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Adoption of sustainable tourism practices


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This presentation showcases the results of a research study on the adoption of sustainable tourism practices by BC rural operators done in the spring of 2009.

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Adoption of sustainable tourism practices

  1. 1. Adoption of sustainable tourism practices by rural operators in BC Nicole L. Vaugeois BC Regional Innovation Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development Phone 250-753-3245 Local 2772 Vancouver Island University Lea Thuot, Project Coordinator for Fostering Innovation in Sustainable Tourism Canadian Association of Geographers Special Session: Rural tourism and recreation in Canada, May 25, 2009, Ottawa
  2. 2. Looking ahead ▫ BC’s efforts to encourage sustainable tourism ▫ Study objectives ▫ Methodology ▫ Insights gained  Sustainable practices used  Level of incorporation  Method of adoption  Challenges  Recommendations ▫ Furthering the adoption of sustainable tourism by operators
  3. 3. BC’s efforts to support sustainable tourism
  4. 4. Study objectives • Determine the attitudes of tourism operators towards sustainability; • Assess the extent and type of sustainable tourism practices adopted by operators; • Understand the forces that have influenced the adoption of sustainability practices including motivators and constraints; • Determine ways to support the adoption of sustainability practices among tourism operators.
  5. 5. • Field research with 20 “Made in BC” Innovators Key tenets of sustainable • On line survey with N=210 tourism are that "a tourism operators in rural BC sustainable tourism • Snowball sample with list of business fulfills economic, people met during fieldwork, environmental and socio- plus encouragement from cultural obligations while DMO’s to send to their generating income, stakeholders contributing to • March 2009 data collection employment, maintaining phase cultural integrity, and • Report to inform Strategic preserving essential plan for the BC Sustainable ecological processes and Tourism Partnership biological diversity”.
  6. 6. Insights gained
  7. 7. Q1. To what extent do you agree with EACH of the following statements about economic, social, and environmental sustainability? Incentive programs should be developed to encourage 81 14 3 businesses to become more sustainable Customers prefer businesses that are 65 31 1 making efforts to be sustainable We need stricter laws and regulations to protect the 46 36 15 environment Businesses should purchase from suppliers who provide Agree 46 46 6 sustainable products Somewhat Sustainability is NOT a top priority for the Tourism Agree 20 39 32 Industry in BC Disagree The Tourism Industry as a whole is negatively impacting 15 37 43 the environment There is not a good enough business case to become more 8 31 51 sustainable (i.e. profit) The "eco-crisis" has been largely over exaggerated by 8 21 66 society The costs to make a business sustainable outweigh any 4 28 54 possible financial gains 0 20 40 60 80 100 Percent
  8. 8. Q2. To what extent have you incorporated EACH of the following sustainable practices into your business operations? Recycling of materials 70 26 1 Recruit and hire local people for job opportunities 70 23 0 Purchase from local suppliers 59 38 2 Use of low energy lighting 48 45 4 Use green products for business (i.e. biodegradable… 42 51 4 Use of low impact or no trace practices in natural… 40 25 7 Composting of waste 38 31 14 Use of a low use water management system 36 35 15 To a great extent 33 41 11 To some extent Limiting visitor access to sensitive sites 30 24 6 Not at all Limited paper-based marketing and promotional materials 30 59 9 Established environmental education programs for visitors 20 41 21 Donated funds or in-kind services to green initiatives 20 46 27 Use of alternative fuel sources 17 32 31 Renovated a heritage building 17 11 17 Grow or raise organic foods 15 21 27 Use renewable energy sources (i.e. Solar, wind, etc.) 13 18 44 Purchased and used "green" building materials 13 40 12 Established a "green team" or committee 11 17 39 Green certification 6 8 47 Use of carbon offsets 4 19 50 0 20 40 60 80 100 Percent
  9. 9. Q3. Overall, which of the following best describes your business/organization with respect to HOW you have incorporated sustainable tourism practices into your operations? Our business has not incorporated sustainable tourism practices into our operations 10% 27% 14% Our business has piloted a few sustainable practices Our business has initiated some sustainable practices and is planning more 47% Our business has committed to sustainability practices at many levels in the organization
  10. 10. Q4. Which of the following best describes HOW you went about adopting sustainable tourism practices (STP's) into your operation? Self starter - we decided to do it and figured it out as 64% we went Borrower - we got some ideas from other businesses 18% and modified them to fit our business Planner - we mapped out a strategy or plan to make 8% our business more sustainable Experimenter - we tested a few ideas on a small scale 6% first before committing Fact checker - we researched extensively before 5% deciding to incorporate a STP 0 20 40 60 80 Percent
