The importance of sustainable tourism is not a brand-new notion. The importance of maintaining ecological balance and environmental conservation is a fairly universal concept having an enriched past.
Environment specialists have been emphasizing the need to conserve nature and advocating travel practices that will not leave any harmful footprint on Mother Nature disrupting its harmony and equilibrium.
Tourism has been identified as one of the prime sectors in international travels significantly contributing to the revenue earnings of many developing countries. To narrate the history of sustainable tourism, the outcome of the Rio +20 Summit held in 2012 deserve special mention. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development pledged in encouraging promoting sustainable tourism developing other niche segments of cultural and eco-tourism.
In this guide, you will read about:
A Complete Guide to Sustainable Tourism by Dr Prem- Definition, History, Key Drivers, Components, Top Destinations and Other Tips
What is sustainable tourism?
Sustainable tourism envisages the concept of keeping up with the continuity of the charm and attraction of a tourism destination causing minimum damage to the components that make up the destination. It is an observed fact that wherever the tourists move, they carry pollution and commotion having a harmful impact on the environment of the place he visits.
If the tourist is a habituated smoker, just think of the volume of burnt carbon injected into the air and if there is a big conglomeration of such irresponsible souls visiting an unspoilt locale, the damage manifests. The emphasis should be on educating the tourist making him aware of his responsibilities towards the pristine sites he visits.
The spillage of leftovers of surplus food, dining paper plates and glasses, empty bottles, plastic wrappers and other unused garbage left behind by the tourist disrupt the ecological balance as most of these are not biodegradable and hence are not recycled into the eco system.
Well, may be a small portion of the waste that is the food component gets into the soil and fixes up the nitrogen cycle, but the rest of the inorganic matter is detrimental to the place it is spilled over. Just as a piece of illustration, local cattle can get choked with plastic bags left on the ground in the most irresponsible manner.
It only points an accusing finger at the careless attitude of the tourist and the practice is against sustainable tourism. Holiday destinations must no doubt be enjoyed, but not at the expense of the rich ingredients that makes them so attractive.The phenomena of global warming, sudden movement of glaciers which had been static till yesterday, the collapse of the snowcapped summit and the rapture of the ozone canopy overhead are ominous enough for an impending disaster!
The nature lover inside the tourist is completely accountable to society for the rapid drop in the environmental bliss and tranquility. It is his duty to ensure anything he does doesn’t aggravate the already sorry state of affairs. If possible, he needs to plant ten seedlings if he has uprooted one and this is a small fraction of what sustainable tourism is all about!
The impact a tourist leaves on the cultural, economical, and social profile of the destination he visits for pleasure is equally important. There exists a range of bizarre social customs, rituals, attires and festivals that may seem out of place in a modern society. If the tourist doesn’t have the eye to appreciate what seems outlandish neither does he have any right to treat what he sees around as an object of ridicule!
Appreciation and constructive contribution of value to an alien culture of a tourist destination is a crucial component of sustainable tourism.The flow of money from the tourist is the life line for tourism industry. The money gets recycled. It passes down from the tourist to the tourism ministry and other authorized departments to local business chains like hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and indigenous craft centers in exchange for goods and service. This stimulates the health of the service providers and helps improve the quality of service rendered.
More the volume and frequency of tourist dollars more is the all-round development. There will be surge in the influx of tourists and in a nutshell the concept of ‘dollar breeding further dollar’ will be the undercurrent beneath the perception of sustainable tourism. Without instilling an element, the brilliant destination with their invaluable appeal would simply go dry.The immaculate locales that once drew enthusiastic tourists in large numbers would just be reduced to a site devoid of charisma and their existence faded out of memory.
History of sustainable tourism:
There is certainly a trend of tourists following environment-friendly practices contributing to nature’s conservation with devotion and enthusiasm. In the olden days, travel from one country to another across the borders were tedious, dangerous with full of uncertainties. Religious pilgrimage, trade and conquest of the enemy territory were the driving factors. Gradually, with the passage of time there had been development in roads, waterways and other transportation infrastructure.
Railways invaded the transportation scene and airway travels made it possible to reach places faster. Buses ran over the bridges built across rivers and water bodies, which were once crossed on ferries.
People stopped travelling on foot and movement from one place to another became faster, easier and comfortable. The concept of touring replaced mere travelling and sea sides and hill sides became hot favorite destinations for tourist visit. The early records of tourism date back to the eighteenth century.
Rapid industrialization brought money to the hands of people encouraging them to undertake voyages across long distances with a warning signal beeping in the back of their minds that industrial boom can devastate nature’s balance.
Impact of war:
The impact of World War II had been a landmark for sustainable tourism with the necessity to rebuild the infrastructure and ravaged land forms, buildings and monuments cleansing the environment of the venom that had been spewed by evil effects of war harming the environment beyond repair.
The early Roman civilization understood the need for sustaining their art, culture, cuisine and architecture and exchanged these with other neighboring countries like Egypt by visiting and hosting visits from offshore with a view to a cultural swap so that both the civilizations and their wonders would live on for a span of eternity.
Evolution of sustainable tourism:
The rapid roar of industrialization has further led to the need for sustainable tourism. England was quick to realize it. If the process of industrialization ran unchecked, it could someday wipe out the physical surroundings. As a matter of consequence, the population would be destined for poor living standards.
Way back in 1960’s, it was strongly felt that with the boom of progress, the tourist consumers and large mass of population that migrated from one place to the other would certainly have a detrimental impact on the environmental and social landscape.
More migration would mean the wheels of the modes of transport would roll more vigorously and in greater volume. This would again mean pumping more carbon and poisonous fumes into the air. More garbage and non-recyclable wastes would be generated choking the ecological serenity.
This deteriorating state of affairs needs to be checked and the environment should be made more sustainable, and there is an element of responsibility on the part of the tourists and other stake holders to help promote environmental sustenance.
Down the ages, the idea gradually spread through forums, books, reports, conferences and the media and began to be known by other names like green and ecotourism. From the early roots of rudimentary concept on sustainable tourism, today it has been proliferated into a commanding social and environmental claim to ensure a long lasting future for human civilization.
Gradually over time, tourists started to take cautious steps while on tour and tried to make it a point his presence doesn’t erode the social, cultural and the environmental vibes of the destination he sets his foot on.
A number of thought provoking works were published trying to establish a relationship between the increased growth of consumer society, burning up of resources and the ensuing catastrophic upshots. Back in 1965, a book named ‘Fourth wave-the challenges of leisure’ had been written by Michael Dowers throwing light upon the phenomena of tourism and its disastrous impacts on civilization. Then again in 1973 another thought provoking work called ‘Tourism-a blessing or blight’ written by Young was on similar destructive consequences of irresponsible tourism.
Is sustainable tourism for you?
If the call of a distant land turns you on, sustainable tourism exposes you to an opportunity to contribute towards the growth and benefit of the destination that you have visited so often in your dreams and wished so much in reality. You get the rare chance of assessing the impact of your presence and actions on the social, economical and environmental scenario of the place of your visit.
And this is a big achievement leaving you mentally happy and intellectually accomplished. Your interest and active participation in sustainable tourism gives a new lease of life to Mother Nature that surrounds us and supports the local population inhabiting it.
Your trip is just a start of the achievement on which rests the sustenance of the destination you have planned your trip to. You are although a small nut levered to the complex machinery of a selected destination, and a visit made through even more complex steps of preparation, organization, arrangement and realization of the pleasure of the trip is an important nut that can decide the fate of the machine.
Here, I mean ‘you’ in the plural sense to bring to light the immense potential latent in the combined strength of all the tourists championing the cause of sustainable tourism focusing their concerted efforts towards its achievement. It is a realization that strikes you from the core that you have a definite role to play in furthering the interests of environmental sustenance and striking the ecological balance no matter whatever be the size of the impact.
You may feed the fauna scurrying around you like birds, rodents and aquatic life of course within the limits of warnings and instructions by the forest authority. You can plant a seedling or irrigate saplings. You can do a kind of first aid to a fawn with a broken limb or a bird with a damaged plume or at least you may contact the right authority and report the disaster.
