People are making great efforts in the 21st century to become more sustainable in both their personal and professional lives. From recycling whenever possible at home to using e-communications to conduct business, people are trying to minimize their footprint and maximize their sustainability efforts. These efforts are extending beyond the home and office and into the travel sphere. Sustainable travel — otherwise referred to as responsible tourism — is on the rise. As a tour and activity operator, you should try to take advantage of these sustainability trends in travel.
About 60 percent of travelers are finding that they are inspired to travel to destinations that feature beautiful scenery and breathtaking vistas. Sometimes, it’s social media and its vivid imagery that inspires these travel plans. In other cases, it’s the previous experiences of travelers that create a longing to do and see more. Rather than stopping at man-made photo spots or going to typical tourist traps, visitors are looking to see the local region for what it was meant to be. As a tour and activity company, you can create new tour products that allow travelers to get outside in your destination and enjoy an authentic adventure that is unique to your region.
The most popular travel destinations around the globe are experiencing the detrimental impacts of over-tourism. The environments in these destinations are being impacted by the vast numbers of travelers who head to these regions every year. This is having a negative impact on wildlife and plant species that are native to these areas. As travelers start to recognize this, they are looking to work with tour companies that will showcase an area without abusing the land. Your tour and activity company should make an effort to time your tours to avoid high-traffic times and to use environmentally friendly resources to execute all of your tours.
The intent is there — nearly 87 percent of global travelers want to travel responsibly. However, only about 10 percent of travelers actually follow through on this commitment. This may be due to the fact that it is difficult to locate tour operators and activity providers that are committed to sustainable tourism. By promoting your eco-friendly tours and activities and sharing your responsible tourism practices, you will make it easier for travelers to follow through on their desire to travel in a way that is responsible and fair. Make sure that you use your website and social networking platforms to promote your commitment to sustainable tourism.
Implementing strategies that allow you to provide a more sustainable experience for your travelers will not only benefit your tour and activity company, but also your destination as a whole. As a company that thrives on the success of your region, it’s important that you do what you can to protect the area that you showcase to your travelers.
Of course, you will also want to promote your sustainable initiatives to your prospective travelers as well.
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Image credit: Janus Clemmensen