Growth of Sustainable Tourism in Australia
Sustainable tourism can simply be defined as: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts, while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”.
Tourism in Australia contributes nearly 34 billion Australian dollars to Australia’s GDP, employs over 500,000 people and earns nearly 10 per cent of Australia’s total export earnings. Tourism has always been –and still is- one of the main pillars of the Australian economy. The challenge for Australia is to encourage the development and management of tourism products and services in such a way that they will provide economic and social benefits to local communities and business, at the same time enhancing and protecting the local communities’ natural and cultural assets.
Traditionally, Australia’s natural resources and cultural assets have been a major attraction for local and international tourists, which is the primary reason why Australia is a highly favored tourist destination. So the onus lies in the hands of Australians to protect, conserve and manage these assets for the survival of the tourism industry.
Sustainable Tourism in Australia is surely catching up among locals as we are seeing a large amount of youth actively participating in sustaining the tourism industry. A lot of manpower is required to ensure that the tourism industry works properly and effectively, thus increasing the need for employment. Statistically we can see that when the employment in a country increases, their economy also increase by leaps which in turn improves the GDP thus reducing inflation, recession etc.
This gives us a glimpse of how sustainable tourism not only improves the economy of the Australia as a whole but also improves the social and economic prospects of each individual. Sustainable tourism has helped increase the number of tourists. Tourists are fast becoming green-savvy and they tend to go for packages that minimize their carbon footprint.
In this regard, the National Long Term Tourism Strategy was launched in 2009. It outlined the policy framework that was to guide the tourism sector and was designed to facilitate a better national approach to ensuring a sustainable industry for the future.
As more and more tourists become ‘green-savvy’, most tourism businesses are now engaging in sustainable tourism or at least incorporating aspects of sustainable tourism in their daily operations. Examples of such businesses include; the Esplanade hotel Fremantle, the Novotel Langley Perth, the All Seasons Kargoorlie, the Karijini Eco Retreat, APT Purnululu camp and Hidden Valley Cabins.
The Hidden Valley Cabins are an award-winning Eco resort in Queensland. As part of their daily operations, they are completely solar powered, use energy conservation techniques, apply waste management techniques and promote sustainability as part of their product.
Now there are many other benefits of sustainable tourism like having a clean and green environment. This may sound odd, but it has been proved time and again that when you start appreciating and protecting nature and the environment, the environment takes care of you. This can be seen by trends such as a decrease in operating costs for businesses that undertake initiatives that reduce waste of natural resources. Adopting energy conservation and greener operating models for more sustainable tourism can also help reduce operating costs.Australia has developed a competitive advantage by establishing and promoting sustainable business practices as a point of difference.
Businesses are able to attract and retain valuable staff by adopting policies that meet with employee values and concerns, it encourages investment by investors interested in companies with long-term sustainability plans that minimize future operating risks.
In the long-term, there’s likely to be an increase in profitability. This is achievable by implementing plans now that will create savings in the future.
Sustainable tourism is a fairly new and intriguing concept for most tourists. What Australia has done by engaging in sustainable tourism is to ensure that future generations will be able to get a similar if not identical experience many years from now. The radical changes in operating procedures of the tourism sector are aligned towards achieving this goal.
Still intrigued? Well, grab your Australian visa and book your flight to Australia for a magical experience of sustainable tourism.
This week’s post was a special guest blog from Annabel Taylor.