A Year of Sustainable Tourism: What 2017 Brings for Students Pursuing Tourism Careers


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Poor management of a tourism hot spot can lead to environmental damage, or create unethical living conditions for locals. The “sustainable tourism” movement has developed in response to this. It encourages environmental friendliness and fair treatment of local populations in tourist areas.

This movement is growing in popularity, and recently got a big push from the United Nations, which declared 2017 the year of sustainable tourism. As part of this declaration, the UN will hold thousands of events to help spread the word about sustainable tourism to people around the world.

Curious about what that might mean for tourism careers? Here are a few trends to watch.

There Will Be Higher Demand for Adventure Tourism

Many tourists choose to celebrate the environment by taking part in sustainable adventure tourism. African safaris, backwoods camping trips in the far north, and deep-sea diving trips in the tropics are just some of the exciting adventure activities that tourists are likely to seek out when trying to get close to nature.

Adventure tourism’s demand and job opportunities are booming—the industry is expected to grow 46% by 2020—and the UN’s year of sustainable tourism should only contribute to that trend. If you’re a thrill-seeker, or just someone who loves to try out new, fun things, consider a career in this area after you study tourism. You’ll get to be around all kinds of neat adventures—and you may even get to try them out for yourself, too!

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Adventure tourism will grow, and continue to draw eco-conscious tourists

Businesses Will Continue Becoming Greener—and Save Money Doing So

Modern consumers care about sustainability and want to spend money with companies that make efforts to go green. Tourism and travel businesses have caught on, and have begun investing in eco-friendly initiatives. For example, the Hilton Worldwide hotel chain has invested in reducing resource consumption and waste production, and now wastes less water, energy, and food than ever.

The UN’s work in promoting sustainability will help encourage more businesses to make improvements of their own, meaning the tourism industry could experience pretty widespread change over the next few years. Fortunately, Eton College’s tourism program offers great preparation for the modern, changing tourism space. Classes that teach food service, tourism office operations, and many other skills will help you know your way around different tourism careers, from front-office operations work to working in restaurants, and more. Whatever role you end up taking, you’ll be well equipped to help put your workplace’s new environmentally friendly policies into action.

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Tourist destinations will continue to invest in green initiatives to reduce waste & save money

Local Culture Is Going To Become Much More Important To Visitors

Ensuring that local populations of tourist destinations are respected and benefit from tourist dollars and presence is important to many travelers. Businesses are trying to meet that demand, and a push from the UN will encourage them to continue doing so. Companies like G Adventures, for example, make a point of including locally owned restaurants, hotels, and experiences in their tourism packages. This puts money into the local community, and also often allows the company to keep costs down.

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Promoting local businesses will become even more important for tourist packages

You can contribute to this movement in your own work, too. Working in tourism careers gives you the chance to get out and see new, different things, so use that as an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. Wherever you work—whether in Canada, Bolivia, Korea, or anywhere else around the world—take the time to explore museums, shops, and performances. Many customers will love it if you can point them towards an authentic, local experience, and you’ll be able to help them spend money in a way that will benefit the community.

In the name of sustainability, companies are investing in green energy and local businesses, and travellers are seeking out authentic local experiences and adventures. Learning valuable skills for the tourism industry, immersing yourself in new cultures, and even engaging in a little responsible thrill-seeking, are all ways you can help contribute to making tourism better for the environment, and for local communities in tourist destinations.

Want to attend a great tourism college in Vancouver?

Visit Eton College for more information about getting started.