We observed 2016 express itself as a year that travelers demanded authenticity from the hospitality industry. This includes the traveler seeking a real destination experience that exudes the respective culture, an expectation that the property is nestled into the environment rather than on top it, as well as special attention to the interior detailing, programming, and service experienced within it. This trend will continue to prove a point of differentiation amongst hoteliers for years to come but with an added component of sustainability with the recent UN designation of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Those who are able to create an authentic experience and pair it with sustainability of the local culture will surely see success in 2017.
As hotels have a large impact on the communities in which they are placed, it is important for those developing and designing these properties to understand their impacts on their local culture and communities. Therefore in 2017 let’s resolve to:
• Undertake tourism programs that are sustainable and highlight the virtues of the communities in which they operate.
• Respect these relatively unspoiled environments and respect local cultures, incorporating them into the tourism experience.
• Provide entrepreneurial opportunities for the local communities, backed up with training to empower the potential entrepreneurs.
• Ensure that the supply of goods and services in tourism enterprises are coming from local sources.
• Provide today’s travelers with the authentic experiences they crave, reflective of the culture, heritage, and treasures in which the location has to offer.
At OBMI, sustainability is at the core of everything we do. We have seen our work transform communities and island nations through a focus on local heritage and design, sustainability through green practices, improved employment and a positive economic impact. So with attention given to sustainable tourism in 2017, we invite you to join us and commit to using our industry as a means to improving the lives of those in the communities in which we operate, live and work.