Sustainable Tourism: A Way Forward for the Industry
With borders slowing opening up and readying to welcome travellers, it is time for the tourism industry to be abreast with the requirements of responsible tourism and be well prepared for the new ‘normal.’
With the Covid-19 pandemic not just spreading but strengthening its tentacles around the world, one thing is for sure. The humankind cannot just overlook it and expect ‘business as usual.’
With tourism being among the top five export earners in over 150 countries and valuing USD 1 trillion per year, there is a serious need for this industry to repurpose and repackage itself in an attempt to continue contributing towards the world economies.
With an economic recession bigger than the Great Recession of 2009 looming over our heads, there’s one silver lining for the tourism sector and that is responsible or sustainable tourism.
National and international borders have just started opening up and as travel activities begin to gain some momentum; there needs to be a definite change in the way people travel.
Sustainable tourism: What has Changed
There’s a change in the way sustainability is being interpreted now. The term is no longer just about the environment but has broadened to include the economic, cultural and physical aspects of a place.
There are several steps that all stakeholders of the tourism industry as a whole need to take to be in sync with the changing demands and times.
Reducing plastic waste, refilling toiletries, reusing furniture, recycling wastewater, installing solar panels and handpicking eco-resorts or homestays are some of the steps towards sustainable tourism.
Community development is another aspect that needs serious consideration as the locals across the world get geared to welcome and manage the influx of a large number of visitors in the long term.
Post –COVID travel
Small businesses need to first consider a restructuring by investing in integrated IT solutions to enable thermal screenings, access control through QR code scanning and digital/ contactless payments. Open kitchens displaying hygiene standards, touchless taps etc. need to be a norm.
At a personal level, travellers need to adhere to social distancing norms, wash hands regularly and wear masks at all times. The ongoing pandemic has raised a new breed of responsible travellers having an affinity towards experiential destinations rather than commercialized experiences.
It is time for travel and hospitality industries to be firm footed for the upcoming challenges and adopt a holistic approach to responsible tourism going forward.