Sustainability in Tourism. Road to recovery?
According to several articles, blog posts and recent ITB interviews, it looks like sustainability is going to be key for the recovery of the tourism industry in 2021.
At the same time, digitalisation will be a relevant factor as we have seen a shift in consumer behaviour towards an online environment, with consumers in search for more accessible information to assist in carrying out online bookings, partake in digital experiences and/or attend hybrid meetings and events.
As Rob Holmes mentioned at ITB during his discussion on Sustainable Tourism Recovery, 87% of global travellers want to travel in a sustainable manner, recognizing their concerns about the environment, while, at the same time, wanting to give back and help the economy of local communities.
Accordingly, what are the predominant factors of sustainable travelling moving forward?
Undoubtedly, protection of the environment is fundamental to guarantee a sustainable future, provide economic stability and support local development.
In its ‘Sustainable Recovery of Tourism in Protected Areas from the Covid-19 Pandemic’, the UNWTO recommends considering climate change and biodiversity loss by being more inclusive, equitable and integrated with sustainable development principles.
According to Harald Rettich from myclimate Deutschland GmbH, travel companies will have to observe and comply with customers’ needs as sustainability becomes more significant and relevant in the decision-making process, where the demand for positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions and the request for climate compensation (i.e., investing in sustainable projects) will increase considerably.
In that regard, accommodations such as the Swiss Tschuggen Hotel Group have partnered with the myclimate foundation in order to become completely climate-neutral, by investing in environmentally suitable materials, operating with low-energy equipment and using local producers and suppliers, consequently cutting down on transportation costs, reducing the CO2 emissions from all of their buildings and, ultimately, accomplishing customer satisfaction.
Additionally, sustainability has allowed new businesses to flourish, reinforcing the concept of slow travel by offering tailor-made activities and inviting the end consumer to use other means of transport such as train, boat or bike, with an understanding that companies which take a more sustainable approach to travel, once restrictions are lifted, may fare better.
In this sense, Tim Koch asserted during his ITB talk on ‘Multimodal Mobility - Efficient and Sustainable’ that there is a need for sustainable transformation, especially in larger cities, where combining classic means of transport with micro mobility options, such as e-bikes or e-scooters, can lower overall CO2 emissions and improve the quality of life and well-being of the local community.
On the other hand, for air travel companies such as Lufthansa and KLM, sustainable flying means investing in modern aircraft with the use of sustainable aviation fuels, reducing CO2 emissions and compensating for climate change.
When it comes to sustainable destinations, Scandinavia and Europe are leading in sustainable tourism. According to the recent ITB Deep Dive: Top Countries for Sustainable Travel, Sweden ranks n°1 for its economic sustainability and strong domestic economy, its population awareness and purchasing behaviour and its sustainable transportation network, together with its strong environmental policies.
Furthermore, we, as individuals and travellers, can become more responsible and considerate towards the environment and the communities that we visit, respecting the cultural differences, reinforcing the local economy, using public transport or supporting local organizations, as recommended by Sustainable Tourism.
At Nezasa we also support sustainable travel activities through our TripBuilder platform, where users can design their own personalised “sustainable” itineraries by choosing among the different means of transportation, the best suitable accommodation or the different types of activities that they wish to experience.
If you want to know more on how to create these itineraries, you can join one of our free webinars and find out how they work.