Rethinking Tourism: Putting People and Planet at the Core of Sustainable Development
Each year, September 27th marks World Tourism Day. It’s a symbolic way of celebrating achievements, transforming challenges into opportunities, and shaping the future of leisure travel.
According to UNWTO, this year’s celebration focuses on rethinking tourism, after a period of recovery and dramatic change.
“This means putting people and planet first and bringing everyone from governments and businesses to local communities together around a shared vision for a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient sector.”
A Future Focused on Resilience, Sustainability, Innovation, and Inclusiveness
The pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to a sector that continues to be an essential contributor to worldwide economic growth. With travel volume still recovering, building long-term tourism strategies based on resilience, sustainability, innovation, and inclusiveness has become a top priority for destinations. It is no longer only a mission for the organizations directly involved in the process of tourism management: a community-focused approach, with innovative private-public partnerships at the core, should advance the sustainable development of tourism and communities as a whole.
Leading industry experts point to the need for an integrated approach to tourism and hospitality.
A Deep Respect for the Destinations’ Values, Resources, and Residents
Durdica Simicic, Director at Feel IQM, has been providing expertise in managing destinations for more than 30 years. For her, the future of tourism is about a deep respect for the destinations’ values, resources, and residents. This sense of preservation can only be achieved through education and a strong focus on quality and excellence.
"The future of tourism is more sustainable, made possible by people who are increasingly becoming more informed and educated.
Excellence becomes a habit, quality is measured and encouraged, and local producers become an integral part of tourism.
Knowledge sharing, putting innovation into practice and measuring the impact of tourism on the entire community become pillars for sustainable development.
A successful tourist destination preserves and respects its space, resources, and fundamental cultural and historical values. It's that place where tourism enhances the quality of life for its residents."
Purpose and Collaboration for Effective Sustainable Hotel Practices
Radka Telyčková, Industry Consultant and Coach, has been working with hotels for more than 20 years to support them in achieving growth and operational excellence. When it comes to sustainability for hotels, Radka believes that working together and prioritizing purpose over profit will help create a real impact for the guests and communities hotels are serving.
"Hotel sustainability is important for many reasons. Perhaps most importantly, it helps to protect the environment. By preserving resources and reducing waste, hotels can make a significant impact on the sustainability of our planet. In addition, hotel sustainability efforts often result in cost savings. By efficiently using resources, hotels can reduce their operating costs and pass those savings on to their guests.
Sustainability should be a joint effort. Building strong relationships will help create a real impact. Our green marketing should not be just a marketing ploy, but something that is part of our vision.
We need to prioritize purpose over profit if we want to be successful in sustainability. Only by working together can we hope to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves."
More than ever, tourism and hospitality need to create a sense of well-being not only for tourists but also for the destination’s residents. This can be achieved by educating a sense of respect and appreciation for what each destination has to offer. It’s all about working together to ensure healthy and happy communities.