You can stop a devastating forest fire if you have located one and report to the authority or you may fight with your irresponsible fellow tourist trying to start one! I can assure your endeavor to help sustain the environment will give you no less pleasure than what you achieved just watching them in all beauty and glory.
There are a wide range of examples of reckless practices, which are damaging to the natural environment spoiling the future tourism prospect of the place. These acts won’t surprise you a bit when they come from your friends and other tourists as it is natural for them to be insensitive to all what is inanimate around them.
It is you who can stop them from smoking amid green and throwing the burnt butt on the ground. It is you who can stop them from littering the green with garbage and refuse, plastics and poly-packs. It is again you who can resist them from shouting at the top of their voice causing noise pollution shattering nature’s tranquility in a boisterous outburst of elation.
You may take a step ahead and get involved with the local cultural marvels. On the surface, they may seem eccentric often touching the verge of repulsion while a treasure house of exotic and rich cultural worth may lie beneath the misleading facade. Appreciation for local cult, celebration, dance and music will mount as you concentrate on local shows with patience and interest absorbing all the finer aspects that make them so unique and wonderful.
This is a cross-cultural one-way traffic nonetheless adding value to your reserve of cultural wealth, and now that you have this priceless exposure you have an explicit leverage to convince your friends about the beauty and acceptability of the alien ethnicity of which they might have been cynic expressing an attitude of derision.
Lack of knowledge of your neighbor’s interests and inclinations builds up cultural barriers. We have a preconceived notion about the superiority of our own culture and mediocrity of our neighbor. However, this line of cultural demarcation dissolves when we have enough exposure to appreciate the beauty of what we thought was ugly, and tourism provides us the right kind of portal to explore and appreciate an unfamiliar culture and we have every right to do the same.
A part of your money spent straight goes to site development treasury and the rest revamps the local facilities and infrastructure that had been the pillars of strength for any tourism destination. The local economy gets a facelift generating jobs for local residents. An affable atmosphere is stirred. Else it would have been a big stride closure to sustainable tourism if you and a lot more tourists like you have not played a pivotal role.
Essential components of sustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism is made up of several building blocks all of which function in concert to retain the life of a tour destination and make it worthy of tourist visit for the present and the future. The key blocks operate to ensure the developments in the social, cultural and economic scenario on one hand. On the other, the environmental and ecological equilibrium is struck as well so that its pristine charm is retained forever.
This concept of essential components working together and the mechanism of how they interact with each other, their inter relationships, mutual dependence, conflicts and existence of platforms of common interest encompass all forms of niche tourism whether the destination is popular as a place of historical interest or it is a big draw for its charming landscapes and sea beaches.
There has to be a cementing factor binding all these components together to achieve the multiple targets of environmental and cultural preservation and their long term growth and sustenance.The binding agencies could be government tribal development cell, the ministry of tourism and the local residents whose lives and means thrive so much upon the annual tourist visits.
Eventually, it is certainly the tourists whose pattern of attitude and interaction with the destination and its surrounding components that shape the future of a tourist destination in terms of sustenance and growth. The equitable spread of benefits flowing from the tourists should be ensured so that most of the local population gets a fair share and not confined to a particular section.
As a counter response, all the enthusiasts visiting a tour destination should get a fair share of the pleasure for which they had paid. Well, it is not a system mathematically programmed to ensure all the visitors get the same measured quantum of their desires fulfilled with microscopic precision. That is obviously not possible. But it is a hard fact that isolated cases of mishaps like loot, rape or a maltreatment of a tourist in the hands of local administration would mean a lot.
In no time, it can spoil the image of a destination which had been earned over a number of years of effort, warmth and friendliness and of course the inherent charm it is endowed with. The social, environmental and economic balance is disrupted in a moment which is a direct consequence of the mindless acts of the locals, one of the most important components.
The malfunctioning of any single component has far-reaching effects. Misbehavior by locals or local administrative machinery discourages the tourists from further visits. Lesser and lesser of money would flow in. The destination would lose its hypnotic charm and ultimately it will lose importance in the global map of tourism.
The local business which is yet another significant component will suffer and their sphere of operation will shrink! Many posts will become redundant and the incumbents who had been fruitfully employed would be turned out of the job.
Lesser dollars would hit the cash boxes of restaurants, hotels and resorts and a canopy of poverty and the associated evils would come upon overhead and the entire locality would be trapped in a grip of economic decline. This will spell a vicious cycle of doom over the tourist destination as the essential components simply fell out of rhythm while functioning and it is hard to get bailed out of this sorry state of affairs.
The disaster will gradually seep in towards the actual sites depriving it of its strength and beauty that had so long been a beckon of temptation to the world at large. The museums and its priceless collections will now collect dust as there will be no curator present to do a voluntary service.
Same fate will befall the legendary monuments, bastions, shrines and architectural and engineering feats that drew a large number of tourists for years. Paint and plaster would fall off, marbles and brickwork would start crumbling for want of money for renovation and repair. Wonderful landscapes would stand as meaningless entities with no viewers to appreciate their exquisiteness.
For a sustained growth of a tourist destination no matter how great its attraction is, the essential components are made up of needs to strike a chord of harmony else the destination with all its attraction will slip into oblivion with future generation talking about it no more!
Key drivers of sustainable tourism
Tourist awareness to global changes and education are the driving factors that enable a tourist appreciate the concept of sustainable tourism. The tourist needs to comprehend about the devastating impact his irresponsible tour activities could have upon the environmental, social, cultural and economic scene of the destination he intends to visit.
It is his love and respect for Mother Nature and an immense interest and appreciation for an alien culture, history and heritage that favors sustainable tourism and ensures the charm and attraction of a locale is kept alive. Let not his presence or his irresponsible and boisterous activities stain the destination with filth, garbage and an erosion of local culture.
The initiative should come from the government of the country. The concept of sustainable tourism should eventually pass on to the local administrative authority. If situation demands, strictures must be passed and enforced having legal significance, and the tourists need to abide by these rules so that the spirit of sustenance is upheld.
It is a combined effort demanding enthusiastic participation by the tourist, locals, local administrative machinery, tourism ministry and the local business chain without whose support and service even the most popular tourist locales would go barren. This combined endeavor by different users to keep alive the appeal of a tourist locale is the key driver that keeps the pulse beat of the tourism industry ticking!
Apart from the waves of tourists flocking around the tour destinations contaminating the serene environment with careless habits and harmful disposals, one entity which plays a major role is the waste emitting from industries. Efficient effluent control procedures need to be built in the garbage disposal pipeline so that a minimal volume of industrial fumes escape into the air or shot out too high through tall enough chimneys.
The seepage of harmful chemicals and solid wastes into the local water bodies and soil should be put under effective control. Responsibility discharged by factories and plants situated in the vicinity of breathtaking locales should target conservation of the environment.
This inspires the tourist to do the same and the need for sustenance of tour destinations dawns upon him from practical field experience which thousands of texts on conservation of environment would have failed to achieve. This sure is a key driver beating the drums in support of sustenance tourism.
Many industries do not just stop after controlling pollution emission into nature. They realize they have a more constructive role to play in the field of conservation and sustenance of nature.Their drive comes in the shape of tree planting policy, setting up schools for local children, providing employment for the locals, setting up good hotels and holiday homes for visiting tourists.
These are certainly most encouraging exercise and powerful drivers for sustaining tourism. The rewarding authorities do exist awarding industries with carbon credits and other incentives for their responsibility towards promoting ecological balance and green tourism. These authorities are in fact the apex bodies sitting at the helm of the pyramid from where the primary drive for promoting sustainable tourism is initiated.
Key drivers of sustainable tourism remain latent in the mindset of the tourist, which needs edification. Common pleasure-seeking activities of tourists sometimes manifests in starting a bonfire amid a forest while on tour just for the fun of it. Barbecuing animal or poultry over flame fired by wood is another activity drawing delight and the necessity of cooking food on a trip through a jungle.
These operations have widespread damaging results. Tourists’ capriciousness could lead to a devastating forest fire, so refraining from such mindless acts would be one step closer to realizing sustainable tourism.The quality of the local accommodation and transport are key drivers as well. The mode of transport should ensure minimum emission and sound pollution.
