building of pa rtnerships most likely takes a considerable time commitment, it may be necessary for business owners to have enough employees to take care of other business aspect s before time can be freed up for building these relationships. Furthermore, there is considerable overla p between the conservati on behaviors that are related to growth and those that are related to perceived success relative to other similar businesses. Again, the same four variables, providing environmental education to visitors, supporting conservation groups or initiatives, reducing, reusi ng, and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment are all linked to perceived success, along with a fifth behavior, using alternative energy sources. It appears as though these four conservation behaviors are most notably related to the vari ous distinct aspects of commercial success. Additionally, none of the conser vation variables were found to be significantly associated with owner-reported profitability. There could be several explanations for these findings. Perhaps profitability is completely unrelated to the provision of cons ervation benefits. Or, maybe there are problems inherent in measuring profitability. Many researchers warn against the use of profitability as a singl e determinant of success because it can be misleading (Haber & Reichel, 2005; Lumpkin & Dess, 1996), and ofte n data are difficult to obtain (Cragg & King;

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52 Haber & Reichel, 2005). This study used an owner-r eported, Likert scale to assess profitability, because past research noted small firms are notor iously unwilling to share financial information (Coviello et al., 2006; Covin & Slevin, 1989; Sa pienza et al., 1988), and such data are often found to be inaccurate (Coviello et al., 2006; Dess & Robinson Jr., 1984), and are difficult or impossible to verify (Covin & Slevin, 1989; Habe r & Reichel, 2005). However, it is possible that using an owner-reported, Likert scale to meas ure profitability did not effectively circumvent the pitfalls of assessing profitabi lity. Whatever the reason, the re sults of this study are clear. There is no relationship between owner-reported, profitability and enviro nmentally responsible behavior. Finally, this study demonstrates that two co mmercial success variable s, length of time in business and number of visitors served, were actually negati vely associated with certain conservation behaviors. There are several possi ble explanations for th e negative relationship between these two commercial success variable s and various conservation behaviors. The results show the longer a business had been in operation the less environmental and conservation training it provided to its employees. Perhaps this is because older businesses require fewer new employees overall, or have long-standing employ ees who have already received such training, and therefore this training is unnecessary. The other significant negative association between commercial success and conservation behavior was found between the number of visitors served and the paying of fees to use or visit parks and protected areas. This may be explained because larger companies might have privately owed lands where they take their visitors for tours. Also, it stands to reason that smaller businesses, serv ing fewer customers, may not have land holdings large enough to suffice for running tours. Inst ead, these smaller companies might need to depend more on paying fees to use or visit the pa rks and protected areas. Just as there was a

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53 negative association between the number of visitors served and payi ng fees to parks and protected areas, at the same time there was a significant positive relationship between the number of visitors served and communication wi th parks and protected areas. In some ways, these two significant correlations do seem to be in contradicti on with one another. Larger businesses do not appear to pay fees to parks and protected areas, yet th ey do communicate with managers of these area. Perhaps these larg er businesses communicate with the parks and protected areas in order to corral visitors from th ese areas to their own private lands for tours, or vice versa. This relationship warrants further investigation. In summary, there is sufficient evidence to c onclude that there is an association between commercial success and environmentally responsible behavior. Overall, the businesses that reported behaving in an environmentally res ponsible manner were larger (having more employees), enjoyed more growth, and perceived th emselves as being more successful than their comparable counterparts. Although the results of this study do not determine if commercial success causes environmentally responsible behavior or vice versa, there does seem to be a clear relationship between these aspects of commerc ial success and environmentally responsible behavior. Also, it is important to note that four conservation behaviors were consistently found to be related to various dimensions of commer cial success. Providing environmental education to visitors, supporting conservati on groups or initiatives, redu cing, reusing, and recycling, and using environmentally friendly equipment were si gnificantly associated with growth (both in number of visitors and number of employees) and perceived success as compared to similar businesses. Moreover, three of these behavi ors (supporting conservation groups and initiatives, reducing, reusing, and recycling, and using envi ronmentally friendly equipment) were also significantly related to the size of a business (number of em ployees). Therefore, this study

