Advocating responsible tourism

Promoting sustainable tourism
Sustainable tourism development can fulfill economic, social and aesthetic needs while maintaining cultural integrity and ecological processes. It can provide for today's hosts and guests while protecting and enhancing the same opportunity for the future. Sustainable tourism also involves making hard political choices based on complex social, economic, and environmental trade-offs. It requires a vision which encompasses a larger time and space context than that traditionally used in community planning and decision-making.
Sustainable tourism is developed and managed in a manner that is consistent with Agenda 21 and the ongoing work on this matter as promoted by the Commission on Sustainable Development. As such, sustainable tourism includes such aspects as sustainable use of resources, including biological resources, and minimizes environmental, ecological, cultural and social impacts, and maximizes benefits. For sustainable patterns of consumption and production in the tourism sector, it is essential to strengthen national policy development and enhance capacity in the areas of physical planning, impact assessment, and the use of economic and regulatory instruments, as well as in the areas of information, education and marketing. Particular attention should be paid to the degradation of biological diversity and fragile ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mountains, coastal areas and wetlands. Ecotourism is a new, growing sector of tourism, which relies on the existence and maintenance of biological diversity and habitats. While it may require less infrastructure construction and facility-building than conventional tourism, proper planning and management are important to the sustainable development of ecotourism and to prevent threats to biological diversity on which it is intrinsically dependent.

Tourism planning, development and operation should be part of conservation or sustainable development strategies for a region. Local people should be encouraged and expected to undertake leadership roles in planning and development with the assistance of government, business, financial and other interests. It should be cross-sectoral and integrated, involving different government agencies, private corporations, citizens groups and individuals thus providing the widest possible benefits.

Agencies, corporations, groups and individuals should follow ethical and other principles which respect the culture and environment of the host area, the economy and traditional way of life, the community and traditional behaviour, leadership and political patterns.

Tourism should be undertaken with equity in mind to distribute fairly benefits and costs among tourism promoters and host peoples and areas.

Integrated environmental, social and economic planning analyses should be undertaken prior to the commencement of any major projects, with careful consideration given to different types of tourism development and the ways in which they might link with existing uses, ways of life and environmental considerations. Throughout all stages of tourism development and operation, a careful assessment, monitoring and mediation programme should be conducted in order to allow local people and others to take advantage of opportunities or to respond to changes.

In 1994, the Sustainable Tourism World Conference, held in Lanzarote, agreed on the "Charter for Sustainable Tourism".
Above all, sustainable tourism involves an integrated approach to development and must not be simply a marketing ploy. There is undoubtedly a growth in 'alternative' or 'green' tourism catering to special interests in nature or culture, but the principles of sustainability must be implemented by the whole industry, including the mass market, not simply limited to a relatively expensive and specialized, small-scale, elite market.
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal