A new year has just started – a fresh chapter waiting to be written! The title, though, has already been chosen: Sustainable Tourism! The United Nations declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Tourism is a complex sector as it involves the interaction of many players who deliver and manage the services and resources needed to provide the visitor experience – thus, collaboration among them is fundamental for a sustainable development of the sector.
In 2013 The Travel Foundation (TF) facilitated the creation of a multi-stakeholder platform – Sal Destination Council, which has brought together senior staff from public, private and third sectors to meet quarterly and discuss issues associated with tourism, exchange experience, and develop solutions. Last year TF partnered with Leeds Beckett and SOAS London Universities and worked with two Masters students to analyse and review the Destination Council’s strategy to improve its members’ engagement. We are now drafting the next steps.
Recently we commissioned two research studies on water and energy consumption patterns in the tourism sector on the island of Sal, as well as on solid waste within the accommodation sector on Sal and Boa Vista islands. The reports are being prepared and will suggest a set of evidence-based recommendations for improving the management of resources through efficient production and consumption.
There is a proverb that says “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. I see sustainability not as a destination, but a journey along a long pathway, full of challenges and solutions to be discovered. The steps must, however, be taken collectively!