What to do now about Tourism and Sustainable tourism?
Traveling is a great thing. It allows people to see the world, learn about new cultures and for some teenagers to “rediscover themselves”. I for one have never heard someone say he or she hates traveling and Sustainable tourism, except maybe for the lines at airports or loud Dutch people on the beaches (excluding me of course). Furthermore, it provides millions of jobs worldwide and the sector is growing fast. This is mainly caused by the expansion of the middle class and globalization.
However, as with more things in the world, the balance is currently far off and it is expected to get even worse the coming years according to reports of McKinsey & Company. Business as usual will have severe impacts on cities and cultures, as you can see from Venice. In this extreme example, the inhabitants of Venice are forced to leave because living there is almost inbearible. What we need is a solution, a plan, a strategy.
For those of you who don’t know the tragedy of the commons, here is the definition of Investopedia. “The tragedy of the commons is an economic problem in which every individual has an incentive to consume a resource at the expense of every other individual with no way to exclude anyone from consuming. It results in overconsumption, under investment, and ultimately depletion of the resource.”
In other words, the common good is exploited by people who act in self-interest and the extreme demand ensures that other people can no longer use it (e.g. Venice). A common possible solution is top-down government control. Although there is an important role for governments, I believe it is people who can make the difference.
Governments can encourage tourists to visit during nonpeak, season, and year through actions such as arrival limits and ticketing systems. Spread visitors across sites, for example, by developing new attractions and promoting less-popular sites and areas (McKinsey & Company). The reason I said that I believe in people, is because with everything we do, we have a choice. As the French philosopher Sartre stated: “we are condemned to be free”. Every choice you make, has a consequence. In order to make the right choice, a better alternative needs to be (easily) available.
“Create the proper incentives and people will self-organize in the most efficient way to achieve a common goal”
Come in, EEtravel. EE stands for Economic and Environmental friendly traveling. The aim is to reduce the negative impact of tourism by promoting sustainable tourism accommodations. The idea is that people book a hotel for the same price as “normal” hotels, but these hotels are certified by some green certificate or ar verifiably green. Once, a guest lecturer taught me the sentence which is also the title of this chapter: “Create the proper incentives and people will self-organize in the most efficient way to achieve a common goal”. That is why I believe in people instead of the government in solving the problem of overtourism. But can you blame people if there is not a better and available alternative? People are limited to their “mental toolbox”. But now there is a better alternative, EEtravel. So the question is, are you going to take responsibility for your own actions? We at EEtravel assemble the incentives created by progressive accommodations so that you can make the right choice, and most of all keep enjoying traveling and sustainable tourism!
A common misconception is that “sustainable” and “green” is more expensive and has less to offer. I know this is wrong, as I have hundreds of examples who show otherwise. I am working hard to bring all those hotels/accommodations to this website, but I could really use your help!
Do you know hotels/accommodations who want to join the platform, please let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org