Sustainable Tourism Consumer: Socio-demographic, Psychographic and Behavioral Characteristics


Sustainable tourism; Mass tourism; Tourism; Hospitality industry; Principal components analysis; Mass customization; Self-evaluation; Sustainability


Purpose: This study aims to uncover socio-demographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics of sustainable consumers as a means to advance the demand for sustainability practices by the tourism and hospitality industry. Socio-demographic and psychographic variables were tested for their influence on an individual's self-assessment as a sustainable consumer, which was then tested for its influence on behavioral outcomes in the form of environmental and social sustainability concerns, objects of sustainability concerns, subjects considered responsible for sustainability and tourism choice vis-à-vis mass vs alternative forms of tourism.

Design/methodology/approach: Because of the paucity of a well-established and robust theory on the characteristics of sustainable consumers, both content analysis of the literature and quantitative analysis of survey data were used to identify the socio-demographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics of consumers. Plausible variables identified in the literature were filtered through principal component analysis and ordinary least squares regression analysis to fine-tune the variables a priori to develop a suitable model, which was subjected to partial least squares-structural equation modeling to further trim variables a posteriori by testing their reliability and validity.

Findings: Understanding who sustainable consumers are and what they are likely to believe and do is imperative for increasing sustainable practices by the industry. The study shows that people who consider themselves to be sustainable consumers are likely to have higher levels of ethical views, be more feminine and more liberal in personality, demonstrate concern with environmental and social sustainability issues, consider all pertinent parties responsible for sustainability and chose alternative forms of tourism over mass tourism. The study implies that general American consumers have the potential to buy into sustainability practices.

Originality/value: Despite researchers' sporadic attempts to describe different characteristics of sustainable consumers and sustainable tourism consumers, past research has not substantiated a comprehensive description of who is a sustainable consumer in terms of socio-demographics, psychographics and behavioral characteristics. The literature on sustainable consumer characteristics is scarce and atheoretical; thus, the current study sets the stage for the development of this area of work across all sectors of the global tourism and hospitality industry. The model test results provide a clear profile of sustainable tourism consumers in socio-demographic, psychographic and behavioral domains for the industry to respond to.

Publication Date


Original Citation

Tasci, A. D. A., Fyall, A., & Woosnam, K. M. (2022). Sustainable tourism consumer: socio-demographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics. Tourism Review, 77(2), 341–375.

Document Type




Source Title

Tourism Review






Rosen College of Hospitality Management


Rosen College of Hospitality Management

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