What is Sustainable Tourism?
Tourism is significant contributor to global emissions and climate change. Services such as travel, lodging and food add up to a major environmental impact. Tourism also stands at the forefront of suffering the consequences of climate catastrophe, with extreme weather already impacting on Scotland’s landscape, animals and heritage as well as its communities and businesses.
Building back after the Covid-19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to rethink tourism is impact benefits and advance the transition towards a carbon neutral and resilient tourism economy. Building back better for stronger and more sustainable tourism.
80% of the tourism industry is made up of small to medium-sized businesses and through this we have the opportunity to work together to make small changes that have great impacts. Through Climate Action planning and reducing our footprint and emissions, businesses can attract more customers, reduce their running costs and build economic resistance.
Sustainable and Responsible Tourism
The UNWTO defines sustainable tourism as:
“Tourism that 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".
With the three pillars of sustainable tourism being:
- Economic Sustainability
- Social Sustainability
- Enviromental Sustainability
“Responsible tourism is all about a collaborative approach for re-building and growing the value of tourism. It does so in a way that makes better places for people to live and visit in every corner of Scotland. It maximises the positive benefits of tourism for everyone. This includes host communities and the environment.”VisitScotland
How will sustainable tourism benefit my business?
Operating in a more sustainable way can also have clear business benefits, such as cost savings on food and electricity, staff engagement and retention, meeting increasing customer demand, as well as ensuring legal compliance such as EPC D and C and managing risk.
Sustainable tourism is what visitors want! A recent study found that:
- 4 out of 5 visitors wanted to stay in a sustainable accommodation in 2022
- 71% of visitors confirm that sustainable travel is important to them, with 42% saying that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices
- Over half of visitors intend to stay in a sustainable property at least once in the coming year
- Over half get annoyed if somewhere they are staying stops them from being sustainable
- 4 out of 5 visitors want to reduce their general waste
- 79% of visitors want to use more environmentally friendly modes of transport such as walking, cycling or public transport over taxis or rental cars
- 69% of visitors will go as far as avoiding popular destinations and attractions to ensure they aren’t contributing to overcrowding
- Over half of visitors say they want to leave the places they visit better than when they arrived, with 26% revealing that they chose to travel outside of peak season to avoid overcrowding