What can tour operators do to promote sustainability

For tour operators, promoting sustainability makes sense – both ethically and also in terms of getting more bookings. Many tour businesses rely on the preservation of the environment, and savvy travelers are now choosing to book tours that will help destinations instead of harm them. What can tour operators do to promote sustainability? We take a look.

How can you promote sustainability in your destination?

As a tour operator, you play a significant role in the tourism market. Since you are so necessary for other businesses (such as travel agencies) and consumers (mainly travelers), you can greatly influence their decisions. You can also influence your peers to be more sustainable by sharing your practices with them.

Here are some suggestions taken from the Global Sustainable Tourism (GST) Council and Sustainable Tourism:

1. Maximize social benefits for the local community

Here are some things you can do:

  • Suggest that your customers purchase local products to support the local community
  • Don’t purchase products made from endangered species, and educate your customers if they may make that mistake
  • Support local projects – for example, by donating a percentage of your profits to wildlife protection or social causes
  • Inform your customers of cultural or religious issues where they should be considerate
  • Make sure that none of your suppliers exploit children or break human rights conduct

It’s not only the right thing to do – it will also improve your relations with staff and locals.

2. Maximize economic benefits for the local community

Here are some things you can do:

  • Invest in the area where your business operates – for example, by sending profit to the local community to help preserve and protect the area your customers frequent
  • Contribute to the preservation of resources which your company uses
  • Hire local staff, and provide adequate training
  • Source your supplies locally to support your local community

Remember that you are equally responsible for protecting your economic impact in your destination. It’s not just the job of local authorities.

3. Reduce negative impacts on the environment

Here are some things you can do:

  • Take responsibility for damage to the environment by your potential use, and make sure to use energy efficient measures
  • Use conservation and reduction measures for water, waste and energy
  • Offer incentives for your staff to carpool or use public transport
  • Offer incentives for your guests to carpool or use public transport
  • Provide your staff with information and training on how to be more environmentally responsible
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle – reduce waste, water and energy where possible
  • Create an environmental policy – and stick to it!
  • In walking tours, consider the size of your tour groups. Traveling in groups of small numbers has less impact on the flora and fauna in an area than having hundreds visit at once

Being environmentally conscious will also save your business money by reducing the use of resources, such as water and electricity.

If you enjoyed this article – What can tour operators do to promote sustainability – then follow the Rezdy blog. There are a lot of marketing tools and resources designed with businesses like yours in mind.

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Image credit: Ben White

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