Myth or true: Following safety protocols will transform tourism operations less sustainable

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Recently, I had the opportunity to see how safety protocols changed the tourist experience. I confess that, I had mixed feelings about that (sometimes feelings safe; sometimes felling at risk everywhere I went; feeling bad with generation of waste; feeling protected because my room wasn’t clean every day and at the same time bothered by all garbage accumulating day by day in the room. This situation made my think about the relation between safety protocols and sustainability.

Well, we have a new context, which called for new procedures and therefore generating new impacts. I’ve heard that safety protocols are not sustainable, because Hotels are now using more plastic and cleaning products for sanitizing surfaces.

When, we think about consumption of plastic to protect food or objects in accommodation establishments it’s refers a new procedure adopted and of course we can see that are more plastic being used, as plastic films or new packages than before. But in this case, is relevant to guarantee that consumption of plastic will really protect the guests and not used it just to give a perception of protection. According UNWTO, “Plastic film is not a sanitization measure in and of itself. If the wrapped-up remote control is touched by a member of staff who has not cleaned their hands, this could become a point of transmission of COVID-19:

  • Instead of wrapping in plastics, all items available for guests to use should be properly sanitized.
  • Equally, clear procedures should be developed to ensure that staff avoid touching any objects such as remote controls with unsanitized hands.
  • As a plus, this will avoid the need to properly dispose of the plastic film, which is a nonrecyclable plastic material.
  • Where items must be wrapped in plastic, these too need to be sanitized.”

But are the Hotels being more or less sustainable? Let’s reflect together about that.

First of all, safety is part of sustainability, including all kind of health risks and to prevent them is part of sustainability approach for all tourism enterprises that want be sustainable. Also, the government measures are very important. Nowadays, more than ever, tourism sector needs to move forward together adopting safety measures in compliance with laws and guidelines to prevent COVID 19.

ISO 21401 – Sustainability Management System for Accommodation Establishments contain a set of aspects, for all dimensions of sustainability. One of them is Health and safety of guests and workers, which describe “Accommodation Establishments shall implement procedures for continuous risk identification, risk assessment and the implementation control measures.”

How to recover tourism sustainably

Secondly, it is important to understand how sustainability works! The tourism activities have aspects, characteristics such as: consumption of water, guest satisfaction or local community. These aspects produce a several different impacts and risk and opportunities too. This is a dynamic process that occurs every day that and every business should try to control.

What companies normally do, is to implement control measures, reducing negative impacts and risks. But it is quite more complex than it appears, because the context always is changing and because we are talking about all dimensions of sustainability, which means that adopting control measures sometimes is a tradeoff.

When businesses are implementing safety protocols to protect tourists and workers, they are in fact, implementing new control measures. At the end of the day, which is important, is Hotel’s responsibilities to guarantee that guests are safe.

Thirdly, the process of identification, analysis and evaluation of impacts shall take account: negative and positive impacts; probability and consequence of each impact and relevance criteria

So, keep in mind, that it is part of the concept of sustainability the relevance and size of impacts. There is a correlation between size of impact and volume of consumption which depends on the occupancy rate, as well. More people, more impact.

Besides that, as everybody knows, the number of guests is smaller than before the pandemic. So, to say that a Hotel is more or less sustainable depends on the size and kind of impacts they have been producing.

But How this new context can be managed? How could Hotels be more sustainable? In my opinion, adopting a management system approach that will allow each Hotel to identify and control the risks and impacts which are relevant for their operation. In fact, I have noticed that those Hotels had implemented a management system were more efficient in adopting new controls and procedures.

Finally, I would like to say that the pandemic showed us that we can’t live without a holistic (or integrated) view of the world as a hole. We are more connected than we could have imagined. That’s why, I believe (more than ever) in the sustainable tourism approach for companies and destinations.

SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES AND RESULTS

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There are numerous measures that we can take to improve the sustainability of the business. These measures, called sustainability practices, are quite common in the tourism sector, especially in hotels. Here are some examples:

  • communication and engagement:

a) raising guest awareness through the website, reservation system, check-in, accommodation facilities, social areas, verbal information, displays, signs, brochures or guides;

b) conducting education activities with the local community through site visits, lectures, competitions, practices promotion in the local media (e.g. newspapers, radio);

c) training employees through, for example, meetings, workshops, courses, lectures, seminars, conferences, volunteer programmes;

  • social and economic development of destinations

a) solidarity economy actions;

b) used products and equipment donations for the community;

c) giving preference to and developing local suppliers.

  • solid waste reduction

a) preferential bulk purchasing, when compatible with the organization’s operations and environmental conditions, taking into account safety, quality and economic aspects;

d) separation, selective waste collection and proper disposal;

c) secondary waste separation, having temporary storage containers for waste;

d) reuse of organic waste, for example as an production input for local communities;

e) contractual agreements with suppliers to collect unused products and packaging (reverse logistics).

