The concept of sustainability is starting to become popular, fortunately. We hear about it everywhere. The sustainable development goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda are only 17 but they can be applied and must be applied, in every sector. Tourism is not exempt. The new tourism must be sustainable. Without going around it too much, let’s see together what it really means “sustainable tourism“.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
The definition of Sustainable Tourism, given by World Tourism Organization, defines this type of tourism as:
“Tourism capable of satisfying the needs of today’s tourists and of the host regions by foreseeing and increasing opportunities for the future. All resources should be managed in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be met while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, life systems of the area in question.”
As for the concept of “sustainability”, we must try not to fall into the temptation to imagine only and exclusively the environmental side of the term. Sustainability is not just “green“and environment. Sustainable Tourism is not making documentary-style tent trips or survival tests to enter into direct relationship with nature. Sustainable tourism is a different approach that every traveler, or tour operator, must have with regard to the trip, from his preparation to the actual stay.
Sustainable tourism asks tourists and tour operators to respect the environment and local communities, including their culture and traditions. The tourist choices , from a sustainable perspective, must take into account not only their own profit, but also the planet and people.
If we have really learned anything from the pandemic experience of COVID-19, we should be aware of the fact that our every single choice, even the most irrelevant, affects others and their future. We can no longer hold ourselves responsible only for ourselves and concerned with our single happiness. If to get our happiness we have to compromise someone else’s health and freedom, then we must also review what we want for our happiness.
Sustainable tourism, therefore, does not require travelers to become environmentalists, to dress in green, to renounce comfort or their desire to discover the world in all its facets. It just requires different travelers, responsible and more intelligent ones.
The hashtag chosen by the World Tourism Organization for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism embodies this concept in a perfect and concise way: #travelrespectenjoy.
Looking forward to it!