Learning to leave a legacy: Corporate social responsibility in South African business event tourism curricula

29 Jun 2017

The purpose of this paper is to understand how industry practitioners perceive corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the business event tourism sector and to explore how university educators and industry stakeholders can form mutually beneficial partnerships in an effort to embed CSR in business event tourism curricula for vocational qualifications in South Africa. The study utilised qualitative methodology that gained in-depth information from key informant interviews with 18 business event tourism practitioners involved with CSR engagement at various levels and representing several business event environments. The sample represented experienced practitioners affiliated with the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) and also qualified practitioners with a university diploma or degree in event management. Industry participants acknowledged that CSR has become an important part of the corporate agenda and revealed that CSR leads to increased staff morale, public image and business benefits for companies. Five strategic themes were identified to enhance CSR benefits of which the analysis of community needs were highlighted as vital. University-industry partnerships and student engagement with real projects, such as fundraising and greening initiatives, were reiterated as to develop and engender CSR knowledge and skills amongst graduates of vocational business event tourism qualifications. The paper provides new insights into how business event tourism practitioners perceive CSR and underpins the need for enhanced university-business collaboration. In addition, the paper presents a practical framework for CSR curricula embedment that will be of interest to both academics and practitioners in the business event tourism sector.