To achieve sustainability and improve competitiveness, TouriSME aims at fostering SMEs capacities and skills to explore and take up solutions through a reinforced transnational and cross-sectoral collaboration among tourism SMEs and operators in Spain, Italy, France, and Cyprus.
The objective of this compendium of good practices is to provide an insight in best practices related to sustainable tourism. To this aim, the project partners not only thematically identified various practices related to sustainability within the tourism sector through a comprehensive study of both academic and grey literature but also analysed the replication feasibility of identified practices through expert assessment.
The tourism industry is a significant contributor to global energy consumption and associated carbon emissions. Whilst the 5.45 million hotel rooms in Europe represent half the global total number, European accommodations are estimated to be responsible for just 21% GHG emissions arising from accommodations globally, suggesting better than average energy-efficiency in European accommodations.
It is reported that a tourist’s consumption is usually higher than a resident’s water consumption. Indeed, a European tourist consumes around 300 liters per day compared to a European resident consumption of 100 – 200 liters per day. Although statistical data for water use in the tourism sector (as a whole) is lacking, it is obvious that water use in hotels and similar accommodations is the highest compared to other tourism organizations.
The UN has been expressing concerns about environmental issues for the last few decades. Initially, the focus was on the manufacturing sector as the main culprit, but recent studies revealed a growing concern on the tourism sector whose activities also harm the environment. Indeed, tourists may generate up to twice as much solid waste per capita as local residents.
The term “sustainable mobility” was first introduced in 1992, five years after the Brundtland report. The objective of sustainable mobility is “to ensure that our transport systems meet society’s economic, social and environmental needs whilst minimizing their undesirable impacts on the economy, society and the environment”. It is worth mentioning that all the definitions of sustainable mobility stress that it is not enough to refer to environmental aspects, although they are of primary importance, but also social and economic impacts must be taken into account. Put differently, strategies to pursue the objective of sustainable mobility cannot be limited to producing/using less polluting transport systems, although this is of fundamental importance.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a type of international private business self-regulation that aims to contribute to societal goals of a philanthropic, activist, or charitable nature by engaging in or supporting volunteering or ethically-oriented practices. CSR helps an organization be socially accountable—to itself, its stakeholders, and the public. By practicing CSR, organizations can be conscious of the kind of impact they are having on all aspects of society, including economic, social, and environmental.
Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is also known as a sustainable or high-performance building.
The concept of green procurement stems from pollution prevention principles and activities. Green procurement implies purchasing products and services that cause minimal adverse environmental impacts. It incorporates human health and environmental concerns into the search for high-quality products and services at competitive prices.
AWARENESS AND BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES
There are several technical measures that tourism organizations, particularly hotels and similar accommodations, may undertake for energy conservation, water conservation, waste management, and so on. However, technical measures alone are insufficient to achieve these objectives at the maximum level. Put differently, technical solutions alone cannot develop sustainable tourism since psychological and behavioral traits often undermine the viability of technical solutions. In short, both the technical solutions and pro-environmental human behavior are essential for developing sustainable tourism.
OTHER EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICES
Previous sections pointed out various practices (technological and non-technological) that tourism organizations may undertake for energy conservation, water conservation, waste management and more This last section bring additional practices that couldn’t be easily classified elsewhere.