Exciting Career Options in Sustainable Tourism

What is sustainability in tourism?

Sustainable tourism refers to a holistic integration of economics, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of people, interconnectivity between countries, industry, environment and host communities. It involves a whole spectrum of the tourism industry, from the design, planning and execution of operational facilities, the behaviour of tourists and the management of tourism destinations.

It is crucial in reducing tourism’s negative environmental impacts, preserving local cultures and heritage, supporting local economies and communities, and encouraging tourists to practice responsible actions.

However, the tourism industry is ever-changing. New job opportunities are created through tourism, and cultural heritage is preserved and interpreted, wildlife is preserved, and landscapes are restored as a result of tourism. Let’s explore some of the challenges on sustainability in tourism and how can one make an impact, review career opportunities and available programmes for your interest.

What are the reasons for sustainability issues? 

Several issues that impact sustainability in tourism is climate change, overuse of natural resources and lack of public education.

Climate change is a major factor in sustainability issues. Humans perform a wide range of activities, such as the use of fossil fuels, deforestation, and landfilling, all of which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere causing rising temperature changes, environmental destruction and societal impact. These activities pose a global threat towards global warming and climate change.

Another sustainable issue relates to the overuse of natural resources. This occurs when the rate at which natural resources are consumed or exploited exceeds the rate at which they are replenished, leading to the depletion and exhaustion of these resources. An example of overuse of natural resources can be demonstrated by leaving a faucet running.

We can play a critical role in addressing sustainability issues, by promoting sustainable behaviours and practices and increasing public awareness of the importance of sustainability. For example, we can encourage our family to walk or take the public transport instead of using the car to reduce carbon footprint.

These issues are complex with many factors of consideration. It can be addressed by taking a comprehensive approach to overcome these issues.

What can you do to combat the sustainable problems in tourism? 

An important concept in sustainable tourism is Ecotourism. It refers to responsible travel to the natural environment, preserving cultural heritage, sustaining the well-being of local communities and educating the public.

The common practise is the 3R environmentally friendly principles: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Consider the following two ways that you can protect our earth.

  • One of the essential checklists while travelling overseas is to Bring-Your-Own (BYO) recycle bag for shopping. Since plastic is made from non-renewable materials and these plastics will take years to produce single-use disposables. Let’s reduce plastic manufacturing resources by bringing our recycled shopping bags everywhere we go. ‘Save the planet, save the earth’.

  • Another option to preserve the environment is: Leave No Trace (NPO) . A common principle that you may see while visiting the natural environment. The idea is to remind everyone to respect natural habitats, preserve wildlife, do not damage trails and not to pollute the environment. Let’s protect our environment whenever we get outside.

How do various sectors of tourism integrate sustainability?

Given global environmental and social challenges, the tourism industry is encouraged to implement the relevant sustainable development goals in their industry. The main goal is to protect our earth and tackle climate change to preserve biodiversity. The integration of sustainability touchpoints into all areas of tourism is becoming increasingly vital. Let’s explore the various sectors such as Hotel, Tour and Event sectors on ways to integrate sustainability goals and strategies in their industry.


Sustainable Tourism in the Hotel Industry

In the hotel industry, there are two key targets for hotels to implement in their sustainable development plan, strengthen business resilience, tap on new opportunities to drive business growth and competitiveness while delivering a positive experience for visitors. Firstly, to achieve a sustainability certificate by 2025, in implementing environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices for more than 50% of hotel rooms, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to sustainable tourism,  and attracting environmentally conscious guests. Secondly, aim to reduce emissions by tracking daily activities and yet be able to achieve a long-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Hotels play a vital role in operational practises and educating visitors on the green movement will minimise the negative impacts and maximise the positive ones for the sustainable tourism industry.

Sustainable Tourism in Tour & Travel Industry 

Here are three ways for travel agencies to include sustainable places of interest in their itinerary. Promoting the use of Green transportation, help local communities, and educate public about protecting the environment.

In the aspect of sustainable transportation, tour guides may encourage visitors to use Go Green’s range of kick scooters and bicycles for sightseeing around the island. The eco-friendly way to explore the site with friends and family.

We can also support the local community by visiting the homegrown farm and enjoy fresh local food produce straight from the farm. Enjoy the exclusive fresh food, ‘Made by Locals, Support the Locals’.

Visitors can also learn about sustainable initiatives by visiting educational hubs such as the  NEWater Visitor Centre, Singapore, that promotes water sustainability. Check out the fun and interactive places to visit in Singapore. Join the tour and travel sector if you would like to engage with visitors and be a part of the sustainable tourism industry.

Sustainable Tourism in the Event Industry

Event organisers can consider multiple ways to reduce waste and carbon footprint. For event registration, the public may sign up through digital services or mail digital event posters through social media platforms. Everybody loves food. Food and beverage catering organisers may educate the public to bring reusable serving utensils instead of single-use disposable materials for their meals.

Overall, integrating sustainable initiatives in various sustainable tourism sectors requires everyone’s effort to conserve resources, support locals, promote sustainable initiatives and educate the public in playing a vital role.

Excel in Sustainable Tourism with Master of Science Sustainable Tourism

By the year 2023, international tourist arrivals are expected to reach 1.8 million. Let’s tap onto the boundless opportunities in Sustainable Tourism. Here are 3 tips to excel in this game-changing industry.

  • Keep abreast of the latest information by attending relevant conferences, seminar events or virtual discussions such as Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) conference or the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). It is important to network within the same industry to learn more about the latest trend, and best practices on this subject including technology, policy and relevant industry changes/trends.
  • Gain practical skills and experience by applying your knowledge and sharing valuable perceptions in the networking session. This will give you valuable insight on sustainability issues and build your critical thinking, analytical and communication skills, whilst boosting your confidence in the public space.
  • Build and refine your major project that addresses real-life scenarios that are relevant to your course of study, including key issues such as eco-tourism, and best practices in the tourism industry and relate the findings to real-world scenarios.

MSc in Sustainable Tourism Entry Requirements in MDIS

We have briefly understood sustainable tourism and learned about the potential career opportunities in the sustainable tourism industry. What will be the entry requirement for The Master of Science Sustainable Tourism programme?

•          Interested applicants must be age 19 years old and above AND

•          Hold a second lower-class bachelor’s degree (any discipline) OR

•          Relevant experience that is related to honours degree / other qualifications

In addition to the above criteria, applicants will also need to meet our English Requirements. All applications will be reviewed case-to-case basis.


The MDIS School of Tourism and Hospitality provides a vast range of programmes for our students to excel including strong industry partnerships with the University of Sunderland (UK). A wide spectrum of learning opportunities and exciting challenging career options awaits you. Contact our programme consultant Ms Nancy Kusuma, at +65 9672 9699 for more details. Make a global impact and create a change in your life and career!


Founded in 1956, the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) is Singapore’s oldest not-for-profit professional institute for lifelong learning. MDIS has two main subsidiaries: Management Development Institute of Singapore Pte Ltd which oversees its Singapore academic operations, and MDIS International Pte Ltd which focuses on MDIS’ globalisation strategy. MDIS offers internationally-accredited courses in Business and Management, Engineering, Fashion and Design, Health and Nursing, Information Technology, Languages and Education, Life Sciences, Media and Communications, Psychology, Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Safety and Environmental Management.

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