One of the industries with the quickest rate of growth in the globe is tourism, which may give governments promoting themselves as vacation spots a significant economic boost. However, historically, tourism has had a disastrous impact on people’s cultural identity, the environment, and both.

Let’s introduce the idea of sustainable tourism, which the United Nations World Tourism Organization states needs to:

Preserve biodiversity and conserve the environment.
Honor and protect the customs of the host communities while ensuring their well-being
The only way to ensure the continued success of tourism, respect for all people, and planetary boundaries is for the world to move away from mindless mass tourism and toward learning from the successful examples of sustainable tourism models already in place. This involves addressing the needs of both the industry and visitors while offering socio-economic benefits to all.

Which travel destinations are sustainable?

Bhutan’s restricted travel industry

One of the happiest nations on earth is Bhutan, which is situated east of the Himalayas. The sustainable way of life of the people has endured since the nation has not been heavily impacted by colonization.

“High value, low impact” is the guiding concept of Bhutanese tourism. Enforcing stringent entry criteria and a daily tourist charge has helped achieve this. The daily rate covers all visit-related costs, including lodging, meals, hiking gear, and a certified tour guide. However, a sizable amount of the tariff goes toward funding Bhutan’s free health and education programs as well as the upkeep and development of the nation’s infrastructure.

A solar powered resort in Fiji

Six Senses, a solar-powered resort in Fiji Situated on the tropical island of Malolo, Fiji is a five-star resort that prioritizes sustainable luxury and cultural sensitivity. The resort uses only solar energy and has its own on-site water filtering system and rainwater collection system to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles. In addition to recycling and composting with a “worm-based septic system” and cultivating as much of its own herbs and vegetables as it can, the resort strives to be as low-waste as possible.

The hotel supports the Rise Beyond the Reef Charity, which seeks to close “the divide between remote communities, government and the private sector in the South Pacific, sustainably creating a better world for women and children,” and all handicrafts and artwork are created by local villagers.

A South African backpacking group run locally

The mission of Mdumbi, a backpackers’ group on South Africa’s Wild Coast, is to advance “sustainable eco-tourism and community involvement.” Nestled deep in the middle of a traditional community, the backpacker takes great satisfaction in having been integrated into the Eastern Cape’s amaXhosa culture.

The local staff, the amaxhosa community organization, and TransCape, Mdumbi’s linked NPO, all own shares in the company. Mdumbi has a unique ownership model with several sustainability initiatives implemented on-site, including energy efficiency, solar power, and trash management.

“To provide access to the resources, support, and knowledge necessary for communities to initiate the process of change towards a better quality of life” is the stated mission of Mdumbi’s non-profit organization, TransCape. The World Responsible Tourism Awards also recognized The Backpacker with a silver prize in 2017 for their outstanding efforts in reducing poverty.

“Voluntouring” for conservation in Belize

Responsible Travel is a UK-based responsible tourism company that organises sustainable and ethical holiday packages and promotes more responsible travel choices through its website. One such package gives people the chance to work as volunteers in a Belizean conservation organization.

The chance to “join a team of local conservationists and experts as part of a volunteer group working 5 days a week in Belize’s rainforests” is extended to visitors. Strict screening, a volunteer guide, and caller assistance are given to volunteers prior to their departure to guarantee that volunteer work is conducted in an ethical and considerate manner toward the environment, residents, and animals. Their infographic below illustrates a few of their rules.

A charity in Switzerland that operates as a sustainable travel operator

One of Switzerland’s top tour companies gave rise to the non-profit Swiss Foundation for Solidarity in Tourism (SST). The foundation was established in 2001 and provides funding to organizations and initiatives in Switzerland and throughout the world that aim to enhance the quality of life for visitors, promote sustainable tourism growth, and foster “intercultural understandings” between visitors and locals.

The organization wants to promote sustainable tourism both locally and online by giving grants to worthy projects.

These are just a handful of the many diverse examples of models for the growth of sustainable tourism. There is little doubt that the tourism sector will require an unparalleled makeover in order to transition to low-impact and meaningful travel experiences that do not harm people or the environment on which we depend, as the world progresses towards sustainability in every aspect and industry.

Would you like to contribute to sustainable tourism in some way? Why not consider enrolling in a master’s program or earning a degree in sustainable tourism? Our master’s program in international sustainable tourism management, along with other courses, are available at SUMAS to help you get ready for a job in sustainable tourism wherever in the globe.

By linh

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