Watch out Canada! 2017 marks the International Year of Sustainable Tourism and we are super excited to keep you inspired with what opportunities this presents for your business. Read on for some suggestions and stay tuned for more “International Year” inspired articles, resources and tools in the coming weeks and months to help you make a difference for our world and your business in 2017.
Decreed by the United Nations, the International Year of Sustainable Tourism is intended to provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses to create lasting and positive change and economic growth in the communities they operate within. By focusing on improving public policies, changing business practices, and shifting consumer behaviour, it is possible to create a more forward-thinking and impactful tourism sector. Sustainable Tourism is about conserving ecosystems for future exploration, providing jobs within the community, and it is certainly about preserving and sharing cultural values, diversity, and heritage.
“2017 presents a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential to help transform our world into a place of prosperity and wellbeing for all.” – The United Nations
So what are these opportunities exactly, and how as a business can you adopt some of these practices? Maybe you’re already taking steps in the right direction, but need fresh ideas…well, rest easy: the UN has laid out a roadmap for success and it starts simple:
- Advocacy and awareness-raising: talk it up! Get the word out that sustainable tourism can have a huge impact on society and the environment and that as it turns out, it creates more functional and prosperous economies. Go figure!
- Knowledge creation and dissemination: promote the tools necessary to monitor and measure your business’s positive (and negative) impacts and get that information out there.
Some bigger ticket action items to think about in this new year…
- Policymaking: get behind national tourism policies that encourage holistic approaches to tourism development and promote evidence-based policies that advance your business’s contribution to sustainable development.
- Capacity-building & education: consider supporting and possibly implementing educational strategies that promote the contribution of your tourism business to development.
With all this in mind, and given the spirit of the new year and resolution-setting…why not take a minute to find out how your business stacks up on the sustainability spectrum? Take our quiz and discover some of our favourite tools for measuring success and taking action.
Let’s make 2017 the year we tackle our eco-to-do-lists, cut out the greenwashing, and make real and lasting change in our industry. After all, with all the benefits of sustainable tourism on development and business, what really is the downside?
Written by Ryan Cope
Ryan is a Content Creator and Blogger for Green Tourism Canada and loves nothing more than to rant ad-nauseam about all things sustainability, particularly when it comes to waste and plastics. She is a recent transplant to Canada after having spent the past few years on the East Coast of the US in coastal Maine! When not thinking up ways to get consumers to stop using so much plastic packaging, she can be found hiking around beautiful Kelowna, BC or in the kitchen taking endless photos of her food and fresh juices.