Trends of the Tourism Industry
Currently, the tourism industry generates almost 5% of the global greenhouse gases which are emitted into the atmosphere. According to the U.N. Environment, that percentage is closer to 12.5% when you consider other energy resources that hotels and resorts use. A major play in all of this is the consumer itself. It is said that “tourists in Europe will consume more water on holiday than they would while they’re at home.”
Although this may sound like bad news, it can actually be used in a more empowering way. Fortunately, more and more travelers are becoming aware of their impact on the planet. Not just while they’re at home, but when they visit foreign countries. They are realizing that they can help by just taking some time to choose new alternatives. This is great news for the industry, as sustainable travel doesn’t just reduce the impact on the environment, but it also gives back to the local communities, among many other benefits. This also encourages tourism businesses to invest in a greener future, to attract these travelers.
However, this is an emerging new trend for the industry and it has been hard for consumers to understand which hotels, resorts, and other travel-related businesses are actually running their business in a sustainable way. This is where the GSTC Criteria aims to clear up the confusion.
UN Representatives Recommend Using the GSTC Guidelines
The GSTC has been working wonders for several destinations, hotels, and resorts over the past few years. Additionally, now various different UN Representatives have also begun to recommend following the GSTC Criteria and Guidelines.
“Getting started can be tricky. There can be hundreds of different sustainable tourism standards to choose from. However, the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) has created a reliable guide and sustainability criteria for hotels, destinations, and tour operators worldwide.”
Taleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General; Erik Solheim, UN Environment Executive Director; and Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary; write their opinion on Devex.com under the title “Packing your bags? Here are 4 ways to become a sustainable tourist”