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54 demonstrates that there is a clear relationship between the size, growth, and perceived relative success of a business, and certain conservation behaviors. Commercial Success and Communi ty Benefits/Involvemen t Next, this study sought to answer the ques tion, is the commercial success of tourism businesses associated with the provision of benef its to local communities? The results of this study reveal that commercial su ccess is not clearly associated with providing benefits to, or being involved with, local communities. When examining the relationship between the community involvement/benefit index and the vari ous commercial success variables, it became apparent that there really was no relationshi p between commercial success and community involvement. Only one commercial success variable the length of time in business, was related to the community index, and this variable was ne gatively associated with the level of community involvement. There are several possible explan ations for the negativ e relationship between longevity and community involvement. First, it stands to reason that newer businesses might make the extra effort to reach out to the comm unity to garner support necessary for survival. Since business survival is dependent on buildi ng a customer base, the local community may prove to be an excellent resource to help achieve this objective. As businesses age, they may feel less pressure to make the extra effort to r each out to the community. They may be more set in their ways, have a stable customer base, have well established relationships with suppliers, etc. These already-established relationships may result in fewer opportunities, or less of a need, to reach out to the community. This study provides further evidence that commer cial success is not clearly related to the provision of benefits to, or involvement with, local communities. Of the 13 community involvement variables, only seven were related to any aspect of commercial success, and more than half of these associations were negativ e relationships. Also, typically the community

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55 benefit variables that were related to commercia l success were related to only one or two aspects of commercial success, rather than being related to the majority of them. This demonstrates that the relationship between commercial success and socia lly responsible behavior is tenuous at best. Rather than supporting a positive relationship between commercial success and socially responsible behavior, the data from this study illustrate that perhap s there is a negative association between the two con cepts. About half of the comm ercial success variables (i.e. length of time in business, number of visitors served, and number of employees), were negatively correlated to one or more of the commun ity benefit variables. For instance, the length of time a business had been in operation was negatively correlated with four community involvement variables. The enlightened self-interest model can be used to explain this finding. Using this framework, it is a possibility that soci ally responsible behavior will directly enhance a firms public image and prestige (Besser, 1999, pp. 17). Since older firms probably already have a well established public image, maybe these businesses do not see the benefits of acting in a socially responsible manner. However, younger businesses, struggling to get established in the communities to which they belong, may have more motivation to practice these behaviors. It may be that acting in a socially responsible manne r brings more benefits to younger businesses. The size of a business, measured by both th e number of visitors and the number of employees, was also found to be negatively relate d to the provision of cultural education to visitors. The results of this st udy show that the bigger the business, the less likely it is to provide cultural education to visitors. Since size is not positively correlated with providing environmental education to visitors either, pe rhaps once a business reaches a certain size, it becomes busy and does not dedicate the time to educating visitors. However, since providing environmental education to visito rs is not negatively correlated with the number of visitors

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56 served or number of employees, there may be so me distinction between the type of education provided to visitors. Using the enlightened self-interest model as an explanation, businesses may receive more benefits from providing environmenta l education to visitors than they do from providing cultural education to vi sitors. Visitors and the tourism market in Costa Rica might expect and demand environmental education as a component of a nature-based tour, but perhaps cultural education is not an anticipa ted part of the tourism experience. Of the 98 possible associations between th e various aspects of commercial success and community involvement, only four proved to be significant and positively related, providing little support for the hypothe sis that commercially s uccessful tourism entrepreneurs provide more benefits to local communities than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. Additionally, all four of these associations involved the buildi ng of formal partnerships of some kind, which most likely resulted in a reciprocal relati onship; meaning the entrepreneurs may have received something in return for their involvement with the local comm unities. For instance, the relationship between growth in the number of visito rs and the building of partners hips with community members could be explained because building partnerships might lead to more visitors. A partnership between a tour operator and a hotel, for example, might involve a referral agreement, which could definitely result in growth in the number of visitors. Th erefore, these four positive and significant relationships actually provide additional support for the enlightened self-interest model (Besser, 1999). Furthermore, half of the positive associations between commercial success and community involvement were found with relation to the number of employees a business has and the building of formal partnerships with local o fficials or community members. As previously noted, there was also a positive relationship between number of employees and the building of

