Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

Major

Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Sojung . Lee

Abstract

As a viable alternative to agriculture businesses, agritourism has been tied to the concept of sustainable agriculture, which maintains economic viability and enhances the agricultural attractiveness for visitors engaging with the natural environment. Environmental management directed toward sustainability has become an increasingly important topic in the agritourism industry, and agritourism operators in particular play a key role in promoting tourism for sustainability. However, even though agritourism operators are motivated to preserve the natural environment through sustainable agriculture, questions still remain with respect to determining how agritourism operators can enact environmentally responsible practices. Therefore, there is a need to examine the agritourism operators’ environmental behaviors to improve environmental operation by applying Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) theory and the concept of perceived barriers.

This study included a sample of agritourism operators who were members of agricultural marketing service-related associations in the U.S., and 366 responses were analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM) and latent moderated structural equations (LMS). Using SEM, the study found VBN theory to be successful in explaining the environmental decision-making processes through which agritourism operators’ environmental values impact their environmental beliefs, and in turn create a moral obligation that eventually leads to environmentally responsible behavioral intention. The study further revealed that the new environmental paradigm (NEP) served as a significant indicator for evaluating the degree of individual environmental concerns and ascribed responsibility for environmental problems.

The LMS analysis also considered two perspectives, internal and external barriers, and revealed interesting and different results. Internal barriers had a negative interactive effect on the impact of value on the NEP, while external barriers had a positive interaction effect on the impact of personal norms on environmentally responsible behavioral intention. That is, when agritourism operators encounter significant internal barriers (e.g., lack of technical knowledge, resources, and ability) to implementing environmentally responsible practices, their personal values have less influence on their environmental attitudes. On the other hand, agritourism operators with a strong sense of obligation to protect the environment are more likely to engage in environmental behaviors that bypass external barriers such as a lack of external assistance and unclear environmental legislation/policies.

During the environmental decision-making process, it is critical to understand agritourism operators’ behaviors and environmental challenges and/ or conditions that contribute to negative environmental impact on natural resources. By looking through the lens of agritourism operators who actually perform environmental sustainability in an agricultural setting, this study extends agritourism development literature by incorporating environmental sustainability and enhancing understanding of agritourism operators’ environmental behaviors. This study is meaningful in suggesting how to help operate agritourism businesses and how to protect management from dangerous situations by predicting their environmental behaviors with respect to environmentally sustainable agritourism.

Copyright Owner

Eunkyoung Park

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

134 pages

Available for download on Tuesday, November 09, 2021

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