  • energy efficiency

a) use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind;

b) optimizing the use of natural lighting;

c) use of heating or cooling equipment and devices with maximized energy efficiency;

  • management of water usage

a) use of water-saving devices (e.g. taps and valves to reduce water consumption in bathrooms, toilets, showers and flushing systems);

b) periodic inspections to identify leaks;

c) towel- and linen-reuse programmes;

d) rainwater harvesting;

  • interaction with the native population

a) informing guests about the peculiarities that relate to native populations;

b) returning or compensating native populations for the benefits earned from the use of resources, traditions and cultural knowledge;

c) supporting actions to improve the living conditions of native populations, according to their priorities;

d) promoting respect for the culture and privacy of native populations, avoiding the violation of privacy, destruction of archaeological or historical sites, disrespect for sacred rituals and places, or the imposition of festivals and rituals outside the traditional calendar;

  • information to be provided to the guests

a) basic local historical, cultural and ecological information on environmental protection actions developed in the region;

b) information on the various protected natural areas and other natural attractions of interest in the region;

c) information about the consumption of local products, including emphasizing the cuisine of the area;

d) safety and security measures and procedures for guests;

e) information on how to behave in local communities and about the responsibilities to be followed in the places visited;

Looking at these examples of sustainability practices, you could ask: How many practices do I need to implement in my business? Which practices would be most suitable for my business? What kind of results that I will be obtained?

Also, as sustainability practices implies investments in the business, it is important to evaluate the expected results. Some sustainability practices that require little investment and others that require significant resources. Thus, it is always healthy to choose practices that are within the viability of the business and that will produce the desired results.

For that, it is important to establish objectives for each of the aspects of sustainability, such as: reducing water consumption in the Hotel by 5%. Thus, it will be easier to monitor the results and assess whether the practicability of the practices implemented.

Within this logic, you can measure the current situation (for example: current water consumption), select and implement practices to reduce water consumption and, finally, measure the new consumption situation, to then assess whether the objective was fulfilled. It is recommended to establish a process to evaluate the results obtained, using indicators (example: liters of water / guest / night).

Finally, adopting and implementing sustainability practices is always important, as well as managing a business seeking to be increasingly sustainable. But to assure that the business is being more sustainable, it will be necessary to assess whether there are concrete results in minimizing negative impacts or in increasing positive impacts of sustainability. See also:What is a sustainable hotel?

PARA QUE SERVEM AS PRÁTICAS DE SUSTENTABILIDADE?

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Existem inúmeras medidas que podemos tomar para melhorar a sustentabilidade do negócio. Estas medidas, chamadas de práticas de sustentabilidade, são bastante comuns no setor do turismo, principalmente na hotelaria de todos os portes e tipos. Seguem alguns exemplos:

  • comunicação e engajamento
  1. sensibilizar o cliente no site, sistema de reserva, check in, na unidade habitacional, em áreas sociais, por meio de informações verbais, display, placa, folder ou manual;
  2. realizar ações de educação com a comunidade local, como visita às instalações do meio de hospedagem, palestras, concursos, divulgação das práticas adotadas nos meios de comunicação locais (jornais, rádio etc.);
  3. capacitar os colaboradores por meio de reuniões, oficinas, cursos, palestras, seminários, congressos, programas de voluntariado, entre outros;
  • desenvolvimento social e econômico dos destinos
  1. ações voltadas à economia solidária
  2. doações de produtos e equipamentos obsoletos para a comunidade
  3. dar preferência e desenvolver fornecedores locais
  • resíduos sólidos
  1. aquisição preferencial de produtos em embalagens para grandes quantidades, quando compatível com as operações da organização e das condições ambientais, levando em consideração aspectos de segurança, de qualidade e econômicos;
  2. separação, coleta seletiva e destinação adequada;
  3. reutilização dos resíduos orgânicos, inclusive como insumo de produção para as comunidades locais;
  4. acordos contratuais com fornecedores para a coleta de embalagens (logística reversa) e produtos não utilizados.
  • eficiência energética
  1. uso de fontes de energia renováveis, como energia solar e eólica;
  2. otimização do uso da iluminação natural;
  3. utilização de equipamentos e dispositivos de aquecimento ou refrigeração com eficiência energética maximizada;
  • gestão do uso de água
  1. utilização de dispositivos para economia de água (como, por exemplo, torneiras e válvulas redutoras de consumo em banheiros, lavabos, chuveiros e descargas);
  2. inspeção periódica para identificação de vazamentos;
  3. programa específico, como troca não diária de roupa de cama e toalhas;
  4. captação e armazenamento de águas pluviais;
  • interações com as populações tradicionais
  1. informar aos clientes sobre as peculiaridades para relacionar-se com as populações tradicionais;
  2. retribuir ou compensar as populações tradicionais pelos benefícios auferidos pelo uso de recursos, tradições ou conhecimento das populações tradicionais;
  3. apoiar ações para melhoria das condições de vida das populações tradicionais, segundo as prioridades definidas por elas;
  4. promover o respeito à cultura e à privacidade das populações tradicionais, evitando a violação da intimidade, a destruição de sítios arqueológicos ou históricos, o desrespeito a rituais e locais considerados sagrados ou pela imposição de festas e rituais fora do calendário tradicional;
  • informações a serem fornecidas aos clientes
  1. informações históricas, culturais e ecológicas locais básicas sobre ações de proteção ambiental desenvolvidas na região;
  2. informações sobre as várias áreas naturais protegidas e outros atrativos naturais de interesse na região;
  3. informações sobre o consumo de produtos locais, inclusive enfatizando a culinária da região;
  4. medidas e procedimentos de proteção e segurança para os clientes;
  5. informação sobre como se comportar nas comunidades locais e sobre as responsabilidades a serem os lugares visitados;

Quando se observa esta lista de exemplos de práticas de sustentabilidade, pode-se pensar: Preciso implementar todas as práticas, para o meu negócio ser mais sustentável? Quais destas seriam mais adequadas ao seu negócio? Quais são os resultados práticos que serão obtidos?

