Development vs Tourism
Tourism and Development
Sustainable tourism is a way of tourism which pledges to sustainable principles.
These principles make compatible the tourist activity development with respect
and preservation of natural, cultural and social resources, which eases tensions
among tourism industry, visitors, native communities and environment.
The concept of sustainability first appeared in 1991 defined as “a characteristic
of a process or state that can be maintained indefinitely”, but the most accepted
definition of the concept of sustainable development is the one proposed by the
report Our Common Future (also known as the Brundtland Report), released by
the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development:
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs."
This definition includes two key elements: the human needs and the limitations
of the global ecosystem. The concept of sustainable development does not
include any guidelines for an ideal relationship between the human society and
the nature; instead, this is a flexible concept that can be adapted to different
ethic behaviors and management strategies. In the 1991 World Conservation
Strategy, Caring for the Earth, its meaning is “improving the quality of human
life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems.” The need
for a sustainable development is a global priority pointed out in the plan Agenda
21, adopted in the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in
Rio de Janeiro in 1992, also known as the Earth Summit, and in the Fifth
European Community environment programme: towards sustainability.
Sustainable development is determined by three main aspects:
1. Environmental sustainability, which must ensure the compatibility
of development with essential ecological processes, resources
diversity and biological diversity.
sustainability, which must ensure the economic
efficiency of development, which must benefit all the stakeholders of
a tourist destination or region, and a local management of resources.
3. Social sustainability, which must ensure the participation of every
stakeholder involved in the decision-making processes.
The UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization<) definition of
sustainable tourism is based on the definition of sustainable development
stablished in the Brundtland Report: “Tourism that takes full account of its
current and future economic, social and environmental impacts,
addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host
This theoretical definition determines a tourism development strategy that
pursues a balance among the economic, sociocultural and environmental
impacts of the tourist activity.