Sustainable tourism is a continuous process of making positive impact on the environment, economy and society. It is a concept of visiting a place with great respect for the inhabitants of the area, their cultures, customs and socio-economic systems.
Local Tourism Industry
Sustainable tourism focuses on human activity while preserving natural ecosystems and its maintenance for future generations without compromising tourist satisfaction. Many locations greatly rely on the tourism industry and its viability. It is understood that creating a positive experience for the visitors may have a heavy economic impact. The emphasis is placed on providing an enjoyable experience for the visitors as long as they leave local customs and natural resources unblemished. Tourists are expected to accept the local way of life and respect the area’s cultures. The ultimate goal is to promote understanding and tolerance between different civilizations from around the world.
The main factors of economic sustainability encompass enhancing the local economy by purchasing local products and using regional services. The goal is to sustain the financial gains within the community by involving the members of the area within the tourism industry. Flourishing tourism creates jobs both directly and indirectly by offering goods and services. Small businesses thrive in such environments and significantly improve the local economy. The expansion of the retail and transportation section of tourism creates more jobs; whereas, small business services produce additional tax revenues that can be used for schools, hospitals, housing and community services.
The social aspect emphasizes prevention of exploitation of one part of the society for the financial gain of another. Social sustainability is focused on providing numerous opportunities for all members of the local society as well as human rights. The social benefits are especially important in developing countries and rural regions where the opportunities are insufficient to benefit the entire communities. By carefully managing all aspects of tourism, these prospects can benefit many geographical areas and greatly contribute to the social and economic growth of the region. In many cases, the authorities implement sustainable practices by uniting agriculture, small scale industries and tourism to support each other in a properly balanced manner.
Management of Viable Tourism
The management practices and development guidelines apply to all forms of tourism including niche tourism sectors and mass tourism. The principles refer to all three segments including economic, social and environmental. The target is to create a suitable balance between all three dimensions to ensure long-term sustainability. In the development process, informed participation is required along with strong political leadership. By promoting sustainability practices, a high level of tourist satisfaction is guaranteed through introducing preventive and corrective measures as they become necessary.
Tourism based on sustainability impacts the industry, the host communities, the environment and the needs of visitors. The key element in tourism development and maintenance is the use of environmental resources aimed at conservation of biodiversity and natural heritage of the area. Contribution to cultural tolerance and understanding are the crucial aspects in conservation of the regional communities and their socio-cultural authenticity. Sustainable tourism is a major factor in alleviation of poverty by creating stable employment, income-earning opportunities and socio-economic benefits such as even distribution of wealth between all stakeholders.