Sustainable Tourism: What is it?

Sustainable Tourism is about sustainable development. So what is sustainable development? According to the United Nations report, Our Common Future, sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

It is best described in the two diagrams below:

Our Natural Capital, which is our environment that we depend on for our livelihoods, is fast disappearing and, as the diagrams above show, we have very little Natural Capital left.

Tourism is based on biodiversity and some of the negative impacts that tourism have on biodiversity are:

Contribution to climate change, being responsible for an estimated 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions which is growing rapidly;

Depletion of natural and precious resources, such as the use of land and water;

Creation of pollution of all kinds with its consequent destruction to our environment;

Communities and dislocation and fracturing of traditional societies;

Pressure on cultural heritage sites, natural environments and biodiversity.

Positive benefits of tourism

A growing opportunity for enterprise development and employment creation;

Direct and indirect support for local communities, through the creation of job opportunities, benefits from income derived, improvement of services and infrastructure;

Awareness of natural and cultural heritage and pro-active support for their conservation;

Health, wellbeing and educational benefits for tourists and hosts, which should be accessible to all.

To save our planet for future generations we subscribe to an age old proverb:

Give a man a fish you feed him today. Teach a man to fish and you feed him until the fish run out. Teach a man to breed fish, to build a business and he will sustain a community for life and ensure the survival of a species.

Key principles

Sustainability objectives should be defined and actions coordinated by an effective management system;

Tourism should bring the greatest possible social and economic benefits to local communities and any negative impacts on them should be minimized;

Local cultural heritage must be respected and opportunities should be taken to strengthen its integrity and richness;

Impacts on the global and local environment, through pollution and depletion of natural resources, should be minimized and conscious, active support should be given to the conservation of local landscapes and biodiversity.

Post published in: Environment

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