Sustainable tourism has been gaining significant traction across the globe. Various destinations demonstrate notable advancements in adopting sustainable approaches, balancing economic growth alongside environmental and social obligations. This evolution in travel aims to balance present needs while safeguarding the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Initiatives such as eco-certifications, community-based tourism, and awareness campaigns, actively promote sustainability by encouraging responsible travel behaviours, and a move away from the mass tourism of the past. In recent decades, there has been a growing trend among tourists from high-income countries to seek out alternative travel options that offer fulfilling experiences and ensure the long-term sustainable development of destinations.
This evolution in travel aims to balance present needs while safeguarding the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Green tourism, also known as sustainable tourism or eco-tourism, has gained significant attention in recent years to combine travel and leisure with environmental responsibility. A recent market analysis conducted by Future Market Insights (FMI) sheds light on the current and future landscape of the UAE Sustainable Tourism market. The study reveals that the market was valued at approximately US $34.6 million in 2022. Furthermore, the analysis projects a robust growth trajectory for the UAE Sustainable Tourism market, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.2 per cent expected through the year 2032. This emerging trend goes beyond minimising negative impacts and aims to enhance environmental protection and conservation while generating economic benefits for destinations and communities.
Green tourism can significantly foster sustainable development, stimulate local economies, and generate employment opportunities. Global studies indicate that ecotourism presently represents more than 20 per cent of the overall tourism activities worldwide. Embracing green tourism practices can enhance a destination’s appeal by showcasing its commitment to sustainability. Travellers are increasingly seeking authentic experiences that align with their values, including environmentally friendly options. By promoting sustainable practices, destinations can accentuate their distinctiveness from competitors and attract a growing market segment of eco-conscious tourists. This can lead to increased visitor numbers, longer stay, and higher spending, ultimately boosting the local economy. Eco-tourism or green tourism has the potential to stimulate job creation,
particularly in rural areas and developing regions.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) projections, over 3.6 million people will find employment within this thriving industry over the next decade. As the Middle East continues to witness remarkable growth and investment in tourism, the sector’s potential to drive economic prosperity and provide job opportunities becomes increasingly evident. Communication of the long-term economic benefits associated with sustainable tourism will be critical.
Transitioning towards green tourism necessitates investment in sustainable infrastructure, such as renewable energy installations, waste management systems, and eco-friendly transportation networks. These investments not only contribute to environmental preservation but also create new business opportunities and attract private and public investment. Moreover, energy-efficient buildings and eco-certified accommodations can reduce operating costs for businesses, enabling them to reinvest in other sustainable practices and further contribute to local economic development.