According to Sustaining Tourism, the need for sustainable / responsible planning and management is imperative for the industry to survive as a whole. Moreover, sustainable tourism is about re-focusing and adapting, finding a balance between its limits and usage in order to minimize the impact on natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems.
The UNWTO mentions how sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, where a suitable balance between the three dimensions must be established in order to guarantee its long-term sustainability.
As Rob Holmes mentioned at ITB during his discussion on Sustainable Tourism Recovery, 87% of global travellers want to travel in a sustainable manner recognizing their concerns about the environment, while, at the same time, wanting to give back and help the economy of local communities.
Furthermore, sustainability is positioning itself as a growing tourism trend and one of the industry driving forces after the pandemic.
Environmental Sustainability in Tourism
Undoubtedly, the protection of the environment and the conservation of its natural resources is fundamental to:
- guarantee a sustainable future
- provide economic stability to the area
- and support local development
Harald Rettich, from myclimate Deutschland GmbH, affirmed that “travel companies should observe and comply with customers needs as sustainability becomes more significant and relevant in the decision-making process”, where “the demand for positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the request for climate compensation (such as investing in sustainable projects) will increase considerably”.
At the same time, digitalisation is also becoming a relevant industry factor, as we are seeing a shift in consumer behaviour towards an online environment, with consumers in search for more accessible information via travel platforms to assist in carrying out online bookings, and/or partake in digital experiences.
Economic Sustainability in Tourism
A good example of a sustainable tourism investment in the accommodation sector can be found in the Swiss Tschuggen Hotel Group, which have partnered with the myclimate foundation in order to become completely climate-neutral. To do so, they have invested in environmentally suitable materials, operating with low-energy equipment and using local producers and suppliers, consequently cutting down on transportation costs, reducing the CO2 emissions from all of their buildings and, ultimately, accomplishing customer satisfaction.
Additionally, sustainability has allowed new businesses to flourish reinforcing the concept of slow travel by offering tailor-made activities and inviting the end consumer to use other means of transport such as train, boat or bike, with an understanding that companies which take a more sustainable approach to travel, once restrictions are lifted, may fare better.
In this sense, Tim Koch asserted during his ITB talk on ‘Multimodal Mobility – Efficient and Sustainable’ that there is a need for sustainable transformation, especially in larger cities, where combining classic means of transport with micro mobility options, such as e-bikes or e-scooters, can lower overall CO2 emissions and improve the quality of life and well-being of the local community.
In a recent ITB Deep Dive on Top Countries for Sustainable Travel, Scandinavia and Europe are leading in sustainable tourism, where Sweden ranks n°1 for its economic sustainability and strong domestic economy, its population awareness and purchasing behaviour and its sustainable transportation network, together with its strong environmental policies.
Social-Cultural Sustainability in Tourism
As individuals and travellers, we must become more responsible and considerate towards the environment and the communities that we visit while we travel. We must keep in mind the cultural heritage and the local traditional values, respect the cultural differences and reinforce the local economy, support local organizations or use public transportation, as recommended by Sustaining Tourism.
Sustainable Destinations for 2021, according to CNN Traveller
- Costa Rica
At Nezasa we also support sustainable travel initiatives through our TripBuilder platform, where users can design their own personalised “sustainable” itineraries by choosing among the different means of transportation, the best suitable accommodation or the different types of activities that they wish to experience.
If you liked this article and you’re interested in Responsible Tourism, you might want to read about Women Empowerment in the Tourism Business.