What is sustainable tourism?
published on 30.06.21
Mass tourism is a phenomenon that we have seen growing since the fifties and seventies of the last century until the arrival of Covid-19, which has temporarily slowed it down. Mass tourism in some parts of the world has grown to the point of endangering social, economic, natural, and cultural heritage. For this reason, rethinking this form of tourism will be key to the future and to find a balance between tourism, the human factor, and the environment. These challenges have given rise to new tourism proposals such as Ecotourism or sustainable tourism.
What is it?
“Tourism that takes full account of current and future economic, social and environmental impacts to meet the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”UNWTO
We can define sustainable tourism as a specialized form of tourism that falls within the parameters of sustainable human development. It is thus an industry that is committed to having a low impact on the environment and local culture and aims to generate income and employment for the population.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is responsible for measuring the sustainability of tourism in order to develop an international statistical framework and determine its role in sustainable development.
Why is it important?
Transitioning to sustainable modes of tourism is essential for the future. These forms of tourism have multiple benefits. On the one hand, they have economic benefits, as they improve local economies and products while reducing poverty. They also have great cultural benefits, because they respect local communities and encourage the restoration and protection of heritage. Environmental benefits are another of their strengths, as they have a lower impact than mass tourism. Finally, social benefits should also be taken into account, i.e. greater respect for labor and human rights, as well as improvements in the quality of life of local people.
Ecotourism: the other side
Ecotourism also has its negative side. Gustavo Tapia in Sustainable Tourism. Introduction and financial framework explains that the term Ecotourism is often used with the aim of selling tourism products related to nature but which are not sustainable at all. For this reason, it is important to be informed and know how to identify these practices.
Sustainability in business at TBS in Barcelona
At TBS in Barcelona, we put sustainability at the center of all our programs, as we believe it is essential to educate our students in values if we want a better world for tomorrow. Thus, our students in the MSc Tourism and Hospitality Management program are familiar with these concepts and show great interest in changing the tourism of the future. In addition, this September 2021, the TBS Barcelona campus will launch a new track called Doing Sustainable Business.