In the past few years, there’s been a growing demand for sustainable tourism. Around the world, people are becoming more conscientious about how they live, work – and travel. Many travellers want (and expect) to see tourism making a positive impact on the environment, society, and even the economy.
As a tourism operator, it is important that you keep up-to-date with the growing demand for sustainability in your industry. But first, what is sustainable tourism, and how can your company adapt to it?
Sustainable tourism is the practice of responsible tourism. What does that look like? Visiting a place and making a positive, rather than negative, impact on the environment and the local people. Travellers should explore destinations while minimising their negative environmental, social, and economic footprint.
Why sustainability matters to your business
There is a range of reasons why sustainable travel matters to your business:
- It helps protect the travel destinations you serve. By reducing negative environmental or cultural impacts, operators can sustain tourism in their area. Sustainable tourism is just as much about the sustainability of the industry as it is about preserving or protecting the environment. No environment = no tourism!
- Sustainable travel actually motivates travellers. Those tour operators who have increased their commitment to sustainable tourism have improved their bookings from environmentally-conscious travellers. At the same time, they have improved their brand’s reputation in both local and international market.
- Sustainable tourism provides authentic experiences for travellers. And more travellers actually look for this kind of experience.
How you can implement sustainable tourism to your tourism business
There are many ways to go about sustainable tourism. The good thing is these are simple and can be implemented right away. Some of the examples are:
- Eliminating or minimising waste. Tackle it today: Make a commitment to eliminating single-use plastics in your business. Get up to speed on recycling (are you recycling your soft plastics through RedCycle?). Ensure any food waste is going into the green bin.
- Consider your carbon footprint – find ways to reduce your electricity usage. Tackle it today: replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient ones. Install solar panels and battery units. Use insulation and verandahs to control indoor temperatures naturally.
- Put a sustainable twist on what you offer. Ecotourism, geo–tourism, and voluntourism are on the rise. Can you create an opportunity in your business for people to make a positive impact? Whether that’s planting trees, providing support to native wildlife, being involved in the recycling process…
- Encourage your guests to support your local shops and market. This is a great way to connect with people in your local area and boost your local economy.
Sustainable tourism doesn’t have to be difficult. These small changes in your tourism operation can make a lasting impact on the environment and tourism industry in your area.