12 Strategies to Protect Coastal Habitat & Marine Environments

Best Practices for Socio-economic Benefits

As we can learnt from Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria, maximizing social and economic benefits to local communities and minimizing negative influence from tourism is highly a significant theme for sustainable tourism. Recently, tourism became the main economic driver in many countries and the number of tourists is increasing day by day because transportation to reach their destinations is accessible to most people. However, tourism destinations, especially urban areas, frequently do not gain appropriate contributions from tourists and tourism industries because they do not sufficiently consider social and economic benefits to local communities through their actions. How tourism can contribute to indigenous people is essential to be sustainable tourism destination, resorts, and hotels.

In order to maximize local benefits, we have to identify which tourism business is the biggest factor for all tourists. When tourists create own travel plan, all of them would carefully select a hotel, which they stay in during their trip, from the list of a large quantity of hotels. This process is almost no exception for all tourists because we need to stay somewhere during our trip. From this fact, hotel business can be the most influential driver in changing tourist’s behavior. Sustainable hotels can highly contribute to socio-economic value of local communities through their optimal sustainable operations. In this blog, I recommend three operations such as providing coupons encouraging guests to purchase local products, informing enough local information through their website, and hosting local expo which show and sell traditional crafts and local products to hotels in order to enhance local economy and society.

Firstly, the hotels can encourage their guests to visit local restaurants, shops, and attractions through providing own brochures with local information such as a map, history of each facility, local manners, and discount tickets. According to surveys from the Center for Marketing Technology at Bentley University, 40% of guests are always utilizing brochures, and 46% of the guests are also using the brochures frequently (Cross, 2016). Therefore, utilizing the brochures is highly applicable to communicate with the guests. With regards to creating own brochures, all information on the brochures are from local employees of the hotel and local communities. Why includes the information from local employees is that they can share their love for local values with their guests and also answer the guest’s questions regarding the brochures immediately. Also, creating own brochure can reduce the guest’s confusion about a large number of brochures on the reception area, then the guests can gain useful information about local communities and their passion. If hotels have a technological professional, they can utilize a mobile application instead of brochures. Otherwise, the brochures should be made by recycled paper in order to reduce waste and deforestation. Moreover, the hotels also need to prepare the brochures written by multiple languages for international tourists. It can help the hotel to create a fair trade with all guests. As a timing to provide the brochures or the mobile application to the guests, the hotels should provide it when the tourists check into the hotels on the reception because all guests can gain the brochures.

Insertion of local information into the hotel’s website is also a significant component to communicate with the guests. Tourists would like to check the website to know more about the hotel, and they can gain sufficient information before they arrive at the hotel. If the hotels inform social manner and local economic value to the guests, the guests would be able to reduce negative impacts from their behavior during their trip. In addition, the website should be available for international tourists who speak different language from the destination by translating multiple languages. For instance, Niseko Village in the northern area of Japan demonstrates sufficient information on its website (http://www.niseko-village.com/en/). The information on the website include local arts, culture, local business, and local seasonal activities. As an another benefit of the website, the information are also available to all tourists including non-guests of the hotel. It might not be benefit for the hotel, but tourists can contribute to local communities. Then, the hotel can gain benefits from that tourists indirectly because sustainable tourists do not jeopardize an environment of the destination. Finally, the hotel can reduce their costs to recover from damages from tourists.

As the last recommended operation, hosting local expo in the hotel is highly valuable for hotels and local communities. In this expo, local communities can demonstrate and sell their products and crafts to tourists, and the hotel can gain financial benefits from both local communities and tourists, create a strong connection with local communities, afford its guests an opportunity to gain information about local business and culture. Scale of the expo would depend on the size of hotels or destinations. In order to host this expo, hotels need to prepare a convention center. However, this convention center is valuable for the hotel in long term because it can be consistently utilized for conferences, local meeting, and business meeting of the hotel. In my experience, the GSTC conference 2017 in Chile invited local artisans in a venue, Dream Patagonia, and participants could gaze a technique of the artisans. It was the great opportunity for participants to be exposed traditional crafts. These three recommendations can definitely enhance socio-economic benefits of local communities and hotels and reduce negative impacts from tourists.

References

Cross, I. (2016). Hospitality Visitor Information Survey. The Center for Marketing Technology at Bentley University. Retrieved from https://www.bentley.edu/files/Hospitality%20Visitor%20Information%20Survey%202016%20.pdf

Niseko Village. (2017). Niseko Village Always in Season. Retrieved from http://www.niseko-village.com/en/index.html

 

 
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Minotani, T. (2017). Best Practices for Socio-economic Benefits. Retrieved from http://www.bluecommunity.info/view/article/59d5413b0cf213903927815e

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