significant environmental benefits include reductions in water consumption (18 per cent), energy use (44 per cent) and CO2
emissions (52 per cent), compared with BAU.
6. Tourists are demanding the greening of tourism. More than a third of travellers are found to favour environmentally-friendly tourism and be willing to pay between 2 and 40 per cent more for this experience. Traditional mass tourism has reached a stage of steady growth. In contrast, ecotourism, nature, heritage, cultural and “soft adventure” tourism are taking the lead and are predicted to grow rapidly over the next two decades. It is estimated that global spending on ecotourism is increasing at a higher rate than the industry-wide average growth.
7. The private sector, especially small firms, can, and must be mobilised to support green tourism. The tourism sector involves a diverse range of actors. The awareness of green tourism exists mainly in a selection of larger-scale firms. Smaller firms are mostly outside this sphere and diverse supplier groups may not be connected at all. Specific mechanisms and tools to educate small and medium-sized tourism- related enterprises are critical and are most effective when they are accompanied by actionable items. The promotion and widespread use of recognised standards for sustainable tourism, such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC), can help businesses improve sustainability performance, including resource efficiency, and assist in attracting additional investment and customers.
8. Much of the economic potential for green tourism is found in small and medium-sized Enterprises
(SMEs), which need better access to financing for investing in green tourism. The majority of tourism businesses are SMEs with potential to generate greater income and opportunity from green strategies. Their single greatest limiting factor for greening, however, is lack of access to capital. Governments and international organisations can facilitate the financial flow to these important actors with an emphasis on contributions to the local economy and poverty reduction. Public-private partnerships can spread the costs and risks of large green tourism investments. Besides reducing administrative fees and offering favourable interest rates for green tourism projects, in-kind support such as technical, marketing or business administration assistance, could also help.
9. Destination planning and development strategies are the first step towards the greening of
tourism. In developing tourism strategies, local governments, communities and businesses need to establish mechanisms for coordinating with ministries responsible for the environment, energy, labour, agriculture, transport, health, finance, security and other relevant areas. Clear requirements are needed in such areas as zoning, protected areas, environmental rules and regulations, labour rules, agricultural standards and health requirements particularly related to energy, emissions, water, waste and sanitation.
10. Government investments and policies can leverage private sector actions on green tourism. Government spending on public goods such as protected areas, cultural assets, water conservation, waste management, sanitation, public transport and renewable energy infrastructure can reduce the cost of green investments by the private sector in green tourism. Governments can also use tax concessions and subsidies to encourage private investment in green tourism. Time-bound subsidies can be given, for example, on the purchase of equipment or technology that reduces waste, encourages energy and water efficiency, the conservation of biodiversity and the strengthening of linkages with local businesses and community organisations. At the same time, resource and energy use as well as waste generation need to be correctly priced to reflect their true cost to society.