  11. 11. Q5. To what extent do you publicize your sustainable initiatives? Check each that apply. We describe our initiatives on our website 24% We promote our efforts in our marketing materials 16% (brochures, etc.) We profile our efforts on site (posters, guides, etc.) 15% We have been profiled in the media 14% We use social networking to profile our practices (blog, 10% etc.) We have produced a video on our practices 2% 0 5 10 15 20 25 Percent
  12. 12. Q6. Which of the following items MOTIVATED YOU to incorporate sustainable tourism practices into your business? Select the TOP THREE. Personal values about sustainability 65% Wanted to protect the resources I depend on (land, 56% culture, wildlife, etc.) Wanted to enhance the reputation of the business 34% Wanted to attract environmentally conscious markets 21% Attracted by the potential cost savings 19% Listened to staff or family suggestions 16% Wanted to differentiate my business from the 15% competition Felt some social pressure to be more sustainable 12% Attracted by an incentive program 2% Approached by a partner or supplier to adopt new 2% practices 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Percent
  13. 13. Q7. Adopting STP's often requires businesses to overcome challenges. To what extent has EACH of the following barriers impacted your ability to adopt STP's into your operation? Lack of available money to invest (i.e. 50% 36% 10% Equipment, renovations, systems) Lack of incentive programs 24% 46% 21% Other business priorities leave little time to 19% 55% 23% plan for sustainability Significantly Limited access to suppliers who sell Somewhat sustainable products (organic food, alternative 19% 56% 19% fuels, biodegradable items etc) Not at all Limited access to ideas on how to be more 11% 50% 34% sustainable Lack of commitment to the need for STP's 7% 42% 38% Restrictive legislation 6% 21% 34% 0 20 40 60 80 100 Percent
  14. 14. Exploring differences 1. Those that have not incorporated sustainable practices into their business operations. 2. Those that have piloted a few or some sustainable practices and are potentially planning to initiate more. 3. Those that are committed to sustainability practices at many levels in the organization.
  15. 15. Have not’s (10%) • Incorporating less • Believe customers are looking activities for sustainable businesses; • Use practices such as • Less inclined to believe recycling, purchasing businesses should buy from local suppliers, sustainable products; hiring locally and using • Not in favor of strict laws; low energy lighting • Believe less in negative • More impacted by lack of tourism impacts; incentive programs, lack • Not as convinced of the of time, limited access to business case, more likely to information and lack of believe costs outweigh commitment to benefits and more likely to sustainability feel eco crisis is over- exaggerated
  16. 16. Piloted a few… (61%) • Agree customers are • Incorporated a few of the looking for sustainable “low to no cost” practices; businesses; • More impacted by • Business should by barriers such as lack of sustainable products; money to invest, limited • Believe most strongly in access to suppliers than need for incentive others; programs and stricter • Impacted somewhat by laws and regulations; lack of incentives, time • Not as convinced as the and ideas. “committed group” about the business case or whether benefits outweigh costs
  17. 17. Fully committed (27%) • Believe strongest that • Using a number of strategies businesses should purchase – 100% are limiting paper local and sustainable products; based marketing, using low • Believe less that sustainability energy lighting, purchasing is a top priority for BC and local, hiring locally. that tourism is negatively • More likely to be using each impacting the environment; other strategy listed • Believe most that there is a • More impacted by lack of good business case for money to invest, limited sustainability, benefits access to suppliers and lack outweigh costs and eco crisis of incentive programs. has not been over-exaggerated
  18. 18. Incentives Recommendations by Operators Availability of Information Access to Programs and Products Education of the Importance Government Legislation and Support Marketing of Green Initiatives in BC Accreditation
  19. 19. Supporting sustainable tourism amongst operators in rural areas 1. Incentive programs should be a priority to advance sustainable tourism practices. 2. Strategies must emerge that recognize the differences between different levels of adoption of sustainable practices. 3. Education and information sharing should be pursued in ways that meet the needs of rural operators. 4. A platform to help businesses become identified as and promoted as sustainable operators is needed.
  20. 20. And on certification programs… • If a certification program is pursued, it is strongly recommended that ample input from all sizes and locations of businesses is factored into the design, a phased in approach is used, the needs of rural and remote operators are considered in the requirements, and opportunities for continued education is embedded within it.
  21. 21. Thank you Open discussion about potential collaboration, research needs