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Miguel is responsible for LGS Panama Tourism Development’s operations.
A recent Technavio report revealed that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the negative environmental impacts of tourism, which is spurring a demand for sustainable tourism. In fact, the sustainable tourism market is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.72% and is expected to register an incremental growth of $235.21 billion between 2020 and 2025, according to the report.
Is your development team ready to keep pace with these seismic shifts in the global sustainable tourism market? Have you considered how your next ecological development will incorporate the sustainable use of water, a local wastewater treatment plant, solar panels, electric internal transportation and more?
3 Ways To Improve The Local Environment And Mitigate Negative Impacts
The top three most important things a developer should be aware of when embarking on an ecological development are:
1. Conscious Water Consumption And Quality Protection
Preventing water pollution and waste is now a must-consider element of any ecological development. We cannot live without water, and yet only about 0.3% of the water resources worldwide are usable, causing more than one billion people to live without adequate drinking water. Given this—and the fact that water use doubled between 1940 and 1980 alone—it’s vital to be exceptionally careful with our water resources, especially as the global population continues to increase.
2. Air Quality Preservation, Including Its Sources Of Energy
Preserving the air quality of the local environment should be a top concern for any ecological developer. While researchers continue to explore the relationships between air quality and natural ecosystems to better understand how lakes, forests and other ecosystems are impacted by air pollution, research already shows that reductions in air pollution are associated with widespread public health benefits. For example, one study found that fine particle pollution reductions in U.S. cities between 1980 and 2000 led to marked improvements in the average life expectancy at birth.
3. Reduction Of Waste And Its Controlled Disposal
Responsibly planning for waste reduction and its controlled disposal is critical to any ecological development. Waste presents a challenge that affects everyone on earth—although with more than 90% of waste being openly dumped or burned in low-income countries, the poor and vulnerable are the most negatively impacted. In recent years, landslides of waste dumps have even buried homes and people under piles of waste. Sameh Wahba, World Bank Director for Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience, is quoted as saying, “Poorly managed waste is contaminating the world’s oceans, clogging drains and causing flooding, transmitting diseases, increasing respiratory problems from burning, harming animals that consume waste unknowingly, and affecting economic development, such as through tourism.”
Sustainable Tourism Development Guidelines And Practices
In addition to considering the environmental impact of all ecological developments, it’s also important for new tourism projects to consider whether they fall under the umbrella of “sustainable tourism.”
The World Tourism Organization defines 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.”
As a result, all tourism developments should consider these three best practices when it comes to sustainable tourism:
• Optimize environmental resources. All ecological developers should work to conserve the natural heritage and biodiversity of the environment and maximize the use of natural resources.
• Honor the socio-cultural authenticity of the place. It’s equally important to pay homage to the socio-cultural authenticity of the communities in which you build, conserving their existing heritage and values.
• Ensure long-term socio-economic benefits. Make sure the development provides a socio-economic benefit to the community in a sustainable way by providing stable employment opportunities and contributing to the long-term alleviation of poverty.
Creating ecological development and achieving sustainable tourism requires a consistent commitment to monitoring the impact of the project. It is a continuous process that may require corrections at times.
By maintaining the highest level of tourist satisfaction and ensuring your project provides them with a meaningful experience, you can not only raise awareness of sustainability issues but also promote sustainable tourism practices among the very tourists who are increasingly valuing this approach.
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