Similarly, the hotels should put emphasis on green tour through illustrations framed in the guests lounge. This generates an all-round awareness supporting sustaining tourism encouraging the tourist to follow the same.
How to get more information on sustainable tourism?
The threat of global warming has geared up environmental consciousness across the countries. Natural disasters like the killer landslide at the Kedarnath in the Himalayas and the terrifying Tsunami in South East Asia are the inevitable outcomes of human error. It is men’s irresponsible attitude towards Mother Nature and their criminal attempts to tamper with the ecological stability that has prompted nature to strike back with wrath packed with massive power and destructive potentiality.
Organizations, nature lovers, clubs, eco friendly associations and the ministry of tourism and culture worldwide have come up with their forums, media propagation, workshops and online websites with a massive inventory of information supported with statistical data, illustrations and scientific explanations of cause and effect that could make or break the environmental stability.
With the electronic media operating at lightning speed and more and more users coming under the internet coverage, more information in the field of sustainable tourism are reaching faster compared to what it could achieve in the 70’s and 80’s.
Logging in the net comfortably lying back on your sofa you can have an ocean of information about sustainable tourism and recommended destinations in a matter of an hour! Many online resources have been doing their job with dedication and precision to make the stakeholders more aware of the environment enveloping us and the potential menaces affecting its stable existence.
Sustainable tourism online (STO) is an all inclusive information bank conveying sizeable exploration, facts and figures and means within the framework of three chief sustainability premises like destinations and the society, business procedures, theme parks and ecotourism centers. Significant data are on offer to expand the base of sustainable tourism themes.
Sustainable tourism cooperative research centre(STCRC) was started and its operational scopes was expanded by Australia back in 2010 to prop up sustainable strategy, programs and their execution making sustainable tourism accessible to the tourists and appreciated by them.
Effective sustainable tourism investigative devices have been designed by STCRC along with other reliable information warehouses. This association operates in close liaison with some of the most prominent bosses in the field of environmental sustainability like Queensland tourism industry council, Global green tag, Banyan tree global foundation, Earth check, PATA and Ecolab.
Information resources play a positive role in helping societies and groups in sustainable tourism destination management. Mainly the focus is put on three distinct areas:
Advancement in tourism can be programmed and non- programmed, but the ultimate survival of a destination would rest on the category of tourism and whether its frequency goes with the type of destination. Efficient destination management would depend on experimental and sustained planning procedure that brings about goal congruence between tourism and social, economic and environmental sustenance and objectives.
While destination planning is an iterative venture, its implementation and marketing a destination’s prospects happen in a synchronized and progressive route. To make this happen, more information regarding the destination needs to be salvaged from the right sources backed with the right kind of facts and figures at the right point in time.
Implementation of sustainable tourism demands striking a fine balance between developments and overdoing it, between sustained marketing and aggressive advertisement without suppressing the natural, social and cultural features which are in continuous, lively and harmonious interaction with each other.
The future of a tour destination would be shaped by its adjustability to the altered customer demand, competent utilization of resources and executing pioneering policies which again relies on a broad-based information source.
It also calls for a concrete and target oriented evaluation of past trend which is an element of a continuous sequence to follow up a destination’s growth meeting its purpose.Enriched with a storehouse of significant and reliable information there are valuable guidebooks which aims to heighten consumer’s grasp of the concept of tourism in all its aspects.
These texts explain the relationship of sustainable tourism with the current global tourist preference with conservation of ecology and social and economical needs in the foreground. These guidebooks take a broad based and multifaceted vision of tourism. They embrace a broad spectrum of areas like planning, implementation, expansion, supervision and controlling the impact of tourist visits on a destination.
By exploring these guide books, the tourists can identify their responsibilities towards the environment of a destination while drawing pleasure from the wonderful ambience on offer fixing up what to do and what not to do. More the volume and variety of information at the disposal of a tourist clearer is his role towards sustainable tourist. The tourist is inspired with a passion to do something constructive for the welfare of the destination and the inhabitants it shelters. The result is a cumulative effort to make a destination sustainable forever.
Importance of planning in sustainable tourism
Without drawing up a proper plan and implementing the same considering several factors, sustainable tourism would be perhaps a futile endeavor. The further is the location of the destination from your home more elaborate should be your planning premises broken up into micro fragments.
The basic framework for your planning structure must be designed on flexible lines giving you enough leeway to deal with altered situations and unpleasant surprises that strike you from nowhere while you are on tour and for which you are not prepared at all.
The fundamental line of planning remains essentially the same for any niche tourism you like to go for. However, there are specific alterations devised in the basic plan structure to suit the needs of the circumstances that vary from one form of tourism to another. You got to keep in mind the principal objective you are focused on.
This time you have a mission ahead that you are going to help sustain the environmental equilibrium of your target destination and while planning your dream should not deviate from the track. You need to update yourself on conservation procedures that are feasible for you to deliver with whatever available resources you have.
For updating your knowledge, you need to start your search from the scratch. Internet has elaborate websites relating to conservation of nature and its applications. You engage powerful search engines feeding them with appropriate key words. The detail of the right location, its fame for architectural feat and monuments, cultural and historical importance, local festivals and cuisine, distribution of flora and fauna, existence of exquisite landscapes, meadows, valleys, mountains, meandering creeks and rivers, lakesides and golden sea beaches together with other exotic attractions would be the basic matter that would help you to design your itinerary and implement it successfully.
It is an accepted truth that more you learn about a place the more you need to plan prior to making a visit. Destinations have marvels some of which are public for aggressive hype and still some are latent. It should not be that you miss a wonderful corner of your place of visit where you could have exercised your objective of sustainable tour practices simply due to your lack of enough knowledge about the place and consequently you haven’t planned for it.
If conservation of local ecology and preservation of sources of tourist draw is one’s intent, mitigation of poverty of the local residents is the other. How you go about achieving these tour destination-sustaining targets depends upon how well you know your subject matter and how you include the issues in your planning groundwork.
Poverty reduction is a phrase easier said than done. If you want to achieve this noble objective, you need to accumulate a pool of funds. At least you need to pursue people and make them agree to your viewpoint and eventually make them willing to pay for the noble cause.
Next function would be to ensure that the resources flow along the right channel so that equitable distribution of collected fund is achieved. What you contribute from your private coffer is just a drop in an ocean. However, it is an established reality that several squillion drops do fill up an ocean.
Greater is the need to spread the idea of poverty alleviation so that more and more tourists are encouraged in this enterprise. They get the required inspiration and help sustain the life of a tour destination. This certainly requires a considerable planning as your idea should attract the public.
They see the logic in your proposal, and its needs both planning and a sufficient length of time before your plans get translated into actions. A part of your planning process is guided by the specifics of the type of touring you are into. The rest of it would be guided by the means necessary to complete your tour and accomplish the mission of sustainability that motivated you to embark upon it.
As regards the second phase of planning the activities regarding your trip like accommodation booking, passport and visa issues, choice of the duration of stay, the likely financial budget involved and the selection of a trustworthy and resourceful travel agent would all feature as essential areas where you need to put your deliberations.
Budgeting in sustainable tourism
Budgeting in sustainable tourism is the most important component in planning exercise. The tourist needs to get a fair picture of the financial estimates that would function as a yard stick and guide him through his expenses to be incurred on his trip.
Gone are the days when you carried hard cash to your tour destination and any shortage would spell disaster. ATM booths have solved much of the problem. The advent of travel agencies under whose umbrella you are planning your trip has mitigated the problem of unknown expenses striking you like a bolt from the blue for which you are not prepared. You would come to know of the estimates of your sustainable tourism budget from your tour operator within fairly manageable limits plus they insist you pay in advance.
So before even making the trip, you are aware of your budget and have already incurred a substantial portion of your expenses. You get an opportunity of breathing a sigh of relief so far as your financial headache is concerned. But it is not all the tourists inspired by sustainable tourism would be encouraged by services of travel agencies.
Many sustainable tourists feel the urge to venture all alone exploring the concept and fun of sustainable tourism. Besides pursuing pleasure, a sense of responsibility and duty guides the motives of these lone tourists. For them, a thorough budgetary exercise is as important as the tour itself. Whether a travel agency comes in the picture or not, certain activities which are common need to be translated into financial estimates. The first activity comes up whether you have booked your accommodation and the up and down flight tickets. Booking air tickets well in advance can award you handsome rebates.
