New online tool to spur sustainable tourism in Europe

Written by Helen Saarniit

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 12:35

"Vitosha on july morning" - Vitosha, a volcanic mountain massif and tourist destination, viewed from Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Ви Го (vi-go) [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr https://flic.kr/p/ock4XT"Vitosha on july morning" - Vitosha, a volcanic mountain massif and tourist destination, viewed from Sofia, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Ви Го (vi-go) [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via Flickr

The tool – greentourism.eu – can help maintain the competitiveness of European tourism by teaching people how to make sustainable choices that preserve Europe’s heritage and environment.

SEI’s Tallinn Centre with partners in Finland and Bulgaria developed the website, which is a resource for students, educators, and businesses such as hotels and restaurants.

“The website is a real hub for sustainable tourism. As well as providing a thorough overview of sustainable tourism – why it’s important, how it can be measured, what are international green labels and what’s their role in environmental management – the site is also a great tool for learning”, said Stefan Stefanov from the Centre of Inclusive Education in Bulgaria, one of the partners in the project.

Participants of the sustainable tourism training visiting Arbanasi, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Stefan StefanovParticipants of the sustainable tourism training visiting Arbanasi, Bulgaria. Photo credit: Stefan Stefanov

The simulations section of the webpage allows users to experiment with making environmental management choices for an imagined hotel. Users have a budget and can choose from a range of sustainable measures, and the site calculates how their choices affect the environmental footprint of their hotel and how much they managed to save – both financially and environmentally.

"By seeing the impact of different combinations of measures, students understand how to prioritize. All in all, the website can provide students or tourism staff with practical experience in managing a business in line with current trends to overcome environmental challenges. Emphasizing sustainable practices in tourism education opens up the horizons of young people," said Stefanov.

SEI Tallinn’s Programme Director Harri Moora highlighted the best practices section of the site, which has 12 categories where businesses can make sustainable choices.

"The categories where hotels, restaurants and other tourism establishments can significantly save money by making the right improvements include water, energy, waste, but also green purchasing. Communication and social responsibility, as well as the nature and cultural heritage aspects are equally important to consider when developing tourism sustainably in a region", said Moora.

The case studies on the site give an overview of European hotels that are pioneers in sustainability. Having made sustainability an important part of their business model, they are able to offer their clients an environmentally friendly service and act as role models for businesses and students.

The greentourism.eu webpage is available in English and Bulgarian and will soon be translated into Estonian and Finnish. The webpage was developed as part of the project Green Ideas for Tourism for Europe, funded by Erasmus+, and carried out by SEI’s Tallinn Centre, Centre for Inclusive Education,Ecosystem Europe Association and Vocational School of Tourism "Mihalaki Georgiev" - Vidin in Bulgaria, and Context Learning in Finland.

The website was introduced during three trainings held this summer in the project partner countries for environmental protection specialists, sustainable tourism experts, teachers and professionals from the accommodation sector.

 

Watch the video about the www.greentourism.eu tool

More on this topic

Share:
FacebookTwitterLinkedin