Blockchain for Sustainable Tourism Supply Chain: How It Helps to Improve Sustainability and Accountability
The tourism industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. It generates significant economic benefits, but it also has a significant impact on the environment and local communities. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that tourism accounts for around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, there is a growing need for sustainable tourism practices that reduce the negative impact of tourism on the environment and local communities.
One way to achieve sustainable tourism is through the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed ledger that records transactions in a secure and transparent manner. It is best known as the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it has many other potential applications, including in the tourism industry.
One of the main benefits of blockchain in sustainable tourism is that it can improve supply chain transparency and accountability. The tourism supply chain is complex and involves many different actors, including tour operators, hotels, transportation providers, and local communities. Each of these actors has a role to play in ensuring that tourism is sustainable, but it can be difficult to track their actions and ensure that they are meeting sustainability standards.
Blockchain can help to address this challenge by creating a transparent and immutable record of all transactions in the tourism supply chain. This means that every actor in the supply chain can be held accountable for their actions, and it is easier to identify and address sustainability issues. For example, if a hotel is using excessive amounts of water or energy, this can be identified and addressed more quickly and effectively if there is a transparent record of their resource usage.
Another benefit of blockchain in sustainable tourism is that it can facilitate the use of sustainable tourism certifications and standards. There are many different sustainability certifications and standards in the tourism industry, such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and the Travelife Sustainability System. However, it can be difficult to verify whether a hotel or tour operator is actually meeting these standards.
Blockchain can help to address this challenge by creating a transparent and immutable record of a company’s sustainability practices. This can be used to verify that a company is meeting sustainability standards and to provide consumers with more information about the sustainability of their travel choices. For example, a consumer could use a blockchain-based app to scan a hotel’s QR code and see a record of their sustainability practices, such as their energy usage and waste management.
Finally, blockchain can also help to incentivize sustainable tourism practices. One way to do this is through the use of blockchain-based tokens or rewards. For example, a hotel could issue tokens to guests who participate in sustainable practices, such as reusing towels or turning off lights when they leave their room. These tokens could then be redeemed for discounts on future stays or other rewards.
In conclusion, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the tourism industry by improving supply chain transparency and accountability, facilitating the use of sustainable tourism certifications and standards, and incentivizing sustainable tourism practices. However, there are also challenges to overcome, such as the need for standardization and interoperability between different blockchain systems. Nevertheless, the potential benefits of blockchain in sustainable tourism are significant, and it is an area that is likely to see continued innovation and development in the coming years.