Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world. In the last few years, sustainable tourism has increased in popularity due to a demand and environmental awareness from travelers and tourisms settings. The question is: what is sustainable tourism?
Sustainable tourism is defined as 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 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Within sustainable tourism, there are guidelines, principles, and practices in place that benefit the environment, visitors, and business owners and focus on environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects.
Sustainable tourism aims to use environmental resources responsibly, respects the local community, and generates economic operations. This entails the participation of politicians, community leaders and an international understanding of sustainable tourism.
When traveling, visitors are encouraged to appreciate destinations while remembering these important tips:
- Leave nothing behind, make sure to appropriately collect and dispose of any trash generated
- Respect the local customs and traditions of the area
- Explore the local cuisine, art, music of the area
- Research hotels and what their environmental initiatives are
- Select tour operators with authentic environmental policies
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has released a set of criteria that focus on sustainable management, socioeconomic impacts, cultural impacts, and environmental impacts. This information is extremely beneficial to travelers and tourism settings. Click here to read more about the GSTC Criteria.
What do you think of sustainable tourism? Would you be interested in participating in a sustainable vacation?
Stay tuned for our next article on sustainable tourism: Can hotels really be that green?