Sustainable Tourism: Why Should Hotels Lead in This Effort?

With 319 million employees (or 10% of all employment in 2018) and 10.4% of the global GDP, the tourism sector has one of the fastest growth rates among all worldwide industries. There are currently no indications that this trend is about to falter. In 2018, there were 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals (up 47% from the 950.8 million recorded in the 2010s), and by 2030, that number is predicted to reach 1.8 billion.

Hotels are just one of the many players who have a significant impact on the sector as a whole. In addition to becoming a rising social issue, consumers are becoming more aware of sustainable hotel operations as data becomes more accessible.

Hotels play a vital role in sustainable tourism

The number of travelers looking for an overnight stay and the level of popularity of a location are typically indicators of the demand for hotels. As a result, as a region’s visitor demand grows, so does the demand for hotels, prompting developers and hotel chains to rush into popular areas. Due to their physical proximity and inescapable cooperation, hotels, tourism, and local communities are closely symbiotically entwined.

Because of this, ethical hotel development and sustainable tourism practices—which link social, cultural, and economic aspects—are essential for both the long-term preservation of culture and the social and economic stability of the host communities. Given this, hotels are crucial in establishing sound operational procedures and teaching customers about sustainable behavior.

What are the benefits of sustainable tourism, and why should hotels drive this growth?

Here are some important reasons why this should be the case:

Drive growth

At a macro level, the SDGs’ macro-achievement is linked to business growth. To support their workforce, businesses need a strong, dependable, educated, and healthy workforce from all divisions. As a result, businesses must act locally to promote long-term success in the hospitality sector, where the staff plays a crucial part in the overall guest experience.

Address risk

The investment is less risky when a steady market is established. Every SDG stands for a risk area that poses difficulties for both business and society. Building a stable environment is thus advantageous for both the hotel investors and management company to operate in a low-risk environment and advantageous for the local community to take advantage of this stable lifestyle in the asset-heavy world of the hospitality industry with long-term management contracts.

Attract investment

Through climate-focused multilateral public funds, both the public and private sectors have contributed money to projects for the SDGs’ implementation. Innovative financial models have been introduced in the financial sector. For instance, BNP Paribas sets up its bonds as part of its own SDG initiative, and the bonds’ return on investment is directly correlated with the stock performance of businesses that are recognized industry leaders on socially and environmentally sustainable issues and are listed on the Solactive Sustainable Development Goals World Index.

Refocus on company value

The hospitality sector is a people-oriented enterprise. The hospitality industry’s value is founded on generating value for others and enhancing the environment in which we live. This value extends to visitors, staff, stakeholders, and residents. Contributing to the SDGs is a useful step toward reevaluating values for all stakeholders because the SDGs call for global effort from all sectors. The SDGs may motivate stakeholders at all levels and, in the long run, raise shareholder value by assisting hotels in defining their aspirational mission.

Heighten brand appeal

As more people become aware of sustainability issues, there will be a growing demand for sustainable properties. Over half of global travelers believe they are more committed to making sustainable travel decisions in the upcoming year compared to last year. 70% of global travelers say they would be more likely to book an accommodation knowing it was eco-friendly. These brands/properties can gain an advantage in recruiting more customers by publicizing their sustainable policies and activities.

Appeal to a wider audience

Hotels frequently launch new brands to appeal to various age demographics and lifestyles. Travelers still encounter challenges when making sustainable travel decisions, as 37% of respondents said they had no idea how to travel more sustainably, despite the surge in demand for sustainable lodging. A blue-ocean approach can involve concentrating on sustainable elements.

Your effort pays off

To jump-start sustainable transformation, cash is first required, but the return is incremental and will gradually develop long-term returns. As a result, businesses should make a serious and particularly difficult effort to accomplish the relevant SDGs.

What are the challenges at hand?

Large hotel chains are competing for the top spot on the podium of SDG hits, but they have a big shoe to fill that affects both their own objectives and the surrounding neighborhood. As a result, it’s critical that the company’s CSR is developed and implemented responsibly.

Instead of exploiting the SDG as a marketing tool for “greenwashing,” which will damage the brand’s reputation over time, businesses need to use it as a tool to actualize benefits for society sustainably.

In order to assure consistency and that the data are free of fraud, one approach to address monitoring fairness is for hotels to think about employing a third-party validator. The next crucial step is to evaluate the sincerity of hotels’ commitment to the sustainable cause.


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