Accommodation rental will consume a big chunk of your money which needs serious consideration. The magnitude of the budget would depend upon the class of accommodation selected. Pointless to mention that budget on rental of accommodation would depend upon the duration of your stay.
Especially when selecting high end luxury guest houses, an upward deviation in the duration of your stay may largely result in a budget overrun. The tourist should be cautious about the check in and checkout times. Failure to check out within the stipulated timeline would unnecessarily cost a full day’s rental!
Budget would include estimates of expenses on food, local transport and purchase of local handicrafts, mementos and souvenirs and you are not spending out of charity. You are paying in exchange for the flow of commodities and services.
If you are not having a passport or visa to your destination country, you need to incur an additional expenditure on passport and visa paper processing formalities and it has to be factored in your budget working. If you are hiring a third party, its fees should be considered in your budget.
See if there are offers for rebates which often feature in the rate tariffs depending upon the volume of booking. Needless to say you must avail these concessions in the first chance, and this will give your budget a true picture helping you avoid blocking of funds that can be used in your future trips.
The currency exchange rate between the destination country and your own country can be another deciding factor in budgeting sustainable tourism. Erratic fluctuation of forex may catch you on the wrong foot. An intelligent analysis the foreign exchange scenario would help you ensure that your budget estimate does not get a distorted shape due to wrong judgment of currency exchange rate.
In financial issues and budgeting, the tourist can save expenses on certain areas which need a mention. There are ample scopes for bargaining over prices asked by vendors whether the merchandise is a piece of local handicraft or foods sold over roadside kiosks.
Often it is the tendency of the vendors to sell an item at an inflated price to foreign tourists than what they do with the local buyers. To sum up the entire concept, budgeting is a prudent financial planning done prior to launching a tour to give the tourist a concrete direction as to the expenses he would likely to incur on sustainable tourism.
Preparations for sustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism calls for an overall mental, physical and financial preparation on the part of the tourists. Financial and physical readiness doesn’t involve any out of the way endeavor on the part of the tourist. It is just like the tourist prepares himself in case of other niche tourism. We will come to this part later. What makes it distinct is to what extent you have mentally prepared yourself to be a responsible tourist?
You have felt to the core of your heart the perils of violating nature’s un-texted rules. That you have realized the negative impacts of imposing your own urban culture on the semi civilized locals who inhabit a destination where nature rules in all its might and the requirements of a modern and civilized world are only secondary.
You appreciate the beauty of local customs and festivals and attend them. You respect their incessant efforts to run their little business chains showcasing homegrown products, souvenirs and handicrafts and the heartfelt realization that strikes you to pack your luggage with some local purchases and contribute to the economic upliftment of your tour destination.
You must mentally prepare yourself with the duties and responsibilities that lie ahead turning destinations a better and cleaner place to explore for many more years to come. The discussion on preparation for sustainable tourism is not only confined to the tourist’s role.
It includes the whole lot of stakeholders who get into frequent contacts with the tour destinations and their physical, social and fiscal environment and who can really decide the future of a destination as a cynosure of tourist appeal. Those have never been in the interactive phase with a destination are welcome as well for a greater frequency of participation in the preparatory stage.
Investments are encouraged from the key players in the private organizations who have a massive contributory potential needed for the preparation of sustainable tour destinations and doing the basic spadework necessary to set up infrastructures and other support systems for making destinations more tourist friendly.
Tourists as a counter response should be more friendly and responsible towards a destination. This could definitely ensure sustainability of a destination inspiring tourists for repeat visits pumping in more and more money at the same time making it a point that the visits don’t leave any negative print on the destination.
With a little innovation and creativity, the private investors can prepare the destinations with bigger attractions, world class amenities and a wonderfully balanced ecology supported with cultural growth and general sustainability. Then of course prudence should be exercised as too much developmental efforts could impose a detrimental impact displacing the environmental harmony.
Preparations for sustainable tourism also embrace technical work. Cartography is an important area where detailed tour maps are prepared to enable the tourists get a fair idea of the destination, special landmarks, forest coverage, mountains and sea sides, famous architectures and monuments which describes the destination with your queries answered at a quick glance. Before leaving for the destination with environment-friendly tour practices in mind, the tourists must prepare themselves on the following guidelines:
- Collect all information related to the destination with specific emphasis on geographical, climatic, cultural and environmental profile.
- Organize an onsite forum with co tourists on principles and practices of responsible tourism. Try to develop significant perceptions and inspire your team members about all that they are going to deliver in group participation and going to learn in their trip with the prime object of environmental conservation in focus.
- Prepare for all the compulsory groundwork and take initiatives to gather from the local guides, tour operators, ministry of tourism and culture about historical worth, heritage milestones and environmental features that trigger interest motivating for further exploration and preservation.
- The participants of environmental sustainability mission should draw up feasible schemes to reduce their brunt on destinations and exercise responsible practices that would benefit the social, cultural and natural contour of the place visited.
Travel and tourism arrangements in sustainable tourism
The spurt in sustainable tourism has been a globally recognized phenomenon. This tourism niche had been a big revenue earner over the past decade, and appreciating its immense potential travel agencies are competing with their resources and contacts to tap the market and make a roaring business with satisfactory customer service as the primary goal encouraging conservation of ecology and environmental sustenance as an equally important mission.
Travel agents specializing in sustainable tourism have clearly defined environmental policies.They sort of educate their clientele in various areas ranging from adoption of good tourism practices which ensure promoting the environmental equilibrium upholding the values inherent in local cultures and rituals, and finally mitigation of the local wretched financial state of affairs by consuming local products and services in exchange for money.
These are the fundamental features of sustainable tourism which the travel agents inculcate into their customer’s psyche inspiring them to show more responsible attitude towards the natural, economic and social atmosphere of the destination they are visiting.
The equation is crystal clear; if the tourists realize the significance of environmental conservation, travel destinations would survive. The business run by travel agents and tour operators would have a secured future. Travel agents have well-coordinated chains with local offices set up across the globe suiting the local needs.
They operate in close synchronization with the local service providers. Generally, local issues are delegated to franchisees that are expected to handle travel and tourism issues quite efficiently on their own unless very big and unmanageable problems crop up demanding intervention of central or zonal offices.
The services are customized with importance of site conservation in the limelight. Travel agents have expanded their scope of services so that the tourist customer can have all the desired services under one roof. Pass port and visa procedural formalities are taken care of by the agencies with speed and precision. The operators are clearly envisaged an alluring profit margin lying ahead if they can combine the business of providing accommodation to customers with local logistics besides to and fro flight booking.
Local guides trained in principles and practices of environment and cultural conservation are often found in the payroll of travel agencies. The operator controls the entire chain of services by pulling a single well-knit string. The customer is happy. There is no clumsy situation coming up. Every issue is carried over to a central redressal cell. The customer knows whom to complain for any mismanagement, and the accountability of the travel agent to the customer becomes well defined.
There may be alternate arrangements between the travel agents and other service providers like hotel and restaurant owners, transport operators and other key operators in the business of sustainable tourism that they stand to share the services, make recommendations for each other and part with the profit margins. These service providers are on their toes with resources to meet the customers’ needs, demands and occasionally giving in to their whims.
Sustainable tourism is witnessing an ever-expanding market and different service providers located at the strategic coordinates of the entire tourism arrangement network seek to deliver to the customers the best in the market at a competitive price for their long term survival.
The complete tourism industry comprising of vital service delivering components like the transport and tour operators, hotel and restaurant owners, spas and health clubs and other key operators have become adroit at achieving this clearly identified target.
This dynamic and promising industry is literally crawling with jubilant and capable sources ready to meet the customers’ requirements in exchange for profit, growth and sustainability of their own business and promise customers even more exciting holiday packages.
As we cruise into the future tourism industry is practically being dominated by bigger and hi tech travel arrangements catering to the needs of a bigger and ever expanding sustainable tourism market. Considering the tourism industry in its entire perspective, the tourists are the primary inputs generating money into the cycle. These inputs need to reach the destinations and travel agents who function as the key players in the travel arrangements are the chief delivering mediators.
