Sustainable tourism, from A to Z – Part 3

Traditional models of tourism are becoming unsustainable. The threat of resource depletion and destruction of our environment is a reality. The resources that the tourism industry relies heavily on are being exhausted.

Credit Alandis Travel

In this 3-part article we will see why sustainable tourism is the alternative to conventional tourism. Part 3 defines the principles and promotion of sustainable tourism and suggests best practices.

What are the 3 main principles of sustainable tourism?

Economic efficiency

Sustainable tourism needs to generate wealth. It grows thanks to both domestic and international revenues and creates jobs directly and indirectly.

Social equity

The impact of tourism on society is considered more long-term. For this reason, social equity is often, sadly, the most neglected pillar.

The well-being of local communities must be a priority. We must launch initiatives that include the local population in the activity and preserve their cultural heritage.

Environmental conservation

Environmental resources are one of the fundamental tools of tourism; the raw material for many of its products and services. 

We must respect and safeguard ecosystems. Avoiding the destruction or deterioration of natural resources while weighing up carefully the responsible consumption of resources and land.

How can we promote sustainable tourism?

Implementing sustainable practices in our institutions is possible! 

Start measuring the negative impact of your organization. It’s time to ask yourself questions like:

  • Do we offer quality and sustainable tourism?
  • Do we integrate the people of the communities or destinations?
  • Can we measure and correct negative impacts?

Based on these answers you can begin to define the strategy for your company. Carrying it out will be a long-term journey that although may not yield as much in the short-term, will nonetheless turn into profitable ventures.

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable tourism best practices that may help your organization

Collaborate with tourism companies and local solidarity initiatives

Study your destination. You are sure to find companies that use KM0 or proximity products. Work with NGOs that promote the integration of the population and hire personnel who are at risk of social exclusion.

These institutions and initiatives can inform you of the process. If you do so, this will inevitably become a marketing too that you can show on your website and share with your customer.

Social Project Akokan (Source: Alandis Travel)

Ensure that the economic benefit reaches the local population

Hiring local labor is as essential as it is effective. This needs to be a top-down decision in your organization, but the benefits for the local community, your customers, and ultimately your business, are clear.

Buy local products

From among your suppliers, choose those that are local: soaps, textiles, gastronomy. Not only do you contribute to the local economy, but you also add value to your customer’s experience. 

Follow best practices to avoid food waste

Plan your menus well, and consider your purchasing, reception, and storage and their impact. Reuse leftovers while guaranteeing hygienic-sanitary safety.

Rank and promote healthy activities

Promote quality activities that spread knowledge of the area. We have been really impressed by Mdumbi, aimed at backpackers on the Wild Coast of South Africa. They support local community involvement and eco-tourism.

Continuous training and learning

Kickstart every employee in your business by providing them with training and relevant information to help them do the best job possible. Display informational signs and reminders at your local facilities and international offices. Use several languages to reach as many people as possible.

Multilanguage messages

Promote female empowerment with qualified and secure employment

Seek alliances and support with associations or federations. The Association of Tourism Business Executives integrates, supports, and advises on how to achieve the sustainable development of female empowerment.

Engage technological innovation to improve productivity and accessibility

MUS.NET (Museum Network) improves user experiences by using mobile applications and audience segmentation at museums in rural areas.

Consider other applications that provide virtual visits for people with disabilities and investigate augmented reality applications to optimize the experience for children.

Ensure both online and offline accessibility

Design a product or service for everyone with no barriers to entry and reaches a far wider audience

Analyze the environmental impact of your organization

Quantify the damage your organization does to then reduce or completely remove it. 

The Hilton hotel chain has added a LightStay monitoring and management system. At an event, they can measure the environmental footprint based on attendees. They study the meals served according to proximity products, as well as the number of rooms booked, space used, the duration of the event and the energy-saving measures implemented on site.

They collaborate with a social project to balance their total footprint.

Rainwater harvesting, safe reuse of water resources

Implement rational use of water and channel rainwater for later use. A local solution we have seen implemented is the treatment of wastewater and subsequent filtering for your crops.

Offer activities and products that support cultural and natural heritage

Spread the word of cultural promotion and use of local products. Design activities that disseminate local knowledge and traditions. Promote them.

Integrate social and environmental activities in your programs. The Creative Tourism Network is well aware of this. They are an umbrella organization for travel companies engaged in creative activities which allow the tourist to discover and appreciate the local culture. They share artistic and participative activities with the residents.

Creative Tourism Gabrovo. (Source: Creative Tourism Network)

Inform and raise awareness to increase awareness and respect

We never tire of repeating it. Disseminate, raise awareness, educate. Caring for our environment is everybody’s responsibility and a task for stakeholders at all levels of a business.

Turning tourism into a force for global good. (Source: TEDx Talks)

COVID-19, New Opportunities?

The reality is that the world of tourism was due a reorganization due to unsustainable practices. New trends have increased domestic travel, leading to a reduction in the number of flights and cruises.

We are seeing more interest in rural accommodation and a greater variety in destinations closer to home. Waste and water consumption have been reduced. Will this trend be sustained over time? Is it time to increase sustainable supply?

We hope it’s time to seize the opportunity and rework tourism as a more resilient and sustainable industry.


We must begin to put in place new forms of tourism; a new model more adapted to the environment. One which guarantees the conservation of the landscape and offers more individuality.

New sustainable practices are more in demand by customers than ever.

In sustainable tourism, we all win.

You can get more information on how to organize your next sustainable vacation at alandistravel.com

You liked what you read ? Leave a comment.

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: