Image of Tourism Destin.: Examples from Arab Eco-tourism Practices

December 16, 2021 / 11:32 AM
Tourism destinations are described to be environmentally friendly when they include several environmental practices in various aspects, such as: hotels, airports, transportation…etc.
The environmental image of the destinations has become a key factor influencing the decision of tourists to visit the tourist destination, giving preference to it over others, as is the case in selecting eco-hotels and green transportation compared to traditional hotels and means of transportation.

Extant academic research has confirmed that the positive environmental image of the tourist destination has become a necessity to achieve the competitive advantages of that destination and encourages tourists to repeat visits to such destinations. Accordingly, eco-tourism destinations have recently gained great importance due to the multiplicity of different returns, the most important of which is the economic returns.

In this context, we look at some environmental practices in tourist destinations, including green transport and green airports. The word green implies taking the necessary measures to provide clean energy, rationalize consumption, and reduce the impact on the environment. These measures include reducing carbon dioxide emissions, reducing noise and pollution, using environmentally friendly transportation to and from airports, lighting patterns at airports, using clean energy generation techniques, waste management, ways to rationalize water use, and organizing environmental awareness campaigns. Environmental practices also include the availability of green hotels that follow a number of measures to preserve the environment, including reducing the use of single-use items (paper tissues, etc.), encouraging guests to rationalize consumption of water, and procedures for using smart keys in rooms in order to control energy consumption, lighting systems, using local materials in interior decoration and furniture, as well as serving local meals, especially organic ones.

The environmental practices of tourism destinations are fully consistent with the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations, which include the use of clean and renewable energy, the preservation of the environment, and the protection of environmental resources, which are an essential basis for tourism activities. It has recently emerged that a large category of tourists, called eco-tourists, is interested in the environment and sustainable tourism. Eco-tourists are characterized by their desire to explore the natural places in tourist destinations and to obtain unique tourism experiences that depend entirely on environmental resources, in addition to the tourist's desire to integrate into the culture of the local community, and respecting the local culture; customs, traditions, values...etc.

We have conducted a comparative research study on environmental practices in tourist destinations: the United Arab Emirates (applied to the Emirate of Dubai), Egypt (applied to Cairo), and Algeria (applied to Algeria the capital). The study aimed to explore the environmental image of the tourists visiting these tourist destinations in the three countries, and their evaluation of the environmental practices therein, especially the practices of green hotels, green transportation, and green airports. The results have showed the effectiveness of green practices and their influential role in selecting destination by tourists to spend their vacations. Statistical indicators indicated the impact of these factors in selecting eco-tourism destinations, foremost of which is the United Arab Emirates, followed by Egypt, then Algeria.

The findings of the study showed that the tourists coming to these tourist destinations have a very good image of the United Arab Emirates, followed by Egypt, then Algeria as eco-tourism destinations. This order of destination (i.e., UAE then Egypt, and Algeria) is revealed because of some reasons accepted by the tourists visiting these tourist destinations, including: the availability of eco-tourism attractions, the practices of green transport, green airports, and eco-hotels although it is varied from one country to another. The study also reported that the UAE, similarly to Egypt, is committed to applying the standards of green airports and eco-lodges despite the varied levels of commitment. As for Algeria, despite the presence of natural resources, it still needs to strengthen the application of green transport practices.

The study has recommended that there is a necessity of integrating the environmental dimension within the tourism activities so that the tourist destinations acquire the status of eco-destinations. Furthermore, there is a need to use the environmental practices in marketing for these tourist destinations to meet the desires of tourists who are interested and inspired to visit these eco destinations. This will help destinations with eco image to gain competitive advantages enabling them to compete and survive in the global travel market. It is found that United Arab Emirates and Egypt have the image of eco-tourism destination in the minds of tourists. However, the three destinations still need to expand green transport practices, in addition to paying attention to environmental awareness campaigns and measures to rationalise consumption of energy and water.
December 16, 2021 / 11:32 AM

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