It is a cyclic process where money flows from the tourists to the vendors forming important leverages in the machinery of tour and travel arrangements. Infrastructure develops and the destinations get a fresh look alluring more and more tourists for future visits. This is a perpetual process, which is ideally a prerequisite to sustainable tourism and where travel arrangements have an instrumental role to play.
Enterprising tour operators exist in the industry and they join hands in collaboration and are practically harvesting money. They enjoy authoritative power over the future of sustainable tourism. They organize trips efficiently in one hand and ensure reduction of negative impact of tourism on the cultural, economic and ecological profile of a destination on the other.
Best practices in sustainable tourism
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To make sustainable tourism realize its dream, certain practices need to be followed by the users having an impact on global tourism. An organization exists, known as the Global sustainable tourism council, which attempts to promote the spirit of sustainable tourism highlighting its imperative necessity. The core policies and principles of this council on which it operates has certain underlying sustainable tourism criteria.
To execute the best practices of sustainable tourism, these criteria need to be met. The entire concept is aimed at sustaining the ecological equilibrium and development of the environment comprising of all its living and inanimate elements, the flora and fauna and the natural land features and water bodies.
Best practices emphasize the importance of social, cultural and economic lift of the destination to make sustainable tourism a reality. Participation by all the stake holders is a basic criterion for the concept of sustainable tourism to see the day of light!
The local business circuit, hotels, resorts, home stay luxury accommodations, restaurants and eateries, transportation network, local industries, ministry of tourism and culture, local administration and the residents inhabiting the place need to do their bit with the tourists occupying the pivotal point. And perhaps the most important stakeholder in the hierarchy of components entrusted with the smooth and balanced delivery of best practices of sustainable tourism.
Realization of the importance of sustainable tourism is the initial and the most important stage. Resource mobilization and management through proper administrative control and finally equitable and judicious distribution of resources completes the process with the eventual follow up.
The best practices of sustainable tourism should initiate installation of control points at strategic locations to see that the objective of money pouring in from the tourists finds a fair and well thought-out channel of allocation.
Seepage in the pipeline should be plugged in to guarantee that the intermediaries do not stand to make off with a sizeable chunk leaving the right people and right destinations badly needing up gradation deprived and cheated. Proper assessment and efficiency audit is a long felt need with an appropriate internal control system.
Stringent legal measures need to be set rolling to deal with the tourists’ unethical activities towards tour destination whether it involves the natural environment or the social, cultural and the economic vibes of that particular place. Environment sustenance awareness units to be established in specific tour destinations vulnerable to damages induced by the presence and actions of careless tourists. Tourists need to be educated on his duties and responsibilities towards nature. Audio visual aids and documentary films may act as an effective media in this respect.
Tree plantation program is an effective way of propagating and encouraging the need to generate more greenery. This is essential to fix the stability of soil, water bodies and atmosphere. More trees would mean cleaner air and this would again mean a healthier life. The best practices of sustainable tourism are fundamentally aimed at conservation of ecosystem and poverty reduction.
The idea is to inculcate the need for sustainable tourism so as to elevate its market demand. This target is met through a set of assorted programs such as:
- Setting up global benchmarks and establishing targets that are recognized and approved by global sustainable tourism council.
- Destination warden ship where the local bodies, government machineries and NGOs take a combined drive for the growth of cultural, economic, environmental and aesthetic profile of a region worthy of a great tourist appeal.
- Educating the tourists and stake holders on the importance of sustainable tourism with the aid of resource centers having an inventory of information on the best sustainable tourism practices.
- Launching endorsed programs assessed by recognized institutions to certify and find out whether the practices are in compliance with the international norms.
Practices of sustainable tourism can shape the future of the tour destinations. Else the concept of sustainable tourism would just be a wishful thinking never to be realized in the practical world of tourism where tourists and destinations interact.
Precautions and preventions in sustainable tourism
Before packing up your luggage for sustainable tourism, you need to take certain precautionary measures and follow some useful tips to achieve all that you are looking for in your mission to sustainable tourism.
Here are point wise guidelines:
- When you are packing your luggage check that you do not carry too many plastic wrappers. Sometime you may feel the need to dispose these wrappers and that will go against the very spirit of sustainable tourism. Paper bags, wrappers and jute bags are good options as they are easily degradable and will not cause any environmental damage to your destination.
- Have a sense of respect for the local culture. Words of courtesy like ‘good morning’,’thank you’, ‘please’ etc. go a long way winning a favorable response in an alien land. Never treat any alien culture or a piece of ritual with a ridiculing attitude no matter how intensely they may look outlandish. A foreign culture may not be familiar to your way of life, but you do not have the right to laugh at it either. Put up a smile on your face wherever you go. You will receive a warm reception from everywhere.
- Tourists to an alien land are often trapped in the lure of drug peddling and immoral trafficking. Stay away from these temptations laced with vices or else you will be heading for deep trouble.
- For short distance travels say a stretch of 2 kilometers it is better you go on foot or ride a cycle. Using cars would mean encouraging emission of more of carbon gas into the atmosphere. This is certainly an anti conservatory and irresponsible tourism practice to leave the air all choked up in venom! This you need to avoid. If you can hire battery operated electrical vehicles that would be quite environment friendly.
- Try to have a grasp of afew local words. You will find an overwhelming welcome from the locals. Your ability to grasp an alien language would matter a lot. Understanding the meaning of the words and using them in the right context would be the most ideal thing to do. A word that seems good to you may carry abusive hints and that certainly would invite trouble.
- Whenever you stumble upon local fauna, birds, stray dogs etc do not be overenthusiastic and touch them or feed them. Just leave them as they are.
- As a preventive measure against wastage of water and energy especially in hotels you have chosen to stay cut down on your time to shower. Another irresponsible and yet a very common practice is to leave the tap water running while you are in the act of shaving and washing.
- Before checking into a hotel, ensure that they have a well defined environment conservation policy. For helping conserve energy unplug your mobile as soon as its battery has taken full charge.
- While on a shopping spree, insist on packing your products with recyclable paper or cloth bags instead of plastic packs on which local fauna like cattle might get choked in an attempt to eat it.
- If you have planned to drive your own car to your tour destination not far off from your residence take fuel efficient cars. Maintain your car tyre pneumatics at the optimum recommended pressure level. Have a grip on your car filters on regular basis to enhance your car fuel economy. If you are in a traffic bottleneck, turn off your car engine to avoid wastage of fuel and ejection of pollutants.
- Upgrade your knowledge about the place of your visit and about the local residents. This fosters cultural exchange and makes you more acceptable to an alien society and is sure a vital stepping stone towards environmental sustenance.
- If there is a responsible tourism organization set up in your tour destination lend your support and listen to all what it has to say.
- All that your destination has on offer for you may not be painted in a shade of bliss and promise. There may well be portraits of gloom painted in an even more sordid canvas. There may be slums, shabby joints and ghettos with beggars begging and criminals on a prowl. Well, no place is free from them. Just do not show negative reaction but stay alert.
Dos and don’ts of sustainable tourism
In sustainable tourism it should be kept in mind that it is not always that the tourist should be at the receiving end where the benefits are unidirectional from the destination to the tourists.
Tourists do have certain responsibilities to discharge through activities that are good for the destination and refraining from those that would harm its environment and the social fabric. It is too bad for the tourist to leave a negative print of his visit to a destination. It is a threat to the future existence of the destination. The set of dos and don’ts start from the point of time you reach your destination and can be organized in the following sequence.
At your destination airport
See that you do not carry any objectionable items in your luggage for which the airport authority may detain you. Get medical clearance from a competent authority. Make sure that you do not carry any communicable disease to the country of your visit. If you need to dump your refuses in the airport, use the area designated for that purpose.
At the hotel
On checking into the hotel enquire if they have any specific environment policies which needs to be adhered to. For promoting conservation of resources, do not allow pointless running of tap water. Same practice holds for unnecessary consumption of power when it gets wasted shooting up the electricity bill.
If you have planned to dine in your hotel, have a clear idea of the quantity of food served. Ordering food that ends up as a mound of waste in your plate because you could not consume would be a classic example of conservation tragedy.
