Please select your location

UK, Europe and Middle East


Feedback IconFeedback

What to call tourism that incorporates sustainability principles

This is an excerpt from Sustainable Tourism With Web Resource.

What Do We Call It?

One of the biggest debates in the tourism industry in recent history has revolved around what to call tourism that incorporates sustainability principles and who is part of it. One of the benefits to come from the development of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria is the creation of common language among tourism professionals. By describing sustainability with specific criteria for tour operators, hotels, and destination managers, everyone has a better idea of what constitutes best practices for this industry. Regardless of whether they describe their business as adventure travel, accommodation, ecotourism, educational tourism, or geotourism, tourism professionals can use these standards.

Some of the terms related to sustainable principles are described in table 1.2. If you look at the definitions, you will see notable differences; for example, nature-based tourism is distinguished by the setting and does not focus on the ethics that are inherent in responsible tourism. Geotourism broadens the principles of sustainability to include the sense of place. Community-based tourism places more emphasis on the involvement of people from rural or economically marginalized areas and less on the type of product.

Many of these differences revolve around scope, but at the heart of these definitions are several common themes:

  • Minimizing the negative environmental and social impacts of travel
  • Maximizing the economic impacts for host communities
  • Providing a meaningful experience for the traveler with educational opportunities or chances to engage with local people
  • Involving local communities in the planning of tourism

These themes are consistent with the principles of sustainable tourism described earlier. So it can be assumed that each contributes to a more sustainable tourism industry.

Sustainable tourism is developed and operated in a way that meets the current needs of travelers and host communities without compromising the requirements of future generations. This book includes the research done for the related fields of ecotourism, nature-based tourism, adventure travel, community-based tourism, responsible tourism, and others as each builds toward sustainability. The broader scope will give you a better understanding of the travelers seeking these experiences, the levels of visitor satisfaction, and other aspects of tourism development and operation.

Learn more about Sustainable Tourism.