Como as práticas de sustentabilidade também implicam em investimentos no negócio é importante que se avalie os resultados esperados, para ver se compensa a sua implementação ou manutenção. Existem práticas de sustentabilidade que necessitam de pouco investimento e outras que necessitam de recursos significativos. Assim, sempre é saudável escolher as práticas que estejam dentro da viabilidade do negócio e, que irão produzir os resultados desejados.

Com relação aos resultados desejados, o ideal é se estabelecer objetivos concretos e mensuráveis para cada um dos aspectos da sustentabilidade, como por exemplo: reduzir em 5 % o consumo de água no Hotel. Assim, ficará mais fácil acompanhar os resultados e avaliar se a viabilidade das práticas implementadas.

Dentro desta lógica, pode-se medir a situação atual (por exemplo: o consumo de água atual), selecionar e implementar práticas da redução do consumo de água e, por fim, medir a nova situação de consumo, para então avaliar se o objetivo foi cumprido.

Assim, recomenda-se estabelecer claramente objetivos de sustentabilidade e uma forma de avaliar os resultados obtidos, como o uso de indicadores, por exemplo: litros de água/hospede/noite.

Por fim, adotar e implementar práticas de sustentabilidade é sempre importante, assim como, gerenciar um negócio buscando ser cada vez mais sustentável. Mas para se ter certeza que o negócio está de fato sendo mais sustentável, será preciso avaliar se existem resultados concretos na minimização dos impactos negativos ou no aumento dos impactos positivos da sustentabilidade. Para saber mais, veja: O que é um Hotel sustentável?

What is a sustainable hotel?

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Nowadays, it is very common to find hotels with sustainability practices. The most common are those aimed at the use of water and energy, but there are many others related to waste, generating income for communities, promoting local culture, using biodegradable cleaning products, among others.

Staying in a hotel or searching on the internet is easy to locate these types of practices. But is a hotel that has 15 types of sustainability practices more sustainable than other which has only 3? Or, a hotel that has implemented sustainability practices for the use of water, energy and waste is more sustainable than another hotel that has implemented sustainability practices only for the use of energy?

In fact, there are certification schemes that use this premise to grant a label, establishing levels of certification: gold, silver and bronze. The hotel that has more sustainability practices receives more “points” and, therefore, receives a “better” label, for example, the gold label.[Certification of sustainable tourism]

However, this idea does not make much sense. Sustainability practices have the function of minimizing the negative impacts generated by the hotel, whether these are environmental, socio-cultural or economic. So, what matters is not quantity of practices, but how much the hotel has managed to reduce the impact generated. A given hotel may need to implement 5 or 6 sustainability practices to significantly reduce water consumption. However, another hotel may achieve the same result of reducing water consumption by implementing only 2 of these practices.[ISO 21401:2018 – Sustainability management system for accommodation establishments and Sustainable development Goals (SDG) from UN (United Nations)]

In addition, each hotel has its own characteristics (number of rooms, leisure infrastructure, type of plumbing, operating time, etc.) and the reduction in water consumption can be totally different from one hotel to the other. Thus, what matters for a hotel is to achieve its goal of reducing water consumption in relation to what it consumed before implementing sustainability practices. The number of practices adopted is irrelevant and the comparison between hotels, without the use of a standardized indicator, is unrealistic.

In this way, the ideal is for the hotel to establish a measurable goal to minimize the impact generated, for example, to reduce water consumption by 5% this year and, from this, use an indicator to measure current consumption (Liters or M3 of water / guest / night).

Using this logic, the hotel will be able to connect sustainability practices to business management, making decisions that generate actions to minimize environmental impacts (reducing water consumption) and economic impacts (reducing costs), as following:

Example of the basic logic for Sustainability Management

Aspect of sustainability  

water consumption

 

Impact of sustainability  

reduction of natural resource

 

Sustainability goal  

to reduce water consumption by 5%

 

Sustainability practices  

to install water flow reducers in showers; implement a program to change towels every 2 days and establish an inspection routine to identify leaks from the facilities

 

Sustainability indicator  

Liters or M3 of water / guest / night

 

Result (before practices)  

150 liters / guest / night (March 2019)

 

Result (after the practices adopted)  

142.5 liters / guest / night (March 2020)

 

Final result obtained  

5% reduction in water consumption

 

 

Finally, we can say that it does not matter the amount of sustainability practices adopted, but the management of sustainability.

To learn more about Sustainability Management see ISO 21401 – Sustainability Management System for accommodation establishments.

 

O que é um Hotel sustentável?

