Last month, ITC published its report on the improvement in the uptake of sustainable solutions, growth and scaling up of tourism SMEs, assessing the different best practices that were adopted by the SMEs thanks to the project. Here is what you need to know about it!
SSSA and ITC developed a questionnaire to evaluate the performance and impacts of TouriSME beneficiary companies’ activities. The questionnaire considers environmental, social, and economic impact indicators and certifications. The objective was to assess innovative and sustainable solutions implemented by SMEs, building a monitoring system with specific indicators and identifying best results and good practices. Of the 65 beneficiary companies, 48 responded to the questionnaire of which 42% are travel agencies and 58% are accommodation.
The analysis of statistics and SME feedback reveals that companies have increased their commitment to sustainability due to their awareness of the broader concept of sustainability, including social and economic aspects. The majority of companies have adopted measures primarily by hotels and accommodation, compared to travel agencies and tour operators. Some initiatives were not initially considered due to their lack of awareness, while others were easily incorporated due to their low cost. Social indicators also showed an increase in measures implemented by hotels, accommodations, travel agencies, and tour operators, as many of these initiatives did not involve significant expenses for SMEs. Most companies have dedicated efforts to acquiring environmental certifications, resulting in cost savings and improved market competitiveness. Economic indicators show that companies now consider not only direct purchases but also the production process, with suppliers also sharing sustainability values. Establishing a business strategy in the medium and long term is crucial, as the Madrid 2023 matchmaking workshop convinced most companies to establish a company policy focusing on reducing their environmental impacts and making key decisions based on sustainability factors.
Environmental and sustainability certifications have proven successful for many companies, enabling them to develop a strategic plan and communicate their sustainability mindset and actions. In addition, certifications can guide companies in their actions, making it easier to adopt long-term strategic decisions. Many companies choose to be certified with companies that have participated in trainings, such as the Biosphere certificate. The exchange of knowledge and experiences among companies has been highly valued, fostering a team and a common strategy for sustainability in the short and medium term.