Green, responsible, or sustainable tourism is about “making better places for people to live and better places for people to visit”.
It asks that destination stakeholders take responsibility for minimising tourism’s negative social, economic, and environmental impacts. It also asks that more enjoyable experiences, which foster greater understanding of local culture, society, and environment, are created for the benefit of both hosts and visitors.
As key stakeholders within the industry, it is important that you take an active role in contributing towards green tourism.
In this first of four short videos on understanding and implementing sustainability in your business Léa provides insight into Business Visit Lincolnshire's Green Tourism Toolkit with an introduction to what Green Tourism is and how it can benefit your business.
Sustainability means using resources in such a way that our own needs are met today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This includes natural resources, as well as social and economic resources.
Green tourism can be defined as tourism which leads to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs are filled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life supporting systems.
Green tourism toolkit
Learn what Green Tourism means and how it can actually benefit your business.
Green tourism benefits all stakeholders.
Investing time and/or money into improving the sustainability of your business has been shown to have five key benefits.
1. Address changing consumer trends
There is an opportunity to increase revenue through satisfying changing consumer preference.
Recent research suggests a shift in consumer demand; more people are seeking products and services from companies with an environmental focus, with 58% of consumers saying they are thinking more about sustainability now than before COVID-19.
In the tourism sector it is no different. Booking.com research showed increased demand among both leisure and business travellers for greater environmental sustainability.
Moreover, 70% of global travellers say they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly, whether they were looking for a sustainable stay or not.
2. Attract and retain the best staff
Much like with customers, you can improve staff engagement and loyalty by making
your business more sustainable.
Employees are viewing sustainability as an increasingly central element when deciding where to work. New research reveals that over half of the UK’s workforce consider sustainability to be an important factor in choosing a company to work for.
This is even more important for younger generations, with 67% of those aged 16-24 viewing sustainability as key when choosing a job.
In addition to attracting staff, sustainability can also help retain staff and improve workplace dynamics.
Studies show that morale is 55% better in companies with a strong sustainability programme than those without, while employee loyalty is 38% better.
3. Reduce operational costs
Greening your business often leads to higher profit margins through lower utility costs;
a sustainable building is at least 20% more efficient.
Most energy efficiency solutions have a typical payback period of between one and ten years, with some measures even having a payback period of less than one year. Examples of energy efficiency measures include: heating, cooling, ventilation, equipment, lighting, refrigeration and building controls.
A payback period is the length of time required for an investment to recover its initial outlay in terms of profits or savings.
There are additional savings to be made by encouraging changes in behaviour, too. Simply motivating guests and staff to act differently so that they consume less could save upwards of 10% on utility bills.
4. Reduce your negative environmental impact
Tourism is also a major contributor to biodiversity loss, degradation of nature, and increasing marine plastic.
Action by tourism businesses is vital to protect destinations and communities, on which business relies, from negative environmental impacts.
It will also, as research reveals, be the only way to ensure tourism businesses are future-proofed and will continue to yield benefits for all stakeholders in both the short and long term.
Carbon emissions are releases of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from things such as planes, cars, and factories. Carbon emissions are the main contributor to climate change.
5. Help ensure your local area thrives
As a tourism business, your local area is vital to attracting customers. Whether it’s strong communities, thriving neighbourhoods, or beautiful nature, tourism relies on customers wanting to visit.
As a key part of sustainability within business is a shift towards focussing on the local area, green businesses have the potential to create a whole host of positive impacts for their local area, which in turn create benefits for the business.
Purchasing goods and services, and employing staff, from your surrounding area stimulates the economy in which you operate. In turn, this creates jobs and provides revenue to the community, helping to support public services.
Similarly, giving to local charities, whether they are environmental or social, makes your area better, thus increasing its attractiveness to customer, benefitting all stakeholders.
While making your business greener may seem like a daunting task, Lincolnshire County Council have developed this Green Tourism Toolkit to support all tourism businesses in the Greater Lincolnshire Area.
The Green Tourism Toolkit
The Green Tourism Toolkit is a new user-friendly resource which provides businesses, like yours, with easy steps to help Lincolnshire’s tourism sector become greener.
A toolkit is an informative set of resources which are useful for a particular purpose or activity – in this instance, Green Tourism.
The toolkit is laid out in five sections – Managing Sustainability, People, Planet, Place, and Grant Funding.
People, Planet, and Place are split into several sub-topics.
Because green tourism is such a big topic, it is recommended that you start by focussing on a few sub-topics which you feel are most important to you and your business.
In this first of four short videos on understanding and implementing sustainability in your business. Léa provides insight into Business Visit Lincolnshire’s Green Tourism Toolkit with an introduction to what Green Tourism is and how it can benefit your business.
Learn why managing sustainability is important, and how you can do it in your business.
Learn how sustainable businesses and people go hand-in-hand.
Learn how your business affects our planet, and what you can do to reduce the negative impacts.
Understand how your business both impacts, and is impacted by, your local place.
Learn how you can capitalise on government schemes to improve your business.
Carbon Calculator Tool
Calculate your carbon emissions with Visit Lincolnshire's simple carbon calculation tool.