Sustainable Tourism Indicators Essay Example

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Sustainable tourism indicators 24

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction 5

1.1 The purpose of the report 6

2.0 Literature review 6

2.1 Sustainable tourism 7

2.2 Sustainable tourism indicators 8

2.3 Types of indicators 8

2.4 Application of indicators 9

2.5 Characteristics of good indicators 9

2.6 Carbon neutrality 10

2.7 Effects of Carbon Emissions 10

3.0 Methodology 11

3.1 Qualitative Research Methods 11

3.1.1 Observations 11

3.1.2 Interview 12

3.2 Quantitative Research Methods 12

4.0 Results 13

4.1 Social Indicators 13

4.1.1 Public awareness programme on sustainable tourism 13

4.1.2 Overcrowding in the shopping mall 13

4.1.3 Crime 13

4.2 Environmental indicators 14

4.2.1 Protection of biological sources 14

4.2.2 Water treatment 14

4.2.3 Solid waste management 14

4.3 Economical indicators 15

4.3.1 Seasonality: 15

4.3.2 Variety of attractions: 15

4.3.3 Consumer Satisfaction: 15

4.3.4 Pricing 16

5.0 Discussion 16

5.1 Carbon offsetting 16

6.0 Limitations 17

7.0 Recommendations 17

7.1 Carbon management 17

7.2 Overcrowding the shopping mall 18

8.0 Conclusions 18

References 19

Appendices 22

1.0 Introduction

Tourism is such an important economic activity in any economy. Well managed tourist destinations within a country forms large part of annual revenues that are essential in promoting economic growth. Marina Bay Sands (MBS) in Singapore is one of the major business, leisure as well as leading entertainment destinations found in Asia. The destinations is characterized by various facilities such as hotels, shopping malls as well as world-class restaurants that have been put in place to provide services to the visitors who tour the site both from local and outside country Bumpus (2008).

In its attempt to ensure sustainable tourism, the MBS has taken a step in ensuring that a variety of services are offered which include well furnished hotels, entertainment theatres not forgetting the other concerns such as security through well fixed surveillance camera systems that are put in place to detect any danger that may prevail within the destination.

However, MBS has taken a huge initiative of using various sustainable tourism indicators that are geared towards ascertaining the level of achievement made by the Bay with regard to its laid down objectives. These indicators are meant to ensure that the destination does not divert from its core purpose which is to attain sustainable development while serving its clientele. It is also important to note that Marina Bay Sands is revenue generation oriented and therefore these indicators are important in ensuring that adequate revenue is made available for business continuity services by Weaver (2008).

1.1 The purpose of the report

This report is aimed at analyzing various indicators that are used to evaluate the MBS with regard to sustainable tourism. An indicator is a measurement tool that is used to assess the effectiveness of changing the operating conditions. The indicators are used to filter the available information in order to compare the results with the expectations. The indicators used in our report mainly focus on three main areas which include economical, environmental as well as socio-cultural issues. The indicators were used with justifications as to why they were selected. This was done through a comparison with other world destinations that used the indicators. The report also seeks to evaluate both the strengths and weaknesses of these indicators in assessing tourism sustainability as reflected in Hurlimann, Hemphill, McKay & Geursen (2008).

2.0 Literature review

Sustainable tourism is defined as the management of all natural resources so that various needs such as economic, social and beautification are met while maintaining social integrity, ecological processes, life support and biological diversity for the present generation and coming generations. Sustainable tourism as a concept explains how different authorities and governments manage their available resources in realizing various benefits such as economical and social without compromising their future use Bumpus (2008). That means these resources are used for the present and future needs. Properly managed sustainable tourism management plans provides different opportunities for the tourists to have some experience on natural areas, cultural practices among different communities as well as learn more on the importance of preserving the natural resources. The indicators used in this report include those that evaluate the impact on social and cultural practices, tourist attractions, seasonality of visiting tourists, the availability of decent accommodation, management of waste like carbon emissions, the environmental cleanliness as well as the protection of the natural environment. In general terms sustainable tourism indicators play a vital role in bridging the gap between tourism related-activities and the general environment that carries them as argued by Wiedmann & Minx (2007).

Given that some tourism destinations are operating on very delicate environment, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) has sensed that there is a possibility of having declining tourism and therefore has come up with strategy that will see it partner with other organizations in designing certain tools that can be incorporated to ensure that tourism is viable and sustainable across the world. These instruments are aimed at promoting proper planning, development as well as management processes that are sustainable tourism oriented. The first instruments to be developed were the sustainable tourism indicators which are applied by tourism managements to execute tourism-related activities without compromising the environment Katyal & Ashok (2009).

