Being a sustainable Tour Operator means having a vision and mission oriented to the concern and help of the environment. Today’s travelers are mostly Gen Z and Millennials and these are generational groups that have sustainability as a core value in their daily lives. Hence, the latest trend in sustainable travel. The main points to pay attention to when traveling sustainably are the high carbon emissions, waste production, resource consumption and human interference in nature.
Traveling responsibly is one of the main concerns nowadays when people are planning a trip. But what does it mean? It is practicing sustainable tourism by minimizing negative impacts and maximizing the positive ones. This is possible, when tourists pick tour operators and means of transportation based on their sustainable values and their carbon footprint.
Reduce your carbon footprint
To reduce your carbon footprint, first you have to know how high it is, which means, you need to measure it first. It is possible to measure it through several online platforms and calculators. However, the point of it is not just to reduce your number, but to also work toward making a positive impact on the environment.
Some ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint can be to start reducing the waste produced during the tours and by encouraging visitors to bring their own reusable water bottles. Change office materials to reusable ones, like digital alternatives instead of paper, led lights, recycling, water-saving fixtures, renewable energy, hand dryers instead of paper towels in the bathrooms and offering work from home when possible.
To even your carbon footprint number you can also invest in tree planting projects and add carbon free travel experiences, like biking, hiking and sailing. A more difficult but much needed change would be the transportation for tours. Using public transport or electric vehicles, for example, to make it as eco friendly as possible.
A company with social responsibility as a core value would also be considered sustainable, since they are making a positive impact into the social environment. It is a way for companies to reinvest into their communities and help or protect them. An example of it could be the fight against sexual tourism.
Conscious partnerships and donations
Whenever the possibility of having a partnership arises, it is important to look at their values and principles beforehand and make sure they align with yours. For example, examining that they have sustainable and socially responsible practices too. Some important partnerships to have are with local authorities, protected areas and local businesses, so that tour guides and travelers follow the correct protocols when visiting and don’t create more waste.
Making a donation as a company to the protected areas, parks and other local causes is a way of making a positive impact and a socially responsible value. This should also be encouraged by the tour guides for the visitors in case they would like to support as well.
Avoid tourism leakage
Giving a preference to everything local is the precise manner to avoid tourism leakage, which refers to the fact that only a minimum of the tourist income actually stays in the country, most of it goes back to the countries that own some tour operators. Nevertheless you can help by hiring local workers, buying from local suppliers, promoting local businesses, creating itineraries containing less visited areas, etc.
It is important to educate the visitors that form part of your tour in order to have a pleasant and peaceful time with the guests and the locals, as well as steering clear of any possible harm. For instance, by promoting cultural sensitivity and teaching that wildlife interaction should take place at a distance and never compromising the well-being of animals.
Last but not least, keep in mind how important it is not to fall under greenwashing -making people believe that you are doing more for the environment than true- when trying to be sustainable, that could get you really bad reviews.
Adding the sustainable perspective to your tours will add value and allure for new travelers and so, a great opportunity for more and better reviews. Managing all your reviews can be quite a challenge, however, TourReview offers the perfect solution, a dashboard that overviews all of them and lets you interact with them independently from the platform they are coming from.
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