Applying Sustainable Management Practice to Tourism Businesses

Nowadays, sustainability is more than just a catchphrase; it’s a necessity, particularly within the travel and tourism industry. As stewards of our planet’s natural beauty and cultural variety, businesses and destinations alike must adopt sustainable management practices to ensure a thriving future for the coming generations.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) provides an extensive framework to guide businesses and destinations toward sustainability.

Now, let’s delve into one of four criteria: the sustainable management standards provided by GSTC.

Understanding Sustainable Management

Sustainable management consists of three key areas within destination criteria and can also be applied to industry criteria:

1. Management structure and framework

This lays the groundwork for an organization, whether it’s a business or a destination to have a clear and effective structure across all areas. It begins with establishing a well-defined legal framework, implementing a clear system, and formulating plans for communication, reporting, and monitoring.

2. Stakeholder engagement

Effective communication of sustainability commitments to both external and internal stakeholders is vital. Whether it’s enterprises, residents, visitors, staff, or customers, these stakeholders must work together in an integrated manner to ensure mutual satisfaction, particularly in the sustainability domain.

3. Managing pressure and change

Sustainability is all about managing pressure and change. Destinations and businesses must have systems in place to control their activities, whether it’s managing visitor volumes, controlling development, adapting to climate change, or reducing risks and crises. In the tourism industry, it’s crucial to consider the impact of building and infrastructure on the economy, society, and the environment—from planning and design to operation and beyond.

Now, let’s explore two inspiring examples of destinations and businesses that exemplify sustainable management:

Sustainable Management in Tourism Destination

1. Bhutan

Nestled in the Himalayas, Bhutan is not only known for its breathtaking landscapes but also for its commitment to sustainable development. The country’s “high-value, low-impact” tourism policy prioritizes environmental conservation, cultural preservation, and socio-economic development. Bhutan’s government has implemented initiatives such as the “Gross National Happiness” index, prioritizing citizens’ well-being over economic growth, and the requirement for visitors to pay a daily fee that contributes to local communities and conservation efforts.

2. Nglanggeran Village, Indonesia

One of the key pillars of sustainable management in Nglanggeran is community involvement and empowerment. Through cooperative structures, the village involves residents in decision-making processes and ensures equitable distribution of tourism benefits. This approach has enabled Nglanggeran to preserve its cultural heritage and traditional way of life while leveraging tourism as a source of income and livelihood for residents.

Sustainable Management in Tourism Business

1. Soneva Resorts

Soneva Resorts sets the standard for luxury eco-tourism with properties in the Maldives and Thailand. Soneva Resorts integrates sustainability into every aspect of its operations by utilizing renewable energy sources and implementing waste management solutions. Furthermore, the resorts actively support local communities through education and employment opportunities. Guests are treated to unique experiences such as coral reef restoration projects, organic farm tours, and cultural immersions, demonstrating that luxury and sustainability can go hand in hand.

2. Six Senses Uluwatu

Six Senses Uluwatu’s sustainable management approach is a commitment to environmental stewardship. The resort employs renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and energy-efficient technologies, to minimize its carbon footprint. Additionally, innovative water conservation measures, including rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling systems, help reduce water consumption and preserve this precious resource in a region prone to water scarcity.

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

Join us on our journey to create a world where tourism not only enriches our lives but also preserves the planet for generations to come.



Rega Aldiaz Wahyundi
Junior Analyst Wise Steps Consulting