2.1 Sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism is defined as the management of all natural resources so that various needs such as economic, social and beautification are met while maintaining social integrity, ecological processes, life support and biological diversity for the present generation and coming generations. Sustainable tourism as a concept explains how different authorities and governments manage their available resources in realizing various benefits such as economical and social without compromising their future use.

2.2 Sustainable tourism indicators

As defined from the previous discussion, sustainable tourism is defined as the management of all natural resources so that various needs such as economic, social and beautification are met while maintaining social integrity, ecological processes, life support and biological diversity for the present generation and coming generations. In the advent of applying sustainable tourism, it was realized that various tourist destinations that were receiving many visitors experienced numerous challenges in ensuring that the ultimate goal of sustaining the environment was attained. The natural resources were found to be on the decline, human environment was being exploited without forgetting that social and cultural practices of the indigenous communities were diminishing. Therefore the whole essence was to ensure that tourism practices were promoted while at the same time ensuring that the environment where they are carried is sustained for a longer period of time as argued by Wiedmann & Minx (2007).

2.3 Types of indicators

Type of indicator

Warming indicators

Water and air quality

Measures of stress

Visiting tourists

Measures of natural state resources

Resource base, utilization levels

Impact measures

Increase in tourist attractions and employment

Management measures

Efforts and actions

Measures on management impact

Achievement goals

Source: World Tourism Organization report, 2009

The table above shows various types of indicators and their origin. They table shows indicators and how they have been developed given the challenges that are associated with sustainable tourism.

2.4 Application of indicators

The ultimate goal for using indicators is to ascertain the situation in the current tourism practices in order to put in place plans for future tourism. This is done by assessing the various practices whether they can ensure continuity of tourism under certain conditions. Indicators are incorporated at the onset of planning in order to for them to be applied as ‘watch dogs’ by ensuring that the planned activities do not deviate from the expected goal. Well used indicators can always tell the achievement level in terms of performance thereby informing the management on the appropriate course of action. These indicators also provide credible information to both the investors and the government especially on what they expect as revenue and the budget for expenditure Weaver (2008).

2.5 Characteristics of good indicators

The main agenda for MBS is to attain high levels in terms of customer services delivery while ensuring that the environment is not compromised. Some of the operational areas which MBS seeks to advance in include security, accommodation, entertainment, environmental protection, water purification as well as creating conducive environment which is free from overcrowding and disorderliness. It also seeks to embrace moral integrity within the society. All these areas require that proper infrastructure be put in place for easy accessibility to essential services. However, the most important element towards achieving this is to have in place performance indicators that will tell whether the business is headed in the right direction in achieving its goals or not. There good indicators must be realistic, objective, time bound, cost effective, understandable as well as time saving. They must also enlighten the people in terms of knowledge on the importance of putting in place those practices that can ensure that the environment is sustainable Bumpus (2008). For further information refer to appendix 1 below.

2.6 Carbon neutrality

Global warming in current world is the main challenge and it is posing a very big threat to mankind and all other living organisms. The main cause for global warming is the emission of carbon dioxide from industries and other automotive plants and machines where burning fuel produces carbon dioxide gas as a form of waste. This challenge has necessitated the need to have in place alternative sources of energy like solar in order to reduce the effects of global warming Katyal & Ashok (2009). Carbon dioxide that is directly or indirectly emitted to the environment can be measured in terms of ‘carbon footprint’. Carbon dioxide emissions can also be minimized through carbon trading whereby the gases produced are recycled for other purposes. Apart from global warming, carbon dioxide can also affect MBS in terms of cost that is incurred in the process of mitigating effects by spending more money. However, with the evolvement of indicators, MBS can now apply new techniques to produce energy without burning fuel. One such technology is the use of solar power to heat water thereby reducing the amount of waste that is emitted. Therefore for MBS to work towards attaining sustainability it must put it is effort in reducing carbon emissions Roberts & Tribe, (2008).

2.7 Effects of Carbon Emissions

As discussed early, apart from global warming and management cost, carbon emissions have impacted negatively on businesses in terms of climatic change. Given the several challenges posed by carbon emissions, tourism organizations through the WTO initiative, have established ‘green’ programmes that will see the visitors educated on the importance of flora and fauna in maintaining natural sustainability. Icecaps are one such example of the effects that have been caused as a result of global warming by carbon emissions. Icecaps can easily cause serious effects on the lives of aquatic animals. For this reason the MBS need to put several indicators in place in order to up with most responsible ways to offset these effects Weaver (2008).

3.0 Methodology

Methodology refers to those procedures that the team used to gather the information that informed this report. Methodology can be divided into two main broad categories namely qualitative and quantitative research methods. This part of the discussion will be discussed individually highlighting how they were applied to collect data Roberts & Tribe, (2008).

3.1 Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative research methods refers to those methods that the researcher used which do not require any kind of recording in form of numbers and figures. The process is mainly done through observations and interviews.

