Sustainable tourism: What is it?

Victoria Falls will host the 37th Africa Travel Association National Congress this weekend. Approximately 300 travel professionals, government ministers and other relevant stakeholders from around the world are expected to attend.

Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls

Sustainable tourism is about sustainable development. According to the United Nations report, Our Common Future, 1987 United Nations report, sustainable development “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Very few people understand what sustainable development is all about and 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.

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

Our planet 3.5 billion years ago to our Economy 5 000 years ago.
Our planet 3.5 billion years ago to our Economy 5 000 years ago.

• Contribution to climate change, being responsible for an estimated 5% 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 consequent destruction of our environment;

Our planet today with very little Natural Capital left
Our planet today with very little Natural Capital left

• Dislocation and fracturing of traditional societies and communities;

• Pressure on cultural heritage sites, natural environments and biodiversity; these are all interlinked.

Positive Benefits

• 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 proactive support for their conservation.

Working with communities

Environment Africa has launched the Victoria Falls Green Fund as one of the initiatives to support sustainable tourism and development in and around Victoria Falls.

The Victoria Falls Green Fund supports projects and programmes around Conservation and Communities with the aim of Victoria Falls becoming Africa’s GREEN destination.

Recently the Victoria Falls Green Fund initiated the Carry In Carry Out project together with National Parks and the Victoria Falls Council. This aims to keep the area clean and encourages recycling, reuse of materials in and with the community so as to uplift their livelihoods and improve the environment.

www.environmentafrica.org

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Post published in: Environment

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