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Atualmente, é muito comum encontrar hotéis com práticas de sustentabilidade. As mais comuns são aquelas voltadas para o uso da água e da energia, mas existem muitas outras relacionadas com resíduos, geração de renda para comunidades, valorização da cultura local, uso de produtos de limpeza biodegradáveis, entre outras.

Ficando hospedado ou realizando uma rápida pesquisa na internet é fácil de localizar estes tipos de práticas. Mas será que um hotel que tem 15 tipos de práticas de sustentabilidade é mais sustentável do que aquele que possui somente 3? Ou será, que o hotel que implementou práticas de sustentabilidade para gestão e uso da água, da energia e de resíduos é mais sustentável que outro hotel que implementou práticas de sustentabilidade somente para gestão e uso de energia? [A norma ISO 21401:2018 – Sistema de gestão da sustentabilidade de meios de hospedagem e os objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável (ODS) da Organização das Nações Unidas (ONU)]

Aliás, existem esquemas de certificação que usam esta premissa para a concessão de um selo, estabelecendo níveis de certificação: ouro, prata e bronze. O hotel que tem mais práticas de sustentabilidade recebe mais “pontos” e, portanto, recebe um selo “melhor”, por exemplo, o selo ouro.[Certificação de turismo sustentável]

Contudo, este pensamento não faz muito sentido. Veja, as práticas de sustentabilidade têm a função de minimizar os impactos negativos gerados pelo hotel, sejam estes ambientais, socioculturais ou econômicos. Assim, o que importa não é quantidade de práticas, mas sim o quanto o hotel conseguiu reduzir o impacto gerado. Um determinado hotel pode precisar implementar 5 ou 6 práticas de sustentabilidade para redução significativa do consumo de água. Porém outro hotel poderá chegar no mesmo resultado de redução do consumo de água implementando somente 2 destas práticas.[Hotéis Sustentáveis: Porque isso é importante para os hóspedes?]

Além disto, cada hotel tem suas características (número de quartos, infraestrutura de lazer, tipo de instalações hidráulicas, tempo de funcionamento, etc) e a redução do consumo de água pode ser totalmente distinta de um hotel para o outro. Assim, o que importa para um hotel é atingir seu objetivo de redução do consumo de água em relação ao que consumia antes de implementar as práticas de sustentabilidade. A quantidade de práticas adotadas é irrelevante e a comparação entre os hotéis, sem o uso de um indicador padronizado, é irreal.

Desta maneira, o ideal é que o hotel estabeleça um objetivo mensurável para minimizar o impacto gerado, por exemplo, reduzir 5% o consumo de água neste ano e, a partir disto, usar um indicador para medir o consumo atual (litros ou M3 de água/hóspede/noite).

Ao usar esta lógica, o hotel poderá conectar as práticas de sustentabilidade à gestão do negócio, tomando decisões que gerem ações de minimização dos impactos ambientais (redução do consumo de água) e dos impactos econômicos (redução de custos), saber:

Exemplo da lógica base para Gestão da Sustentabilidade

Aspecto da sustentabilidade

consumo de água

Impacto da sustentabilidade

redução do recurso natural

Objetivo de sustentabilidade  

reduzir 5 % do consumo de água

 

Práticas de sustentabilidade  

instalar redutores de fluxo de água nos chuveiros; implementar programa de troca de tolhas e roupas de cama a cada 2 dias e estabelecer rotina de inspeções para identificar vazamentos das instalações

 

Indicador de sustentabilidade  

Litros ou M3 de água/hóspede/noite

 

Resultado (antes das práticas)  

150 litros/hóspede/noite (março de 2019)

 

Resultado (depois das práticas adotadas)

142,5 litros/hóspede/noite (março de 2020)

 

Resultado final obtido 5% de redução do consumo de água

 

Por fim, podemos dizer que não interessa a quantidade de práticas de sustentabilidade adotadas e, sim, a gestão da sustentabilidade.

Para saber mais sobre Gestão da Sustentabilidade de Hotéis existe a norma ABNT NBR ISO 21401 – Sistema de Gestão da Sustentabilidade para Meios de Hospedagem.

Para saber mais sobre indicadores de sustentabilidade consulte a norma ABNT NBR 16534 – Meios de hospedagem – Indicadores para o sistema de gestão da sustentabilidade.

Como praticar os 8 Princípios de turismo sustentável?

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Considerando os princípios de turismo sustentável, como as empresas e os destinos podem contribuir? Veja os exemplos:

1.      Gerenciar o turismo sustentável de forma eficaz Empresa

Considere como parte integrante da sua estratégia a sustentabilidade, pautando suas decisões nesta abordagem e se preocupando com os impactos das suas decisões.

Destino

Crie um grupo organizado, comitê ou conselho responsável com a participação da iniciativa privada e do setor público, que trabalhe com a abordagem de turismo sustentável. Este grupo deve ser adequado ao tamanho e à escala do destino, e tem responsabilidades definidas, supervisão e capacidade de implementação para a gestão das questões ambientais, econômicas, sociais e culturais.

