With the UN’s Rio+20 conference taking place this week, a great number of proposals for improving sustainability in different industries have been announced. One such industry is tourism, which was the focus of the ‘Green Innovation in Tourism’ event.
Businesses are often reluctant to offer more sustainable packages
Tourism has long been a difficult industry to push towards sustainable practices. Businesses are often reluctant to offer more sustainable packages as costs are believed to be higher. Similarly, holidaymakers traditionally want luxury on their trips, rather than paying a premium for a greener experience.
However, businesses are being encouraged to think towards the future in order to profit from more sustainable practices. The United Nations Environment Programme’s Chief of Sustainable Consumption Arab Hoballah said: “Being green is often associated with increased costs for businesses. However, the essence of innovation is to identify least cost opportunities and solutions, decoupling tourism growth from resource use and environmental impacts and using resources more efficiently.
“Green innovation in tourism can improve existing business models, leading to positive results to companies, customers, public authorities and local communities through job creation and better living conditions as well as the housing ecosystems.”
Brazil’s Minister of Tourism Gastão Dias Vieira added: “The definition of competitiveness in tourism is closely linked with three objectives: development, inclusion and conservation. There can be no economic growth in tourism without sustainability, without conservation of natural resources and without incentives to citizenship.”
Reaping the rewards of a more sustainable approach to tourism is attractive to businesses thinking more long-term, however persuading travellers to pay up front for it now may be a hard sell.