Why should I consider responsibility?

A tourist entrepreneur should take responsibility and sustainability into account, as today’s travellers increasingly base their buying decisions on ethical aspects, also in leisure travel. Moreover, tour operators seek to find sustainable alternatives to their customers. Responsibility is a competitive advantage for a tourism business, and also worth communicating to customers!

The difference between responsibility and sustainability?

Responsibility and sustainability are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. However, a subtle difference can be found between these terms: sustainability is an objective pursued with responsible action. Both are divided into three sections according to the figure below. The sections are partly overlapping: many ecologically responsible practices are also economically viable, and economic accountability is also reflected in social responsibility.

Consideration for the region and its inhabitants is in the core. Responsible tourism will result in “better places for people to live in, and better places to visit”. This is a leading idea outlined in the Cape Town Sustainable Tourism Guideline in 2002, and it is often referred to when discussing sustainable tourism. Being responsible may not require certificates and diplomas, although they are worth familiarising oneself with. Examine the figure below for more details.

Both tourists and tour operators make choices on the basis of ethical criteria. If your business is running sustainably, it is a good idea to let people know. Business Finland has published excellent Communication guides and tools. Choose responsible businesses and actors as your partners, and tell your customers about it.

At the end of this page you will find a task on the responsibility of your own business.


Examples and more information

National parks, other protected areas and wilderness areas play a major role in attracting tourism. Commercial and organized tourism in protected areas should be based on cooperation agreements with Metsähallitus. Metsähallitus makes sustainable tourism cooperation agreements with entrepreneurs operating in the protected areas managed by Metsähallitus. The goal of sustainable tourism is to not compromise the environmental values ​​of the target area, the functioning of ecological systems or the presence of species. After all, national parks and other protected areas have been created primarily to protect biodiversity. Agreements bring entrepreneurs not only access rights to the areas managed by Metsähallitus, but the right to use certain service equipment in their business and also the marketing benefits. A guide to sustainable tourism in protected areas can be found here https://julkaisut.metsa.fi/julkaisut/show/2067

More information on sustainable tourism principles at Metsähallitus’s website http://www.metsa.fi/web/en/sustainablenaturetourism
Learn more about national parks, other nature reserves and wilderness areas at https://www.nationalparks.fi/
Learn more about Metsähallitus http://www.metsa.fi/web/en

The Rovaniemi based Likiliike badge is a sign of a business’s locality. With this badge a business can communicate about domestic quality, high-quality local service and the Lappish community spirit. The badge ensures that all the business has a Rovaniemi-based ownership.

It is important to the image of Lappish tourism that animals used in tourist services are treated well and their well-being is ensured. Responsible consumers appreciate the quality of animal-based tourism services and etchically sound practices bring competetive edge to the actors using them. Learn more about animal welfare in tourism services here.

The Ministry of the Environment website offers further information on responsibility and sustainability. The Prime Minister’s office has set up a whole website on sustainable development. The Finnish UN Association looks at responsibility from the point of view of corporate social responsibility and  also provides further information on the subject. The Confederation of Finnish Industries emphasises responsibility as a part of the business knowledge of a successful company, and also gives advice how to get started on the path of responsibility in your own business.

Business Finland takes a strong interest in sustainable development activities, especially in the tourism sector. Go to their website to find information on The Arctic Sustainable Tourism project, as well as practical guides and tools for a tourism business  to communicate sustainability. The site also provides information on various certifications (in Finnish only) for tourism businesses. The International Network for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) is also active in Finland. Information on how the network works is availabe on their website and on Facebook.

Cape Town guidelines on sustainable tourism is available online.

Task: The sustainability and responsibility of your own business

Fill in this table with your recognised sustainability goals, ways to achieve them, and areas that still require attention.