3.1.1 Observations

Observation being one of the qualitative methods that was used by the research team entailed purely visiting the site in order to study the management trends used in the MBS to ensure sustainable development. Observations by the research team need to have consented permission from the authority in order to access various sections within the bay. Permission is always is asked before the main visit. The disadvantage with this method is that it is time consuming, costly and easy to forget. However, through observations, the management permitted entry into restricted sites therefore enabling the research to access very critical information for our report Roberts & Tribe (2008).

3.1.2 Interview

Interviews form a very important of study whereby the researcher engages the management through questions in form of telephone communication or face to face discussion. This method is credited with it is ability to reinforce quantitative data which otherwise could doubted. They also that clarity and transparency is achieved. Incase of this study the research team engaged the MBS management team, their clientele and the local authority with regard to research questions on sustainable tourism indicators Coulter, Canadell & Dhakal (2008).

3.2 Quantitative Research Methods

Quantitative Research Methods include those methods that the research team used to record data. This method mainly applies the use of numbers and other related figures that can give a clear picture with regard to the area of study. This method is commonly used in extracting information from management reports, libraries and even from the website. The advantage with this method is that it provides more permanent way of keeping data for future utilization Alonso (2009).

4.0 Results

4.1 Social Indicators

4.1.1 Public awareness programme on sustainable tourism

The MBS together with the visiting tourists, statesmen and women together with the corporate clients have partnered in order to educate the general public on the importance of protecting the general environment for development. They have also taken the initiative to work together with the ministry of education in order to have the youngsters being taken through the sustainable programmes as away of its long-term plans that will see sustainable tourism across the country. These programmes have played very vital role in instilling important social values on preserving the environment. The MBS has also another important step which has seen them put in place eco-friendly infrastructure that are sustainable to the environment. MBS has also offered to sponsor internship programmes that enable individuals learn more on tourism management Bandyopadhyay and Santanu (2009).

4.1.2 Overcrowding in the shopping mall

Congestion in the MBS shopping mall is no longer a problem since many of the products in the mall are actually very costly and require people with huge capital to spend. This trend has significantly reduced congestion within the mall since very few individuals can manage a purchase from the shopping mall as reported by Downie (2007).

4.1.3 Crime

A number have been reduced greatly within and outside the destination for the purpose of ensuring that the tourists are free to explore the place at any given time. However, there have been persistent crimes in the casino shop where now many visitors are not willing to enter because of security reasons Katyal & Ashok (2009). For further information refer to appendix 4.

4.2 Environmental indicators

4.2.1 Protection of biological sources

As a way of protecting the biological sources which include the fauna and flora, the MBS has taken an initiative to come up with public campaign known as the ‘Keep Marina Clean Campaign’ to assist in ensuring that the bay is always kept neat and tidy. This has greatly reduced pollution along the bay. The bay has also taken a step further to find other alternative sources of energy apart from diesel so as to reduce carbon dioxide emitted. Siltation has also been catered for by using tiles in order to tap the soil that is washed away by the running waters Todd (2008).

4.2.2 Water treatment

For the purpose of preserving water, the roof of the museum has been built in such away that water is harvested during the rain season and put in the reservoirs for the purpose of watering the plants and washing the cars. The rest of the waters are channeled down to the pond below the building. The rainwater is recycled and then channeled to create a continuous water feature where water moves in cylindrical form. The program has also enabled the bay to equip its bathroom thanks with water Bumpus (2008). Appendix 3 gives more information on the same.

4.2.3 Solid waste management

The MBS building is one the biggest structures in Singapore which for a long period has continued to produce a lot of waste. However, as an initiative of sustainable tourism, MBS has come up with most modern methods that are used to reduce the toxic fumes level in these material wastes before disposing it. They also segregate solid waste into organic components for effective disposal. As one of the several initiatives of disposing solid waste, the MBS also do recycle material waste such as wood, metal as well as the excavated earth Alonso (2009).

4.3 Economical indicators

4.3.1 Seasonality:

The bay has neither high seasons nor low seasons. It experiences continuous visits whereby tourists jet in throughout the year. This has seen the bay make huge returns in terms of profits over years as stated by Kelly &Williams (2007).

4.3.2 Variety of attractions:

A number of features have been made available which have acted as attractive features for the tourists. They include world-class hotels and restaurants, shopping malls, casinos as well as the Paiza club where premium members meet to play. Outdoor plaza, the ‘Lion King’ Showcase and the Artscience Museum at MBS form an important centre for tourist attractions Weaver (2008).

4.3.3 Consumer Satisfaction:

The bay is full of variety events whereby people come to enjoy thereby making huge spending. The bay is one of the most famous entertainment and leisure destinations in the Asian continent. Given its facilities in terms of security and accommodation, the bay has continued to offer satisfactorily services to its visitors Sentosa annual revenue report (2008).

