Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world. The U.N. World Tourism Council predicts it will increase in the next few decades from 900 million tourists a year to over 1.5 billion.
The environmental impacts from this increase are so great that education for guests and clients must be part of any serious sustainable tourism program.
While there are different perspectives on what is most important, on how far the tourist industry can go with its guests in pursing sustainability, there is little argument that education is an important strategy for transforming the tourist industry.
For tourism in the future to retain their credibility as pristine places to visit more attention will need to be given to best sustainable tourism practices. This in turn will include the need to provide education to both employees and guests.
Some strategies to consider for sustainable tourism education include:
- The importance of fostering a culture of sustainability
- Setting environmental standards
- Using eco-certificaiton programs as an educational tool
- Partneships with College and University Sustainable Tourism programs
- Developing inhouse programs for guests. Helping employees to see their roles as educators will both educate employees and guests and increase enthusiasm for the educational efforts
Walt Disney Company provides an excellent model for environmental education with both its cast members and guests.
Environmental departments throughout The Walt Disney Company educate cast members and employees through multiple outreach efforts, including special events, marketing promotions, and communication materials like Disney's Enviroport.
Externally, partnerships with local and federal agencies have led to the development of education programs such as Disney’s Friends for Change.
Disney's Friends for Change is about taking steps together with your friends and family to make a positive impact on the world and the people and animals that live here. Our mission is to provide you with the information, tools, encouragement and inspiration to become stewards of change. As more kids across the globe become involved, through even the smallest of actions, we can begin to make big changes.