Role of sustainability in post-Covid travel


Post-Covid travel – How it is going to be like? How the hospitality industry will evolve for post-Covid-travel? How the tourists are going to evolve themselves to post-Covid-travel?

Did Covid teach us something about the need for conservation?

It was interesting to note while the entire humanity was locked into their homes, nature and its flora and fauna enjoyed their best life in the recent decades!

And interestingly, while the world is again opening up, instead of enquiring about cheap flights and discounted hotels, the increasing conscious travellers ask questions on safe travel and sustainable options. It’s very positive mitigation or a ride to the past. It’s important to learn more about the significance of Sustainability and Safe Travel especially when we may be going to face new trends like Revenge Tourism and so on.

UNWTO has clearly defined Sustainable Tourism as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities”.

Why a developing Destination like India should follow the International Criteria for Sustainable Tourism is evident when we understand the prediction results of UNWTO on the future of Tourism movements. The study says, by 2030, 58% of international arrivals will be to emerging destinations of Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Naturally, if we need to enjoy a reasonable share, India needs to uplift its Sustainability profile in a uniform pattern pan India.

The future of tourism will be a better presentation of the “ Man & Environment” encounters. Thanks to the efforts of many social entrepreneurs in Tourism, Community Based Tourism (CBT) and Responsible Tourism exist in many destinations across India. Kerala was a pioneer in driving tourism towards Responsible Tourism and bagged UNWTO Ulysses Award for its Kumarakom Responsible Tourism Project in 2014. Presently Kerala has an SPV called RT Mission to network the entire State on a Responsible platform.

Responsible Tourism is but just one wing of Sustainable Tourism in its wider conception by the conscious travellers. Sustainability in Tourism directly brings a balanced structure on the guaranteed involvement of its People, Planet (not just environment) and Profit (Reasonable distribution of the economic results from Tourism).

When there is a growing demand for safe and guilt-free travel, the destinations and their stakeholders have a responsibility to migrate to better sustainable standards so that the destinations can enjoy the real results. To reach this goal, just namesake or peripheral mimics will not help. I was surprised to see how the global travel stakeholders behaved during the pandemic period in working hard towards Sustainability standards. There was a big number of travel companies that became Travelife Certified for Sustainability.

Recently I had an opportunity to attend Travelife Coach and Auditor training where I had around 50 more participants from different parts of the world. Some of them were very senior sustainability experts which helped us to listen to their comments on how important is this element in future travel. I was also lucky enough to be a speaker at a TOFTigers event “Elevate Your Future” where we could see huge participation from the global tourism trade. TOFTigers have now joined hands with Travelife Certification to ensure their members become Sustainably measured and accredited as per GSTC standards. So globally such improvisations happen just because Sustainability will be the future concept of travel.

Needless to say, the post-Covid travel culture will be a totally different one and if we are not equipped, we may regret it. Training is an integral part of the migration to sustainability. Also, transparency in reporting our own sustainability plays a significant role. I personally have found many of our stakeholders keep an unwanted fear of getting into Sustainability, thinking that it’s a complicated system. Actually, it’s a very simple system, if we are passionate to do justice to whatever resources we exploit to do our business. A bit of giving back will bring a lot of peace of mind and a better business profile.

Sustainability in tourism brings transparency, economic freedom, conservation of the planet and compassion to our fellow human beings. This is an era where even the kids talk about Co2 emissions and global warming. If we don’t equip ourselves to address such global concerns, we may be lagging to match our competitors. Even our neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka and Nepal are heading towards Sustainability in Tourism at a higher pace.

As a person who has gone through the entire process up to a GSTC Accredited Sustainability Certification, I can tell my industry colleagues that it can only bring more success and mental satisfaction once you migrate to Sustainability. I thank Travelife for training me in multiple streams of Sustainability in Tourism. And it’s possible for each and every one among us.

Also Read: Untold story of Idukki hills: Micro destinations in Kerala

(George Scaria is the Managing Director of Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd, a Travelife Certified Tour Operator.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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