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57 formal partnership with parks a nd protected areas. This provides more evidence to demonstrate that perhaps having more employees frees up ti me for business owners/entrepreneurs, which allows them to build formal partnerships th at they wouldnt have had the opportunity to do otherwise. From these data it seems likely th at the number of man-hours a business has available to direct towards building relationships has a large im pact on partnership building. In summary, there is little to no evid ence positively linking commercial success to socially responsible behavior. Instead, there is some indicatio n that there may actually be a negative relationship between longe vity and socially responsible behavior. Size may also be negatively related to socially responsible behavior. The data also show owner-reported profitability and perceived success relative to other similar businesses were not at all related to socially responsible behavior. The only indicatio n that there is any positive relationship at all between commercial success and socially responsible behavior is in reference to the building of partnerships with local offi cials and community members. This provides support for both neoclassical economic theory and the enlighten ed self-interest model which both state that businesses will only act responsibly if it is in their be st interests, in ot her words, if it will maximize profits (Stormer, 2003). Factors of Environmental and Social Responsi bility Mo st Related to Commercial Success Finally, this study aimed to identify which factors of conservation behavior and the provision of benefits to local co mmunities are associated with commercial success. The results indicate that providing environm ental education to visitors, supporting conservation groups and initiatives, reducing, reusing, a nd recycling, using environmentally friendly equipment, and building formal partnerships with community members are the factors most related to commercial success.

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58 Overall Findings This study shows that a relationship exists between comm ercial success and conservation behavior, but little evidence supports a pos itive link between commercial success and the provision of community benefits. The data fr om this study establish a clear link between environmental stewardship and the size, growt h, and perceived relativ e level of success as compared to similar businesses. However, this research illustrates th at there is actually a negative relationship between longe vity, business size (both number of visitors and number of employees), and one or more community benefits. In fact, the only positive association between commercial success and community involvement enta iled the building of formal partnerships. Most of these positive relationships point to a lin k between size and the building of partnerships. As mentioned previously, this could confirm that having more employees enables entrepreneurs to establish partnerships they woul dnt have had time to do otherwise. The data from this study support the id ea that commercial success is indeed a multidimensional concept, as the literature sugges ts. The concept of commercial success cannot be fully understood by measuring a single dimension, such as profitability. As noted by previous research, and reiterated by this study, using prof itability as a single determinant of commercial success can be problematic. Instead, it is impor tant to examine various dimensions of this concept to better understand the ro le it plays with regard to th e provision of benefits to both conservation and the local community. It is also important to note that just as commercial success cannot be considered in terms of a single dimension, neither can the concepts of benefits to conservation and the community. The data from this study demonstrate the importance of looking at the different dimensions of these th ree ideas, to better understand the various ways they converge and conflict with one another. This study contributes to this overall understanding.

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59 Finally, it is important to not e that although this study did not find a relationship between commercial success and the provision of benefits to local communities, this study did determine that the vast majority of tourism businesses su rveyed provide benefits to local communities regardless of their relative level of commerci al success. In the case of certain community involvement variables, such as purchasing lo cal supplies, employing lo cal people, patronizing local accommodations, and communicating with ot her local businesses, the percentage of businesses that often or always practices these behaviors exceeds 80%. For the remaining 13 community benefit variables, at least 35% of en trepreneurs reported to of ten or always practice these behaviors. Therefore, although this study did not find a link between community involvement and commercial success, this study found that overall tourism businesses are providing these benefits. To conclude, one might ask, why is there a relationship between commercial success and conservation behavior, but not between commercial success and socially responsible behavior? Perhaps commercial success and behaving in an e nvironmentally responsible manner are related because visitors expect, maybe even demand, natu re-based tourism enterprises in Costa Rica provide benefits to conservation. The most frequently significant conservation behaviors seem to be actions that are both the most visible, or ob vious to customers, and the simplest to perform. In the end, it may come down to what is in the be st interest of the business. Therefore, perhaps we have not moved beyond neoclassical economic th eory and the enlightened self-interest model just yet. Perhaps, we can only hope that businesses will do well by doing good. Management Implications Since this study shows that commercial su ccess is not related to the provision of community benefits, or in some cases is actually negatively related to community involvement, the question then arises : how to promote the provision of these benefits? The studys data

