How to ensure your eco-tourism business is sustainable

Considering the long-term impacts of tourism on the planet

Humans have a huge impact on the ecosystems they are around, and the rising industry of eco-tourism is now confronting how to be a sustainable industry and allow people to travel.

Ecotourism offers people a chance to see the beauty of this green and blue planet while working to sustain the local environment. The most common example is traveling to areas where the attraction is the great outdoors or the local culture.

This guide offers some thoughts about how humans impact the ecosystem and how to work to increase appreciation for natural environments. If you love nature, then starting a tour company with a focus on ecosystems may be right up your alley.

How Can We Make Eco-Tourism More Sustainable?

BusinessWire reported the global eco-tourism market is worth around $270.41 billion and should grow by 14.24% annually through 2027. However, the idea of so many people traipsing around natural habitats kind of goes against the idea of protecting them.

Fortunately, humans can visit and appreciate nature without leaving much of a footprint at all. A conscientious eco-tourism company can prevent much of the damage caused by people who don’t understand how to protect natural resources. You may even want to start this type of business to ensure others who might not have the earth’s best interest at heart don’t.

How can you ensure your business is highly sustainable and protects what you cherish most?

1. Educate Your Customers

Responsible eco-tourism starts with educating your customers about the best ways to protect the place they’re visiting. Send out information in multiple formats, as people tend to absorb details in various ways.

Write articles on your blog, send a newsletter, offer a travel guide, and make travel videos. No matter how many ways you give people the information on how not to litter, what not to take, and so on, there will be a handful who don’t absorb the material. Repeat yourself at the beginning of the trip and when you reach the destination.

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2. Provide Local Job Opportunities

Local tourism is helpful to many communities. Not only will it bring in customers to local shop owners, but the government may also provide more resources to build infrastructure or protect assets.

Pledge some of your profits to help improve local habitats or other things you care about. Talk to the local community about what they need and how you can work with them responsibly to highlight their beautiful area without changing it.

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3. Be Hands-On

It might be tempting to hire a guide or two and simply hand your travelers off to them. There may even be a point where your business grows so much you can’t handle the tours on your own. Just make sure you’re still hands-on. Take the time to greet people before they leave on the trip.

Touch base with your tour guides to make sure they understand the importance of a sustainable experience. Look for ways to go green, even with printed brochures and tickets.

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4. Look for Green Partners

One of the things you’ll do as a tour company is book stays at hotels, for travel to and from local restaurants. As an eco-tourism business, you want to choose brands that also care about reducing the carbon footprint.

You’ll need to call and talk to hotels about things such as how they recycle, whether they encourage guests to reuse towels, and even the material the towels are made from.

For travel, look for lower-emission options, even if it means taking a bus instead of flying. Restaurants may be a bit trickier, but you can seek options that use local produce and as many sustainable practices as possible.

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Eco-Tourism Means Being Awake and Aware

Tourism of any type can eventually destroy some of the local environment as developers build hotels, restaurants, and attractions to accommodate the people visiting. While you may have the best intentions with an area, think about the long-term impact. Would it be better to stay at a nearby, already-developed town and then transport your tour groups into the area for a visit?

Most of your clients will be highly aware of how well you protect local customs and the area. Ask for feedback on how well you’re doing with sustainability. Allow them to add their own thoughts. Sometimes your customers will have an idea for improving how green you are that you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.

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Jane Marsh

Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.

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