While Singapore will face challenges as it tries to become a sustainable tourism destination, industry players and experts are confident that it can meet such a target.
Mr. Christopher Khoo, the managing director for international tourism consultancy Master Consult Services, said the move would be the “responsible” thing to do.
“I applaud Singapore’s decision to embrace this whole concept of sustainability in tourism, because that’s I think not only the right way to go, it is the responsible thing to do,” he said.
The move is one of the 2030 targets under the green economy – one of the five key pillars in the Singapore Green Plan unveiled earlier this year.
“Ten years from now, we also expect that global tourism will have sprung back into a more vibrant sector.
Tourists will have a greater interest in sustainable travel options, for example, eco-friendly hotels and attractions,” said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
“To prepare ourselves for these opportunities, we are transforming Sentosa into a carbon-neutral destination by 2030. Through such efforts, we will strengthen Singapore as an exemplary sustainable tourism destination,” he said.
Said Mr. Khoo: “On the whole, sustainable tourism is something that is becoming increasingly important. In tourism, it’s not something new … Sustainability has become more and more important, people are recognizing the need to be responsible.”
Plans to become Singapore into a tourism destination
According to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), there were also 19.1 million visitors to Singapore in 2019, with these visitors spending a total of S$27.1 billion in tourism receipts.
As defined by the World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), sustainable tourism should incorporate three main objectives.
These include making “optimal use” of environmental resources as well as helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity. In addition, this form of tourism should also respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, said UNTWO on its website.
It also needs to ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are “fairly distributed”.
Noting that achieving sustainable tourism is a “continuous process”, tourism expert Shirley Tee said that such a destination should also include “curated meaningful experiences” that allow a tourist to understand and be aware of sustainability issues within the community, as well as incorporate activities that promote the destination country’s economy
“Efforts to protect and preserve our economic real estate can also be tied in with our journey towards being a sustainable tourism destination. For instance, ensuring that built-up areas with older buildings and our unique heritage be retained and not discarded due to economic pressure will help us preserve the social and urban fabric of the nation,” added Ms. Tee, who is a senior manager at Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) School of Business Management.
“This also creates additional sustainable tourism avenues for tourists to visit, and learn more about.”
Source: Channel News Asia