Without sustainability there is no tourism, … until you tell your customers?

I do not conceive tourism without considering its profitability in the broad sense, if you think long term is even more inconceivable; it seems logical that the main factor of production in the tourism industry, land-resources-people, must be considered in the highest level to ensure the activity and productivity.
Spain, as a leading destination in the reception of tourists, began developing its industry on demand of major European tour operators. The most important objective was the economic profitability, and in recent years and to remain competitive, destinations and companies see the rest of profitability, social, heritage, environmental, and ultimately the profitability of the visitor, the emotional profitability, as the portfolio of experiences offered by the industry players to remain competitive.
Most leading companies have incorporated sustainability into its operating structure, some with strategic ambition and conviction, and other with marketing purposes. In other companies, mostly SMEs, entrepreneurs are committed to the conservation of land, the society in which they are located, and the efficient use of resources since the investment plan, building and operation; and othres entrepreneurs think in sustainability only in relation to environmental variables and laws.
Public administration, in some cases in collaboration with the private sector, has also incorporated sustainability in tourism planning, “Achieving the year 2020 the Spanish tourist system is the most competitive and sustainable, providing the maximum social welfare,” so appoints the goal of the Spanish Tourism Plan “Horizonte 2020″. Good goal to focus the work and policies to achieve it.
And the consumer?, Do they take the sustainability into account when choosing a destination or a business, and in advance,  what is considered by them within the concept of sustainability?. There are few market research studies, most are studies of trends that can be summarized in raising awareness about how to contribute on my journey / holidays  to sustainability, either by reducing water consumption, mitigating CO2 emissions, contributing for offset projects, buying local products and services, visiting and preserving heritage resources, whether cultural or natural, and so on.
While the claim is,  ”there is no tourism without sustainability” in the medium and long term is true, the fact remains that until the consumer generally do not demand destinations, products and services that one way or another contribute to sustainability, it will not be reality; and therefore will not have secured the tourist activity in the future, and what is more important, if not incorporated in all economic sectors we will not have an assured future for the incoming generations.
And here is where companies and destinations have a great responsibility and great opportunity, which can help to create consumer awareness, to enhance the customer an attitude of responsibility towards the conservation of natural, social and cultural resouces. A nice job and a challenge, do you join?

Francisco J. Castillo Acero

Acerca de Francisco J. Castillo Acero

Socio-Director General Advanced Leisure Services. Francisco es licenciado en Ciencias por la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Madrid; postgrado en Ingeniería por el Centro Politécnico Superior de la Universidad de Zaragoza; General Management Program por el IESE, Universidad de Navarra, Barcelona; y Master en Dirección y Gestión de empresas turísticas por ESADE, Barcelona. Su principal interés es conseguir la vinculación efectiva entre territorio-turismo y sostenibilidad, cree que el desarrollo de negocios turísticos es una de las mejores herramientas para la conservación y vertebración del territorio, siempre que se estos se diseñen, ejecuten y operen buscando el equilibrio entre la preservación natural y cultural, su viabilidad económica y de gestión, y el mejor impacto social de la actividad.
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