Sustainable Tourism not only benefits the environment and the local communities: it has also economic advantages. Let’s go to discover why choose eco-friendly accommodations is so important today.

Sustainable Tourism is of primary importance to our planet and its future. Even the UN has dedicated the year 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism. Let’s go to find out what are the benefits of sustainable tourism which are not only environmental and social, but also economic.

Contributing 80% of GDP and 12% of employment creation, Tourism is the third economic activity in Europe, according to data from EU. Every year a billion people travel throughout the world (one in nearly six people) and continue to grow. The forecast maintain that, in 2030, the number of tourists will increase to 1.8 million, doubling the number of a few years ago.

UNWTO-Tourism-Higlights-2014-2030
Growth forecast of the number of tourist in the world between 2014 and 2030. Source taken fron UNWTO

 

In a period of fundamental questions about sustainability for our development model, we are also asking what the environmental, economic and social impacts will be.

Tourism and environmental pollution

On the one hand, tourism represents one of the biggest economy sectors in the world, which makes it an important growth opportunity for the least developed countries. On the other hand, tourism is one of the major causes of pollution and carbon dioxide production. For example, EU data tells us that tourism is one of the first causes of the carbon dioxide production in Europe, and that over 20% of polluting emissions are associated with accommodations (hotels, etc).

Contributors-of-various-tourism-sub-sectors-in-CO2-emissions
Source from: Sustainable Development and Tourism: Responding to Global Challenges, written by UNWTO and United Nation Environment Programme

The growing awareness of the issue of environmental limits of the tourism development is leading us to experiment alternative methods of tourism and accommodations that are environmentally safe and benefit places and local economies.

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How is the demand for sustainable tourism increasing?

Green is no longer just a trend. It’s a way of life” (Fran Brasseux, Executive Director, Hotel Sales and Marketing, Association International (HSMAI) Foundation).

Sustainability is no longer just a trend, it’s a lifestyle. Awareness is increasing of environmental and climatic problems in the same way that knowledge grows of how much each one of us could contribute to solutions to global problems by modifying our way of life.

The number of people choosing vegetarian food, using public transport and buying in a responsible manner grows.

A survey prepared a few years ago indicates that two thirds (66%) of consumers over the world prefer to buy products and services to conscious businesses and 46% are willing to pay an extra for products or services from socially responsible companies (Nielsen Wire, 2012).

The results of the Observatory SANA-ICE 2016 “All Bio’s numbers”, report increased biologicals purchases in Italy. The Italian families as high as 7 out of 10, prefer organic products at least once a year.

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How are the demand for eco-friendly accommodation increasing?

Those who travel is more aware of environmental problems and seek to play his part choosing an eco-friendly accommodation.

According to a survey from many years ago by Travelzoo, more than 90% of interviewed american travellers prefer an eco-friendly hotel, for the same price and services that once no eco-friendly (Travelzoo 2010).

According to the CMIGreen Traveler Study Report, the “eco-aware” customers travel more frequently than average customers. In the 2009 the 75,6% spent at least two time away from home and the 22% spent from 5 to 8 times away. The same report of 2010 asked to responsible travellers how the global economic crisis has affected on their travel programmes. The 54% answered that they spent a green-travel in the last 12 months. The 43% of interviewed are prepared to spend until a 5% more to reduce his ecological footprint in the next travel.

Other survey by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) tells us that a percentage between 10 and 15% of travellers are looking for the unusual and unique. The growth of this type of tourist is much higher than traditional customer segments. These new tourists are described as people “well educated, matures, wealthy, with travel experience, environment-aware and sensitive to social issues and traditional culture, system and costumes of travel destinations” (UNTWO, Responsible Travel).

3 good reasons to aim to sustainability

As we have observed, the demand of sustainability tourism is growing up. So, many tourist activities are implementing good environmental and social practices and choosing ecological certifications and brands.

Invest in sustainability is not only necessary, but it is also beneficial. Make eco-friendly choices in a tourist accommodation is useful for three reasons at least:

  1. It is created an added value for the guests more interested in this issue.
  2. It is reduced the costs and consumptions (energy, water and wasted in general), the CO2 emissions.
  3. Attention for the environment is contagious and allow to do network. It’s a positive energy to be able to innovate our business. The latter aspect is told effectively in this short video

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Author: Isabel Gaval

Trips, literature and the different languages and cultures which exist inspire me. I’ve studied a degree in Translation, and then I’ve decided to use my knowledge to work in sustainable tourism all around the planet. Professional traveller, always looking for sustainability, I’ve decided to explore the planet and, all together, make our best for improving it.
More posts by Isabel Gaval →


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