Published on Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Can All-inclusives be sustainable? Full house masterclass answers question


If they are good they are very very good: if they are bad they are horrid

High level contingents from TUI, Virgin Holidays, ABTA, Travel Foundation, Tourism Concern, a prize winning hotelier, and a specialist journalist or two amongst committed others gathered together today to discuss the knotty question of the moment - "Can all-inclusives be sustainable and, if so, how?"

Who gets the benefits? Are all-inclusives really profitable and for whom? Can communities benefit? Are they environmentally friendly? Can they be sustainable by any stretch of the imagination?

These, and many more, were the questions that were on the table to be answered at this special masterclass to discuss the effect of all inclusives on communities and tourists and the tourism industry in general.

The answer an emphatic YES THEY CAN

The four key issues are:

  • PROCUREMENT - to manage the resort"s local economic footprint
  • ENGAGEMENT - with the local community and with guests
  • LOCAL EMPLOYMENT - good conditions for local people
  • ESTABLISHMENT ENVIRONMENT - minimal environmental and energy impact

And, above all - high quality labour conditions for all staff.

All the travel trade participants lauded the benefits of auditing and certification - in particular the effect that the Travelife programme has in creating and maintaining quality product for UK-based tour operators.

Generally, the participants thought that all-inclusives had the capability of delivering a high-quality, good value product that, if managed correctly, could be very sustainable indeed.

In this way, the benefits of sustainability are transferred in the holiday package to the customer - who benefits from an authentic experience delivered in a sensitive way and at a reasonable price - and with maximum beneficial local impact.

Examples of leveraged good practice produced included Sandals Resorts and Club Med.
In sustainability terms, this is a critical discussion at a critical time. All inclusives are definitely on the up - as an example they now represent over 25% of TUI UK holiday sales.

Stroma Cole, Chair of Tourism Concern, highlighted the critical need for facts and further research.

Typical of the masterclass attitude, she emphasized the need to question preconceptions, and said: "Go to Benidorm and have your mind blown" This tourism destination that has reinvented itself as ultra-sustainable shows what can be done in tourism.

Follow the discussions and make your own comments on Twitter: A twitter hashtag #stallincs has been provided for the event.

Watch the video


Valere Tjolle
  Valere Tjolle is editor of the Sustainable Tourism Report Suite Special Offer HERE

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