What is sustainable tourism development?

woman taking pictures of ruins
Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com

Sustainable tourism development is a research area that can cover a wide range of ideas. 

Everything from economic growth to environmental protection falls under its banner. 

What ties them all together, though, is a long-term aim for growth and development. 

Anyone working in the field of sustainable tourism wants to see renewable resources used to make sure future generations have as many opportunities for local and global tourism as we do today. 

One important part of sustainable tourism is that it is supply-led, meaning we’re looking at how to manage the various impacts of non-local visitors.  

That could be directly contrasted with mass tourism which is driven by the motivations of the tourists and their needs. 

Another way to put it is that sustainable development is more focused on long-term economic gains than mass tourism.  

That belief goes hand in hand with an interest in ecological sustainability and equality in human life. 

We’re trying to find a balance between economic, environmental and societal concerns. 

Having universal principals that meet the criteria above isn’t easy, not least because the systems in place right now have been adapted for local situations.  

Modern sustainability relies on management, rather than exploitation, of the tools we have available to us.  

That means the main role of strategic management in any tourist organisation is to adapt to the changing environment. 

Most tourist destinations are now having to think about appropriate uses of their resources within the context of sustainability. 

The tourism industry, in a large way, got to this situation through a lack of analysis of its impact on the ecosystem. 

But sustainable tourism can have a major effect on the social, economic and environmental health of a community. 

It affects ecological protection, wildlife conservation, socio-economic development and many more areas vital for the continuation of tourism in an area. 

With that said, what we need now is a coordinated effort on the part of stakeholders for sustainable tourism development.