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60 demonstrate that in most instances businesses are already purchasing lo cal supplies, employing local people, patronizing local accommodations, and communicating with other local businesses (more than 80% of the sample reported always or often practicing these behaviors), regardless of their relative level of commercial success. Theref ore, in order to increase businesses level of community involvement, policy should focus on the behaviors that are being practiced less frequently by businesses. These behaviors in clude building formal partnerships and providing cultural sensitivity training to employees. Policy therefore, should be aimed at increasing the frequency of these behaviors across the entire population of nature-bas ed tourism businesses. Additionally, this study revealed that olde r businesses are less likely than their younger counterparts to practice certain be haviors, such as educating lo cal people, making contributions to the development of local infrastructure, bu ilding formal partnerships with other local businesses, and communicating with community members. Therefore, policy aimed at increasing businesses level of community involv ement should also focus on older businesses. Using neoclassical economic theory and the enlighten ed self-interest model, it stands to reason that older businesses are not pr acticing these behavior s because they are no longer receiving benefits from these behaviors. Consequentl y, policy should provide incentives for older businesses to continue practicing these behaviors ev en after market benefits cease to exist. The Costa Rica Sustainable Tourism Certification program may be one possible way in which to accomplish this task. Tourists may recognize certif ied businesses, and therefore patronize them more so than businesses which lack the certific ation. If certification requires businesses to practice these behaviors regardless of age, then certification can help to provide market benefits to businesses even after they cea se to exist on their own. Based on this research, overall, policy should be aimed at increasing incentives for be haviors that are not, or are no longer, being

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61 supported by the market, but that will provide va luable benefits to conservation and the local community. Study Limitations This study has several important lim itations. Fi rst, the sample sel ected was not a random sample. Due to the large number of tour opera tors and agents dispersed throughout the country, and various problems identifying all of these busin esses, taking a truly random sample proved extremely difficult. Given the budget and time constraints of this study, a purposive, cluster sampling approach was used instead. However, th is might not have been the best approach, and a random sample may have yielded results that c ould be more generalizable to the population as a whole. Another important limitation of this study relate s to the measurement of profitability and revenue. As a result of the difficulties noted by past research in obtaining accurate data regarding revenue and profitabili ty, for this study the research ers elected to use number of visitors as a proxy for revenue, and measure prof itability on a five point owner-reported, Likert scale. However, there could be problems inhe rent in these choices, pa rticularly since ownerreported profitability was the only dimension of commercial success not found to be significantly related to any of the nine conservation, or 13 community benefit variables. Finally, the most significant limitation of this study is that the data gathered represents only information self-reported by the entrepreneurs. No atte mpt was made to verify or triangulate this information with other sources. This study could be improved by the use of additional methods to verify the information provided by the entrepreneurs. These methods might include participant observation, visitor, or community surveys.

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62 Directions for Future Research This study illum inated several in teresting factors that warrant future study. First, there was a negative association between business size and paying fees to use or visit parks and protected areas. This may indicate that larger tourism businesses also own land. This relationship, the concepts of land tenure and land ownership, and how these concepts relate to commercial success, and the provision of benefits to conservation and local communities, merits future research. Second, there appears to be a link between bot h educating visitors and building formal partnerships, and commercial success, wh ich might suggest that communication and collaboration play an important role in successf ul entrepreneurship. Recently, collaboration and participatory decision making have been touted as superior means to achieve management objectives (Stringer, Dougill, Fras er, Hubacek, Prell, & Reed, 2006). Therefore, it follows that collaboration might also be be neficial for entrepreneurs and local communities as well, in addition to being helpful for achieving cons ervation goals. Consequently, the role of communication and collaboration is also worthy of future research. Third, since this research provides support for the enlighten ed self-interest model, and demonstrates entrepreneurs are lik ely to behave in a socially and environmentally responsible manner when it benefits their businesses, future research is needed to more specifically investigate which business behaviors provide valuable benefits to conservation and the community, but are not supported by the marketplace. Future research is also warranted to identify incentives that might encourage entr epreneurs to practice behaviors beneficial to conservation and the community, even when these behaviors do not result in remuneration in the marketplace.

