Environmental Sustainability for Tourism Businesses

Typically, the tourism industry (including destinations) involves two main resources which are natural resources and cultural resources. The use of natural resources would take place on environmental aspects and spatial dimensions such as landscape features, climate, flora and fauna, and many more. In most destinations or tourism businesses, environmental features are set as the main attraction and also a great selling point for businesses.

However, the amount of natural resources is limited and the source hardly recovers. This means that the beauty of nature, the fresh air of the hills, or even the chirp of birds could no longer exist if tourism businesses overutilize environmental features. It is now understandable that the tourism business should utilize its environmental resources sustainably.

This is where sustainable tourism practices come in. Sustainable tourism aims to balance the needs of tourists, local communities, and the environment. It ensures that tourism benefits all stakeholders while protecting the natural and cultural resources that underpin the industry’s success.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) provides a framework for businesses and destinations to achieve sustainability through its criteria. Let’s delve into the fourth and final criterion: Environmental Sustainability Standards.

Understanding Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability consists of three key areas within Destination Criteria and can also be applied to industry criteria:

1. Conservation of Natural Heritage

Any form of natural heritage, albeit its uniqueness and charm, must be utilized conservatively. This conservation effort can be achieved by Developing a Visitor Management System that allows businesses to measure ecosystem impact due to tourism, manage the circulation and behavior of visitors, and enforce interaction and welfare standards for flora and fauna.

2. Resource Management

This criterion encourages tourism businesses to utilize resources primarily water supply and energy in a sustainable manner. Tourism businesses should provide a system to monitor energy usage and prioritize the use of renewable energy.

3. Resource Management

implementing a waste management plan is highly advisable for tourism businesses to anticipate environmental contamination issues. Reducing the greenhouse effect and carbon emissions is crucial so that the operation of tourism businesses would not contribute much to global warming.

Successful Application of the Criteria

The following examples showcase destinations and businesses successfully implementing these environmental sustainability standards:

Destination Example

1. Alpe Di Siusi (Seiser Alm)

Seiser Alm is a plateau of Dolomite in Southern Tyrol of Italy and the largest high-elevation Alpine meadow in Europe. Seiser Alm is a main destination for skiing and hiking. Seiser Alm commits to protecting its natural environment by running the tourism business as sustainable as possible: Fully electric-powered cable machines, encourages using bicycles for transportation, and running the campaign “Respect the Mountain” The purpose is to advocate drinking tap water (clean water quality) and avoiding waste by planning for each activity.

2. Baluran National Park

Located in Situbondo, East Java of Indonesia, Baluran National Park boasts a vast savanna landscape of 25.000 ha. Baluran National Park which is also nicknamed “The Little Africa” of Java has proven its environmental sustainability method in the form of ecotourism.  Among the beautiful 400 more species of vegetation, 28 species of mammals, and 196 species of birds, fish, and reptiles combined, Baluran National Park enforces environment conservation regulations to be integrated into tourism activities so the conservation of species conservation and community well-being can be ensured

Business Example

1. Resorts World Sentosa

Located integratively in Sentosa Island, Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa is an integrated resort that includes thematic attractions, hotels, fine dining restaurants, and casinos. Its reputation is built by the well-known Universal Studios Singapore. This multi-million dollar resort strives for environmental sustainability through its climate and environment policy made by the company. Resorts World Sentosa utilizes solar panels to obtain solar energy as its complementing energy supply. The supply of water is provided by the Five Water Taps policy which consists of Potable Water, NEWater (recycled water for cooling system), Seawater, Harvested Rainwater, and Reclaimed Water.

2. Dusun Bambu Resort

As the name suggests, Dusun Bambu offers a relaxing experience in a bamboo-structured village. Located in Bandung high at 1100 meters above sea level, Dusun Bambu provides a proper sustainable tourism development. The development of Dusun Bambu resort is done with 7E Principles which consists of Ecology, Education, Economics, Ethnology, aEsthetic, Ethics, and Entertainment. This means that the development of Dusun Bambu is thoroughly under the courtesy of the hosting environment.

By embracing the environmental sustainability standards outlined by GSTC and drawing inspiration from destinations and businesses, we can pave the way for a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry.



Rega Aldiaz Wahyundi
Junior Analyst Wise Steps Consulting