Sustainable tourism is a new type of travel. This new way of travelling is for people who want to reduce their environmental impact when visiting new places.
The UN Environmental report focused on climate change and its effect on the earth’s temperature rising between a predicted 1.8 degrees and 4 degrees celsius. This will result in increased storm systems and heatwaves, rising sea levels and loss of biodiversity in soil, plants and animals. The travel and tourism industry needs to be aware of these changes.
Why is it important
A functioning tourism industry relies on the environment and the well-being of the communities, businesses, and local people. In many different places around the world, communities depend entirely on the income provided by the travel and tourism sector.
If larger corporations take over these local businesses, people will lose their livelihoods. Protecting the natural and economic environments in tourist areas is within the best interests of travel and tourism businesses and operators.
The pressure to travel more sustainably is placed upon travellers themselves. Individual travellers have a relatively low impact on the larger scale of environmental impact.
What can you do about it
Travel businesses are presented with the opportunity to make sustainable, conscious choices, such as where to send customers, what companies you choose to promote within these local areas and information given to customers before they leave.
If your travel business promotes package deals and activities to do at destinations, by providing your customers with conservation resources or offering ideas such as cycle tours and wildlife sanctuaries this will help contribute to more eco-friendly practices within the industry.
Encourage customers to reduce waste and take rubbish with them by offering activities with the option of electronic check-ins and management services rather than printed tickets and other unsustainable practices.
Keeping profit within the local community will ensure that the destination continues to exist and the local community can prosper. Educating customers on the cultures of the places they visit and suggesting locally sourced and produced products is also an excellent suggestion for a more sustainable option.
If you sell to specific destinations, look into funding a local conservation project. In an electric van, frogs in NZ are sponsoring the first road trip across New Zealand. Ultimate Safaris has set up a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on conservation and sustainability in its local area. A percentage of all revenue goes to the Tou Trust for projects such as Rhino conservation initiatives and funding the upgrades of schooling infrastructure.
How it helps you
Sustainable travel and tourism can help you and your business become more profitable and grow in the long term! Investing time in developing sustainable business practices gives you exciting new marketing opportunities in this evolving and ever-expanding space. Eco-friendly, Sustainable, Green are all words that are gathering traction and appealing to more and more travellers who want to reduce their impact on the planet but don’t know where to start.
By protecting communities, businesses, and the environments you are sending your customers to, you are protecting the future of your business. Sustainable travel should hopefully be becoming a more feasible option. If you want to learn more or are unsure where to start, keep an eye out on our Sustainable Travel Series coming next month.