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63 Fourth, although entrepreneurial ch aracteristics and the various factors that c ontribute to success are large areas of research, there has b een little research investigating which factors might contribute to the overall commercial success of nature-based touris m enterprises. Also, few studies explore the challenges that entrepreneurs might face in establishing and operating their businesses. These topics also merit future research because better understanding both the factors that contribute to commercial success and the challenges entrepreneurs face may help empower local people and inform policy decisions. Finally, examining how entreprene urs define success, as well as the various ways they can and do provide benefits to conservation and loca l communities is worthy of future research. Although this research does contribute to an swering these questions, more research could explore these topics using differe nt research methods such as free listing and weighting factors related to success, conserva tion, and community benefits

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64 APPENDIX A QUESTIONNAIRE COSTA RICAN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND TOURISM STUDY A study endorsed by the University of Florida, The Tropical Conservation and Development Program, The School of Natural Resources a nd Environment, and The School of Forest Resources and Conservation

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65 Business Information 1. Business Na me: ________________________________________________________ 2. Do you own this business? [ ] No [ ] Yes If NO, who owns the business? 3. What type of business is this? [ ] Sole proprietorship [ ] Partnership [ ] Corporation [ ] Other ____________________________ 4. Do you run/manage this business? [ ] No [ ] Yes If NO who runs/manages this business? If Yes, please check the opti on that best describes your position [ ] Sole Manager [ ] Primary Manager [ ] Shared Management 5. How long has this business been in operation? ________ years ________months 6. For all the services this busin ess provides, please estimate th e (average) number of visitors this business served over the last 12 months: ____________________________________ 7. How has the number of visitors changed over the last 5 years? ________________% Decrease ___________________ % Increase 8. Please estimate the number of employees: _________________ 9. How has the number of employees changed over the last 5 years? _______________ % Decrease __________________ % Increase 10. This business offers tours and travel services:

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66 [ ] Only in Costa Rica [ ] In other countries [ ] Both 11. Please indicate the origin of the capital invested in this business: _______________ % Costa Rican __________________ % United States _______________ % Other Countries, please list: _______________________________ 12. Please rate this busine sss level of profitability: 1 2 3 4 5 A Loss Break Even A Profit 13. Overall, comparing this busin ess to other similar businesses, please rate the businesss level of success: 1 2 3 4 5 Unsuccessful Successful Owners Demographic Information 14. Date of birth: _______________________ 15. Nationality: __________________________________ 16. Length of time living in Costa Rica? ________ years ________months 17. Marital status: [ ] Married [ ] Divorced [ ] Single [ ] Widowed 18. Number of children: _____ males _____ females 19. Highest level of education completed: [ ] Eighth grade or less [ ] University Graduate [ ] Some High School [ ] Some Graduate School [ ] High School Gradua te or GED [ ] Gra duate Degree or beyond [ ] Some University

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67 Business Operations 20. To better understand how this business operates, wed like to know how often this business conducts certain activities. Please indicate how often this bus in ess does each activity listed below. Activities Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always Provide environmental education to visitors 1 2 3 4 5 Support conservation groups and initiatives 1 2 3 4 5 Reduce, Reuse, and/or recycle 1 2 3 4 5 Use environmentally friendly equipment 1 2 3 4 5 Educate local people 1 2 3 4 5 Purchase local supplies 1 2 3 4 5 Patronize local accommodations 1 2 3 4 5 Employ local people 1 2 3 4 5 Provide environmental or conservati on training for employees 1 2 3 4 5 Use alternative energy sources 1 2 3 4 5 Pay fees to use or visit parks or protected areas 1 2 3 4 5 Provide cultural education to visitors 1 2 3 4 5 Make contributions to the developmen t of local infrastructure 1 2 3 4 5 Provide cultural sensitivity trai ning to your employees 1 2 3 4 5 Build formal partnerships with other local businesses 1 2 3 4 5 Build formal partnerships with parks and protected areas 1 2 3 4 5 Build formal partnerships with local officials 1 2 3 4 5 Build formal partnerships with community members 1 2 3 4 5 Communicate with other local businesses 1 2 3 4 5 Communicate with parks and protected areas 1 2 3 4 5 Communicate with local officials 1 2 3 4 5 Communicate with community members 1 2 3 4 5 Use passenger cars as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use trucks as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use SUVs as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use buses as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use motor boats as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use trains as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use animals as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use bicycles as transportation 1 2 3 4 5

