Is It Worth My Life?
11th November 2021
Time To Extinction- 8 years.
We all love to travel. The thrill of stepping off that airplane, to bask in the warm rays of the tropical sun. Is there anything better?
Sometimes, we save for years, just to lay our overworked eyes on an exotic verdant palm tree.
But, how many years will it take to save a life?
Right now, elephants are on the brink of extinction. You may be thinking we need to stop these poachers!
Yet the sad reality is, you are more responsible than you think- there are merely 415,000 left on the continent (WWF, 2020).
“A study carried out in the Western Ghats shows that deforestation has led to the loss of 6,761 sq km of elephant habitat over 40 years leading to increase in human-elephant conflict” (Mysuru, 2019).
Our tourism industry is one of the most significant contributors to deforestation on Earth, destroying vital ecosystems and bringing these majestic species to extinction.
We all know that trees are vaulable resources but what if tourism managers could promote the use of energy efficient appliances?
Could rainwater harvesting and decreasing food waste drastically help deforestation?
We, as tourism managers, have a responsibility to recognise the devastation brought by our consumer actions, and to take the necessary steps to make it a more sustainable future.
As our knowledge grows, so will our awareness and societal pressures, from making unsustainable choices.
As managers, we can utilise these pressures through eco-selling.
Eco-selling is a fantastic strategy to ensure that today’s consumer needs, or rather expectations of sustainability, can be shaped to our benefit: like meeting the needs of the millenials and harbouring the ideologies of the COP26 goals.
According to Rannard and Gillett (2021), COP26 world leaders promise to end deforestation by 2030, meaning, through marketing our sustainible ideas and practides to tourists, we can eco sell and thereby embrace our responsibility towards the environment- a deforestation reduction scheme.
Page and Dowling (2002) argue that tourism and the environment are interdependant and that, as managers, we have an obligation to offer consumers a sustainable choice.
Without offering sustainability in our services, we are, according to Campbell (McCool and Moisey, 2001), embracing “non-sustainability” and this means our industry’s effect on the global environment, is heavy.
Yet, through doing this, would we really be taking responsibility for our previous unsustainable choices?
Tourists want sustainability; they want local restaurants, small sustainable hotels and the protection of native species- they do not wish for the extinction of Elephants.
So lets give them what they want!
Elephants are directly impacted by all of these business ventures. Shah (2015) discussed how elephants have lost their sense of place through the habitat loss in Indonesia, all for the construction of the Mandarin Hotel.
In moving the travel and tourism industry into the future, we must steer towards sustainability- if not to serve the future, then to meet the needs of our audience.
So, if we wish for our industry to thrive, then as managers, we must act where we can, and protect the environment and our future.
There is value in sustainability, and as it grows, the more damaging a single, un-sustainable choice becomes.
We must evolve with our consumers.
If not to protect our world, and her beautiful creatures, then to fit the needs of today’s tourist, our consumers.
As a future manager within the industry, will you strive to make the sustainable choice?
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