A bibliometric analysis of the hospitality and tourism environmental, social, and governance (ESG) literature

Tiffany S. Legendre, Anni Ding, Ki Joon Back

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the hospitality and tourism literature, the emphasis on corporations' environmental and social responsibilities has been more accentuated than on other businesses due to the industries’ intensive use of natural resources and wasteful characteristics (e.g., water, food, etc.) Despite the growing industry focusing on ESG (environmental, social, governance), an unclear definitional conceptualization distinguishes CSR (corporate social responsibility) and ESG. Applying the bibliometric analysis approach, this study analyzed a total of 704 peer-reviewed hospitality and tourism research papers retrieved with ESG-related keywords. CSR-related keywords were also included in the analysis due to their relevance and to demonstrate the comparative opportunities in ESG research. The results showed that the research on ESG is significantly lacking, and the research endeavors have not made a full transition from CSR to ESG. The results also showed that CSR is a concept that pertains to a broader definition of ESG but given the CSR framework not specifying governance issues, it could face limitations in theoretical applications and practical usage. Content analysis of the literature abstract yielded three distinctive themes (i) consumer and employee responses to ESG, (ii) stakeholder engagement and tourism planning, and (iii) ESG impact on performance and management in the hospitality industry. The findings of this study elicited the concept and definition of ESG and identified significant gaps in the literature. Finally, this study proposed a list of research questions to benefit future researchers to close the lapse in the hospitality and tourism ESG literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hospitality and Tourism Management
StatePublished - Mar 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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