2.      Garantir os direitos das populações locais

 

Empresa

Nas operações e práticas da organização respeite os direitos da comunidade local

Destino

Ofereça programas regulares para as comunidades envolvidas com o turismo, no intuito de melhorar a compreensão das oportunidades e desafios da atividade, bem como a importância da sua sustentabilidade; Dê apoio aos meios de subsistência e à diversidade cultural das comunidades locais, em virtude do turismo proporcionar uma alternativa às atividades não sustentáveis e por sensibilizar e conscientizar sobre questões relativas a conservação.

3.      Conservar o ambiente natural e a sua biodiversidade Empresa

Defina a capacidade de carga de visitação das áreas naturais e adote atividades que tenham um impacto ambiental mínimo, preservando as áreas naturais e protegendo a flora e a fauna durante a condução de seus negócios.

Destino

Faça considerações sobre políticas e programas que envolvem a proteção das áreas de Destino e estabeleça ferramentas relevantes de controle e gerenciamento derivadas de estudos sobre quaisquer impactos que envolvam a capacidade do visitante e o engajamento no gerenciamento relacionado ao bioma e à biodiversidade do ambiente natural. Utilize políticas públicas para estimular medidas para minimizar o consumo de água e energia, reduzir a geração de resíduos sólidos, tratar efluentes e conservar o ambiente natural onde eles realizam suas atividades.

4.      Considerar o patrimônio cultural e valores locais Empresa

Apoie e divulgue iniciativas para o conhecimento, a valorização, a preservação, o respeito e a promoção da cultura local.

Destino

Considere uma política e um sistema para avaliar, reabilitar e conservar os locais naturais e culturais, incluindo patrimônio construído (histórico e arqueológico) e as visitas rurais e urbanas.

5.      Estimular o desenvolvimento social e econômico dos destinos turísticos Empresa

Empregue, na maior extensão viável, trabalhadores (empregados, subcontratados ou autônomos) das comunidades locais ou regionais. Comprometa-se com o aproveitamento de pessoas e da produção local, incentivando a qualidade e sustentabilidade.

Apoie a capacite pessoas das comunidades locais para a prestação de serviços e fornecimento de insumos ou atividades complementares às da organização.

Privilegie a aquisição de produtos locais e estimule os turistas a consumi-los.

Destino

Incentive as empresas locais a proporcionar emprego para a população residente no destino, oportunidades de formação profissional, segurança no trabalho e salário justos para todos.

Apoie empresas locais de porte pequeno e médio, ajude na promoção e desenvolvimento de produtos locais sustentáveis e comércio equitativo, baseados na cultura da região.

Monitore a contribuição econômica direta e indireta do turismo para a economia do destino e relate para a população.

6.      Garantir a qualidade dos produtos, processos e atitudes Empresa

Estabeleça e mantenha procedimento para identificar as expectativas dos clientes em relação aos produtos e serviços oferecidos, e dar resposta consistente às reclamações e sugestões recebidas.

Destino

Monitore, previna e denuncie publicamente o crime, segurança e riscos para a saúde.

Monitore e reporte publicamente a satisfação do visitante e, se necessário, tome medidas para melhorar a satisfação do mesmo.

7.      Estimular a segurança nos destinos Empresa

Forneça produtos e serviços seguros, com foco na gestão dos riscos associados as atividades realizadas pelos turistas.

Estabeleça planos de emergência quando pertinente para atuar em situações indesejadas que afetem a segurança do turista.

Destino

Identifique os riscos e tome medidas para manter os ambientes seguros e adequados para o desenvolvimento do turismo.

Apoie e dê assistência ao turista em caso de situações indesejadas que afetem a sua segurança.

8.      Respeito à legislação

 

Empresa

Atenda e respeite a legislação vigente em seu Município, Estado e País, em particular com aquela relacionada com os impactos gerados pelo seu negócio. Planeje e implemente medidas para prevenir os impactos negativos das suas atividades na cultura local.

Destino

Considere a adoção de legislação que estimule o desenvolvimento sustentável do turismo, buscando minimizar os impactos negativos do turismo e potencializar os impactos positivos.

How to practice the eight principles of sustainable tourism?

Considering the principles of sustainable tourism how companies and destinations should contribute with them? See it:

  1. Manage sustainable tourism effectively

Company

Make sure that sustainability is an intrinsic part of your strategy. Decisions should be based on this perspective, and the impacts from these decisions need to be addressed.

Destination

Create an organized group, committee, or board that is tasked with having the private and public sector participate in working on ideas about sustainable tourism. This group has to be suitable to the size and scale of the destination, and include defined responsibilities, oversight and implementation abilities for managing local environmental, economic, social and cultural issues.

2. Guarantee the rights of local populations

Company

The rights of the local community, especially traditional populations, need to be respected within the organization’s operations and practices

Destination

Ongoing programs need to be offered to communities involved in tourism so that they can improve their understanding of the opportunities and challenges involved in this activity, along with the importance of their sustainability.

3. Conserve the natural environment and its biodiversity

Company

Set the visitor capacity and adopt activities that have a minimum environmental impact, preserving the natural areas and protecting the flora and fauna while conducting their businesses.

Destination

Make considerations for policies and programs involving the protection of Destination areas and establish relevant control and management tools that are derived from studies on any impacts involving visitor capacity and engagement in management related to the biome and biodiversity of the natural environment. Use public policies to stimulate measures for minimizing water and energy consumption, reducing solid waste generation, treating effluents and conserving the natural environment where they conduct their activities.

