Sustainable tourism profitable, enjoyable if promoted: Experts - GulfToday

Sustainable tourism profitable, enjoyable if promoted: Experts


A panel discussion is in progress at the event in Dubai.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

Environment-friendly and sustainable tourism could be profitable for businesses while reducing carbon emission, experts at multiple seminars said recently.

Travel and tour operators could benefit more by investing in technologies to make tourism more sustainable industry that could help the world achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and Net Zero Target by 2050, experts said.

“Sustainable tourism need not be expensive and can be profitable as well as cost-effective, if we plan our initiatives carefully,” Dr. Miniya Chatterji, CEO, Sustain Labs Paris, a flag bearer of sustainability across all industry, said at a seminar held as part of the recently-held Arabian Travel Market.

“Ten years ago, people had fringe conversations about sustainability, and it was only about cleaning your house. Today, it is about making the entire supply chain sustainable. Where is it coming from?”

Tourism is a US$2 trillion global business which is poised to cross an all-time high annual global revenue of US$2.28 billion this year, surpassing the total tourism industry revenue of US$2.2 trillion in 2019.

Sustainable tourism is a US$242.54 billion business globally which is growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.2 percent and projected to reach US$369.54 billion by 2029, according to research report by Research Analysis and Insights, a global market intelligence provider.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), more than 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022 – double the number recorded in 2021 though still 63 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Every global region recorded notable increases in international tourist numbers.

The Middle East enjoyed the strongest relative increase as arrivals climbed to 83 percent of pre-pandemic numbers. Europe reached nearly 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels as it welcomed 585 million arrivals in 2022.

Ghada Shalaby, Deputy Tourism Minister of Egypt says, “As a policymaker in the tourism field, we make policy and read the industry, especially in the private sector, in terms of how we can ensure the sustainable development of this sector and how we can change the tourist experience.

“Egypt has a strong culture and heritage, which we are preserving. Egypt has diversified products in terms of tourism: if you want to relax, you have beaches; for adventures, there are deserts; and for history enthusiasts, there is a lot of culture and heritage to explore. So, as we all know, as a business and as an industry, it has multiple impacts and multiple inputs that affect the continuation of the industry, including the number of employees and population that we have that are contributing to the hospitality services.”

As the global economy continually grows and becomes ever more interconnected, organisations are recognising the need to ensure their supply chain operations are as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. To achieve this, businesses need to understand where, and how, their supply chains begin and formulate strategies to ensure all aspects of the chain are addressed when contributing to sustainability efforts. From the journey of travelers to digital resources and data available to them.

Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism of Jamaica says, “Technology is used extensively to connect small and medium enterprises; we are the industry that has grown fastest after the recession. As a responsibility, our strategy should be zero CO2 footprint; it must be the vision and mission as tourism is a responsibility. As the travel industry fully embraces its transformation to a sustainable industry, we must not forget the supply chain impact. Travel providers, governments, and academics need to ensure there is cohesion with all suppliers within the value chain.”

However, most international surveys show that travellers want to travel better and seeks sustainable tourism products all the way.

A survey shows that 81 percent of global travelers confirm that sustainable travel is important to them, with 50 percent saying that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices. As much as 57 percent of travelers would feel better staying in a particular accommodation if they knew it had a sustainable certification, while more than 100,000 properties globally are now being recognized for their sustainability efforts with a Travel Sustainable badge on

 Dr. Miniya Chatterji says, “With the increase in demand for tourism, sustainability has become important too. There can be new companies with sustainability models as well as traditional companies that are now needing to change.

“In a business-as-usual scenario, tourism would generate through 2050 an increase of 154 percent in energy consumption, 131 percent in greenhouse gas emissions, 152 percent in water consumption, and 251 percent in solid waste disposal,” she added.

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