Express your respect for the local culture. Greeting local people signals a friendly gesture. Even if you are tempted to take photographs of sacred places, see whether it is approved or else it will trigger local resentment.
Try to make yourself conversant with the local language. Learn a few common words and use them. This implies that you have accepted an alien culture and is a mark of promotion and fusion of it into your system of acceptance and appreciation.
Purchase of local products
Always try to purchase indigenous product. Brilliant pieces of crafts, paintings, souvenir and fabric often arrests the tourist’s fancy. These items are always encouraged for a buy. Make sure you pay a fair price. Pointless bargain may compel the poor local artist to sell it to you at a throwaway price. But this won’t be fair.
Right purchase would encourage proliferation of local art beneficial for the local economy. But never buy products crafted out of pelts, tusks, horns and feathers of local fauna, especially if it is endangered! Never insist on eating endangered species no matter how alluring the victuals may appear. You should be considerate towards the natural vegetation around you. Never smoke amid nature or set up a fire just out of fun.
Supporting local economy
The tourist must insist hiring local guides who are certified and experienced enough to give you a satisfactory service. This helps him earn against service delivered and supports local economy.
However, offering gifts to local children is a harmful act as it builds a negative psyche among them encouraging a feeble economy depending upon others clemency. If you want to donate, get it organized through a charity or a trust to ensure a fair distribution of your donation.
Go by the local conventions and dress codes. In many countries, it is customary to dress in a reserved tone. While entering places of worship certain reservations may rule the roost. Follow the dress ethics, and especially at sea beaches see your dress philosophy doesn’t touch the label of ‘vulgarity’.
Eat food from local restaurants and try to eat organic food blocking the chance of pesticides getting into your system.
Do not litter around. Garbage disposal should be strictly avoided. Try to avoid dumping plastic cans, poly-packs and bottles around. These are non-bio degradable items and would certainly harm the ecology.
Try to recycle wastes and air dry your clothes instead of using electric drier that would consume energy and the huge magnitude of cost linked with it. Besides, you need to keep your general alertness on. Never display your valuables in public and never get into too much intimacy with strangers while touring.
Things to do post sustainable tourism
Your activities do not wind up as soon as you have completed your trip, but a new series awaits you. It is a kick off block with a realization hitting you that you have a whole lot of responsibilities to deliver that extends beyond drawing pleasure from your trip. After you have completed your trip, you wake up to the realities and are exposed to the practicality of the situations and components that make up your vacation.
The imperative need of environmental sustenance striking an all-round ecological balance of your destination will certainly turn on the key to your thought process not much later after you have completed your voyage to a breathtakingly awesome destination.
The need to uplift the financial status of the local residents of a tour destination and improvement of the business profile of the local chain of trading units are thought provoking areas that pricks your mind post your voyage, and you realize that something substantial needs to be done to help these entities survive.
Existence of a tour destination and the charm with which it is endowed depends so much upon these entities just as the entities depend on these tour destinations. Well, you can always do something about a destination to ensure its long-term survival even after you have completed your journey.
If you have a will, there would certainly be a way no matter whatever obstacle stands on your way to a productive mission or whatever time might have elapsed since you have been back home from your last vacation outdoors.
What you feel you can always propagate. If your trip to a recent tour destination has motivated you towards starting the ball of sustainable tourism and the related activities rolling, the media is always with you to give you support and a highway to make your thoughts dart and become public touching the world at large.
Those at the receiving end of your reflections delivered with power and proper choice of words would draw a similar inspiration to help sustaining the magic of travel destinations.
As in today’s world of electronic magic, instant way in to your global audience has become a matter of a few seconds. You can blog your opinion and put it across the networking sites making your views strongly felt worldwide concerning the significance of sustainable tourism after you have completed one yourself.
Setting up environmental awareness groups could be a very enterprising activity post sustainable tourism. Group discussions could be organized where opinions, observations, reservations and propositions for improvement are all encouraged and welcome keeping the focus pinpointed on the multiple objectives of milieu development and disseminating the idea of maintaining the ecological poise. Improvement of the general fiscal state of the local population and simultaneously a healthy survival of local trade and commerce could be the next most important agenda.
Your experience of visiting different countries could be a strong base of information support for those aspiring for a sustainable tourism. Post tourism, you can always discuss issues regarding the availability of good accommodation and how to plan your entire voyage touching all areas of significant details. Views of interested stake holders with whom your share the necessity of sustainable tourism should be given due consideration.
You can add more life to your discussion with your friends after you have finished sustainable tourism by putting up photos on exhibits.For that matter, you can use your movie camera and project a moving documentation of your voyage if possible demonstrating the effects of irresponsible tourism.
Tourist’s thoughtless acts can dangerously disrupt nature’s balance. Setting up fire amid bush or littering an amazing piece of lush green meadow with synthetic refuse would be a criminal offence. Post tourism you have ample scope to discuss these issues and deliver home what sustainable tourism is all about.
After you have done your trip, you are simply flooded with novel ideas of conservation of nature or a man made structure of massive tourist interest. On your next trip, you may well put your ideas of sustaining nature and upgrading the lives of its occupants into practice and persuade your fellow tourists to do the same.
Global outlook for sustainable tourism trends
The current trends in travel and tourism are likely to rest on three pillars, namely sustainable development namely, economic, social and environmental as defined by the United Nations. Therefore, sustainable tourism trends are marked by a change of attitude.
‘Responsible tourism’ and ‘reducing carbon footprint’ would be the two buzzwords this year. Following this change of attitude, tourist revenue would be spent on local growth. Avenues covering infrastructure, social, cultural and economic vibes would be trending in future.
The ecological approach is not a handicap in the tourism business but is reward-earning. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNTWO) declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and Development. Therefore, trends in sustainability are highly discussed topics across the tourism and hospitality industry.
According to UNWTO estimates, 5% of global CO2 emissions can be attributed to tourism and 20% of emissions to accommodation, which include water and energy consumption and waste management. Sustainable tourism is vital for the survival of the global tourism industry, one of the highly employable sectors.
Eco-Tourism is mainstream now
A report from Booking.com reveals 87% of global travelers are eager for sustainable travel. Almost 4 out of 10 travelers admit that they manage to travel sustainably. In 2018, 68% of travelers intend to book eco-accommodations, up by 3% last year. The percentage of travelers unaware of eco-friendly stays is also declining steadily since the last couple of years.
The recent GlobalData survey indicates a higher likelihood of ecotourism with the rise in household income. In fact, luxury eco-tourism is likely to be one of the sustainable tourism trends 2019. According to the survey, 16% of US participants with an average income range $20000-$34000 are inclined to book an eco-holiday. The same figure leaped to 25% among those earning $60000-$99000. This is further increased to 57% among the income group earning more than $150,000.
Things Eco-Tourists want
- Reduction of plastic waste –It is disgusting for travelers to come across mounds of waste plastic in the tourism sites.
- Eco-friendly practices –Make the travelers feel contributing something good to the environment.
- Wildlife protection –Accepting the existence of wildlife equally valuable as human beings and developing a caring attitude towards them.
- Enjoying local cuisine supporting the local producers –Not only is it a different culinary experience, savoring fresh and uncontaminated products are good for health too.
- Giving back to communities –A unique experience in community development projects
- Respecting culture –Getting acquainted with a different culture is an experience of its own.
- Preferring green accommodations –Pristine ambiance with lesser energy emissions helps in getting the feel of pure nature.
- Preserving nature and historical sites –Realizing its value and extending cooperation in preservation is another interesting tourism activity.
- Sustainable travel helps in a positive trip –Many global travelers admit that sustainable travel adds a lot of positive experience during the trip.
- Off season travel –Tourists prefer off season travel to minimize crowding of places that creates a stress on local resources.
- Green transport –Walking or traveling by bicycles while going around reducing the carbon emission.
Millennials would be the main drivers
The current travel and tourism trends are largely driven by millennials; thankfully, they are giving lots of importance towards responsible tourism. The 2018 Luxe Report states that millennials are three times more inclined to seek sustainable tourism options than the Gen-X.
