The efforts to sustain and preserve tourism venues have been termed ecotourism, sustainable, and even responsible tourism. This concept has been expanded into the term Geotourism. At the core of these concepts is the commitment to preserve and enhance tourism venues for future generations.
The dynamic proposition of sustainable tourism is one of the most popular and positive forces in the industry. The sustainable concept for resources and the environment is a pioneering concept that is growing in popularity worldwide as nations begin to address the challenges of global warming.
One of the first countries to address ecotourism was the small Caribbean nation of Costa Rica. Their ecotourism programs created practices that protect natural areas and parks. Their robust commitment to protecting areas for tourists to enjoy attracted more visitors than any other Caribbean nation.
Despite these efforts, Costa Rica has not completely implemented all of its ecotourism principles throughout the country but they remain a shining star to the world.
The principles of ecotourism evolved into the concepts of Geotourism. These principles addressed the sustainable practices needed to protect local indigenous people and their culture. A dynamic and welcomed addition to the ecotourism principles, this holistic development enhances tourism experiences by affording visitors the opportunity to understand different cultures.
Learn more in our Sustainable Tourism section.
The United States addressed the importance of removing barriers for disabled individuals by passing the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. The ADA was designed to provide disabled individuals with access to all public places, accommodation, and opportunities at employment that had not been available to them. The law addresses areas under the jurisdiction of the United States but does not extend beyond its borders. Consequently, while disabled individuals enjoy access to all public accommodations and venues in America. The standards have not been adopted in foreign countries.
We may count the ADA as awakening the global community to the importance of providing access to the disabled. By identifying the market segment that 1 in 5 Americans has a disability, tourism venues throughout the world took notice and began to consider attracting disabled travelers. Cruiselines are leaders in the hospitality industry in providing access to the disabled. Holland American cruise lines estimated that between 2010 and 2015 disabled travelers spent 11 billion dollars in fares and another 1.5 billion in excursions.
In 2006, the United Nations adopted The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This groundbreaking international effort provides for a dynamic and changing future for the disabled traveler. A key element in attracting this segment of travelers is to create customer service standards that include a heightened awareness of the needs of the disabled traveler and providing information on accessibility.
While physical barriers remain the biggest obstacle, this growing market segment is drawing attention from venues throughout the World.