Tourism has the potential to be one of the core sectors for many parts of India. Tourism has a massive ripple effect on various aspects of the economic ecosystem. The sector can propel economic wellbeing, through income generation, creation of employment opportunities in the local economy.
It also can generate ancillary benefits. viz. infrastructure development, preservation of cultural heritage and local community ecosystem. Post the pandemic, both travelers and the industry suppliers, have unique requirements that are compelling the use of technology to amplify impact and reach. Tourism today has expanded to include sectors that take into consideration the changing demands of travellers – such as personalisation of experiences, as well as global prerogatives on sustainability, mobility, amongst others.
Sustainable Tourism as a concept is also emerging as a guiding pillar to build around. According to the United Nations, World Tourism Organisation, Tourism, to be called Sustainable, must: Conserve environmental resources and protect biodiversity Respect and preserve the cultures of host communities whilst benefiting them Address the needs of the visitors and industry whilst providing socio-economic benefit to all
There are many ideas emerging around the need for sustainable tourism, and hence tourismtech innovators are becoming important ecosystem enablers. Some of the technology themes that can be identified within these are:
Clean Tech : The term clean technology or cleantech most commonly refers to non-polluting technology. However, it more broadly refers to technologies that also reduce the impact on the environment through energy conservation, waste reduction, and the performance of necessary tasks like remote equipment monitoring and maintenance with low carbon emissions. Examples of environmental technology include a variety of industrial applications as well as environmentally friendly goods, services, and infrastructure. Smart cities and businesses could use green technology to achieve their net-zero carbon goals.
Listed below are a few instances of what is meant by green technology;: Wind Power: Wind farms produce green energy from an endlessly renewable source, and wind turbines for generating electricity are among the most noticeable new clean energy technologies on the landscape.
Photovoltaic cells are used in solar panels to directly harvest energy from sunlight. Rooftop solar panels are now less expensive than they were a few decades ago, and more people are using them for both commercial and residential purposes.
Hydro Power: Hydroelectric dams are yet another illustration of how clean technology and energy coexist. One of the earliest sources of clean energy, hydroelectric dams provide electricity to cities all over the world.
Smart Cities: By improving necessary services like lighting, water/wastewater treatment, and trash collection, cities have a huge opportunity to lower carbon emissions. Numerous Smart Cities are investing in low-carbon technologies to improve their cleanliness, livability, and sustainability.
Smart electrical grids: To reduce spikes in electricity consumption, public utilities use tools and financial incentives to encourage usage during off-peak hours. In order to meet demand, utilities are increasingly turning to renewable energy sources.
EVs (electric vehicles) and charging infrastructure Electric vehicles and EV charging stations are among the cleantech industries with the fastest-growing market share because motor vehicles are the world largest source of greenhouse gases.
Sustainable Infrastructure: Infrastructure projects can significantly reduce environmental impact through the use of intelligent lighting, intelligent poles, intelligent traffic management, and intelligent construction techniques.
Precision agriculture: By only applying pesticides and herbicides where they are required, cleantech solutions for agriculture help conserve water and use fewer pesticides and herbicides. In order to improve energy efficiency and cut costs, waste management services are switching to technologies that optimize vehicle scheduling and routing.
2. Waste Management
There are numerous negative effects tourism can have on the environment, so your trip to that amazing exotic city may be creating more issues than you realize. These include placing a heavy demand on the city’s waste management system, resources, and energy. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), tourists alone produce 4.8 million tonnes of waste annually or 14% of all solid
waste. Particularly in locations that are more rural in character or with low population densities,
this waste could potentially overwhelm waste management systems. Given that many cities
have peak seasons in either the winter or the summer, this increase is frequently seasonal.
Due to overcrowding and visitors' unfamiliarity with various waste systems, improper
waste disposal can result in environmental issues like groundwater or soil contamination
and greenhouse gas emissions, among other things.
The Trash Co. is a cleantech startup that has been incubated at FiiRE Goa (Forum for Incubation, Innovation, Research & Entrepreneurship and is currently developing technological systems and processes to recover waste in the most cost-effective way possible through the existing supply chain. Another such start-up that has been incubated at FiiRE, Green Waves, is committed to reducing electronic waste while also promoting effective zero waste management, awareness raising, and conservation.
3. Recycling / Rejuvenation / Reuse for Sustainability
There are a host of ideas that are being practiced across the globe. A glimpse of some of these
An alternative to disposable plastic cups A device that measures and displays water usage when showering in hotels
An app saving leftover food that would otherwise go to waste Virtual Tours to augment the experience for tourists
Goa as tourism ecosystem, required solutions to ensure that local communities are supportive of tourism led activities and economic growth. Developing tech solutions that support sustainable tourism, hinterland tourism, conservation of environment, effective waste management, are imperative for the state and it’s people.
FiiRE – Forum for incubation, Innovation, Research & Entrepreneurship, is one of the key enablers in this journey. With a mandate of helping Tourism Tech startups to take-off, FiiRE is an important TourismTech accelerators in the country. With the objective of supporting tech founders to design and scale Tourism tech innovations in various segments including Sustainability, Mobility, Operational Efficiency, New payment solutions, amongst others, FiiRE is making it’s mark on the global arena too, with collaborations with important global summits like the Tourism Innovation Summit, Seville, 2022
FiiRE also plays a role, along with other participants, in forming and developing the Goa startup community. A very interesting space to track, learn from and develop, indeed.