According to the new Handbook on Encouraging Sustainable Tourism Practices published by the European Travel Commission (ETC), which represents 33 national tourism organizations in Europe, there are many ways that national and local tourism organizations can encourage stakeholders at all levels to incorporate sustainable tourism practices into their daily operations.
On account of COVID-19, the handbook offers valuable case studies from international entities and locations who have successfully created more commercially viable, socially viable, and environmentally sustainable tourism practices in recent years (http://www.covid.org/handbook/). For example, in twenty case studies, European and other locations are embedding sustainable practices within their travel and tourism sectors, with key lessons for National Tourism Organizations (NTOs) and Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) provided (DMOs).
Placing ideas into action
Europe’s national and local tourism organizations, according to ETC, have a vital role to play in bringing their stakeholders together to build an unified vision for sustainable tourism implementation. This vision inspires them to collaborate with commercial and academic partners, as well as public sector and industry organisations to create important insights and explore strategies to help Europe’s tourists make more environmental and community-friendly decisions before and during their journeys.
When it comes to travel and tourist organizations, especially SMEs that want to take action, the manual acknowledges how challenging it can be for them to traverse the complicated array of accreditation schemes, monitoring systems and funding mechanisms that exist in the sustainability’space’. The manual, which is currently available for free download from ETC’s website, includes examples of responsible practices, as well as a variety of practical recommendations.
“Destinations have a crucial role to play in strengthening Europe’s position and leading the transformation to a post-pandemic world. To this end, ETC expects this handbook will foster knowledge sharing and act as a vehicle for NTOs and DMOs to make their destinations more sustainable and resilient in the long-term. This handbook will provide a platform for sharing evidence-based case studies and actions that could potentially be implemented by destinations to encourage both the tourism supply and demand sides to act responsibly. We believe that this handbook will support European destinations in their efforts to build a tourism sector that is more respectful of the environment and that will equally benefit local economies and communities in the years to come.”Luís Araújo, ETC’s President
COVID-19 forces businesses and public to think differently
A number of supply and demand patterns suggest that sustainability is a major driver of travellers’ purchase decisions and a vital point of competition among Europe’s tourism industries, despite the fact that the justification for adopting methods that limit tourism’s negative consequences has long been strong. It has driven those working in tourism to try and capitalise on these trends and implement sustainable principles in destinations of all sizes.