How to promote sustainable tourism?

| Von Christine Moghadam

How to promote sustainable tourism?

If you manage a hotel, spa, restaurant, or any touristic business, you are aware that it can be quite challenging to find the best way to promote sustainable tourism. 

Going on holiday doesn't necessarily mean that guests will drop their eco-friendly habits. In fact, it can be an opportunity to show them new ways to be more sustainable as people can be more open-minded to try and learn new and exciting practices. 

Discover these 5 tips and be inspired to implement the best sustainable practices.

Find sustainable partners

There are many challenges that affect a sustainable tourism strategy, such as overtourism during peak season, the use of natural resources, waste production, transportation, employment among others. 

Each of these problems may require a bigger effort or involve higher authorities which highlight the need to be always looking for the best practices and initiatives. For example, the European Travel Commission (ETC) recently presented the campaign ‘Open up to Europe’ to encourage and reassure tourists that tourism businesses in Europe have implemented all the necessary health and sanitary protocols. Even though this is mainly related to the current pandemic situation, it also prioritizes sustainable tourism. 

In fact, sustainable tourism is only a part of the responsible tourism concept, which is related to several financial and social aspects. While it may look complex, finding the right partners is a great solution to reach common strategies focused on helping to promote sustainable tourism. 

Provide eco-friendly facilities

83% of global travelers think sustainable travel is vital, with 61% saying the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future.
Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report

And every small step counts to make this trend increase even more. For example, it is already quite common to find recycling facilities or little reminders in hotel rooms to request clean towels only when needed or to turn off the light. 

Another idea is the general intent to avoid individual disposable plastics, using the refill option for the shower gel for example. 

But there are more eco-friendly alternatives also outside of the rooms. When thinking about how your guests arrive, providing carbon offset options, sharing information about the public transports and cycling routes, or even having a charging station for electric cars may bring some extra green points for your business. 

Organize environmentally friendly experiences

It’s all about slowing down and enjoying each second. Invite your guests to connect with nature and with themselves. Being on holiday already implies a time of self-nurturing which is a great opportunity to help your guests to take care of their mind, body, and soul.

Hosting wellness sessions is a great way to prioritize the well-being of your guests, especially nowadays. For instance, The Renewal retreat will happen in Évora, Alentejo with an exclusive program dedicated to wellness and sustainability, thanks to several partnerships. The Renewal retreat was even included in an exclusive list of the “8 dream places to do yoga and retreat”, published by the magazine L'Officiel Belgium.

But you can also promote other sports and yoga sessions by choosing sustainable and even customized products such as our Corc Yoga Mat made out of cork.

Make a difference

Your guests are coming to visit a place, to meet a new culture and the local community is the essential element that represents that authenticity. One way of protecting it is to choose locally produced ingredients and cook traditional recipes. 

When it comes to souvenirs available for purchase, display meaningful and handmade products that will represent the best of the region and will also work as a beautiful reminder to return soon. 

But one of the most precious memories you may offer is the possibility of Giving Back while traveling. Guests can be involved in local volunteering actions or even feeling blessed by knowing that their presence will also be beneficial to the local people and to the environment. 

Promote sustainable tourism

While 3 out of 4 accommodation providers say they have implemented at least some kind of sustainability practices at their property, only one-third actively communicate about their efforts proactively to potential guests. 
Booking.com’s 2021 Sustainable Travel Report

It’s essential to understand that sustainable tourism is no longer just a trend: it’s a lifestyle. What can be improved? What did your guests find positive in terms of sustainability? Ask for feedback and share your efforts and best practices.  

They can be relevant for potential sustainable guests to know that they can bring their reusable bottles and refill in your facilities or even other traveling tips. And it is great for brand awareness too!

In the end, promoting sustainable tourism is to preserve the culture, the environment, and the people that live in the place where your business is located. 

Don’t forget that the city or region where your hotel or spa is located is someone’s home too. Take care of it and for sure new and previous guests will return soon.

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