4.3.4 Pricing

The bay has seen establishment of 4 and 5 star hotels which offer relative rates for accommodation. This has catered for the needs of various individuals in terms of cost. For example the Atrium Delux 5 star hotel, the accommodation fee ranges from S$399 above. The Chairman room and the president suite cost between S$ 2000 and S$7000 and S$ 20000 respectively. With these different offers the bay has been able to accommodate all people from across the world Singapore (2010).

4.3.5 Minimum light-glass panel The substitution of electricity with glass panel has enabled the bay also to reduce the cost incurred as the bill for electricity. The glass panels are used to ensure that when electricity is not in use, natural light is used to light the rooms and therefore saving the natural resources of energy Coulter, Canadell & Dhakal (2008). This is further elaborated by appendix 2.

5.0 Discussion

5.1 Carbon offsetting

Maintaining a conducive environment is always one of the major tasks that an investor must take into consideration. Global warming is one such challenge whereby carbon emissions from fuels and other sources of energy go into the air thereby creating a layer which affects the regulation of temperature on the surface of the earth. At the MBS, carbon emissions are reduced by using those materials that are less toxic to the environment. For example eco-friendly paints are used instead of the ones that have high level of fumes. There is also reduced use of diesel as a way of ensuring that carbon monoxide gases emitted are reduced. Use of carbon monoxide monitoring instruments at the car parks has done a great deal in educing gases emitted from the exhausted fans. At the casino buildings these facilities are used to fresh air is regulated within the building Todd (2008).

6.0 Limitations

It is important to note that use of tourism indicators can play a vital role in ensuring quality services are provided. However, in compiling this report, the research team encountered a number of challenges which include difficultness in accessing any information that was considered sensitive. It was also not easy for the team to convince the respondents that whatever information that was provided was confidential and therefore only a small number that was ready to respond effectively. In some occasions information was not available both on the website and the management records. The process of carrying out the study was also time consuming and very costly to execute thus making the exercise more difficult Underwater World Singapore website (2010).

7.0 Recommendations

7.1 Carbon management

The bay has a well planned carbon management practice that should be embraced by everybody. However, the main challenge has been how to have the customers understand the concept and its importance. It is recommendable for the bay to come up with strategies such as rewarding the most compliant customers who are ready to stop using those vehicles that use the diesel. This will ensure that the agenda to preserve the environment is a responsibility for each and every person Benetatos (2008).

7.2 Overcrowding the shopping mall

The pricing of commodities at the shopping mall is very costly thereby scaring most of the customers. However, important this idea is, it is good to note that the majority of the customers are likely to spend there money elsewhere. This will see throwing of litter allover therefore compromising the general environment. In order to make this indicator more useful, the shopping mall management is obliged with the responsibility of ensuring that a variety of services are available that meet visitors needs in terms of cost and satisfaction Bandyopadhyay and Santanu (2009).

8.0 Conclusions

Use of indicators has been realized to have played a very vital role in assessing the sustainability of the bay. The indicators enable the management to identify the aspects of the bay that are doing well and those that require some improvement to be done in order to ensure sustainability. With regard to the Marina Bay Sands, the indicators have been used to identify areas of weakness that must be corrected quality service delivery to the visitors. These indicators have also provided a framework on how tourism related activities can be managed in order to ensure that the environment that are carried on is sustained for long-term benefits. It is through the indicators that the Marina Bay Sands has seen enormous achievement in fighting global warming alongside establishing programmes that ensure all tourism activities are eco-friendly. However the fights against environmental degradation need to continue since the challenges are many and continue to evolve Roberts & Tribe, (2008).


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Appendix 1: Table of indicators

Management Issues

Indicators (What)

Measures (How)


Economic Sustainability

Is BMS a viable business?

Economic Performance

Annual revenue made

  • Income earned between 2008 and 2009 financial year. Approx S$ 300 M.

Socio-Cultural Sustainability

Is BMS an appropriate destination for educating the public on the importance of sustainability

Education programme and corporate clients

Public awareness

  • Partnering with the corporate clients

Is the environment conducive for the visitors?

Visitor Satisfaction

NO. of services delivered

  • Accommodation expansion programmes

Service quality level (survey)

  • Ministry of trade and tourism

Environmental Sustainability

Energy Management

Is BMS energy efficient?

Energy consumption

Electricity consumption level

  • Use of glass panels

  • Use of solar cells

  • In most cases the electricity lights are switched off when not engaged

Appendix 2: picture for energy usage

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Appendix 3; picture showing water treatment areas

Course Code: 1

Appendix 4; picture showing the casino building

Course Code: 2