What does sustainable tourism mean?

What does sustainable tourism mean for you is one question we frequently ask in our interviews with tourism professionals. Not because we’ve never heard of the concept before – we all have – but because we like to hear it in the words of hoteliers, tour operators, destination developers. In short, those who are dealing with tourism sustainability issues every day, often with no time for academic reading or study.

What Does Sustainable Tourism Mean: Practitioner Views

Here a few of our favorite answers of the question on the meaning of sustainable tourism, as understood by hoteliers, tour operators and destination makers:

Ángeles, Agroturismo Arkaia, Spain:

Sustainable tourism is tourism that respects the natural, cultural and social environment, extolling the values of the region and, at the same time, allows you to enjoy the essence and authenticity of a place and its people.

Sustainable tourism also means that the people visiting us do so with an attitude of integration and respect for the environment.

Josu, Lurdeia Casa Rural, Spain:

To me, sustainable tourism is a tourism that is respectful and non-invasive, where the important thing is to enjoy your surroundings while leaving the smallest footprint possible.

Peter, Lady Elliot Island Resort, Australia:

Sustainability and sustainable tourism means ensuring that whatever we do today does not have a negative impact on the Island, the reef or the greater planet for tomorrow. It means leaving the world a better place than we found it.

Ekrar, Pakistan:

Any tourism activity that is not providing and ensuring direct financial benefit to communities from where tourism money is being generated is not sustainable tourism.

We hold sustainable tourism workshops and conferences in mega hotels and tourist resorts, where we talk about poor communities and how sustainable tourism might benefit them. We need to stop this hypocritical behavior to achieve our goal of a sustainable tourism world.

What about you?

What does sustainable tourism mean for you, personally? Comments welcome!

More on sustainable tourism

Rachel Dodds‘ website SustainableTourism.net provides a useful overview of official definitions on sustainable tourism and related terms, such as responsible tourism, ecotourism and geo tourism.

If interested in how to communicate sustainability, have a look at the Travindy website. Co-developed by Xavier Font, Travindy is a new initiative which offers tourism news, opinion and consulting.

And of course Valere Tjolle‘s and Harold Goodwin‘s reflections on tourism sustainability are both legendary and essential reading for anyone seriously interested in the topic.

What Does Sustainable Tourism Mean For You?
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