Sustainable Tourism

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and is a major source of income for many countries. Being a people-oriented industry, tourism also provides many jobs which have helped revitalise local economies.

However, like other forms of development, tourism can also cause its share of problems, such as social dislocation, loss of cultural heritage, economic dependence and ecological degradation. Learning about the impacts of tourism has led many people to seek more responsible holidays. These include various forms of alternative or sustainable tourism such as: ‘nature-based tourism’, ‘ecotourism’ and ‘cultural tourism’. Sustainable tourism is becoming so popular that some say that what we presently call ‘alternative’ will be the ‘mainstream’ in a decade.

All tourism activities of whatever motivation – holidays, business travel, conferences, adventure travel and ecotourism – need to be sustainable. Sustainable tourism is defined as “tourism that respects both local people and the traveller, cultural heritage and the environment”. It seeks to provide people with an exciting and educational holiday that is also of benefit to the people of the host country.

This module explores the characteristics and objectives of sustainable tourism through a series of case studies. It also helps identify ways in which sustainable tourism can be introduced to students.

Objectives:

  • To appreciate the benefits and problems arising from various forms of tourism, especially in terms of social equity and the environment;
  • To develop a critical awareness of the ways in which tourism can enhance the welfare of people and protect our natural and cultural heritage;
  • To promote a personal commitment to forms of tourism that maximise rather than detract from sustainable human development and environmental quality; and
  • To plan ways of teaching about sustainable tourism.

In 2017 we won the Honorable Mention in the Green Project Awards - Category of Sustainable Tourism!