July 27, 2022
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Keep reading to learn more, including getting answers to the following two big questions, "what is sustainable tourism?" and "what are the best strategies for making your hotel green?"
Our planet is facing major challenges, from global warming to extensive damage to ecosystems and draughts, which are threatening its very existence. The extreme weather, sinking coastal cities, and lengthy draughts are all calling for one thing: urgent solutions. One of the recommended methods of addressing such challenges today is sustainable tourism.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable tourism refers to responsible and ethical practices used in and by the hospitality industry. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, it is a form of “tourism that factors in its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts,” while addressing the needs of visitors, the environment, communities, and the industry.
The definition of sustainable tourism implies that all stakeholders have to be part of the process to ensure they reduce the negative impacts and optimize the associated benefits. Therefore, a hotel operating in a specific area should factor in the local communities because they are custodians of the wildlife and culture that attract visitors. Therefore, every player in the tourism industry has to answer two big questions: “who are the stakeholders involved?” and “does the facility have positive impacts?”
The Main Advantages of the Sustainable Tourism
Before looking at the best ways to achieve sustainability in the tourism sector, let us check the main benefits to expect from sustainable travel and green hotels. Remember that sustainable tourism has to factor in all involved stakeholders, from hotel management to visitors. So, what are the benefits?
It Helps to Take Care of the Wildlife
One of the most significant benefits of sustainable tourism is that it helps to conserve wildlife. Green hotels make decisions with the local resources like wildlife in mind, resulting in a greater focus on and conservation of their habitats. The idea is to allow wildlife to thrive while still promoting tourism in specific regions.
Instead of having the wildlife kept in captivity, green hotels ensure that visitors can go and see them in the wild. For example, a drive through a game park will be more enjoyable for tourists because they can experience animals in their natural habitats without negatively impacting their behavior. Most visitors would want to see tigers, lions or jaguars hunting in the jungle as opposed to when it is caged in a box.
Has Lower Ecological Footprint
What visitors do, eat, and use during vacations has an economic footprint. There are hotels that offer foreign foods only, but these can negatively impact the environment. For example, a lot of emissions might be released into the air and accelerate global warming if the food that visitors take has to be imported all the way from their home countries. This is why sustainable tourism involves using local produce and from local businesses.
Eating local foods helps to ensure that everything is fresh and less harmful to the environment. Green hotels encourage visitors to try something new, including local delicacies. It helps to make traveling more enjoyable and allows travelers to discover local cultures, foods, and alternative ways of doing things.
Helps to Make the Environment Clean
We all love clean and healthy environments. A super-clean hotel will make every visitor want to travel back for more. Sustainable tourism helps to make not only the hotel but the entire environment clean.
Most green hotels have strategies that help to reduce the release of waste into the environment. For example, they recycle most or all of their waste to avoid releasing it into the environment. In the event that they do not have ample facilities, green hotels partner with facilities that specialize in recycling to increase the utility of materials.
Promoting the Involvement and Support of the Local Communities
One of the reasons for the failure of sustainability initiatives in the past was not involving the local communities. It is true that a high-end hotel might be established in a specific area and attract a lot of visitors, but the venture will not be successful if the neighboring community does not identify with it. If people litter neighboring beaches or harm the wildlife, the hotel might not attract visitors anymore.
When you involve the local community, people no longer look at the hotel as a threat to their resources. Therefore, they will consider it an important part of the community and will do anything to help it address local challenges. Make sure to involve the local community at all stages of a green hotel establishment for greater support.
Promotes Long-Term Focus
For some investors, the whole idea of making their facilities sustainable is considered an expensive thing because of the facilities they need to install. However, the overall cost for sustainable or green hotels is low when looked at from the long-term perspective. By bringing together the hotels, tourists, and governments, green hotels employ strategies to support present and future generations.
The Best Strategies for Promoting Sustainable Tourism in Hotels
The benefits of sustainable tourism that we have listed above are only a few of what you should anticipate. The list is way longer, including more profits and the satisfaction from understanding you are helping address the planet's worst challenges. So, now you know "what is sustainable tourism,” but what are the most recommended strategies for a hotel? Here are some of the best suggestions:
Adopt Green Building Design
For those considering building new hotels or branches, it is prudent to make the design green. Green buildings help to cut down the impact on the environment through strategies such as avoiding harmful materials and using eco-friendly strategies. For example, you should set the buildings to reduce interference with the natural environment. Also, work with local communities to restore the natural environment around the hotel to guarantee eco-travellers total connection with nature.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
For any hotel to be considered green, it must carefully look at and reduce its carbon footprint. This means cutting down the emissions your hotel releases and setting a system that allows visitors to keep their emissions low. Here are some useful tips to help you keep down the carbon footprint for your hotel:
- Start by calculating the carbon footprint of the entire facility. This should include all greenhouse gasses arising from different activities, such as lighting and transport.
- Establish a target for reducing the carbon footprint. When they make up their minds to travel with a difference, visitors want to be associated with facilities cutting down their carbon footprints. So, your ultimate goal should be to achieve carbon-neutral status.
- Adopt strategies for cutting carbon footprint. For example, you might want to shift to solar energy for lighting the guest rooms and restaurants. Make sure to capture the information about the achievements for carbon footprint reduction and publish annually for travelers to see on your site. Partnering with Climate Fresk will also come in handy to showcase the efforts to more stakeholders and get more support.
Use CONTINEWM in Your Air Conditioning
ACMVs, or Air-Conditioning and Mechanical Ventilation), in most hotels are responsible for about 40% of the electricity bills. To cut down this bill, you should consider installing CONTINEWM. This is one of the most effective devices for improving the efficiency of a ACMV system. It works by clearing electrostatic charges that build up on the ACMV as the air passes through, helping to reduce resistance and increasing the efficiency of air conditioning.
Support Green Initiatives Both Locally and Globally
Sustainable tourism is only possible when you involve the local communities. The idea is to make traveling inclusive so that more parties can understand, get involved, and help improve the planet. So, check around for the activities of the local people and think of ways to help them become more sustainable. A hotel located in an agricultural area can partner with local communities to help them adopt improved farming practices that do not harm the environment.
Green hotels also help communities through promoting social justice initiatives, supporting the establishment of health facilities, and economic empowerment. Your hotel can also partner with local authorities by targeting areas that can enhance travel and leisure. For example, you can contribute to the security and economic initiatives of the local authorities. All of these sustainable practices will help to make the hotel and entire globe sustainable.
Improve Energy Efficiency
In a hotel, energy bills take a huge chunk of the expenses. For example, 6-10% goes into electricity bills. Notably, the higher the energy bill, the higher the carbon footprint. Therefore, your hotel should also focus on cutting its energy consumption as part of its efforts toward sustainability. Here are three common methods that you should use to keep the energy cost low:
Shift Lighting to LED Fixtures
Shifting to LED lamps is an excellent method of promoting sustainability in the tourism industry. LED lamps can help to cut lighting bills by up to 75%. They also last 25% longer than incandescent lamps, implying that you will not need to keep replacing them.
This post has demonstrated that for your hotel to help advance sustainable tourism, it is prudent to understand the concept and have a clear plan. Green hotels make travel more enjoyable and satisfying for all stakeholders while reducing their negative impacts. Remember to always showcase the progress of your sustainable practices and work with partners or experts in matters of sustainability for better results.