Although they sound similar and are connected, corporate accountability is different from corporate social responsibility. Corporate accountability is directly related to the core tasks and operations of the organisation and is related to its accountability to the people affected by the activities of the corporation.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is generally understood as being no more than corporate-run community development projects and philanthropic activities. There are many actors involved in CSR activities: NGOs, government, and international institutions, which eventually make CSR an emerging industry itself, valued at US$ 31.7 billion in 2007. Often CSR hides corporations' socially and ecologically harmful actions behind an image of responsible social actors.
'Responsible Tourism in India' is gaining more ground in the high-end tourism sector and niche markets. The conversation is mostly about going green or about responsible luxury and there is little or no confrontation of the real problems associated with tourism in India.
We find that corporate accountability is particularly important for the tourism sector since it is one of the most unregulated sectors in the country. State and central governments focus on the promotion of tourism and infrastructure development, and regulation is quite lax.
Corporations must take into account the impacts of their activities on local communities, such as land and resource redistribution (or more often alienation), water and land pollution, and changing employment (often to less secure kinds). They shouldn't just recognise the potential negative impacts their activities but also plan to mitigate unavoidable losses to local communities. Communities living in the vicinity of corporate enterprise have a very real right to influence the decisions of corporations.
There is more and more international concern about the practices of multinational corporations and this can help us push for better social, environmental and economic standards of the leading industry players so that tourism is made more accountable and beneficial to local communities.
The industry can play a significant role in economic development and poverty alleviation using their scale and purchasing power. They offer visitors a ‘package deal’ of accommodation, meals, entertainment and recreation on their premises. Their impact on the local economy could be tremendously positive if they purchased their supplies of furnishings, decoration, toiletries, food items and so on locally; if they provided decent, long-term jobs with all the social security benefits that employment entails, and if they paid all their taxes.
EQUATIONS has relentlessly pursued the question “Who Really Benefits from Tourism”. It is easy to see that large corporations clear do, as do governments and affluent tourists. On the other hand, local “host” communities, from small and marginal players eking out a livelihood from tourism to those forced to deal with tourism’s negative impacts are not enthused. We examine the relationship between the corporations and the communities in their vicinity, also locating the issues that arise within the broader social-cultural-political realities of the region and advocate for more proactive corporate accountability and community-centred policy.
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