What is sustainable tourism?

Sustainable Tourism actively fosters appreciation and stewardship of the natural, cultural and historic resources and special places by local residents, the tourism industry, governments, and visitors. It is tourism which is viable over the long term because it results in a net benefit for the social, economic, natural and cultural environments of the area in which it takes place.

Tourism Industry Association of Canada

What are the benefits of sustainable tourism?

By making sustainability a focus, you can:

  • Increase tourist visits to your establishment by promoting your sustainability credentials to ‘green-savvy’ consumers who make purchase decisions based on minimising their own footprint.
  • Reduce operating costs by undertaking initiatives that reduce waste, water and energy consumption.
  • Develop a competitive advantage by establishing and promoting sustainable business practices as a point of difference.
  • Encourage investors interested in companies with long-term sustainability plans that minimise operating risks in the future.
  • Increase long-term profitability by putting plans in place now that will create savings in the future such as minimising transport costs that will continue to rise as fuel becomes more expensive.

Tourists are looking for sustainable tourism options:

71% will make environmentally friendly travel choices this year (TripAdvisor, 2012)

46% are willing to pay more for products from companies that show a commitment to social responsibility (Nielson, 2012)

22% say that sustainability is among the top three influencing factors when booking vacations (Kuoni, 2011)


  • 54% are likely to ensure their future travel choices are consistent with the objectives of sustainable tourism.
  • 40% have considered the impact of their vacation when choosing a travel destination.
  • 49% would choose to participate only in activities with sustainable benefits.
  • 34% would switch from their preferred destination to another offering more sustainable tourism options.
  • 28% would pay a premium for their trip to directly support local workers/businesses/community initiatives/the local environment.

TNS Canadian Facts

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