The pandemic of the new coronavirus and the strict anti-epidemic measures introduced by various countries have accelerated the transformation of the global economy. All industries are undergoing some kind of change, for example, new safe gambling sites to bet on sports or applications for safe movement around the city appear. Of course, tourism was particularly affected. Therefore, the experts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) are confident that the current crisis is an opportunity to create a more sustainable tourism economy.
What Does Sustainability Mean in Tourism?
Today, the concept of sustainability in tourism includes several aspects: reducing the carbon footprint, reducing the impact on local ecosystems, increasing economic benefits for local communities. But striving to achieve these goals does not mean that people are now traveling in order to preserve nature and local communities. A “stable” tourist does not go to Kamchatka just to collect garbage scattered near the hill. He still travels there to enjoy the views and relax, surf, and eat fresh fish. And at the same time not to harm, but, if possible, to be beneficial: responsible tourism does not have “everything for the good of the tourist”, but “good for everyone.” Tourists, local communities, the environment, and businesses benefit from it.
Sustainable tourism, despite the relatively recent history of the term, has been overgrown with many myths. There are two main misconceptions associated with this concept. The first myth says that this type of tourism is only for eco-activists and volunteers. The second argues that sustainable tourism is not a business, but a kind of altruism, that is, it should not be profitable. Both statements are wrong.
The demand for sustainability in tourism services is growing worldwide and in Russia as well, market participants say. Ordinary townspeople demand from local authorities to put containers for separate garbage in their yards, motorists are increasingly interested in electric cars, and tourists refuse to travel by air and want hotels to use renewable energy sources. And business is responding to these changes.
The sustainability trend was picked up by large tour operators. Players such as Booking.com, Amadeus, TUI declare their sustainable tourism programs and sustainable strategies, work with startups and collaborate with local authorities and communities.
Canada’s G Adventures has become a model company in the new industry. It was founded back in 1990 as an operator of adventure tours to South America. Now it is a multinational company with offices in 28 countries around the world. In 2018, it was recognized as one of the most innovative companies by Fast Company. G Adventures partners with the National Geographic Society and develops a travel program with it in 80 locations around the world. G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip has created an eponymous non-profit organization that promotes the values of sustainable tourism and fosters the development of vulnerable communities in South and Central America.
The Marriott hotel chain is an example of how sustainable solutions can be cost-effective. Guests here are offered to refuse the daily change of bed linen and towels if they do not need it. For this, the client receives bonuses from the loyalty card. Everyone wins: the hotel saves a lot, the guest receives bonuses, and both contribute to the conservation of resources.
One of the most Important Trends in Sustainable Tourism is a Collaboration
Sustainable tourism is a cross-sectoral phenomenon that encourages players to collaborate. In one program, in addition to the tour operator, local industries, cultural institutions, public organizations, and so on can be involved. All of them can contribute to the unique appearance of the settlement and region and bring additional value to their client.