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68 Question 20, continued Activities Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always Use airplanes or helicopters as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use boats as transportation 1 2 3 4 5 Use other forms of transportation, Please specify: ________________________________________ 1 2 3 4 5 21. Please estimate the proportion of employees who are: _____________% Community Members _____________% Costa Ricans _____________% Non-Costa Ricans 22. Overall, no matter the position, how does the wage paid to community members and Costa Ricans differ from the wages paid to non-local employees? 1 2 3 4 5 Less No Difference More 23. Please estimate the proportion of business su pplies that are provided by local suppliers: _____________% 24. Please estimate the proportion of business in come that remains in the local community: _____________ % 25. Overall, comparing this business to simila r businesses, how strongly does this business support conservation? 1 2 3 4 5 Do Not Support Moderately Supports Strongly Supports 26. Overall, comparing this business to similar businesses, how strongly does this business support the local community? 1 2 3 4 5 Do Not Support Moderately Supports Strongly Supports

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69 If you have any questions or comments, pl ease write them in the space below. Thank you for your help with this study

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70 APPENDIX B HISTOGRAMS AND BOXPLOTS OF COMM ERCIAL SUCCESS DATA 10.00 20.00 30.00 40.00 50.00How long has this business been in operation? 10 20 30 40 50C o u n t Figure B-1. Histogram show ing frequency distribution of business longevity 250005000075000100000Please estimate the number of vistors this business served over the last 12 months 0 25 50 75 100C o u n t Figure B-2. Histogram showing fr equency distribution of number of visitors served over 12 months

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71 25.050.075.0100.0125.0Please estimate the number of employees 0 25 50 75C o u n t Figure B-3. Histogram show ing frequency distribution of number of employees 0 100 200300 400How has the number of visitors changed over the last 5 years? 10 20 30 40C o u n t Figure B-4. Histogram showing fr equency distribution of percent change in number of visitors over 5 years

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72 0 400 800 1200How has the number of employees changed over the last 5 years? 0 20 40 60C o u n t Figure B-5. Histogram showing fr equency distribution of percen t change in employees over 5 years Please rate this business's level of profitability5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 80 60 40 20 0 Std. Dev = .83 Mean = 3.8 N = 150.00 Figure B-6. Histogram showing fr equency distribution of owner-re ported level of profitability

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73 Please rate this business's level of sucess5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 80 60 40 20 0 Std. Dev = .81 Mean = 4.0 N = 155.00 Figure B-7. Histogram of freque ncy distribution of businesses perceived level of success 166 N =How long has this bu 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 -10 6 33 16 17 129 101 149 Figure B-8. Boxplot showing di stribution of data and outli ers for business longevity

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74 138 N =Please estimate the 140000 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 20000 0 -20000 113855716 89 15379 947717 53 102 90 84 54 69 67 99 64 Figure B-9. Boxplot showi ng distribution of data and outliers for the number of visitors served over 12 months 162 N =Please estimate the 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 -20 164 31 17 48 7 89 161 695029 94 99 101 6416 Figure B-10. Boxplot showing distribution of da ta and outliers for the number of employees

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75 123 N =How has the number o 500 400 300 200 100 0 -100 -200 44111 27 14880652 69 67 99 Figure B-11. Boxplot showing dist ribution of data and outliers for the percent change in number of visitors over 5 years 132 N =How has the number o 2000 1000 0 -1000 144 38 15113621 165 99 161 Figure B-12. Boxplot showing dist ribution of data and outliers for the percent change in number of employees over 5 years

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84 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lisa Seales was born in 1976, in Miam i, Flor ida. Her family moved to Eugene, Oregon, when she was very young. There, she attended a Henry D. Sheldon Inte rnational High School and participated in a Spanish im mersion program. Half of her primary and secondary education was in Spanish, which introduced her to Latin American cultures and perspectives. She graduated in 1994 and went to both the Univers ity of Arizona and the University of Oregon where she earned a bachelors degree in ge ography and environmental studies in 1998. Upon graduation, she did an internship in Ecuador and traveled extensiv ely throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. During this time, she also worked for the Bureau of Land Management as an interpretive specialis t creating, implementing, and publicizing natural resource education programs. After years in th at position, she took a job as a program director for a nonprofit organization, where she continue d to develop and teach natural resource education programming. Her career as an environmental educator and her travel experiences led her to the University of Florid a to pursue a degree in interdis ciplinary ecology with a focus in tropical conservation and development. Upon comp letion of her masters degree, she will pursue a doctoral degree and continue her research in promoting conservation and sustainable development.