As the COVID-19 pandemic hits the travel sector, Lincoln University Tourism Professor David Simmons says a new paradigm has to emerge – one where tourism gives back more than it receives.
“Slow travel, localism and mindful long-haul travel – which may well be shaped by post-COVID pricing – will need to become part of this new paradigm.”
Professor Simmons made the comments as part of an interview that was published recently on the Sustainability Leaders Project website.
In terms of tourism sustainability, he said it was important to rethink the “consumption paradox” in the sector.
“We might ask what high yield tourism is in terms that reach beyond financial metrics, and reference regional and local economies alongside the sector’s sustainable draw on resources.
“Does tourism always need to be consumptive of common property resources? Could, for example, tourism contribute to social and natural capital by enhancing the concepts of restoration and regeneration?”
He added that the main concern regarding tourism sustainability, especially for destination areas, was “mindless consumption of common property resources, environments and cultures”.
“How might they be valued, or priced, in the tourism system? For us, deep in the Southern Hemisphere, the carbon footprint of aviation and cruise is a very serious concern, as it is for many countries for which tourism is a primary source of foreign exchange.”
Prof Simmons said his views on sustainability tourism have evolved over the years.
“This is especially so as new understandings and metrics become developed and socialised. In short, we need to ‘measure to manage’ at all levels in tourism production and consumption: business, destinations, itineraries (land, sea and air), and of course via tourist behaviour and consumption.”
Read the full interview with Professor Simmons on the Sustainability Leaders Project website.