By being the world’s number one industry, tourism does not only mean making masses of cash and helping developing countries to speed up their progress. The industry must, as do the individuals involved, take a slice of the responsibility towards protecting the world we live in. With species falling into extinction, habitats being destroyed, the threat of global warming increasing rapidly and natural disasters being a hindrance to the world we live in, the need to constantly take the environment into consideration is becoming more and more urgent. Thankfully, many businesses and tourism organisations have woken up to the fact that the tourism industry is capable of doing serious damage to the natural world.
Recent literature, for example, has convinced many that the cruise ship industry does not harm marine habitat as much as previously thought and many airline companies have stressed their environmentally friendly policies. Nowadays, associations such as IMEX have started weighing in with the incentive of awards for the carrying out of business with a mind towards not harming the environment in any way and benefiting local communities. Those involved in such schemes have realised that working in the tourism industry is not just about making their wallets as fat as possible.
Some of the previous IMEX awards have gone to some unusual entities. The 2004 award went to a Maltese orphanage refurbishment programme named ‘give instead of take’ and last year’s honours went to a Mexican bee hive non-profit organisation for contributing to the health of the local community without any financial incentive.
However, the Germans have become known as the international pioneers for environment protection. As Germany is the number one meeting destination on the planet, the onus is on the locals to think in a green way. Germany has the leading position in building efficiency and is currently setting trends in green meetings. The Germans, to reward their efforts, were given the Ecological Audit Scheme Certificate as they now lead by example in the field of green tourism.