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Archive for December, 2021

Tourism is one of the industries that brings the largest profit to economic and cultural sectors in cities all over the world. In Spain alone, tourism generate more than 145 billion Euro in 2019, a figure that has not stopped increasing despite the economic crisis. However it is important to ask ourselves to what extent it has been profitable to maintain and increase these figures considering the impacts on natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems.

The need for sustainable/responsible planning and management is imperative for the industry to survive as a whole so, in this post, we would like to focus on the importance and benefits of practicing sustainable tourism. We know Tourism will never be completely sustainable, as every industry has impacts, but it can work towards this goal. So, let’s see how we can change our habits so as to approach sustainability within the industry.

According to World Tourism Organization,: Sustainable tourism is tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”. With the aim to reach the highest possible levels within sustainability, we should first understand the principles and good practices that we should embrace to reduce the impacts of tourism on the world’s environment.

Direct Environmental Impacts of Tourism

  • Water Quality
  • Air Quality
  • Noise Pollution
  • Solid Waste and Littering
  • Habitat/Ecosystem Alteration and Fragmentation
  • Impacts on Wildlife
  • Cultural Impacts & Architectural and Visual Pollution
  • Natural Landscapes and Gateway Communities
  • Loss of biological diversity
  • Climate change

How to reduce the impact: Good Environmental Practices

An easy guideline all tourists should keep in mind and try to follow so as to be part of a positive change on the impact caused when we travel:

Travel with care towards the environment: take care of it, respect it

One of the negative impacts of an increasing tourist industry is the damage to the natural environment. Naturally, we all want to see the world and travel, but at the same time, we don’t want to have a negative impact on the communities or the environment that you visit. We all want to be conscious travelers and we wish to give some tips to achieve this goal. If we all follow a few easy steps, we will see the results of practicing sustainability when travelling:

  • Lowers ecological impact
  • Animals can keep being wild
  • Keeps environment clean
  • Supports local communities
  • Allows travellers to be more conscious about their choices

The principles of sustainability

Sustainability principles refer to four distinct areas: human, social, environmental, politic and economic.

  • Economic: Focus on Economic Performance, Investment and Competitiveness
  • Environmental: Focus on Sustainability of the Natural and Cultural Environment
  • Human: Focus on Employment, Decent Work and Human Capital
  • Social: Focus on Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion
  • Politic: Focus on tourism policy and government actions

A further elaboration of sustainable tourism by UNWTO refers to the need for it to:

 • Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute a key element in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.

• Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities, conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.

• Ensure viable, long-term economic operations, providing socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders that are fairly distributed, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services to host communities, and contributing to poverty alleviation.

More specifically UNWTO and UNEP identified 12 Aims for sustainable tourism:

Source: http://whc.unesco.org/sustainabletourismtoolkit/sites/default/files/13.%20UNWTO%20%282013%29%20Sustainable%20Tourism%20for%20Development%20Guidebook.pdf

Now that you know the benefits of practicing sustainable tourism, plan your next holiday and look into what you can do so as to minimise your ecological footprint. If we all practice sustainable tourism, we will benefit local communities and our planet’s natural environment.

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