Green tourism is the new trend in numerous destinations
An inevitable trend
Circular tourism is a new concept, described as a closed, continuous and complementary chain of supplies, activities, and experiences. Its goals are to reduce waste, restore resources through tourism models and products and focus on minimizing negative impacts on the environment via innovative methods to maximize the life cycle of used tourism resources, towards green and sustainable tourism.
According to Mr. Tran Huu Thuy Giang, Director of the Department of Tourism, developing circular tourism will certainly be an inevitable trend in the coming time, thanks to its sustainable development factors, including saving costs in the long run and benefiting businesses and society. In fact, eco-friendly and green tourism models deployed recently were already closely resemble circular tourism, giving Hue an opportunity to evaluate and convert more smoothly.
Mr. Dinh Manh Thang, Chairman of the Provincial Tourism Association commented that apart from being a sustainable development model, circular tourism is also a new trend that has been studied and assessed following the impacts of the pandemic. Tourism, in the current early stages of adaptation, will be shaped by three trends: new destinations and experiences; short-term, domestic tourism and green tourism, towards sustainable development. Studies have shown that tourists are interested in sustainable tourism and are willing to pay more to contribute to the sustainable development of the destination.
In another study caried out by the travel agency Expedia, the sustainability factor also has a decisive impact on the choice of accommodation and travel service provider: 73% of participants preferred hotels and motels that practice environment-friendly and community-friendly principles and 65% would choose a service business that demonstrates inclusiveness in sustainable development.
The above data show that green tourism, circular tourism in harmony with nature and indigenous communities, will be the main trend in the future. This is also an opportunity for tourism businesses to take advantage of in order to quickly recover from the shock caused by COVID-19.
Sustainable, circular tourism models have led to a new trend in resource utilization: using renewable energy, switching to renewable materials such as biodegradable bags, straws and cups made from paper/bamboo/wood and glass bottles instead of single-use plastic bottlesin hotels andrestaurants.
However, a truth remains that even tourism models praised for their sustainability still cause harm and pressure to their resources. The usage of land and tourism infrastructure requires resources such as water, energy and food, which results in immense waste, road congestion, noise and air pollution.
Finding attractiveness in circularity
In order for the tourism to have a clear and definitive transition to the circular tourism model, new ways of doing things and different approaches are needed. According to Asso. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan, Director of the Institute for Circular Economy Development (ICED), to develop circular tourism, it is necessary to consider the life cycle of products used in the tourism, and the circular economy as a model, with long-term assessment on its effectiveness, instead of deceptive environmentally friendly actions.
It is necessary to establish a digital ecosystem to support circular tourism, connect businesses with accommodations, local farmers and craftsmen who are applying green solutions and to create transparent information flows to fortify the chain links as well as to inform visitors.
There will be difficulties while switching to circular tourism, requiring tight cooperation and coordination between businesses and local government agencies, utilizing supportive policies from the central government to international organizations and businesses.
In reality, numerous circular tourism models have met the sustainability criteria, but were hit with another obstacle: the tourist market. The existence of many products were highly appreciated for their sustainability, but they still failed to attract customers. This is a consideration Hue needs to take into account and find a suitable solution.
Mr. Dinh Manh Thang informed that Hue had recently cooperated with TUI Care Foundation (founded by TUI Travel) and Germany’s Center for Sustainable Consumption and Production (CSCP) to implement the circular tourism model to support tourism activities and businesses post-COVID-19.
The circular tourism model will first be piloted in Tam Giang Lagoon and neighboring rural areas with the participation of Hue businesses to gain practical experiences. The project will be publicly announced by April 2022. It will be analyzed, evaluatedand improved to attract more visitors.
Mr. Tran Huu Thuy Giang emphasized that after the assessment of the needs, trends and feasibility of the pilot model, Hue tourism industry targets the circularity of cultural tourism products as they are typical of the strength of Hue tourism. The promotion of circular economy principles in the restoration and conservation of heritage is critical to the sustainability of the sector, heading towards long-term protection of world cultural heritages through ecological design practices, energy conservation, provision of green service facilities, ecological waste treatment and green consumption.
Story and photo: Duc Quang