GREEN TOURISM: taking stock of the present, for the future

GREEN TOURISM: taking stock of the present, for the future

2 April 2021 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ Sustainability as the way to the future of tourism: a report by Euromonitor International /

An efficient transport infrastructure with alternatives beside air travel, award-winning sustainable lodging in a Nordic, eco-chic style, and a focus on rural and regional tourism: these are the 3 pillars of sustainable tourism in Sweden, which allowed the country to keep its ranking as first place in the Sustainable Travel Index rankings 2020, compiled and recently published by global market research company Euromonitor International.

This is not by chance: home to climate strike activist Greta Thunberg and to the flygskam (flight shaming) movement, the country is highly engaged in sustainability and with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, aiming (among other things) to achieve net zero emissions by 2045. “Sweden is a pioneer in lifecycle assessment research which is critical to understand the full impact of consumer behavior and consumption patterns,” analyses Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel at Euromonitor International. But it’s not Sweden alone. The whole Scandinavia “is exemplary in its engagement and awareness of sustainability, where 65% of travel businesses already have implemented a sustainability strategy,” reads the Euromonitor report, and “the European Union is driving a strong sustainability agenda through its European Green Deal.” Indeed, the top 20 leading countries in the Sustainable Travel Index are in Europe.

The report comes at an important moment for the travel and tourism industry. Badly hit by the pandemic and its restrictions, in the face of a shrinking market the sector has pivoted to domestic and local tourism, but that will not be enough in the long term. After the pandemic, 66.4% of consumers globally want to have a positive impact on the environment through their daily actions in 2021, according to a consumer survey conducted in January 2021, and therefore “radical change will be essential in building resiliency and agility to futureproof the sector,” continues the report. “Travel and tourism businesses are joining forces to declare a climate emergency. Sustainable transformations will play a significant factor in the future to ensure businesses and communities can thrive in a post-COVID age.”

To help with that, Euromonitor has considered seven pillars of sustainability in its research. The first is “environmental sustainability,” i.e. protecting natural environments. In this aspect, Mozambique holds the top ranking, thanks to its many national parks and protected areas which protect biodiversity through nature-based tourism, offering an alternative source of revenue to poaching. Euromonitor also highlights initiatives like Belgium’s “regenerative tourism” (going beyond sustainability), and Costa Rica, which recognized that its natural environment was a competitive advantage and…

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