With resorts and hotels all over the world going green, there is a mass desire to protect local environments, while also boosting economic growth. The tourism industry impacts nearly every location on the planet — and its relationship with the environment has always been complex. World Tourism Day, observed annually on September 27, offers an opportunity to examine tourism’s value with a long term view. New research shows that renewable energy and other sustainable tourism practices can positively impact both the environment and the bottom line.
Anyone working in the hotel industry knows that natural beauty is a draw for guests, with many checking out of their stay more interested in protecting surrounding natural resources. Yet ironically, tourism activities and facilities can also contribute to environmental degradation with the potential to eradicate these long-term economic benefits. Sustainable tourism (or “eco-tourism”) is a way to balance these priorities and keep the tourism industry healthy for years to come.
Sustainable tourism is no longer a niche movement — it is where the future is heading, and many hotels are leading the way. Implementing sustainable practices can preserve resources and slash energy bills. On top of this, tourists themselves are increasingly eco-minded, and are now actually seeking out accommodations and activities because of their sustainable practices. For example, the U.S. Green Building Council found that LEED certified hotels not only reduce energy costs for the hotel owners, but attract more revenue from guests. The International Renewable Energy Agency similarly found that renewable energy technology has a positive impact on resort occupancy rates.
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