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An Easy Guide to Best Practice in Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism has been defined by the World Tourism Organization as “satisfying current tourist and
host community needs, while protecting and improving future opportunities. It is seen as a guide in
managing all resources, in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs may be met, while
maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.”

Making a reality of sustainable tourism entails adopting “best practices,” namely, corrective or improved
measures implemented in every area of tourist business management and operation. These actions are
aimed at ensuring that the least possible impact is caused, that tourist product quality and image are
improved, that business development becomes more efficient, and therefore, social and economic
development does as well.

In our previous article we looked at the three basic pillars of sustainable tourism. We would like to help you
achieve that and have put together the following key, points to get you started.

Pillar one: Environmental Sustainability – Taking Care of Our Natural Resources

 Water – Throughout this century, global water demand has increased seven-fold, whereas global
population has tripled. Currently, the future of water reserves depends on the use we make of this
fragile and limited resource. Use it as sparingly as possible. Ensure that your establishment is
 Energy Consumption – Harness alternative power sources like solar and wind energy generation
where possible. Not only is this good, sustainable practice, it will also save you money!
 Flora and Fauna – Endangered species, or products thereof, or products made from them or deriving
from unsustainable practices, should not be consumed, sold, trafficked, or displayed under any
circumstances. Tell your guests how important it is not to buy these species or products thereof. On
the other hand, encourage the purchase of sustainably-made handicrafts or food products, favoring
those produced under certification and, if possible, by local businesses.
 Conservation of Natural areas – Get involved in the maintenance and conservation of your
immediate area. Educate your guests on the importance of looking after the area they are visiting.
Discourage littering, destruction of natural areas etc
 Landscaped areas and gardens – It is strongly advised to keep your gardens indigenous. Get in touch
with a landscaper to assist if you are not confident in creating an indigenous garden yourself. Avoid
using pesticides at all times!
 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle– This practise reduces the use of energy and resources such as water,
electricity, transportation, and petroleum by-products. To the extent possible, use recycled and
biodegradable products.
 Pollution – Try and manage all wastewater in such a way they will not create pollution or affect
public health and take all measures to minimize pollutant gas and aerosol emissions, loud noises, and
strong odors.
 Environmental Education – Always ensure that responsible visitor and staff behaviour is fostered
with regard to the environment. Educate and assist where necessary and create awareness of any
environmental issues, like water restrictions, electricity shortage etc.
Make examples.

Without the environment in which your establishment exists, you won’t have a business to run! Therefore,
get informed, take responsibility and most importantly, take action!