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How to Manage a Hospitality Business Responsibly: Sustainable Tourism in 2019

Posted on: July 26, 2019

The climate crisis and tourism as a stakeholder 

Is there such a thing as sustainable tourism?  Ecotourism and sustainable tourism have been around since the 80s but have recently started to become more prevalent in the tourism industry in response to the extensive negative environmental impact of traditional tourism. Air travel, waste, water and air pollution, microplastics, food waste – all have affected local ecologies and communities whilst contributing significantly to the current climate crisis. In addition, a community’s identity, cultural assets and economy can be negatively influenced by a poorly managed influx of tourism. Correspondingly, climate change disrupts tourism and deteriorates conditions in popular tourist destinations. Is there a way to keep discovering all the remote corners of our planet and mitigate the negative impacts of travel and the hospitality industry?

Answers to these questions can be found in  these new and forthcoming titles, featuring contributions from a range of industry professionals and researchers. Tourism is one of the major businesses in nearly every country and, like many other sectors, it must adapt to the new requirements on sustainability. Ecotourism promotes principles to do just that, teaching hospitality professionals important lessons on how to promote economic growth while preserving the environment. The adoption of futuristic approaches to tackling these challenges is an instrumental step on the route to sustainable tourism in 2019.

In 2017 the World Tourism Organization and United Nations Development Programme published the Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals – Journey to 2030 report, which gives recommendations on policymaking, financing of tourism, international community engagement as well as private sector best practice. Some of the most actionable recommendations are:

  • Share experiences, good practices and lessons learned among tourism companies, and especially
    SMEs, to support evidence-based decision-making in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility
    (CSR) activities that impact the SDGs
  • Continue investing in people, technologies and ICT so as to increase resource efficiency, reduce
    operational costs and minimize the carbon footprint of the sector;
  • Increase local purchasing of goods and services along the tourism value chain to prevent ‘leakage’
    and to enhance competitiveness and maximize positive local impact. [1]

There are many ways a hospitality business can improve its operations by adopting these principles:

  • Recycling, grey water management, waste reduction, energy efficiency and lowering of its carbon footprint
  • Inclusivity, promoting work-life balance, promoting employees’ health and wellbeing
  • Sourcing supplies locally and stimulating local entrepreneurship.




Infographic from Sustainable Tourism Development: Futuristic Approaches

Doing well by doing good: ecotourism and community-based

Ecotourism is an entirely different form of tourism practice - it is not simply visiting natural places, but it has close links with the natural world, helping to raise awareness of the importance of the environment and the ethical practices required to sustain it. Community-based tourism takes all dimensions of sustainability into account. Tourism is managed and owned by the community and for the community, with the purpose of enabling visitors to increase their awareness and learn about local ways of life. The following model explains that relationship.

These practices not only support the local environment and community - which in turn helps the hospitality sector to thrive - but also provide an excellent opportunity for PR and marketing. Every year the best examples of businesses implementing sustainability in their operations are announced in a variety of award ceremonies. The storytelling potential of a sustainable business is vast – community engagement, low waste, carbon free, green energy, and much more. Hospitality businesses can gain significant competitive advantages through the use of content writing and social media for successful destination branding and marketing. Furthermore, numerous international organisations and governments offer tax benefits in order to promote this cause. Find out how to adopt, improve, scale and leverage sustainable hospitality practices in the Apple Academic Press collection.

[1] World Tourism Organization and United Nations Development Programme (2017), Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals – Journey to 2030, Highlights, UNWTO, Madrid, DOI: