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Beating the Crisis with Sustainable Tourism

By Jack Soifer

Sustainable tourism brings local jobs and requires regionally manufactured goods, such as fresh produce and other food, construction, furniture, etc. While some resorts keep their guests indoors, buying mainly imported goods in premises built with foreign materials, accommodations that support fair trade and their local economy will typically inform guests of where to find local services, restaurants with regional cuisine and local craftspeople.These local products may, if well-packaged, and detailed labeled, spread information abroad, facilitating their introduction to new markets.

What are some other ways that the travel and tourism industry can influence their guests to improve the local economy? And how can public agencies, local or regional associations, and others influence visitors and the travel industry to help beat the economic crisis? What can a business owner do to reduce costs, help save the planet and still grow their business? In Entrepreneuring Sustainable Tourism Jack Sofier summarizes his 40 years of experience in 12 countries. He also offers plenty of hints on gadgets, equipments and procedures.

Good Places to Start– Separate the rubbish and recycle – it costs nothing
– Change to 1.5-8W energy reducing light bulbs and install timers and sensors throughout
– Install kits in diesel vehicles so that vegetable oil can be used as fuel, this costs around €800/USD$1,200
– Plan your day so that you use motor vehicles as little as possible
– Commute by bicycle – there are many combined pedal/electric powered ones on the market today which means you can go even further! Use bike trailers for transporting goods
– Install taps & shower water savers
– Collect your rainwater – a small investment can save a lot
– Make a compost heap for your organic waste
– Buy in bulk

The six Anti-Crisis “Rs”
Reduce: Build intelligently: reduce exposure to the sun in summer, increase in winter. Less energy: use geothermal and solar heating and cooling. Use mirrors and very light curtains to reflect daylight in winter.
Recycle: Sludge is energy, install a small biogas-digester and adapt your vehicles to use it. Most of gray water is good for plants.
Replace: Lamps and appliances with energy-saving ones; windows, for double-glazed with inert gas. Individual soft-drink bottles or cans with bulk containers.
Recover: Separate food waste from restaurant/meal-service. Some of it can be sold as animal feed, the rest can go to the compost heap.
Re-use: Get creative and re-purpose everyday items to save them from the landfill. For example, large drink and foodstuff containers can make nice flower-jars or be used for storage.
Re-think: Which are the niches that your product/service is best for? Focus on them; survey your clientele about changes to your premises and services. Change the concept from destination and production to emotions and customized services.

The six Rs may bring you a seventh:
Return: Satisfied guests spread the word, helping your business grow with very little marketing and publicity. Your grandchildren and your pocket will thank you for that.

To learn more or to purchase a copy of Entrepreneuring Sustainable Tourism, email Jack Sofier at

This article is quoted from the ‘Responsible Travel Report – April 2009′, a online newsletter from STI, by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.

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Posted in Best practice, Performance and management, Sustainability.

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