Support sustainable tourism and your guests be more eco-friendly
Tourism has become the world’s 3rd largest export industry after fuels and chemicals, and many countries rely on tourists to grow their economy. It is big business but it also has a big impact on the environment. Traveling is not a sustainable activity by nature, but you can make a difference by making your place more sustainable and help your guests to be more eco-friendly. Every small effort accumulates and the reward for your effort is a long-term benefit to all of us including the environment, your business, travelers, and local communities.
Sustainable tourism examples
United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations World Tourism Organization explain “sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”
Here’re some examples of sustainable tourism:
Inkaterra Hotels in Peru was established in 1975 and built from local products without ruining the sacred environment in the valley. While providing a luxurious home for visitors, they support local conservation, scientific research, education, and the economic growth of local communities.
The Six Senses Resort in Fiji, one of the world’s best luxury resorts, also operates with sustainable tourism principles. The resort is entirely powered by solar energy, uses rainwater, and promotes recycling and re-using materials wherever possible.
Wavelength, a tour company set up by local marine biologists, offers snorkeling tours at The Great Barrier Reef in a sustainable way. They take a small group, having a “no touch” policy, and using sunscreen that doesn’t impact the corals. These sustainable solutions take out the risks to impact the reef and provide a memorable experience to the visitors.
Philip Island Nature Parks in Australia let visitors access some of Australia’s most elusive marine animals while working hard with scientists to protect the vital ecosystems. Every ticket purchase contributes to protecting these animals through world-leading research.
Ecobnb, a website helps travelers to find environmentally friendly and sustainable accommodation. It provides an easy way to minimize carbon footprint while travelling.
Have you been thinking about becoming more sustainable host? You don’t need to make a big investment to be more sustainable. There are many small changes you can do, and they will still become a big contribution in a long term.
Tips for sustainable hosting
Travelers are looking for “eco accommodation” more than before. Sustainable hosting is not only for better environment but is also good for your business.
Here’re some tips.
Reduce energy and water consumption
- If you haven’t, change the energy provider to who provide renewable energy
- Adjust the standard temperature on a hot water system lower than 60 degrees Celsius. Hot water system is one of the biggest energy users.
- Change lightbulbs to energy efficient bulbs such as CFL and LED.
- Insulate the room/building to keep extra heating and cooling minimum. Fixing gaps on doors, windows, floors, and walls can dramatically improve the insulation.
- Next time you purchase appliances, choose energy efficient products.
- Remind your guests to turn off electric devices when they are not in use.
- Remind your guests to have shorter shower
- Remind your guests to wash close less frequently and use cold water
- Install low-flow water fixtures and regularly check for leaks
Provide sustainable essentials
- Provide re-usable supplies wherever possible. For example, reusable cleaning cloths in kitchen and bathroom instead of disposable paper towels, re-fill water bottles instead of single-use bottled water, re-usable food containers instead of disposable plastic containers.
- Choose non-toxic, compostable, or recyclable products with less packaging. For example, solid toiletries instead of liquid shampoos in a mini plastic bottle, recycled tissue paper, and non-toxic laundry detergent.
- Next time you purchase linens, furniture, and other items, choose sustainable options from local businesses. For example, bed sheets made from recycled fabric, upcycled furniture, and products made from sustainable materials.
- Provide separate bin for recyclable and compostable items
- Provide re-usable shopping bags
- Provide bikes if you can
How to help your guests be more eco-friendly travelers?
For some people, sustainability is a new thing, and it is an opportunity for you to get more people involved in sustainable tourism. Here’re some ideas for you.
Make a list of sustainability rules for your guests to follow – clear instructions what they do and whey their contribution matters
Encourage guests to use local public transport – provide handy information how to get places by public transport or hiring bikes
Connect guests with local businesses – provide information about local culture, restaurant, farmers’ market, or sustainable local tours.
Show what you do about sustainability to inspire visitors.
Whether you provide one of bedrooms in your house or a luxury resort, you hold opportunities to make positive impact on the environment and your guests’ experience. Becoming a sustainable place is an incremental progress with many small improvements rather than a big change. There will be successes and frustrations. But more and more people are looking for sustainable and eco-friendly options in their daily lives. Visitors (and planet) will appreciate for your effort and your actions will benefit to your business in a long term.