Sustainable Tourism, the way forward
Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation , Disaster Preparedness and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and an important source of foreign exchange and employment for many developing countries. Since the mid 90’s we have heard of the term “Sustainable Tourism” and thought of it vaguely as something good for the planetand for the future of tourism but most of us do not really know what it is and its value.
Sustainable is Explainable. Here, we will try to explain what is meant by Sustainable Tourism according to the World Tourism Organization(WTO). Sustainable Tourism is “satisfying current tourist and host community needs, while protecting and improving future opportunities.” Put simply, Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time with due consideration for carrying capacity. Forhumanity, it is the continuing maintenance of its well-being, as it depends on the natural resources’ benefits and its responsible use.
In the Philippines, the 7107 islands archipelago is blessed with a wealth of natural resources: verdant tropical forest and a stunning range of marine biodiversity, even declared in one region as a Natural World Heritage site. However through the years, ignorance, recklessness, lack of education or awareness, poverty, deforestation and destruction of marine eco systems has damaged some of theislands’ beauty and assets, the very same source that provide livelihood for millions of citizens. More so for its top beach attractions, where stakeholders and travelers alike are unaware of their responsibility to conserve and avoid damage to the places they develop or visit, now vulnerable and threatened, and worse in some, endangered. This is not withstanding the fact that global climate change has fast-tracked the destruction.
According to UNEP, Sustainable Tourism describes policies, practices and programs that take into account not only the expectations of tourists regarding responsible natural resource management (demand), but also the needs of communities that support or are affected by tourism projects and the environment (supply) 2. Sustainable tourism thus aspires to be more energy efficient and more “climate sound” (e.g. by using renewable energy, minimize waste); consume less water; conserve biodiversity, cultural heritage and traditional values;support intercultural understanding and tolerance; generate local income and integrate host communities with a view to improving livelihoods and reducing poverty.
Local cultures, values and traditions are affected adversely from the profusion of massive expansion without any regard for eco balance. One major loss is authenticity, a major pillar in the principle of sustainable tourism, which should maintain the geographical character of a place, its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture and well-being of its residents.
Sustainable is Attainable. According to the WTO guidelines, “Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participationof all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building.” To achieve Sustainable Tourism, all sectors have to follow a continuous process which requires constant monitoring of impacts and implement the necessarypreventive and/or corrective measures at all times.
In summary WTO’s Sustainable Tourism is:
- Making optimal use of environmental resources that form a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity to meet climate challenge
- Respecting the sociocultural authenticity of host communities,conserving their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contributing to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
- Ensuring viable, long-term economic operations, providing equal socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders, including stable employment, income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities and contributing to poverty alleviation.
Sustainable tourism should not only satisfy the travelers’ needs of pleasure and relaxation but also ensure a meaningful experience that raises their awareness about preserving and conserving nature and culture while contributing to the local community as a lasting legacy.
Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation , Disaster Preparedness and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
SSTDI is proud to be part of the Founding Board of the ASIAN ECOTOURISM NETWORK and a member of:
References: UNEP, UN- WTO, National Geographic, Wikepedia
Photos credits: Al3 Photography for Coron, Palawan, Inkaterra for Peru
Posted on September 17, 2012, in Eco Conservation, Ecotourism, Good Governance, Green Travel Exchange, Sustainable Tourism and tagged ClimateActionPH, Coron, Danjugan Island, ecotourism, good governance, green travel, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Sustainable Tourism. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.