Luxury eco-tourism on top of the charts
Sustainability cannot go hand in hand with luxury is a notion of the past. It is one of the key ecotourism trends to watch out for as luxury hotels and resorts are choosing the farm-to-fork route while laying out delicious cuisines using locally grown products. Aimed to reduce carbon- footprints, the farm-to-fork dining has been one of the ruling sustainable tourism trends 2018.
Fuelled by the millennials’ support in green tourism, luxury hotels are implementing paperless checkouts and refill soap dispensers. They are highly valuing pristine environments and open spaces. Prioritizing sustainability is the new objective of the hospitality industry.
For example, sleeping in luxurious pod suites enjoying an immersive Alpine experience as offered by Whitepod Eco resort or luxury eco-lodges of Resurgence in New Zealand are the recent ecotourism trends to watch out for that leave minimal impact on surroundings.
Vacations that concentrate on fun and easy relaxing are giving away to sustainable vacationing. Vail in Colorado, a favorite mountain resort, is the first certified sustainable destination in the USA. The entire neighborhood starting from plush hotels to plumbing companies have worked together to make the place an eco-friendly tourist destination.
Designing impact travel
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Impact travel is the tourism of tomorrow, which implies the positive impact of travel on the surrounding environment. Designed impact travel packages have well taken a place among sustainable tourism trends 2018. These packages include tie-ups with eco-friendly hotels worldwide.
A motivating example has been set by Paras Loomba who organizes treks to secluded Himalayan regions to lodge solar microgrids to hamlets. This puts smiles to villagers as light is introduced to their lives and the whole endeavor is applauded with chorus and laughter of joy.
sustainable tourism trends 2019 is the rise of voluntourism, a right mix of volunteering and tourism. The philosophy of volunteering for tourism revolves around the concept of sustainability. After visiting a new destination, the tourists make efforts towards getting fully aware of the social, environmental and cultural makeup of the location. After this assessment, they make plans, and try to contribute in the greenest way to the location.
Emergence of intelligent destinations
Exploring world has become lot easier. By 2030, an estimated 2 billion people are likely to make overseas travel. Overcrowding of some global hotspots is creating too much strain on local resources and people.
The 4200 square-miles area surrounding the Jackson Hole in Wyoming is likely to become a global leader in sustainable tourism. Supported by Riverwind Foundation, over 300 business units will function in this region targeting long-term socio-environment prosperity than short-term quick gains.
Canada is using Big Data in diverting tourists to under-visited regions promoting cultural and environmental tourism enhancing the holidaying season to 200 days making tourism more sustainable for the place and people.
Activities in sustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism calls for multifarious responsibilities on the part of the tourists, which are in fact in the garb of activities to be carried out. In sustainable tourism, the twin objective of improvement of the economic status of the local population and encouraging environmental harmony are the watch words. The tourists while in a jubilant mood of explosive fun must not lose the basic sense of duty that they must not do anything to harm the ecological balance of the destination. The tourist may help in the cultural and social upliftment of the locals inhabiting the tour destination. Little bits of healthy practices can be encouraged and preached among the locals specially the tribes and those coming from the lowest economic bracket.
Educating locals about the best hygienic practices
Simple acts of life like cleaning hands before eating or washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption would be constructive steps to upgrade the general health profile and inculcate a sense of hygiene among these people. Lack of knowledge of the basic hygiene among the poor locals inhabiting an amazing valley may push the entire community towards the edge of extinction. You have a definite role to play over here.
You can edify them on the importance of sanitation and help prevent a wonderful tourist destination and its poor population from being a thing of the past! The tourist can engage in a lot of activities with a view to changing the lives of the locals towards a better future.
Exploring local culture and buying local produce
Exploring the culture indigenous of the destination is a productive step taken towards egging on the local mores so that they get to bloom and make their presence felt worldwide. You can always buy products from the local craft shops, handloom workshops and fishing villages.
This gives you a feeling of fulfillment that you own a piece of memento from the exquisite destination. In exchange, the local business and the local communities get a financial boost and their standard of lives gets perked up, and this is one important activity typical of sustainable tourism.
Buying local produce like indigenous fruits, cash crops like coffee, tea and cocoa, spices and herbs gives a shot of encouragement to the local planters. They get to earn from the sale of their harvest to tourists as well.
The tourist can spend a day with the local ethnic group of people after paying them some token money. The idea is to explore a typical day in their lives. This gives a tourist an insight into their daily chores comprising of rituals, hunting and gathering food, farming activities, art and entertainment, culinary activities and other big and small errands that make up their lives.
This effort is a value adding exercise bringing their culture closer to you and only then can you appreciate the beauty of it and is certainly a significant activity promoting sustainable tourism.
Acting responsibly to the ecological system
In the environmental conservation front, your responsibilities towards ecology as a rational and duty-bound environment conscious tourist would be refraining from certain detrimental activities, which do not go well with nature. Starting up a fire amid a jungle is a criminal act and so is smoking amid nature or shouting at the top of the voice.
Jungles all over the world have certain unwritten codes, and it would be an activity sensible enough on the part of the tourist not to violate this silent code. It would be a sensible act from the tourists not to plunk waste and non-biodegradable refuse into a water body, in the forest or on a mountain top. That would contribute a lot towards sustainable tourism.
If you locate a forest fire, try to put it out with available sources around like water from a nearby river or a lake or smothering it with sand or soil if handy. If the issue is beyond your manageable abilities, try and contact the nearest forest department bureau or the beat office before the fire takes on a horrendous form.
It would be a positive activity if the tourist promulgates the concept of sustainable tourism either by group effort or with the help of media so that more tourists visit a destination with a view to environmental improvement and mitigation of local poverty.
Challenges in sustainable tourism
Modernization of human lifestyle had given rise to certain adverse conditions, and it is the human beings who are right on the job of rectification that will see better conditions for sustenance in the future. The history of sustainable tourism is set to add more interesting features. But the industry needs to tackle the following key challenges as well:
- Spreading of over tourism from the current 50 cities to nearly 100.
- The growth of cheap and budget travel options pose some serious sustainability problems in many destinations. Too much of waste generation and resource utilization are likely to hit the local population.
- Pollution created by plastic and other non-biodegradable wastes continues to be a major threat to sustainability in many exotic locations of developing countries.
Countries promoting sustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism is a long-term insurance coverage for the survival of the tourism industry. Countries have envisaged the reality that for the tourism industry to survive, a continued flow of revenue of the crowd puller destination is an absolute requirement. Again, for the destination to survive, sustainable tourism is the only answer for which countries are bent on promoting this concept. Efforts of some countries in promoting sustainable tourism are really praiseworthy.
An association in Italy called Italy Sustainable Travel has brought in a concept of sustainable tourism championing the traditional values of Italian art and culture. In one side, this organization has been striving to meet the environmental conservation standards and on the other it is helping keep up the traditional ethics facing threats of extinction.
The body features a creative base with maps, websites, blogs, opinion columns and social networking portals that aim to give the tourists an exposure to age old Italian customs and rituals that are so much a part of their rich culture.
The committed information base on the net keeps the tourists engrossed to Italian cultural wonders and encourages them for further exploration by visiting the destination thereby supporting the long term sustenance of the Italian magic through their culture, art, cuisine and amazing pastoral country sides.
The hotels, resorts and other accommodation set ups are managed in line with eco friendly code of ethics, and Eco award Namibia in South Africa is a sustainable tourism promoting body whose contributions and strategies in this area sets it apart as a distinguished standard setter in the field of environment conservation and sustenance.
Controlled usage of resources and their recycle and waste management are the underlying principles that have a direct impact on the chief subject matter of sustainable tourism. Another eminent promoting body is the Botswana ecotourism certification system with around 250 standards of target achievement touching the vital areas of intellectual inventory safeguard, green management, social growth, socio fiscal accountability and the basic ecotourism norms.
In US, the promotional efforts for sustainable tourism are vigorous. For instance, Albany in New York has taken a massive promotional drive to encourage sustainable tourism. In collaboration with responsibletravel.com, the New York online guide would project ecotourism programs encouraged in all parts of the state and will feature walking past appreciating the traditional Amish ways of life or a bicycle ride alongside the Erie Canal. The tourists are educated on what cultural disasters can result if they are not cautious enough about the extent of injurious impact of their irresponsible tourism practices could bring on local environment and culture.
