Ecotourism: Sustainability Should Be Inclusive Not Exclusive

Ecotourism and sustainabilityAre we doing enough to maintain our ‘Clean, Green’ image through eco tourism, and is it financially viable?
Sustainability should be inclusive not exclusive.
For New Zealand to continue to cash in on our ‘Clean, Green’ image through tourism, we really need to be looking at the living spaces we live in and offer to our guests. We may look clean and green on the outside, but our living environments, and the way we continue to use energy and throw away waste products, is hardly green or responsible.

To be fair, it seems many operators do their best to recycle, reduce waste and regulate water usage. These functions make up the major part of achieving the Qualmark EnviroGold Silver or Bronze rating which is handed out to participating operators each year.

Despite our comparatively small population, our energy resources are limited and susceptible to environmental changes such as lack of water. Contact Energy owned by the Government, is the major supplier of electricity and gas. We have such a high number of sunshine hours throughout New Zealand it should be a no brainer to utilise to solar energy in our workplaces and homes. Wind turbines can produce substantial amounts of energy but again, the expense involved in implementation of these renewable energy methods is far out of reach for the majority of operators.

My feeling is that we’re not nearly there due to the expense and not enough (yet), Government subsidy.

Tourism is the largest revenue producing industry in New Zealand. We are constantly competing with other countries to encourage visitors to choose us over somewhere else. Our ‘Clean, Green’ image is such an integral part of promoting the country to overseas visitors, it must become a priority for the Government to greatly subsidise renewable energy, update our recycling practices, and give incentives to new developments to adopt conscious architecture and design practices.

This would not only give a foundation for our ‘image’ but create healthier future proof environment for us all to enjoy.

Article orignally posted by Cat Haslam on Web_Ranger News and Blog.

4 Comments

  1. Robyn Bolton March 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Couldn’t agree more Cat. At a recent Rugby World Cup workshop held by Tourism Auckland we were advised that a great deal of effort and thought has gone into sustainability around RWC. Indeed I understand that in Auckland there are work groups who are putting in a great deal of effort to ensure that NZ’s ‘brand’ is not tarnished by the experience of visitors – who come expecting to find us ‘clean and green’ and doing all the right things.
    Just looking at one of the ‘basics’ of sustainability I understand that all stadia will have recycling facilities – and presumably they will also be spread around Auckland (and some other key cities perhaps?).
    My question is what happens when our RWC visitors start travelling around the rest of NZ and they find that most of our local councils DO NOT provide even basic recycling opportunities. Its time we stopped talking about this topic and actually doing something. The tourism industry has done a good job of leading the charge – but every NZ’er and every industry must get involved. Our local councils too need to be seen to rise to the challenge.

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