SMART TOURISM AND SDG 15-th SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL
15 th SDG goal is to protect, restore and encourage sustainable development of ground-based ecosystems, sustainably control forests, fight with desertification, stop and reverse the process of degradation of lands and, finally, to stop losing biodiversity. This goal is stated at the source. We see at least two ways of how world tourism could have an impact on achieving this goal.
One of the ways to fight with the destruction of green plantations is to integrate paperless technologies as much as possible. In the current situation area of tourism uses way too much paper overall. The core of the problem is that almost each tourist keeps paper production during the trip. This typically includes paper maps, guides, catalogues, tickets, etc. Possession of a smartphone in the pocket of a tourist allows downloading a guide, rather than printing paper version. In the case of a dictionary or a map – these informative services has been adapted for smartphones and usually are more precise and easier to use than the aging paper analogues.
What can be done in the present moment? Touristic area could certainly abandon printing catalogues, paper guides, maps and tickets. Moreover, organizations could integrate and keep updating technologies of paperless tourism (more details).
What would be the benefit of this? First of all, this would save at least one million tons of paper per year. This number is not just made up and is easy to check. We have already mentioned that one average 1kg of paper is spent on each tourist. There is about one billion tourists travelling each year, which results in one billion kilograms of paper spent (which is a million of tons). One should not forget that this is not just a million of tons that is being printed, but tourists then carry this million of tons around the world, which in some way effects overspend of fuel and other resources.
In 2021 the world have seen more than 60,000 forest fires that destroyed 97,500 square miles, according to Washington post. This is extraordinary high number. For comparison, the area of the whole UK is 94,058 square miles. The cause of more than 80% of these fires is anthropogenic one way or another – lighting of fires; using open fire; work, rest and tourism in forest areas. Interested reader is referred to this link for more details. There is no better way to solve the problem rather than increasing the awareness, conscience and responsibility of tourists. Smart tourism can play the key role, as this is the most informative section of tourism. Smart tourists are more receptive to external information. This is why smart tourism can have a big impact on fire-safe propaganda among tourists.
What can be done in the present moment? All touristic firms, hotels and organization that communicate with tourists could use their websites and accounts in social networks. If all touristic businesses and travel blogers would periodically make posts on the danger of fire and agitate against unsafe open fires, this would definitely reduce the amount of fires taking place.
What is the benefit of this? There are more than a million of hotels in the world, and if every hotel has rules of fire safety in the forest on their website, then it is very likely that at least some tourists would read this and would be more cautious when on a trip. This effect could even be extended if touristic business would regularly publish rules of fire safety and recommendations. Going further, organizing events on fire safety and using all information channels to propagate the importance of the problems would make effect even stronger. This should not just be about hotels, but all touristic organization, including DMO, guides, organizers of tours and so on.
Starting from ourselves, we publish such information on our informative resources and recommend all organizations to follow our lead.
In the end, propagation of information on fire safety will not eliminate all fires around the world, but will have its positive impact on the awareness of people and will reduce the amount of fires significantly.
To be continued…