Sustainable Tourism

A vibrant and attractive destination is critical to the success of British Columbia's tourism industry. Travelers are attracted to our Super, Natural® environment; however, as visitation increases, so does the impact on our resources. For tourism to continue to be successful in B.C., tourism businesses, communities and sectors need to incorporate sustainable practises into their operations that recognize the importance of environmental, economic, social and cultural values.

What is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism is not a niche form of tourism, but rather a way of doing business. There are many definitions of sustainable tourism; however, the mostly widely recognized definition is provided by The United Nations Environment Program and The World Tourism Organization: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host ”

What are the benefits of Sustainable Tourism?

By adopting sustainable practises, businesses can:

Save Money

Reduce costs by taking steps to limit the amount of energy, water and waste while also reusing available business resources.

Protect Resources

Protect environmental and cultural resources that are used to create a memorable visitor experience and ensure that they’re available for generations to come.

Differentiate Your Businesses

Develop a competitive advantage by establishing and publicizing sustainable business practices as a point of difference. 

Attract Quality Labour

Attract and retain quality employees by implementing policies that meet with employee values and concerns.

Add Resiliency

Ensure survival over the long term through the use of sustainable practises that will result in lower costs, stronger supply networks and partnerships.

B.C. Resources and Links

Sustainable Tourism (Tourism Business Essentials Guide) 

This practical guide will assist business operators in making their business environmentally responsible. With relatively few changes, businesses can realize financial savings and a competitive edge when marketing to consumers with increased environmental awareness and demands.

Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan is B.C.’s roadmap to a new, prosperous, green economy for the province. It outlines strategies and initiatives to take B.C. approximately 73 per cent towards meeting the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 33 per cent by 2020.

BC Hydro Business Incentives 

B.C. has a variety of incentives for businesses to "go green". Check out BC Hydro's list and learn more about BC Hydro Power Smart and other B.C. business incentives.

Other Resources and Links

Green Key Eco-Rating Program

The Green Key Eco-Rating Program is a graduated self-assessment rating system designed to recognize hotels, motels and resorts that are committed to improving their environmental and fiscal performance.

Green Your Business: Toolkit for Tourism Operators

Developed by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada in partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission and Parks Canada, this Toolkit is a best practices guide that provides tourism operators with practical, user-friendly tips and guidance on greening their businesses.

The International Eco-Tourism Society (TIES)

TIES is committed to promoting the principles of ecotourism and responsible travel. With the goal of uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel, TIES serves its members in over 120 countries, as the global source of knowledge and industry outreach.

The World Tourism Organization

A specialized agency part of the United Nations that encourages member ‎countries, tourist destinations and businesses to maximize the positive economic, ‎social and cultural effects of tourism and fully reap its benefits, while minimizing its ‎negative impacts.

Tourism Cares

Tourism Cares is a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the travel experience for future generations through awarding grants to natural, cultural and historic sites worldwide and by presenting academic and service-focused scholarships to hospitality and tourism students.