Tourism and Environmental Law Discussion – Part 1

Tourism and Environmental Law Discussion – Part 1

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What are the Pillars of Tourism as Business? 

There are three pillars of tourism as a business. Those are:

a) A policy component: For any tourism business, irrespective of its size, an internal policy or business plan is very important. The tourism plan will identify the area or particular type of tourism business to be carried out. It will identify the sector in which the business is to be promoted. This tourism plan may include, vision and mission, objectives, strategies, organizational structure, sources of funding, target markets, brand positioning, length of stay, priority product and destination development categories, and strategies, priority promotional strategies, research and evaluation, tactics and implementation plan, tactics to achieve shorter term development strategies, tactics to achieve longer term development strategies, shorter term promotional strategies, longer term promotional strategies and budget.

b) A Technology Component: The internet has dramatically changed every aspect of the tourism business (from planning a holiday, booking a package, getting information about the places of interest etc). This has also changed how the tourism providers operate and provide services. Nowadays there are several aggregators who provide services to the small scale tourism operators and enable them to effectively use the advantages of internet.

c) An Operational Component: It is a information dissemination component of the tourism business. The well organized structure of this component and detailed information to be provided to the clients, will surely help the tourism businesses to thrive. Providing flexible and personalised service to clients will surely give positive impact in the feedback/review systems. The enhanced customer satisfaction will give a good mileage to the business.

What are the Challenges to Environmental Sustainability in these pillars of tourism?

Sustainable Tourism is one of the major aspect that every one related to the tourism as a business including tourists, tourism operators, department of tourism of the Government will have in mind and ready to proceed towards such sustainability. There are number of companies, governments, and individuals who had already proceeded considerably and changed their behaviors to become socially, environmentally and economically responsible. But still, the entire tourism system has not changed and it is still less sustainable. It is because of the quick growth of the tourism business and unwillingness by the participants (tourists not willing to change their travel behavior, the tourism operators not willing for a fundamental behavioral change etc.

In fact, the concept of the sustainable tourism development has come to a stand-still in various aspects. With regards to the pillars of tourism as a business, the policy component should have plans to explore greener options wherever possible. In the second pillar, the technology component, the reduced use of energy, enlightening the tourists about the benefits of the sustainable tourism etc can help in achieving sustainability in tourism. In the same way, the operational component can also have adjustments and changes towards sustainable development.

Let us discuss a Five Point Plan to encourage ‘greener’ hotels:

a) Hotels newly being built shall be given some kind of benefits(reduced tax etc) by the government to encourage greener hotels.

b) The procedures to obtain license to operate hotels has to be amended. The permission/license system has to be centralised and should be brought under the Department of Tourism. The hotel promoters has to apply for permission/license at the planning level. Even the building plans should be approved by Department of tourism, apart from the regular building approval by local body or town planning authority. This way, there is a chance to encourage the ‘greener’ hotels.

c) Tourists and other stakeholders of the tourism industry shall be informed through advertisements about the advantages of eco-friendly tourism and the benefits they will get in the future.

d) Government/Department of tourism shall encourage B&B owners to take necessary measures to make their B&B ‘greener’. It is easy for a home owner to modify and adopt.

e) Department of tourism shall explore places that are not in the limelight and encourage eco-friendly greener resorts in those places.

 

What is the importance of Quality Standards in Tourism and importance of defining Tourism?

The objectives of Quality Standards in Tourism Services are to improve the overall quality of products and services within the tourism industry (all tourism-related accommodation, restaurants, tour guides, tour operators and other tourism-related service providers); raise the levels of demand nationally, regionally and internationally; promote competitiveness within the industry; and, provide valuable and reliable information on quality standards for the tourist and the travel industry.

Yes. There is a possibility for nationwide green standards for tourism sector in India. For examples, Thailand is going green and encouraging greener hotels and resorts. Such kind of nationwide drive is possible in India. There is a standard given by Green Globe. Apart from this, ISO, the International Organization for Standardization has given New guidelines in 2015 to help tourism accommodation go green. This new set of guidelines for accommodation establishments will not only help them minimize their impact on the environment but make a more positive contribution to our world. Such standards can be implemented nationwide in India.

The need to define tourism:

The need to define tourism properly arose from the desire, and perhaps the necessity, to place this activity under a clear legal framework, which would help to regulate a particularly large and complex economic sector. Tourism’s recent rapid development has added to this  complexity, and made the need for a correct tourist paradigm even more urgent.

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