Sustainable Development and Sustainable Tourism

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Assess the extent to which the concepts of sustainable development and sustainable tourism are linked. Why is understanding this relationship important.
These days tourism has become one of the biggest industries in the world. Tourism not only bridges the gap between countries but also earns them revenue. J.Diaomind (1977, pp.539-553) states that tourism has been growing faster than world exports; between 1950 and 1970 tourism annual rate was greater than world exports. Its popularity has also increased because it uses simple technology and recourses like sunshine scenery and manpower. In an article which states that tourism does not only fuel economic activities but also is a tool for economic development. It’s a way of earning foreign exchange for countries and can further improve economic sustainability; it also gives rise to employment opportunities. Because of tourism numerous advantages steps were taken to sustain it, in 1988 principle of sustainable tourism was proposed by World tourism Organization.(Salvo Creaco,2003).

When talking about sustainability of tourism, its effects on the environment should also be considered. Their requirements should be balanced. In an article it is stated that economic importance is enough reason for implementing sustainable tourism development (STD). Its main responsibility is to help in the development of tourism industry while protecting the quality of the environment various resources.

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Tourism requires different type of non renewable resources like energy for the means of transport, heating and lighting tourist facilities to make foreigners more comfortable in their climate and metallic minerals used in the construction of tourist facilities. According World Commission on Environment and Development, it supports that non- renewable recourses should be used at a minimum level so that they will be available for our future generations. Unless its substitute is not found it should be used at a minimum level and with efficiency of use. An effective framework is required for the implementation of sustainable tourism and long term future development of an area. It should be noted that the local government policies and goals should coat sustainable development goals at regional and national levels. Its the responsibility of the national government to come up with such strategies.(Coling J.Hunter,1995). Martha Honey defines ecotourism as: “travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (usually) small scale. It helps educate the traveler, provides funds for conservation; directly benefits the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and fosters respect for different cultures and for human rights (Honey, p. 6).” The concept of ecotourism relates to that of sustainable development. Both stress the importance of conserving the resources that are necessary for the survival of future generations. In protected natural areas such as Kenya’s national parks ecotourism ensures not only the preservation of the local economy but also the preservation of the local people and their inherent values and culture. For developing countries ecotourism represents a alternative solution to generating much needed foreign currency instead of more traditional destructive alternatives such as natural resource extraction.
Kenya has been the lead the way in ecotourism. It was the first country to adopt ecotourism principles and practices in its national park system. Initially ecotourism was used to give the local people surrounding the parks a stake in the preservation of the natural resources. The Kenyan government hoped that by allowing locals to profit from the parks existence they would be less motivated to poach the wild game in the park. Honey’s seven characteristics of real ecotourism (Honey p. 22) as a measure: Involves travel to natural destinations. Kenya is Africa’s most popular wildlife tourism destination. Kenya has not been successful at minimizing impact. Overcrowding, conflicts between humans and wildlife, and the production of large amounts of waste by lodges has caused protected areas to suffer. Educating tourists about acceptable behavior and the encouragement of domestic tourism is an important point. Kenyan parks could increase the visitor carrying capacities by developing zoning strategies that would help to more equally disperse visitors throughout the parks (Weaver, p. 123). This would cause a more balanced use of the parks and prevent one part of a park from being overused. Kenya has been moderately successful at implementing this characteristic. Typically the guides are very experienced in the environmental issues of the local area. The main complaint by Western tourists is that the guides often have poor interpretive skills ( Honey, p. 333). It should provide better training of employees and direct financial benefits for conservation. Kenya has been moderately successful at implementing this characteristic. However, among the individual parks there are some large discrepancies. Parks such as the Amboseli National Park and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve have allowed the local communities to take a percentage of the revenue for community development. The rest of the income generated went directly back into the park, instead of to the government. These parks encouraged the use of locally purchased goods in the tourist lodges (Honey, p. 124). It should Provides financial benefits and empowerment for local people: There has been mixed success at attaining this characteristic. As a whole the Kenya’s National Park system has succeeded in distributing the wealth created by the parks. However, the parks are almost exclusively owned by local whites or international corporations (Honey, p. 125). The government could subsidize the purchase of shares in the parks tourism facilities. Respects local culture: Kenya has failed at achieving this characteristic. Promoting of domestic tourism would allow Kenyans to appreciate the parks. By gaining an appreciation of the parks the Kenyans might feel a sense of control. It should support human rights and democratic movements: There has been a wide discrepancy between the priorities of the locals and the owners. The owners have ignored pleas for social change and have narrowly focused only on profit (Honey, p. 125).
