Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7) has signed the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge, to demonstrate our commitment to improving the sustainability performance of our destination between now and 2030. The UN World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.”

This graphic is a good visual summary of how we think about sustainable tourism. Essentially, we’re trying to balance:

Social needs: e.g. providing diverse and inclusive tourism experiences that celebrate heritage, culture, and local assets, while actively promoting DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) principles has many benefits including workforce attraction/retention. Providing positive interaction points for the local community and visitors can help to foster mutual understanding and appreciation.

Economic needs: e.g. creating an environment for tourism businesses to be successful and, importantly, financially stable, extending their season, encouraging businesses to buy more products locally, providing favourable income-earning opportunities within host communities, etc.

Environmental needs: e.g. protecting natural environments, wildlife, and natural resources when developing and managing tourism activities, providing education through guided tours, providing adequate infrastructure, encouraging responsible tourism, etc.
Sustainability, and moving from volume to value, is good for business, and is quickly becoming a core element of how tourism businesses operate, for all kinds of reasons…
  • meeting increasing consumer demand, attracting a growing demographic that is both loyal and willing to pay a  premium for sustainability;
  • improving employee recruitment, morale and retention;
  • taking advantage of significant operational cost savings over time;
  • ensuring the resources on which much of our industry relies remain unspoiled, preserving the foundation your business depends on;
  • enhancing your reputation, reflecting a broader commitment to the community and environment you operate in;
  • demonstrating leadership, giving you a competitive advantage that differentiates your brand; and
  • meeting (or avoiding future) regulatory requirements…
By adapting now and viewing our activities through a sustainable lens, we aim to prepare the region for the future, strengthening the industry by making it viable for the long-term.

At RTO7, we commit to measuring and improving the region's sustainability performance in the following ways:
  • Achieving destination certification with Canadian-based provider GreenStep Sustainable Tourism, who have verified the current sustainability performance of the region against globally recognized standards.
  • Ongoing consultation and engagement with the stakeholders of the region to gather information and clarification on your sustainability initiatives.
  • Facilitating a Sustainable Tourism Working Group, to foster collaboration and advance the destination’s sustainability initiative.
  • By recognizing that sustainability is a journey the region began many years ago and one that will continue for years to come. By taking stock of, and celebrating, our collective successes to date, we will aim to identify and improve the region’s sustainable practices in the future.

As we continue this journey, this landing page will be updated with resources to keep you informed of our progress and to help you incorporate sustainable practices into your business. There’s SO many ways that you can do this – here’s just a few initiatives as examples of the kind of things that we’d consider to be demonstrations of sustainability…

Economic Sustainability
  • Have dedicated financial efforts for assessing and managing environmental risks  and impacts (including climate risks)
  • Long-term planning for maintenance, expansion and product development for tourists and potential tourist increases (e.g. washrooms, parking,  etc.)
Social Sustainability
  • Provide product packaging and/or cross marketing of at least 1 other tourism attraction and service within BruceGreySimcoe that  can extend  stay, increase spending and diversity of experience during  times  that  you have excess capacity
  • Ensure your promotional materials reflect a broad spectrum of individuals from various backgrounds
  • Marketing campaign to encourage responsible and/or respectful tourism
  • Implement Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) policies and training
  • Recognize all cultural holidays
  • Have membership, support and/or training through sustainability organizations (e.g. GreenStep, Green Key, Rainbow Registered, Rick Hansen Foundation, etc.)
  • Include Indigenous language and/or local cultural content in promotional materials
Environmental Sustainability
  • Evidence of action to lower footprint (e.g. monitoring of utility consumption and waste production appropriate for business size or acting to lower carbon footprint)
  • Marketing campaign to encourage tourists to reduce consumption  and waste, reduce  environmental  impacts and/or green alternatives
  • Have a staff tree planting or litter cleanup day
  • Take measures to reduce the impact on surrounding land and biodiversity (.e.g. plant native species, reduce  paved  area, install bird  feeders,  etc.)

Recent Sustainble Tourism Newsletters:

Dive into the pulse of our sustainability community with our Sustainability Snapshot stakeholder poll!

Click HERE to complete the brief poll (1 to 2 minutes) to let us know where you are in your sustainability journey.

This information will help us understand the current level of stakeholder interest and commitment. In addition, it will help us stay informed of what is happening locally. Your feedback is invaluable in helping us understand where there is a need for support.

In recent years, we’ve supported many projects around the region with sustainability at their core. We’ve also shifted our communications to market the region in a more sustainable manner. See our Visit Responsibly page on BruceGreySimcoe.