Sustainable tourism refers to types of travel in which the environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism taken into account and adjustments made to minimize these negative consequences. It considers the needs of travelers, but also the needs of host communities, local businesses and the natural world.
This could mean adopting more sustainable methods of transportation, staying in more environmentally friendly accommodations, eating locally and ethically sourced food, and avoiding harmful activities. Sustainable tourism can be related to leisure, business or event travel, but also travel to visit friends and family.
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Why is sustainable tourism important?
The concept of sustainable tourism is incredibly relevant because, while travel can generate economic benefits for a local area and generate jobs for those in the industry, it can also have negative consequences, such as overuse of resources, displacement of wildlife and damage to local culture. All while contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
As tourism expected to continue to grow in the coming years, current tourism habits will become unsustainable because they are causing too much damage to the environment, local communities and the earth’s natural resources. This makes sustainable travel essential to the long-term viability of the tourism industry as a whole.
By prioritizing sustainable tourism, governments, travel companies, airlines, hotels, restaurants, and travelers can help ensure that tourism remains possible for years to come. When steps taken to provide benefits to locals and minimize the damage caused by tourism, it becomes a force for good in the world.
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What is the goal of sustainable tourism?
The ultimate goal of sustainable tourism is to reduce the impact of tourism on local communities and the environment. This means making optimal use of resources to avoid over-consumption, helping to conserve the natural world, and making a conscious effort to respect local traditions and heritage and contribute to their preservation.
An important goal related to sustainable tourism is to make the long-term future of travel more viable, and this is achieved through education and behavioral changes. In addition, sustainable tourism aims to provide economic and social benefits for local communities, resulting in a greater mutual benefit. ‘Give and take’ relationship.
The UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), an international organization linked to the United Nations since 1976, believes that in order to develop tourism it is essential to make proper use of natural resources. The organization has established three keys to ensure that tourism can achieve sustainability:
- Optimize environmental resources. Without nature and ecosystems, there is no tourism. Conserving natural resources and caring for the planet’s biological diversity is the only way for tourism to exist.
- Protect local culture. When we travel, a fundamental aspect of understanding a place is its culture, its people and the values of the host community. Tourism cannot be sustainable if there is no respect for the local culture and people.
- Wealth distribution. The economy is another key factor in the development of sustainable tourism. It is necessary to guarantee economic activities that last over time and generate stable employment opportunities. One of the main objectives of sustainable tourism is to reduce poverty in local communities.