The tourism industry covers so many areas, often negatively. So it has a unique opportunity to have a positive impact across so many sectors: travel, household, food and drink, furniture, fabrics, diversity and inclusion, conservation. It also has an inherent motivation to protect the destinations it promotes.
Travellers are increasingly seeking out eco-friendly options and immersion in local cultures and communities. This is borne out by countless surveys. Many leading OTAs are offering the option to filter by environmental credentials and this will only increase.
If you are inspired to find out more about starting on your sustainability strategy, book a free Sustainability Audit.
As international travel has increased and shorthaul flights in particular have become so cheap, flying has become the easiest option. Many people take several flights a year. However, train travel is starting to enjoy a renaissance with some countries banning internal flights.
Food waste is a big problem in hospitality as no property wants to run out of food or disappoint guests. Single use plastics also generate waste which ends up in oceans and landfill. Think of coffee machine capsules and free slippers. Water is another is important area, particularly as droughts become more common.
The ease of access to destinations all over the world for increasing numbers of people has led to certain places becoming over-visited, particularly in high season. This causes environmental and social problems. Encouraging travellers to visit off-season and take less holidays for longer periods helps and has the potential to increase revenue.
Food choices are an important factor both environmentally and socially. Imported food creates a large carbon footprint and does not contribute to employment in local communities. The cultivation practices of food have a direct impact on soil and human health.
The tourism sector employs 330 million people (one in 10 workers) across the globe. However, most senior roles are not filled by locals and diversity and inclusion need to be greatly improved. Hospitality is a people business and they should be viewed as your greatest asset.
Tourism businesses are often not connecting meaningfully with the local community and enriching their lives through their activity. And yet travellers are increasingly looking for authentic cultural experiences. Being connected with the local community is good for them and good for business too.
I started my career working on leading global event, World Travel Market, running their special events. Years later when I set up as a marketing freelancer, WTM was one of my first clients! I set up some new travel experience awards for them.
Eco holiday rental owner
I then found myself in the tourism industry as a vacation rental property owner when my husband and I moved to Italy in 2017. From the outset, I wanted to run our holiday apartment following my own ethical principles. We are lucky that our villa was rebuilt using the existing materials but to the highest eco standards. We also strive to make the experience the most comfortable, healthy and authentic. We use only organic cleaning products and our guests enjoy organic bathroom products and swimming in our chlorine-free pool. This gives guest the optimum stay but also saves us money. Better for people and planet and also our pocket.
We have a Green Tourism Gold award and were shortlisted in the last six in the global 2022 Shortyz Awards in the Sustainability category. We are part of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency and I have published our Climate Action Plan.
Industry sustainability advocate
I take every opportunity to talk about the opportunities for other accommodation providers who decide to start on their sustainability journey. To me it is a no-brainer that we must protect and respect the destinations we are promoting.
I have taken part in a number of webinars focused on sustainability:
How to tackle the climate emergency while encouraging travel hosted by Touch Stay
I also hosted and appeared in a number of webinars for sustainable tourism organisation, Wayaj. You can see them here
I regularly interview inspirational sustainability leaders for my blog such as Christopher Grime of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Read the interview here
I am a verified Blue Consultant for Oceanic Global which means that I can help hospitality businesess to remove single use plastic throughout their operations. Read my blog about how to protect our seas and oceans
When I moved on from live events, I worked in the fashion industry before joining my husband to run his landscaping business. Alongside this, I worked with corporates to offer them breast health education and worked with a number of campaigning organisations such as Fashion Revolution and prevention charity, Breast Cancer UK. I have also run the marketing for an organic and household brand, Greenscents, for nearly 4 years. In 2020/21 I feelanced for sustainable tourism company, Wayaj. I was involved in the development, branding and launch of their new OTA, Alight, which enables travellers to choose the most sustainable properties and offset their carbon footprint. Wayaj offers support to its hotel members so that they can become their best sustainable self and I also managed the content for this narrative.
This broad experience means that I have seen the best sustainable solutions in a number of different industries. I can share this knowledge and best practice with you.
You can find out more about me here.
As I am a property owner myself, I have first-hand experience as well as having worked in the ethical arena for over 10 years. I have built up a substantial list of contacts which I can share with you. As a Blue Consultant for Oceanic Global I also have access to a network of vetted suppliers. And if I don't have a specific contact, then I always know where to find one within the sustainable communities I am part of.
Sign up to receive my newsletter with links to my latest blogs and other useful news to help you become a purpose-driven business.