Sustainable Tourism, the way forward

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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 planet and for the future of tourism but most of us do not really know what it is and its value.

Preserving culture and nature while sharing it with the rest of the world.

Sustainable is Explainable. 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. For humanity, it is the continuing maintenance of its well-being, as it depends on the natural resources’ benefits and its responsible use.

Poverty, deforestation and destruction of marine eco systems has damaged some of the islands’ beauty and assets

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 the islands’ 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.

Peru, destination of Ancient cultures, mysticism and tradition

Peru, is a country made up of three vast and distinct geographical zones, the 2,414 kilometers of the Pacific coast, featuring deserts, fertile valleys, savannas and spectacular surf beaches, the majestic peaks of the Andes mountains dominated by

Tropical rainforests dubbed as the Lungs of the earth.

However, its environment faces serious issues such asdeforestation from illegal logging, air pollution in Lima, toxic waste of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes in the Central Peruvian Andes region and erosion of its mountains. Its tourism still in its infancy stage caters to both internal and international market, however it already faces threats to its archeological sites, biodiversity and natural wonders due to massive tourism.

Un-sustainable tourism has destroyed many destinations with pollution, waste, and overconsumption

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); consume less water; minimise waste; conserve biodiversity, cultural heritage and traditional values; support intercultural understanding and tolerance; and generate local income and integrate local 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.

Community consultation in action, in Coron Island

Sustainable is Attainable.  Sustainable tourism development requires the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders, as well as strong political leadership to ensure wide participation and consensus building,” according to WTO guidelines. To achieve Sustainable Tourism, all sectors have to follow a continuous process which requires constant monitoring of impacts and implement the necessary preventive and/or corrective measures at all times.Sustainable Tourism: conserves natural resources, benefits locals & improves its economy.

In summary 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

Community cooperation in conservation and tourism

  • 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.

Populace policy participation on Marine Protected Areas

  • 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.

Luxury lodgings at jungle’s best, exquisite regional cuisine, guests learning of the rainforest, biodiversity AND conservation

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.

Just like Inkaterra in Peru & Calamianes Expeditions & Ecotours in Coron, Palawan’s ecological ethos, Sustainable Tourism is conserving culture and protecting  nature while sharing it with the rest of the world. Contact us for your PERU DREAM TRIP & CORON ECO vacations!

Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI, the Philippines’ pioneer in Sustainable Tourism, Conservation and Social Responsibility frameworks is working on The Coron, Boracay Island & Negros Occidental Initiatives, implemented in Coron, Calamianes Islands & Western Visayas with institutional partners Zero Carbon Resorts, Green Hotels & The Clean Blue. Sustainability Capacity Building and Training programs for cities, communities and destinations  include Good Governance, Rio 21 Agenda, Waste Management/3Rs/MRF, Resilience, Disaster Prevention and Management. Educational programs are customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community in general.

GREEN HOTELS ASIA PACIFIC is our network of the most reliable eco responsible hotels around the world to help the hotel industry embrace sustainability by integrating innovation and added value with environmental actions in a vibrant green global exchange of hoteliers, operators and responsible clients.

Eco-Responsible, Sustainable & innovative Green Hotels in Asia Pacific

Green Hotels Asia Pacific, our network of eco-responsible and sustainable hotels

 CLEAN BLUE ASIA is thenew industry standard for beach management and safety – ISO 13009 – CBIS standards.

References: UNEP, UN- WTO, National Geographic, Wikipedia. Photos credits: Al3 Photography for Coron, Palawan, Inkaterra for Peru

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2 Responses to “Sustainable Tourism, the way forward”

  1. Good Morning.
    My name is Roberta Scrofani. I’m an Italian researcher in Japan (Waseda University). I’m leading a research about sustainable tourism in Japan. I hardly believe that sustainable tourism could be achieved not just in underdeveloped contries but also in superdeveloped one, for example Japan.

    For answering about your question “What in the (third) world is Sustainable tourism”…I think that sustainable tourism in third world very is a tool to TRY to develop these countries in a sustainable way, but also and unfortunately, more often is getting just a marketing way to gain money. Sustainable tourism is a need and an emergency, not just a fashion to follow!!

    Also in countries as Japan, sustainabe development should be an emergency…what do you think?
    If you agree I would like to meet you to talk together about it.
    Really thank you for your post!!It’s very interesting!!!

    Best regards
    Roberta

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