Sustainable Tourism Self-Assessment Tool

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1 Sustainable Tourism Self-Assessment Tool The market is constantly shifting and to remain competitive, all enterprises must innovate. One direction the tourism market is shifting toward is sustainability. As an owner or manager of a small or medium-sized enterprise, you are in an ideal position to capitalize on travellers preferences. Best of all, you can role model sustainable behaviour for your employees and the industry. Differentiating yourself as a recognized leader in sustainable practices can help you increase your market share. This self-assessment tool can be used as an aid to determine where your business currently is in the spectrum of sustainability practices. Identifying the current practices of your business will help you to understand where you are today, and assist in giving ideas and direction for the future. How to Use This Tool Each of the possible responses for the questions below has a corresponding value. Total the values of each section and at the end of the assessment to give your business an overall score. Give yourself one point for each other response you provide throughout the assessment. Motivations to adopt sustainable tourism practices Which of the following items motivate you to incorporate sustainable practices into your business? Circle all that apply. 1. I have strong pro-sustainability values 1. I am attracted by the potential cost savings 1. I want to attract environmentally conscious markets 1. I want to differentiate my business from the competition 1. I want to protect the resources I depend on (land, culture, wildlife, etc) 1. I want to enhance the reputation of my business 1. Other (please specify) Knowledge of sustainability How much do you currently know about environmental and social issues? Circle one option below. 1. I recognize terms or buzz words, but I don t have a full understanding of the issues. 2. I know what I hear on the news or read in mainstream media. 3. I seek out information on environmental and social issues of concern. /10 Total Motivation and Knowledge Score (add total circled responses) Fostering Innovation in Sustainable Tourism 1

2 Current Sustainability Practices Environmental Does your business have a recycling program to collect recyclables from both staff and customers? Does your business encourage water conservation by utilising low-flow or dual flush toilets, faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, toilet dams, or any other water management systems? Does your business monitor energy and water consumption to determine effects of conservation plans? Does your business try to minimise environmental impacts from transportation by encouraging staff and customers to utilize active transportation, transit or car-pool options? Does your business collect and compost materials? Does your business use paperless marketing techniques to minimize paper waste? Does your business utilize low energy lighting in and around buildings? Do you encourage your staff and customers to turn off lights when they are not needed? Does your business use other environmentally sustainable practices? List your other environmentally sustainable practices. /16+ Total Current Environmental Practices Fostering Innovation in Sustainable Tourism 2

3 Social Would you say your business has established a green culture? Are employees encouraged to be innovative and practice sustainability both at work and at home? Does your business have a purchasing policy that favours products that are fair-trade, locally sourced, free of child labour, do not exploit the environment and/or are organic? Does your business actively celebrate and promote local culture? For example, through protection of local historic sites, use of local art, or participation in cultural events. Does your business value quality of customer experience over quantity of customers? Does your business educate customers of your region s unique socio-cultural landscape? Does your business provide learning opportunities for locals? For example through mentoring or apprenticeships. Does your business sponsor local events or fundraisers? Do you and/or someone in your business participate on community committees or councils? Does your business use other socially sustainable practices? List your other socially sustainable practices. /16+ Total Current Social Practices Fostering Innovation in Sustainable Tourism 3

4 Economic Does your business source supplies locally to support your local community? Does your business participate in any partnerships with other local businesses to encourage the economic benefits of tourism spin-off to the entire local economy? Does your business have a long-term financial plan to ensure your own economic sustainability? Does your business reduce the usage of products and/or services to reduce costs? For example reducing energy usage, reducing paper usage etc. Does your business support charitable organizations through donations either financially or inkind? Does your business encourage employee volunteerism through paid volunteer time or participation in fundraising activities such as walk-a-thons, bake sales or silent auctions? Does your business hire people from the local community? Does your business market and/or communicate your sustainable practices to the public? Does your business use other economically sustainable practices? List your other economically sustainable practices. /16+ Total Current Economic Practices Fostering Innovation in Sustainable Tourism 4

5 Extent of sustainability practices currently used Circle one selection below. 1. Our business has not incorporated sustainable tourism practices into our operations 2. Our business has piloted a few sustainable practices 3. Our business has initiated some sustainable practices and is planning more 4. Our business has committed to sustainable practices at many levels in the organization /4 Total Overall Sustainability Total the scores from each section above. /62+ Total Self Assessment Score If you scored between 27 and 38: Welcome to the beginning of your journey towards sustainability! Your score suggests that there are many sustainable practices that you can begin to implement into your business. The previous three sections can give you ideas of sustainable practices, many of which are easily implemented. Use the next section of this assessment tool to think about how you would like your business to operate sustainably in the future, and start moving towards that goal. If you scored between 39 and 50: You are on your way! Your score suggests that you have already begun to implement sustainable practices into your business. Sustainability is however, an ongoing process. While you should be proud of the initiatives your business has taken and promote them to your customers, there is more to be done. Use the next section of this assessment tool to determine more sustainable practices that you can incorporate into your business, and keep moving down the road to sustainability. If you scored between 51 and 62+: You have expressed strong commitment to sustainability! Your score suggests you have implemented various sustainability practices in your business. Your business may be a model for others in the industry looking for inspiration and knowledge about Fostering Innovation in Sustainable Tourism 5

6 sustainability. You may also understand better than others that it is an ongoing process and that there is always more that can be done. Use the next section of this assessment tool to deepen your commitment. The Future Now that you ve given your business a score on its sustainability practices and have a better idea of where you are on the sustainability spectrum, it is important to continue to look to the future and commit to further action. Go back through this assessment tool and choose at least one item from EACH section (environmental, social, economic) that your business could begin doing in the near future (short term goals). Use these three items to begin an action plan for your business Next identify at least three items (one from each section) that your business could work towards in the next 3 to 5 years (longer term goals). Add these items to your action plan to ensure your business continues in the process towards sustainability Now that you have taken stock of your commitment to sustainability, consider communicating your commitment to your staff, your customers and your business partners. This will publicize your intentions and allow others to support your efforts. It is also important to monitor your progress on these goals so think about what information you need to collect to track your return on investment to sustainability (i.e. reduction in waste, power usage). This feedback will help you determine your overall success which you can share with others, celebrate and build upon. Fostering Innovation in Sustainable Tourism 6

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