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Pandemic ‘catalyst for switch to tourism sustainability’

A guide explaining how tourism organisations in Europe can build sustainable practices into their everyday operations has been published by the European Travel Commission.

The body representing 33 national tourism organisations has issued the handbook against a backdrop of a renewed focus on reducing the negative impact of tourism as a result of Covid-19.

The ETC says the pandemic has provided a catalyst for major change with a substantial number of supply and demand trends showing that sustainability is a major driver of travellers’ purchase decisions and a key point of competitiveness among Europe’s tourism businesses.

The pandemic has forced those involved in the tourism sector to try and capitalise on these trends and embed sustainable principles in destinations of all sizes.

Twenty case studies highlight the ways in which European and other destinations are embedding sustainable approaches, together with key takeaways for national tourism organisations and destination management organisations.

The handbook also recognises that travel and tourism organisations, in particular small and medium sized enterprises that want to take action, often find it difficult to navigate the complex range of accreditation schemes, monitoring systems, funding mechanisms, campaigns and even equipment that exist in the sustainability space.

Examples of responsible practices, together with a range of practical recommendations are presented.

ETC president Luís Araujo said: “Destinations have a crucial role to play in strengthening Europe’s position and leading the transformation to a post-pandemic world.

“To this end, ETC expects this handbook will foster knowledge sharing and act as a vehicle for NTOs and DMOs to make their destinations more sustainable and resilient in the long-term.

“This handbook will provide a platform for sharing evidence-based case studies and actions that could potentially be implemented by destinations to encourage both the tourism supply and demand sides to act responsibly.

“We believe that this handbook will support European destinations in their efforts to build a tourism sector that is more respectful of the environment and that will equally benefit local economies and communities in the years to come.”

The handbook is available to download free from ETC’s website.

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