Sustainable tourism resources

How to create shared value in tourism, one tour at a time

How to create shared value in tourism
The social and economic responsibility of a local tour company should be measured by whether it creates win-win situations for all its stakeholders, or in other words — whether it creates a shared value.

My typical conversation with a tour company used to go like this:
[me a.k.a. sustainability fighter] — You know, as a tourism industry we should be more sustainable and take more responsibility for our actions…
[a local tour company ] Yes, I totally agree! It’s just… not for me now. But as soon as I have more time and more money, I’ll do it. Promise!
I’ve been quite annoyed hearing it over and over. I couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to be sustainable and responsible from day 1. Then I understood that I’m the “captain planet” type of person, and others want to make a living.

Look closer

The problem is that the “perfect” moment with more time and money never comes. Even if your tour company has extra money, you’ll want to use it to scale: hire more staff, produce better marketing materials, rent an office space. Anything that doesn’t directly contribute to a business’’ growth will always drop to the bottom of a priority list.
That’s why the traditional CSR (corporate social responsibility) approach doesn’t work for small and medium tour businesses. Most CSR actions bring benefits to external organisations, and not for the business itself. Those that bring benefits, like PR-worthy fundraising campaigns and staff volunteering schemes, are out of their reach.
Very often, local businesses are inherently more sustainable and eco-friendly than the bigger ones because they are naturally closely connected to their communities, where people support one another. Also for most small tour provider, the tourist destination is their home, so they respect, care and love it more than almost anyone else.
But does it mean that being a local business is enough?

Read the full article on LinkedIn.

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