Written by: Leona Milković, Lucija Marača
Students of the Tourist and Hospitality School Split, 2c
Do you know the impact of sustainable tourism? – No.
Although the tourism sector is an important source of income for many, this is a very common answer. You would be surprised how many people are not familiar with sustainable tourism. In this article, we will introduce you to sustainable tourism and explain how it affects your earnings.
What is sustainable tourism?
Sustainable tourism is a type of tourism that deals with the preservation of the environment, promotion of local culture and contributes to the economic development of the local community. This makes sustainable tourism attractive to tourists who want to support practices that are friendly to the environment and the local community. But what is the impact of sustainable tourism?
The positive impact of sustainable tourism
1. LONG-TERM GROWTH
Sustainable tourism promotes long-term growth because it focuses on preserving the natural and cultural resources that are key to tourism. This creates a stable framework for the development of tourism, which leads to long-term and permanent earnings.
2. INCREASED NUMBER OF VISITORS
Given the growing interest of people in preserving nature and the environment, this type of tourism attracts more and more travelers who are interested in experiences that include ecological and socially responsible travel. This increases the number of visitors to sustainable destinations and creates new market models.
3. INCREASE IN EARNINGS
Sustainable tourism often attracts travelers who are willing to pay more for environmentally and socially responsible products and services. As a result, prices for these types of trips tend to be higher, helping to increase overall earnings.
Challenges of sustainable tourism
1. INCREASED COSTS OF INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE AND RENOVATION
Sustainable tourism often requires investments in infrastructure and facilities to reduce environmental impact, repair damaged cultural heritage and install renewable energy sources. In some cases, these costs may exceed the revenue generated by the tourist destination, which may affect earnings and profits.
2. LESS ATTRACTIVE TOURIST EXPERIENCE
Although some travelers may prefer experiences that are not always sustainable, it is important to understand that precisely such trips have a negative impact on the environment, and thus on the communities living in tourist destinations. For example, some travelers may want to drive a car through a national park instead of cycling or walking, which can limit the application of sustainable practices.
However, promoting sustainable practices does not necessarily have to limit travelers’ experiences. Instead, sustainable tourism can provide travelers with unique experiences that promote the preservation of a destination’s natural resources and cultural heritage.
3. REDUCTION IN TOURIST TRAFFIC
Although the adoption of sustainable tourism strategies may reduce tourist traffic for certain destinations, this does not necessarily mean that they will negatively affect the destination’s earnings or attractiveness. On the contrary, sustainable tourism can attract travelers seeking experiences that promote environmental and cultural preservation. Also, the application of sustainable practices can improve the quality of life of the local community and stimulate economic growth, which in the long run can have a positive effect on the tourism industry. Instead of focusing on short-term profit, we need to promote the long-term goals of sustainable tourism that will benefit all stakeholders, including destinations, travelers and local communities.
Ways we can contribute to sustainable tourism
1. SUPPORT LOCAL CULTURE AND COMMUNITY
When you visit a tourist destination, always try to support the local culture and community by eating local food, buying local products, and participating in local activities. In this way, you not only contribute to the local economy but also support the local culture and community.
2. CHOOSE ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE TOURS AND ACTIVITIES
When choosing tours and activities, it is necessary to choose responsible options that will not harm the environment or the local community. For example, choose environmentally friendly tours by bike or on foot, talk to guides about sustainable practices, and avoid tourist offers that involve any harm to the environment.
3. TRAVEL SUSTAINABLY
Plan your travel and transportation in a sustainable way. If possible, use public transport, carpool, or walk instead of using a car. Also choose the accommodation that advocates for sustainability, that uses solar energy, recycles waste, etc. The Dalmatia Green Certificate is an example of a certificate awarded to accommodation facilities that have proven themselves to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Such certificates can be an orientation for travelers to choose accommodation that supports sustainable tourism and reduces the negative impact on the environment.
In conclusion, positive practices show that sustainable tourism is good, both in terms of financial benefits and preservation of the environment and social community. Sustainable tourism is a long-term investment that contributes to a sustainable economy, society, and nature. Also, all of us as individuals can contribute to sustainable tourism by adhering to the above-mentioned ways. The effort of all of us is necessary to create sustainable tourist destinations around the world.