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 Sustainable tourism: prospects and challenges - Vatel

Sustainable tourism: prospects and challenges

Geneviève Clastres, journalist at autrement.com, discussed the stakes, the advances and the prospects of sustainable tourism during the Futurum dedicated to the future of the hotel and restaurant industry.

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What’s at stake in tourism

Tourism has been growing rapidly in the past years which raises the stakes for this sector. Here are some challenges awaiting the tourism sector:


  •  Economic: In 2017, tourism made up 10% of the GDP according to the World Tourism organization. 
  • Écological: in 2018, 1.4 billion tourists have travelled form one country to another. The carbon footprint of tourism has soared by 15% in 4 years . CO2 emissions arising from transportation for tourists are expected to rise from 1 597 million tons to 1 998 million tons between 2016 and 2030 . Planes are the most popular means of transportation amongst tourists, Geneviève Clastres talks about the impact of kerosene and contrails. 
  • Social: Phobia of tourism is expanding and demonstrations condemning tourists are taking place in the most visited destinations such as Barcelona and Venice .

Finding concrete solutions to these issues is very challenging.  For more awareness, the publishing house Viateo has just published the first guide touching on sustainable travel .

 Sustainable tourism: What is it?


The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as a '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'.


Seven Labels measure the interest of the industry players in implementing sustainable measurements.


The association ‘Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable’ lists in its traveler charter of ethics, the main practices that a traveler should be aware of:


  • Be informed about the customs of the host country.
  • Preserve the environment of the residents of the host country by collecting and recycling waste-
  • Choose professionals from this association or any professionals from the ‘Acteurs du Tourisme Durable’ association.

Sustainable tourism: an economic advantage for professionals

Hotel professionals have long been unwilling to face environmental issues, mainly because of the high cost of products and the complexity of green practices, according to Geneviève Clastres.


But the situation is different now, as the hotels are more inclined to implement those practices for two reasons: enhance the image of their enterprise and cut expenses. This is why the international chain Marriot is launching its first sustainable hotel in June 2010.


Vatel Bordeaux has also chosen this responsible path, it is now certified 'European Ecolabel' and 'Tourism and handicap'.


7 out of 10 French people wish to choose responsible travelling, although they represent only 1% of tourists in France. Sustainable tourism appears to be a source of exponential growth for professionals in the sector.

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