4. Consider the cultural heritage and local values

Company

Support and communicate initiatives on understanding, enhancing, preserving, respect for, and promotion of, local cultures.

Destination

Work on a policy and system for assessing, rehabilitating and conserving natural and cultural sites, including constructed heritage (historical and archaeological) and rural and urban visits.

5.  Stimulate the social and economic development of tourist destinations

Company

To the highest extent practicable, employ workers (employees, subcontractors or freelancers) from local or regional communities. Commit to benefiting from people and local production, encouraging quality and sustainability. Support and train people from local communities to offer their services and provide materials to the organization. Encourage the procurement of local products and encourage tourists to consume them.

Destination

Incentivize local businesses to provide employment for the local population, including vocational training opportunities, job security and fair wages for all. Lend support to small and medium-sized local businesses, help promote and develop sustainable local products and fair trade based on the culture of the region. Monitor the direct and indirect economic contribution that tourism has on the economy of the destination and report it to the population.

6. Guarantee the quality of the products, processes and attitudes

Company

Define and maintain a procedure to identify tourists’ expectations for the products and services offered and include a method for responding to complaints and suggestions received on a consistent basis.

Destination

Monitor, avert and publicly report any crime, safety and health risks. Monitor and report on visitor satisfaction and, if necessary, take steps to improve it

7. Stimulate the safety and security destinations

Company

Offer safe products and services, with a focus on managing the risks associated with activities engaged in by tourists. Establish emergency plans, whenever pertinent, in order to respond to unwanted circumstances that may affect the safety of tourists.

Destination

Recognize risks and adopt measures to maintain safe and secure environments for promoting tourism. Support and provide assistance to tourists in the event of unfortunate situations that could affect their safety.

8. Take legal compliance into consideration

Company

Comply with and respect the applicable laws related to the impacts generated by your business. Plan and implement measures to prevent any detrimental impacts on the local culture from your activities.

Destination

Consider adopting legal provisions that encourage sustainable tourism development, seeking to minimize its negative impacts and leverage the positive impacts.

 

The principles of sustainable tourism and Sustainable Development Goals – SDG’s (new version)

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Considering contribution of principles of sustainable tourism in the sustainable development is possible to connect these principles with Sustainable Development Goals – SDG’s from UN as following:

1.    Manage sustainable tourism effectively

Tourism interested parties shall set up and/or promote ethical business processes that seek to engage the corporate responsibility (social, economic and environmental) of those involved, increasing the commitment to the sustainability of destinations and businesses in the elaboration and implementation of mission, goals, strategies, plans and processes of management

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2.    Guarantee the rights of local populations

Tourism interested parties shall seek and promote mechanisms and actions of social and environmental responsibility and economic equality, including the defense of human rights, responsible use of land, resources, consumption of materials and services, maintaining or increasing the dignity of the employees and the well-being of communities involved.

Note Local population can include native population

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3.    Conserve the natural environment and its biodiversity

In all stages of implementation and operation, tourism interested parties shall adopt practices of carrying capacity and minimal impact on the natural environment, including wildlife protection, monitoring and effectively mitigating any negative impact, and thus contribute towards maintaining the natural dynamics and processes of their physical, biological and landscape aspects, taking into account the existing social and economic context. This could include measures related to climate change adaptation.

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4.    Consider the cultural heritage and local values

Tourism interested parties shall recognize and respect the historical-cultural heritage of the tourism destinations. Tourism activities shall be planned, implemented and managed in harmony with the cultural traditions and values, collaborating towards their development.

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5.   Stimulate the social and economic development of tourist destinations

Tourism interested parties shall contribute towards strengthening the local economy, raising skill-levels, increasing economic impacts, generating jobs, work and income, and fomenting the local capacity to develop tourist enterprises stimulating, at the same time, the local responsible supply chains.

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6.    Guarantee the quality of the products, processes and attitudes

Tourism interested parties shall provide reliable information, promote tourism destinations awareness, evaluate tourist satisfaction and encourage the implementation of recognized service standards related, but not limited to sustainability, quality, accessibility and food safety.

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7.    Stimulate the safety and security destinations

Tourism interested parties should contribute to enhance destinations safety and security, increasing levels of safety and security and comfort of local population and tourists.

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8.    Take legal compliance into consideration

Tourism interested parties shall identify and be aware of applicable legal requirements.

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According UN Sustainable Development Goals – SDG’s for tourism [source: http://tourism4sdgs.org] could be understand as following:

SDG 1 – NO POVERTY

As one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world, tourism is well-positioned to foster economic growth and development at all levels and provide income through job creation.

Sustainable tourism development, and its impact at community level, can be linked with national poverty reduction goals, those related to promoting entrepreneurship and small businesses, and empowering less favored groups, particularly youth and women.

SDG 2 – ZERO HUNGER

Tourism can spur sustainable agriculture by promoting the production and supplies to hotels, and sales of local products to tourists. Agro-tourism can generate additional income while enhancing the value of the tourism experience.

SDG 3 – GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

Tax income generated from tourism can be reinvested in health care and services, improving maternal health, reduce child mortality and preventing diseases. Visitors fees collected in protected areas can as well contribute to health services.

