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Sustainable Tourism- A Prerequisite for Sustainable Development

This article will provide a brief overview of the historical background, importance, concepts, principles, and general debates about sustainable tourism.

Sustainable tourism is one of the prerequisites for achieving sustainable development. the concept of tourism with sustainability and development gets its historical inclusion from mass tourism that got flourished in the 1960s due to the advent of jet aircraft the passion for tourism got a tremendous following and it also reached Third World countries (Dann, 2002).

It was also argued that this boost pushed organizations like World Bank and the UN to examine the cost-benefit analysis of tourism and it was acknowledged that potential costs of tourism are far lower than financial benefits in the shape of the balance of payment surpluses, infrastructure development, and employment and foreign exchange gains.

So that gave rise to the concept of sustainable tourism as one of the sources of bringing sustainable development. According to the World’s Summit on Sustainable Development (2002), it is claimed that Tourism is the world’s largest industry wherein 2000, 698 million people traveled internationally which is 7.3 % more than in 1999.

Similarly, the economic worth of international tourism was US$477.9 billion in 2000 (, 2006).

In terms of one concrete definition, the literature suggests that it is not fixed and is ever-evolving. However, Coccossis (1996) asserts that sustainable tourism can be taken in four different interpretations that include” economic sustainability of tourism”, “ecologically sustainable tourism”, and” sustainable tourism development” with both focus on the environment as well as long-term feasibility of the industry and finally “tourism as a part of a strategy for sustainable development”.

As mentioned above, sustainable tourism should be taken into consideration environmental and resource effects. It was argued that Mediterranean tourism is the main source of economic gain for the reason however short term growth was overlooked with long-term adverse effects and deterioration of their ecosystem and resources (Farsari, 2000)

Effects of ignorant tourism on its sustainability  include: ‘over consumption of natural resources, environmental degradation, exploitation of cultures and labor, displacement of people from their land, lack of consultation with local communities, poorly thought out tourism planning and high foreign exchange leakage which reduces local economic benefits’ in long run (World’s Summit on Sustainable Development, 2002),

Where such effects are there to pose a threat to sustainable tourism there are guiding principles that can lead to ensure sustainability (, 2006). Those principles include sustainable use of resources, waste and over-consumption reduction, diversity maintenance, tourism-planning integration, local economy support as well as local community involvement, consultation, training, research, and responsible marketing (Farsari, 2000)

So the discussion suggests that the tourism industry has the potential to be a prerequisite for sustainable development, however, it is imperative to realize that focusing on mass tourism only can pose danger to the environment so in order to ensure sustainability in tourism, guiding principles should be followed

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Verena Veneeva