Top Countries for Sustainable Tourism: What does the Green Transformation for Travel Recovery mean for Glamping?

Aneliya Antova

At this year’s Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB) Berlin, Euromonitor International released the report Top Countries for Sustainable Tourism. Countries are assessed according to a newly developed Sustainability Travel Index which highlights Sustainable Lodging as one of its main pillars – a perfect fit for Glamping. So, let’s look at how glamping can contribute to the global green travel movement and which countries are 2021’s sustainable tourism leaders.

The COVID-19 health crisis has had an unprecedented economic impact on the travel and tourism industry. The report notes that as destinations start to slowly reopen, “the growing awareness amongst consumers, businesses, and governments for the need to prioritise not only profit but people and the planet” is evident.

"[There is a] growing awareness amongst consumers, businesses, and governments for the need to prioritise not only profit but people and the planet".

All top 20 countries for sustainable tourism are in Europe and one reason for this outcome is the strong commitment of the European Union to meet the Paris Agreement by 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2050. Remarkable is the performance in Scandinavia and “its engagement and awareness of sustainability where 65% of travel businesses already have implemented a sustainability strategy according to Euromonitor’s Voice of the Industry Survey (Jul 2020)”. Portugal ranks №20 in the Sustainability Travel Index and is among the most improved countries for economic stability in 2020.

The Sustainability Travel Index is estimated based on the following Sustainable Travel Pillars:

Environmental
Sustainability

the overall health of the country in terms of the environment, biodiversity and natural resources under threat due to climate emergency*

Social
Sustainability

the country’s ability to have fair and equitable societies, and access to resources, food security, poverty, happiness, freedom, equality and education*

Economic
Sustainability

the relative economic performance based on its tourism dependency, debt levels, hospitality employment and business readiness to gauge strengths and weaknesses*


Risk

the country’s safety, healthcare and endangered cultural sites and species*

Sustainable
Demand

the level of resilience, value creation and amount of overtourism*

Sustainable
Transport

connectivity and mobility and the dependency on air travel compared to rail and other methods*

Sustainable
Lodging

resource usage by hotels in terms of energy, water and carbon footprint and the diversification of lodging formats*

While Environmental, Social & Economic Sustainability have an indirect impact on the tourism industry, since they measure the performance of all sectors in a country, the other three pillars – Sustainable Demand, Transport and Lodging – have a stronger and more direct link to the travel and tourism products in each destination, and thus, they have a greater weight in the Index.

Glamping is affecting positively Sustainable Lodging since, as specified in the study, this metric performs better when a country has “a diversity of lodging supply with a wide range of options such as short-term rentals, camping and traditional formats on offer to consumers to ensure that there is not an over-dependency on hotels”. Moreover, demand for glamping goes hand in hand with Sustainable Demand since glamping trips are undertaken by locals who want to explore their own country and travellers with an environmentally friendly mindset.

The key takeaway from this report is the clear evidence that offering a sustainable tourism product nowadays is a not simply an add-on but a necessity. Not only do more and more customers demand their holiday to be in sustainable accommodation but also government and international organisations put a stronger emphasis on the green transformation for travel recovery after the pandemic. Noteworthy is how global sustainable travel is – although European countries are the leaders in the study, there are many more countries from all around the globe that perform very well, and most importantly, they improve their sustainability travel index with every new year.

To stay ahead of the trends and demands from travellers, governments and the competition, it is worthwhile considering how to integrate sustainable practices in your glamping site and how to actively improve sustainability in your daily operations.

To find out more about becoming a more sustainable glamping site, get in touch with one of our advisors today.

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