SDG 4 – QUALITY EDUCATION

Tourism has the potential to promote inclusiveness. A skilful workforce is crucial for tourism to prosper. The tourism sector provides opportunities for direct and indirect jobs for youth, women, and those with special needs, who should benefit through educational means.

SDG 5 – GENDER EQUALITY

Tourism can empower women, particularly through the provision of direct jobs and income-generation from MMEs in tourism and hospitality related enterprises. Tourism can be a tool for women to become fully engaged and lead in every aspect of society.

SDG 6 – CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

Tourism investment requirement for providing utilities can play a critical role in achieving water access and security, as well as hygiene and sanitation for all. The efficient use of water in tourism, pollution control and technology efficiency can be key to safeguarding our most precious resource.

SDG 7 – AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY

As a sector, which is energy intensive, tourism can accelerate the shift towards increased renewable energy shares in the global energy mix. By promoting investments in clean energy sources, tourism can help to reduce green house gases, mitigate climate change and contribute to access of energy for all.

SDG 8 – DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH

Tourism, as services trade, is one of the top four export earners globally, currently providing one in ten jobs worldwide. Decent work opportunities in tourism, particularly for youth and women, and policies that favour better diversification through tourism value chains can enhance tourism positive socio-economic impacts.

SDG 9 – INDUSTRY INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Tourism development relies on good public and private infrastructure. The sector can influence public policy for infrastructure upgrade and retrofit, making them more sustainable, innovative and resource-efficient and moving towards low carbon growth, thus attracting tourists and other sources of foreign investment.

SDG 10 – REDUCED INEQUALITIES

Tourism can be a powerful tool for reducing inequalities if it engages local populations and all key stakeholders in its development. Tourism can contribute to urban renewal and rural development by giving people the opportunity to prosper in their place of origin.

Tourism serves as an effective mean for economic integration and diversification.

SDG 11 – SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES

Tourism can advance urban infrastructure and accessibility, promote regeneration and preserve cultural and natural heritage, assets on which tourism depends.

Investment in green infrastructure (more efficient transport, reduced air pollution) should result in smarter and greener cities for, not only residents but also tourists.

SDG 12 – RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

The tourism sector needs to adopt sustainable consumption and production (SCP) modes, accelerating the shift towards sustainability. Tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for tourism including for energy, water, waste, biodiversity and job creation will result in enhanced economic, social and environmental outcomes.

SDG 13 – CLIMATE ACTION

Tourism contributes to and is affected by climate change. Tourism stakeholders should play a leading role in the global response to climate change. By reducing its carbon footprint, in the transport and accommodation sector, tourism can benefit from low carbon growth and help tackle one of the most pressing challenges of our time.

SDG 14 – LIFE BELOW WATER

Coastal and maritime tourism rely on healthy marine ecosystems. Tourism development must be a part of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in order to help conserve and preserve fragile marine ecosystems and serve as a vehicle to promote a blue economy, contributing to the sustainable use of marine resources.

SDG 15 – LIFE ON LAND

Rich biodiversity and natural heritage are often the main reasons why tourists visit a destination. Tourism can play a major role if sustainably managed in fragile zones, not only in conserving and preserving biodiversity, but also in generating revenue as an alternative livelihood to local communities.

SDG 16 – PEACE JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

As tourism revolves around billions of encounters between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, the sector can foster multicultural and inter-faith tolerance and understanding, laying the foundation for more peaceful societies. Tourism, which benefits and engages local communities, can also consolidate peace in post-conflict societies.

SDG 17 – PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS

Due to its cross-sectoral nature, tourism has the ability to strengthen private/public partnerships and engage multiple stakeholders – international, national, regional and local – to work together to achieve the SDGs and other common goals. Public policy and innovative financing are at the core for achieving the 2030 Agenda.

 

A road map to Sustainability Management System for accommodation establishments: Part III How to implement a Sustainability Management System based on ISO 21401? (continuing Part II)

Road map Diagrama para ISO 21401.002

12. Competences

A Sustainability Management System include to develop competences of the workers which is very important to achieve that objectives of sustainability established. For that, we start to be defining which are competences desirables for each function in the accommodation. After, we will compare it with the actual competences identifying potential gaps, following prepare a plan to improve competences that we needed. The implementation of this plan includes do capacitation or other actions and evaluate the effectiveness of those measures.

13. Awareness

Also is important to assure that workers be aware their contribution to the effectiveness of the sustainability management system, including the benefits of improved sustainability performance and the potential consequences of non-observance of specified operating procedures and actual or potential significant environmental, socio-cultural or economic impacts of the accommodation’s activities.

14. Communication

According ISO 21401 the processes of communication with interested parties shall be defined to help the effectiveness of the sustainability management system. Accommodation shall understand and define on what it will communicate, when to communicate, with whom to communicate and how to communicate.

15. Supply chain management

To understand this step is important to realize that some impacts are generated by suppliers, but the accommodation can exert influence. In this case the accommodation shall establish and communicate the criteria for its selection of suppliers, taking into consideration the sustainability aspects, impacts and objective

16. Documented information

The accommodation shall determine which documented information are being necessary for the effectiveness of the sustainability management system. Also, it is important to control of documented information to assure that information available is current and reliable.

