Environmental sustainability in tourism has received significant attention among destination managers and researchers alike. Yet the range of measures proposed to reduce the environmental footprints of tourists at a destination remains limited to measures taken at the destination, as opposed to marketing measures which aim to attract truly green tourists. The potential of using green tourists as a market segment, however, has not been established.
We review published profiles of green tourists and assess the managerial usefulness of this segment using theoretical criteria of segment attractiveness. Results indicate that much is known about the distinctive characteristics of green tourists. Very little, however, has been done to assess whether green tourists are substantial enough to represent a useful target market, whether a customized marketing mix can be designed, whether they can be reached through specific communication channels and whether green tourists can be identified repeatedly. These results provide a clear direction for future research into the green tourist market segment, which is essential for a marketing-oriented approach to sustainable tourism to be successful.