There’s a major expectation for companies and industries to build back better post Covid-19 and the tourism sector is no exception. It’s time to start thinking about how destinations and tourism businesses will embrace this emerging trend.
Some destinations and businesses have already embraced the need for change and are true leaders in this emerging trend. They are viewing tourism through a different lens – tourism that comes with a broader range of benefits
Ecotourism, sustainability, green business, green destination, culturally responsible, buy local, buy green, enviro friendly…there are so many terms out there nowadays, it can all seem a little confusing and sometimes a bit too hard basket. What does it all mean and how can our business or destination achieve all these things? The bottom line is simple, it’s about tourism for good. Good for people, good for places.
In fact, you’d probably be surprised to find you are already planning, investing, managing and delivering tourism for good in many ways. And you should be recognised for this.
Operating in accordance with Ecotourism Australia (representing Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) principles and New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment Goals, ECO Certification acknowledges best practice – ecologically, economically and socially on a world stage.
So why bother with ECO Certification? Because making a difference matters – to you, to visitors and to the people and places you love:
- Booking.com Sustainable Travel Report 2019 shows that sustainable stays are growing in popularity, with almost three quarters (73%) of global travellers intending to stay at least once in eco-friendly or green accommodation. In addition, 70% of travellers will choose an eco-friendly option over others if it is available.
- The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimates ecotourism to be worth $1 trillion (USD) annually, with an average 12% annual growth.
- Ecotourism is about respecting communities. Globally, the ecotourism sector employs over 11 million people directly and adds ancillary income for millions more. Many nations on earth are dependent on the economic, social and environmental values ecotourism delivers.
- 72% of travellers would like companies to tell them more about how they are making a positive difference to society so they can support them
- 71% of people under 30 say sustainable travel is a priority.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has established new travel desires, particularly in nature and regenerative travel – leaving a place better than you found it. It goes beyond traditional ‘minimal impact’ tourism and instead focusses on how visitors can contribute environmentally, economically, culturally and socially. It’s about choosing quality over quantity and measuring success in terms of the health and wellbeing of people and places, as opposed to the ultimate dollar value.
What’s in it for us?
- Global recognition of your high standard, which can aid in your application for special licences, leases or permits, awards and grants
- Marketing and promotion – digitally, at national and international trade shows, in the Green Travel Guide and through collaborative campaigns
- Membership to your representative ecotourism organisation. Includes networking and forum opportunities, participation in annual general meetings and the ability to nominate for the Board of Directors
- Support through lobbying, business development and access to new initiatives and opportunities in ecotourism
- Global best practice sharing and learning and discounts for attendance at the annual Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism Conference
- The knowledge that you are making a difference – for people and for places, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally.
Ready to take the next step? Where do we start?
This is where TRC Tourism can help. Our team has a long association with Ecotourism Australia (EA) and GSTC. We are EA members, former EA Board Directors, EA Independent Auditors and GSTC practitioners. In addition, we have been in your shoes – as national park and protected area managers, tour business owners, Regional Tourism and Destination Managers, Managers of Government Tourism Agencies. We are here to help you along your ecotourism journey, regardless of what stage you are at.
- An initial independent assessment of current situation and an action plan of needs
- Assisting with preparation of documents for Certification assessment – this may include enviro policies and management plans, business and visitor management plans, responsible marketing plans, visitor interpretation and tour guide manuals, sustainable tourism plans, customer service and satisfaction standards)
- Liaison with Ecotourism Australia and other relevant agencies / entities to ensure we provide you with the most up-to-date advice and address the needs of all parties
- Providing one-on-one mentoring and advice – such as training for tour guides and operators, training and mentoring for dedicated Destination Sustainability Coordinators, and general support throughout the ECO Certification preparation and submission process.
Get in touch with one of our consultants today and start your ‘ecotourism, sustainability, green business, green destination, culturally responsible, buy local, buy green, enviro friendly’ or simply tourism for good journey.
 Bruno, J., (2019) Global Ecotourism Trends and Suggestions, The International Ecotourism Society
 Glusac, E., (2020) Move Over, Sustainable Travel. Regenerative Travel Has Arrived, The New York Times, 27 August 2020