Sustainable tourism

Tourism is one of the largest industries worldwide and one of the fastest-growing economic activities globally. For many countries, especially developing countries, tourism has become the most important foreign-exchange earner and source for job creation. Besides mass tourism destinations the tourism’s potential in developing rural areas and enhancing the livelihood of the local population with regard to the ecological resources and cultural identity of the destination has been widely recognized. But while there is widespread optimism about the beneficial activity of tourism for both economic and social change, the growth of tourism has raised a lot of questions as well as growing scepticism concerning tourism’s benefits and costs. The unprecedented development of tourism has given rise to a multitude of unintended economic, environmental and socio-cultural impacts.
Those negative impact are reduced or, if possible, eliminated by developing sustainable tourism. But while the term ‘sustainability’ has ascended to a fashionable or marketing concept, its significance is often either diluted or misunderstood and often sustainability is interpreted as one sees fit. According to the UNWTO achieving sustainable tourism requires several objects:
  • The natural, historical, cultural and other resources for tourism are conserved for continuous use in the future, while still bringing benefits to present society.
  • Tourism development is planned and managed so that it does not generate serious environmental or socio-cultural problems in the tourism area.
  • The overall environmental quality of tourism areas is maintained and improved where needed.
  • A high level of tourist satisfaction is maintained so that tourist destinations will retain their marketability and popularity.
  • The benefits from tourism are widely spread throughout society.