Travelling has always been a crucial part of life for many of us. However, the pandemic has put a halt to this – impacting the tourism industry worldwide. With World Tourism Day (27 September) fast approaching, it is a good time for us to take an opportunity to encourage people to rethink the role they play as travellers.
Supporting one in ten jobs globally, the strong historical growth of tourism has been halted unprecedentedly in 2020 through the global Covid-19 pandemic. The travel restrictions at different levels have made the industry one of the most affected sectors, impacting economies and opportunities on all continents, particularly those that the economic growth largely depends on tourism.
A resilient sector
Some 7% of tourism relates to wildlife, a segment growing by 3% annually, according to the World Tourism Organisation. Several examples of community involvement in nature tourism show how communities have been able to protect their cultural and natural heritage while creating wealth and improve their wellbeing.
With the impact of Covid-19, traditional festivals and gatherings halted, markets for handicrafts and other goods closed, the need of heritage conservation seems to be even stronger. The crisis is a good opportunity to rethink how tourism interact with societies, ecosystems and natural resources and implement measures to manage them better.
International tourism decreased by 65% in the first half of 2020 as compared with 2019 figures. However, on the coming World Tourism Day, we can finally observe some signs of recovery. With lockdowns ending around the world, many countries have started to ease border restrictions and reopen for international tourists.
Putting sustainability at the heart
As one of the fastest growing economic sectors, tourism is one of the focal areas at Preferred by Nature. Our contribution to this sector aims at helping the shift towards harnessing innovation, embracing local values and communities and creating decent job opportunities for all.
We believe that tourism is about experiences, people and the planet, and if responsible, it is certainly the key to build back better.
“People are becoming more and more careful about their travel choices and prefer those that can help safeguard nature, cultures and traditions. We need to continue our efforts to promote such meaningful choices, the ones that can help reshape the future of tourism”, said Saúl Blanco Sosa, Preferred by Nature’s Sustainable Travel Programme Director.
From luxurious hotels along beaches in Mexico to eco-friendly educational lodge deep in the Peruvian Amazon Forest, several travel companies in Latin America have been certified against Preferred by Nature’s Sustainable Tourism standards.
“Working hand in hand with Preferred by Nature has been an enriching experience as it has guided our efforts to design and implement our sustainable management system, ensuring the development of a responsible business model, harmony with nature and true commitment to the people and communities where we have a presence”, said Loriana Granillo and Ruben Caraballo from AMResorts Standards and Innovation Team.
AMResorts is currently managing a collection of luxurious leisure resorts and hotels across Latin America. They have obtained the Preferred by Nature sustainable tourism certification for several properties as part of this collection. According to Loriana and Ruben, this certification so far has provided meaningful feedback to help keep the company committed and motivated towards continuous improvement of their Sustainable Management System.
“We recognise the commitment of many hotels, tour operators and other tourism businesses which have firmly decided to adopt the sustainable business model promoted by our certification standards to help them improve and promote their environmental, social and economic practices”, added Saul.
All Preferred by Nature’s tourism businesses certified against the Sustainable Tourism Standards are committed to improving the quality of their operations, resulting in a positive impact on the people and the environment.
Promoting responsible and sustainable ecotourism has been a key part of Cóndor Travel’s operations for the past 27 years. “We have not only maintained our commitment, but we have always sought to update, learn and share. The support of a certification that guides us, updates and above all rectifies the day to day of our operations ensuring we keep up with our best practices, responsibility standards and continuous improvement is priceless”, said Jascivan Carvalho, General Manager of TROPIC – Cóndor Travel Tour Operator.
In 2018, Cóndor Travel became certified against Preferred by Nature Sustainable Tourism Standard. For Jascivan and his colleagues at Cóndor Travel, being part of the Preferred by Nature Travel community means “reaffirming our commitment to our clients. It means having support, advice and finally certification of the objectives that we have set for ourselves", added Jascivan.
The World Tourism Day is a good opportunity to create awareness of tourism as a driving force for development as well as culture and natural heritage preservation.
“At Preferred by Nature, we recognise the active participation and contribution of our certified tourism businesses in the local and economic development, culture and nature preservation, and in building back better,” said Saúl.
Preferred by Nature Travel
Introduced in October 2020, Preferred by Nature’s new organisational logo puts focus on the hummingbird, which is a powerful symbol of endurance, good luck, and healing, representing the pursuit of what the organisation believes helps create a world where human choices ensure a sustainable future.
Certified businesses can use the Preferred by Nature hummingbird logo to identify and promote themselves and take advantage of publicity benefits, such as those resulting from Preferred by Nature’s cooperation with GSTC, BookDifferent.com and TripAdvisor, among others.
Most importantly, the certification allows businesses to improve their operations and competitiveness, protect communities and ecosystems and reach international markets that are increasingly demanding sustainable travel services.
Preferred by Nature's sustainable tourism certification services help you meet market demands for sustainable tourism and raise your profile while demonstrating a commitment to sustainability. Explore our tourism certification services and learn more.