Australia Tourism is already in the business of promoting sustainable tourism for both global and local markets. Within the continent, each state and territory has their own tourism bureaus which operate in combination with the industry. The ministry of tourism gives full support to the promotional exercise and puts across to the tourists the importance of sustainable tourism so that they find the concept appealing enough to go for sustainable tourism.
This is an awesomely beautiful country with a history rich culture. There are partner organizations striving towards promotion of sustainable tourism. The aim is to protect the rich bio diverse ecosystem, check habitat loss and preserve the rich Mayan culture with its exotic pyramids and monuments from atmospheric erosion and contacts from frequent tourist visits.
Great Britain’s launch for sustainable tourism is a giant leap forward to make the island nation a powerful temptation for the tourists in the current time horizon and into the future as well. Let us start with the British culinary scene.
They seem to firmly believe in the philosophy that an access to a tourist’s heart is through his stomach! They have invaded the customer’s heart with the magic of British culinary secret which is far from bland for those having a mistaken notion of a Brit grub.
The chefs are brilliant and Michelin starred. They are simply a bunch of talents unleashed! The UK is going through a phase of culinary make over. Loads of encouragement is induced to inspire the tourists to buy food grown and harvested locally through organic methods. The result is an awesome plateful of savory British cuisine that will lure you to repeat visits to this island nation.
World class restaurants featuring organic, vegan and special diet cafes exist. Gluten free cafes could be found as well keeping in mind where tourists with gluten intolerance may have a healthy choice. Food tradeshows and aromatic piping hot exhibits keep the lip smacking tourists engrossed in the mouth watering British kitchen.
As a promotional measure to encourage environmental conservation, Green tourism and responsible travel is advocated and marketed with much hype so that British country sides and landscape marvels are left wild and pristine immune from alien garbage!
With key tourism trends being focused on responsible and sustainable tourism, major players of the hospitality industry are doing everything possible to implement sustainable practices. The concept of reducing environmental footprints is attracting the high-income tourist segment. Like last few years, this year and those coming would see a gradual rise in the popularity of sustainability.
Top destinations in sustainable tourism
The need for sustainable tourism is strongly felt among the stakeholders of the tourism industry. The entire collection of entities having a direct or indirect relationship with the tourism industry cannot stay as silent spectators when the very survival of the industry is jeopardized.
The future of tourism depends upon the sustenance of a travel destination. The ministry of tourism, environment experts, economists and social thinkers, industrial heavyweights and business houses, local trade circuits and the section of population inhabiting the tourist destinations, and last but not the least tourists themselves have been giving a lot of deliberations to this area.
For a long term functioning of tourism industry and existence of destinations spelling magic, it has become imperative that sustainable tourism be practiced and encouraged among all those who stand to confront the impact at a global level. Some of the destinations that have been marked for sustainable tourism are illustrated here with their typical features and intensity of tourist response:
Burren and Cliffs Moher, Ireland:
Located in the Irish pristine landscaped setting, this exquisite destination is the right mix of wonderful cultural and panoramic marvel. This globally famous sustainable tourism destination has been endowed with the coveted UNESCO ‘Global Geopark Award’ in 2011. It has maintained a balanced and focused conservation and educational endeavor with a world class network of tourist friendly set ups. Burren & Moher had been operating in conjunction with around 50 tourism bodies to promote conservation of the environment with a view to bring an all round progress to the local community and win green and clean certification from competent authorities.
Tetepare in South Pacific:
Tetepare Island is located in the western province of the Solomon Islands in South Pacific. It is the largest uninhabited piece of land in the southern hemisphere with the blue waves roaring on all sides.
Some primitive civilization may have existed in this island, but currently it is inhabited by only birds, mammals and reptiles some of which belong to rare species. Known for conservation work and archeological finds of great significance, the island offers unspoilt rain forests and an amazingly beautiful marine coastline.
The focus is on conservation of the island’s ecology that would be beneficial for the future of the island, and the posterity that would someday set foot here. A notable feature of this island that supports conservation is that it has never been logged and lumbered.
Here a major drive has been initiated over a span of five years to make conservation of the environment a philosophy of life, and strategic programs have been designed to realize the mission. Informational updates and toolkits have been on offer to guide stakeholders help implement the wonderful scheme of sustaining the nature and all the riches it is endowed with.
The hotels in Melbourne have identified areas to cut down on the consumption of energy, water and generation of waste.This is indeed a progressive drive directed at conservation of resources, management and control of wastes consequently generating substantial savings that could ensure a long-term survival of sustainability of all the elements that make up the environment.
Expert advice, information support and motivational inputs are extended to hotels and other service industries featuring in the tourism business chain with a view to help achieve and propagate the objectives of sustainable tourism.
This nature’s paradise island of pristine charm has brought the concept of sustainable tourism down to its network of transportation infrastructure. The entire road and water transportation circuits of the kiwis have been spread into 170 coaches operating around the cities and towns and 3 ferry services to reach out to 600 cities and towns in a day located across the entire length and breadth of the island.
The basic idea is to generate less of carbon, smoke and pollutants thereby maintaining a cleaner and healthier air thereby fostering a spirit of environmental conservation and tourism sustenance.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve & Lodge, South Africa:
Image Source : grootbos.com
Less than about a couple of hours from Cape Town, this nature camp is more than just a conservation unit. It is an educational institute giving effective edification to the local so that they contribute to ecological sustenance.
The accommodation is cozy having all the luxuries answering the requirements of a tourist. This nature reserve played a crucial role in setting up the famous Walter Bay Fynbos conservancy back in 1999.
The target of this camp is to select a team of 8 men and women every year and impart them training to develop skills in agricultural projects on cultivation of fruits and vegetables. They also learn the art of bee keeping and animal husbandry.
They have produced over 80 graduates since 2003, and their Green Future project offers training to unemployed of the area so that they can be fruitfully absorbed in the fields of sustainable tourism, landscaping and agriculture.
A conglomeration of organizations has set up a close tie and their objective is to ensure sustainability of the environment. They have named themselves ‘Green tourism Finland’ and they operate with dedication and efficiency. They have the certification programs whereby every business units operating in the area are evaluated and put on credit bars. Industries that come under focus include hotels and resorts, restaurants and eateries and tour agencies.
South West Tourism, UK:
This ecotourism destination has an in-depth sustainable tourism program which includes training on tourism marketing applicable in the industry. It is the first destination to receive the prestigious gold level certification awarded under the Green Tourism Business Scheme.
They are also accredited with the World Travel and Tourism award for tomorrow for their remarkable achievement in the field of sustainable tourism back in 2009. The concept of green tourism toolkit is well in force with the supporting updates and training, and the customers’ demands, complaints and satisfaction are analyzed as to establish the cause-and-effect relationship.
The province of Rimini is located on the eastern coastal part of Italy and this destination had been awarded the first European sustainable tourism award ‘Carmen Diez de Rivera’ for its valuable contribution towards developing plans and methods and implementing them towards achieving sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean coastline.
The strategies employed are eco friendly and includes management of tourist destinations with an objective of enhancing the local cultural, social and economic vibes.
Samasati Nature Reserve, Costa Rica:
Image Source : samasati.com
This is an absolute tranquil locale where the boom of mechanical civilization doesn’t exist. The destination ensures that no equipment, cutting tools and mechanization is employed to cut trees and rake up soil and push this green eco locale towards devastation.
The reserve upholds the target of employing locals and encourages them in their indigenous pollution free methods of sustaining nature and conserving the environment around them. For their efforts put in, the locals get paid and there is a definite attempt to upgrade the local economic status.
Eco camps and jungle treks are in vogue offering the tourist immense pleasure amid clean and calm greenery. There are multifarious drives initiated by the resort to ensure tourist visits become more nature friendly aiming at meeting the prime conditions of sustainable tourism.
Cristalino Jungle Lodge, Amazon, Brazil:
Located in the southern Brazilian equatorial depths of greenery and sun ray blocking thick foliages this lodge is under private ownership. The objective is to stop Amazon from getting turned into a barren piece of land owing to the evils of logging industry. The conservation efforts are thorough and strategic. The results are expected to be positive ensuring long term sustainability of the Brazilian Amazon.