17. Internal audit

At this time the accommodation shall implement a process of internal audit, which will check if the sustainability management system is comply with ISO 21401 and if is effective in achieve the objectives established.

18. Nonconformity and corrective action

The results of internal audit process could be finding some requirements are not being comply. In this case the accommodation shall implement corrective action to eliminate the cause(s) of the nonconformity, in order that it does not recur or occur.

19. Management review

Based on audit results, customer perceptions, monitoring and measurement evaluation results, communications with interested parties and others information the accommodation shall review the sustainability management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.

20. Improvements

Finally, the accommodation shall identify opportunities and take action to continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the sustainability management system.

A sustainability management system could be understood as a tool for anticipate and prevent problems, plan how to fix these problems and use it to implement improvements and strengthening the own sustainability management system.

Certification of sustainable tourism

 

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Certification of sustainable tourism is very popular nowadays, but what does it means? Certification is a mechanism to ensure that particular company, product or service comply with specified requirements. In the case of sustainable tourism, certification means that a company adopt sustainable practices or has a sustainability management system.

In the last 15 years a lot of certifications schemes about sustainable tourism has been developed. Today is easy to find more than a 100, but most of them fall into two groups: the first focused on attesting that the company has certain sustainable practices and the second that the company has a sustainability management system implemented and effective. The main difference between this two groups is about sustainable practices where the first take in consideration specific and predeterminate sustainable practices and the second looks for the business management and results.

To achieve certification, the company must demonstrate that it meets the requirements. Obviously, to begin this process, the company needs to do its homework, initially knowing the requirements that base the certification desired, going through a self-assessment of its business and, mainly, implementing measures to meet these requirements. Thus, the company will increase the chance of being certified and may use certification as a marketing and communication tool with the market in which it operates or intends to act.

The certification is performed by an independent organization, called certification body, whose business is assessment and attest to the market that the company is sustainable.

However, it is important to note that certification should not be an end in itself, but rather the natural consequence for the company that meets the requirements and therefore can be called sustainable. In fact, meeting sustainability requirements has the power to transform the company and bring benefits far beyond the certificate itself.

Examples of certification benefits:

  • Improved image
  • Brand Strengthening
  • Improved business management
  • Strengthening partnership with stakeholders
  • Spontaneous media
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Reduction of operating costs
  • Improved results

Another relevant aspect of sustainability certification is that invariably the company has a very positive influence on the territory in which it is operating. Thus, sustainability ends up creating a network, where all stakeholders gain, be they collaborators, local community, suppliers, tourists, NGOs, local public power, among others.

A business certification process involves, in general, the following steps:

  • Request for certification
  • Sending company documentation
  • Technical analysis of documentation
  • Conducting an audit
  • Analysis of results
  • Grant of Certificate
  • Maintenance audits (during the period of validity of the certificate)

There are many types of certification in sustainable tourism and the company must evaluate which certification adds value to your business and helps in communication with the market and clients.

Certification of Accommodations

The certification of accommodations has the function of ensuring that the accommodation has a sustainability management system implemented and effective. This certification is valid for any type, size and geographic location of hosting medium and is based on an international standard, ISO 21401: 2018 – Sustainability Management System for Hosting.

By implementing the requirements of this standard, the accommodation will have the benefits of strengthening its business and improving the decision-making process, which will be done in a more modern and complete way, simultaneously looking at the three dimensions of sustainability (environmental, socio-cultural and economic).

A sustainability management system assumes the development of sustainability policy and objectives, based on the internal and external contexts of the enterprise, stakeholder needs, risks and opportunities and based on the negative and positive aspects and impacts of the business. Obviously, this should be led by the top management of the accommodation, which should demonstrate its commitment, provide resources, define responsibility and authorities, and plan sustainability actions in an environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable way.

In addition, the Sustainability Management System must include the competencies of employees, the implementation of work process controls, communication methods and the development and evaluation of suppliers. It is essential for it to be used effectively, documented and has classic monitoring, analysis and continuous improvement elements in management systems: performance evaluation, internal audit, critical review, non-compliance and corrective actions.

An accommodation managed through a Sustainability Management System will allow the development of a truly sustainable business and adapted to the current challenges of tourism.

After the implementation of this standard, the accommodation that wishes to be certified will pass an audit process planned by the certification body, which will send auditors to assess the compliance of the management and the practices adopted in relation to the sustainability requirements.

Certification of adventure tourism providers

For adventure tourism companies it is possible to be certified based on the international standard ISO 20611: 2018 – Good practices of sustainability. In this case it is not necessary to implement a complete management system, but rather to demonstrate that it adopts sustainable practices in its operation for the three dimensions: environmental, social and economic.

Practices should be adopted with the objective of reducing the impacts generated by the company’s tourism operations, such as:

  • Environmental dimension – use of natural resources, water and energy consumption, protection of biodiversity and natural habitats;
  • Social dimension – respect for employees and the local community, promotion and respect of local culture, working conditions;
  • Economic dimension – adoption of fair trade practices, management of financial risks of the business, generation of work.