The National Park Service’s “Money Generation Model “is a simple fill-in-form for generating economic impacts. While an extremely simple approach, it captures the essential elements, of an economic impact analysis. The number of visits, average spending per visitor and an aggregate sales multiplier are entered on a simple worksheet to generate estimates of the direct and total sales effects of visitor spending. Sales effects are converted to income and jobs using simple ratios of income to sales and jobs to sales. Tax effects of visitor spending can also be estimated by applying local tax rates to sales estimates. With sound judgment in choosing the parameters, the MGM model can yield reasonable ballpark estimates of economic impacts at minimal cost. This approach, however, provides little detail on spending categories or which sectors of the economy benefit from either direct or secondary effects. The aggregate nature of the approach also makes it difficult to adjust recommended spending rates or multipliers to different applications (USDI, National Park Service 1990.).
Tourism can bring benefits to a community in a variety of different ways.  This is especially true in Burma where opportunities for economic stability and cultural exchange are severely limited.  However tourism in Burma has some inevitable negative impacts so visitors should be especially attentive of those and try to engage as much as possible in the activities that will promote the welfare of the local people.  Here are some ways in which tourism can benefit them. Supporting economic opportunities for the local people – and denying this support to the military regime – is important in when travelling in Burma.  This includes patronizing hotels, restaurants, bus companies, etc that are privately owned and employing drivers and tour guides not associated with Myanmar Travel & Tours (MTT).  Visitors should also support local merchants by purchasing fruit from street vendors and locally-produced handicrafts and cd’s of Burmese music.  Not only do all of these activities tend to improve the overall welfare of locals, they are all generally associated with increased opportunities for women. A major contributor to Burma’s ongoing problems is its relative anonymity in the international community.  People who have visited a country in the past and who developed relationships with the local people are far more likely to pay attention to news about events that take place there than someone who can’t even locate Burma on a map.  Even friends and family of the tourist who will inevitably hear stories about the trip and see photos of the beautiful people and places, are likely to be far more receptive to Burma-related information than they otherwise would have.  The relatively light media coverage of major events in Burma in recent years is a result of the isolation they have endured for so long. The junta savors being invisible to the outside world and always attempts to deflect media coverage of any major event as soon as possible so they can continue ruling as they please.  Foreign journalists are generally forbidden from entering the country and while some manage to get in and report, the popular press will only report on what people are interested in reading. If a tourist wants to continue to benefit the people of Burma upon returning home, they can engage in campaign, spread awareness or otherwise support them in their struggle for freedom and democracy in any way possible.  This struggle will not be won by being silent and will depend on strong support from the international community. (Whelan , p.27). Tourism should be handled cautiously .In an Article ,tourism has become a ubiquitous vehicle for economic development and diversification and, for many regions and countries both in the developed and less developed worlds, tourism has become an integral element of economic development policy. Even those countries that, in the past, have had neither the desire nor the need to seek alternative economic sectors increasingly have been turning to tourism as a potentially effective means of achieving economic growth and diversification. However, the justification for using tourism as an agent of economic development must be treated with some caution. Focusing upon the case of Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich emirate that in recent years, and in common with other countries in the region, has been seeking economic diversification through tourism to counter instability in global oil prices, a number of challenges to tourism development are identified. These may be overcome collectively through significant investment in product and promotion but, as the example of Abu Dhabi demonstrates, tourism may not always be an easy or cost-effective means of achieving economic growth and diversification. (McDonald ,2000).
After analysis all the articles I would conclude that sustainable development and sustainable tourism are indeed linked. The better the development, its management, the better would be tourism. Though it has some consequences but if they are cautious about it and use it efficiently then they can overcome these hurdles. Tourism can help a country to service and regain its natural settings like in Kenya tourism industry in will not only deeply affect the national economy but also effect the survival of one of the last truly untamed natural settings. To ensure survival of the parks and tourist places a viable strategy must be developed that can sustain over a long period of time. One possible solution is the further development of ecotourism. The promotion of ecotourism will foster positive sustainable growth. So no wonder tourism is a fast growing industry and understanding its relation is very important because it can really help in developing and sustaining a country.
  1. Honey, Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise?, Island Press, 1999.
  2. Moehb A. Ghali, Economic Development and Cultural Change, The university of Chicago press 1976.
  3. Weaver, D.B., Ecotourism in the Less Developed World, CAB International, 1998.
  4. Whelan, Nature Tourism: Managing for the Environment, Island Press, 1991.
  5. J. Diamond,Tourism: A Community Approach. Methuen, New York. And London ,1985.
  6. Salvo Craeco , The role of tourism in sustainable economic development, African Business, London, Jan 2000,p.32
  7. Mcdonald P. 2000. Tourism development: the Dubai case study. In Doing Business with the United Arab Emirates, DewP, ShoultA(eds). Kogan Page: London; 30–35.
  8. U.S. Dept. of Interior, National Park Service. (1990).The Money Generation Model. Denver, CO: Office of Social Science, Socio-Economic Studies Division.

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