Sustainable tourism is tourism development that avoids damage to the environment, economy and cultures of the locations where it takes place. The aim of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people; tourism companies; and tourists themselves.
According to the World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism is tourism that leads to the management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems
Some terms related to Sustainable Tourism
Responsible tourism is the closest definition to sustainable tourism; however it tends to refer to the consumers choice of destination and mode of transport based on their ethical, political and racial sensitivities as well as being concerned for the environment and local culture.
In conclusion, Responsible tourism is any form of tourism that can be consumed in a more responsible way.
Ethical tourism is when one considers travelling to, or developing tourism in a destination where ethical issues are the key driver, e.g. social injustice, human rights, animal welfare or the environment. Ethical tourism is geared towards encouraging both the consumer and industry to avoid participation in activities that contribute or support negative ethical issues.
Ecotourism, also known as ecological tourism, is a subset of sustainable tourism which focuses on ecology. Ecotourism tends to be encountered in destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. The industry actively works towards conserving or improving the natural and cultural heritage through managing its own operations to help conserve the environment, organizing conservation projects, offering volunteering and educating visitors.
Tips for becoming a Responsible Traveller
- Be considerate with the communities and environment you visit.
- Try to avoid excessive waste and the use of plastic bottles.
- Reduce energy consumption. Unplug your mobile phone charger, turn off the lights when you leave your hotel room, shut off your computer when not in use.
- Wear more clothes instead of turning up the thermostat.
- Conserve water. Take shorter showers.
- Always ask before taking photographs. If someone says no, respect their wishes.
- Educate yourself about the place you are visiting and the people.
- Respect cultural differences - and learn from it! People in different places do things differently - don't try to change them - enjoy them.
- Dress respectively. Notice local dress codes and adhere to them.
- Do not purchase or eat endangered species.
- Do not support the illegal drug trade or the sex trade.
- Support the local economy. Buy locally made souvenirs, eat at local restaurants - enjoy the local culture!
- Use public transportation wherever possible, such as the train, bus, cycle, or just walk.