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Sustainable tourism is more than just another buzzword. Everyone remembers the sudden closure of Boracay for several months due to ecological issues stemming from overtourism, and we don’t want this happening again to any of our other tourist destinations. This is where sustainable tourism development comes in.
There is no denying the negative impact of overtourism. The best we can do is to implement practices and technology that helps us operate in a more sustainable manner. This is one of the biggest trends rocking the tourism and hospitality industry over the last few years—and for good reason.
Many tourists are starting to understand the environmental impacts of tourism. As a result, many tourists are starting to patronize businesses that prioritize sustainability efforts
Fortunately, implementing sustainable practices can be simple and profitable. Such practices include:

1. Install water filters around the hotel
Conserve water by installing water filtration systems around your hotel as part of your next tourism development project. In general, our tap water isn’t considered potable. However, a good water filtration system can make tap water safe to drink. This way, you refrain from buying thousands of water bottles and replenishing a room’s stock.

2. Save food scraps for composting
For the most part, people don’t give throwing out food scraps a second thought. Try to gather food scraps left behind and place them in a compost. Hotels can easily utilize the compost for their gardens. Restaurants can use the compost to grow their own ingredients or even sell the compost to their ingredient suppliers.

3. Switch to eco-friendly toiletries
Most commercial soaps and shampoos create residue that take years to break down, contaminating water supplies. Try to switch to eco-friendly soap and shampoo for your guests to use. These are specially made of biodegradable ingredients, allowing residue to break down quickly and naturally. Take it one step further by stocking up on reusable bottles to place the eco-friendly shampoo and soap. This prevents millions of non-biodegradable plastic shampoo and soap bottles from reaching landfills. Alternatively, you can opt to go with bars of shampoo instead of liquid shampoo to eliminate using bottles altogether.

4. Choose organic products
Organic food products are more than just a health fad. Since these products are cultivated without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, preventing chemical runoffs that contaminate water supplies. Supporting farms that engage in organic practices can help convince other farms to go organic as well.

5. Go local
Imported isn’t always better. You may not realize it at first, but importing products consumes a lot of gas and energy just to get these products into the country. Then, there’s the matter of delivering these to your doorstep. Choose locally grown/made products instead and you’ll cut your establishment’s carbon footprint by a significant chunk.

6. Ditch the bathtub
Clean water is often taken for granted since we live in a country surrounded by it. However, we should still do our best to conserve water as best we can. Tourism development projects should look into ditching out designs that call for bathtubs and simply going with a shower area instead. Bathtubs consume almost 260 liters of water per use, while a five minute shower only uses up 37 liters.

7. Offer bikes for rent
Look into offering bike rental services for your guests, especially if your property is quite large. This reduces the amount of carbon emitted from cars, motorcycles, etc. An alternative you may also want to consider is investing in electric golf carts, which go a little faster than a bike while also providing less carbon emissions.

8. Set up solar panels
Solar energy is a great way to slash your electric bills and conserve energy at the same time. The best part is that a good number of companies offering solar panels have been popping up around Metro Manila and the rest of the country.

9. Digitize what you can
Technology is advancing at an incredible rate. You’d be remiss to not use this to your advantage and engage in digital tourism. Many restaurants are starting to switch from paper menus to digitizing their menus on tablets. Hotels have done something similar by offering guests special phones packed with feature like room service menus, maps of the city, etc. This is a great way to cut down on how much paper you use up.

10. Offer promos centered around the idea of BYOB
It’s become a habit for many restaurants to use plastic containers when packing up take-out for their customers. Unfortunately, many of these plastic containers simply end up in the trash can. Try running a promotion centered around the idea of BYOB. Something as simple as offering a 5 percent discount to customers who bring their own containers can make a difference in reducing the environmental impacts of tourism by dissuading tourists from throwing plastic wrappers and containers.
These are only a handful of ways you can become a champion for sustainable tourism. If you are interested in learning more about sustainability in the hospitality industry, Enderun Extension’s Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management Certificate Program introduces hospitality industry leaders to the importance of sustainable practices. Learn more about digital tourism, sustainable tourism development, and more from industry thought leaders. Sign up for the class today at