Sustainable tourism and ecotourism
Photo: Carl Johan Utsi
Definition of sustainable tourism, by World Tourism Organization
World Tourism Organization has defined what sustainable tourism is. This definition is also used by the European Union.
”Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems.”
From the visitors standpoint this is the case when visitors consider experiences they take part in as having good value for money spent. This happen when there are competitive enterprises and a good tourism infrastructure in the area visited. Hosts will benefit economically by jobs being created and by the local economy being diversified and thereby making the community not so dependent on few work opportunities. Sustainable tourism leads to cooperation and specialization among enterprises which creates higher efficiency and thereby higher yield.
From the visitors standpoint this is when visitors´ will experience unspoiled sceneries. It is when they have access to nature and to historical sites and when it is allowed or possible to experience nature activities and cultural activities. These experiences must be organized so visitors accept the protective measures that save cultural and natural heritage.
For hosts benefits will be when they see tourism as a means to save nature and cultural heritage. The environment will benefit by tourism implying environmentally friendly production and consumption patterns among tourists and in the community.
From the visitors standpoint social benefit will come when visitors feel welcome because tourism operates with respect for hosts lives and culture. Peace, relaxation, wellbeing, intellectual stimulation etc. arise if social factors are taken into respect when building tourism. Sustainable tourism should also stimulate personal contact and intercultural exchange to give the visitor a deeper knowledge of the place visited. Hopefully this creates a better understanding for different cultures and people.
Hosts will be able to find better, long term and more jobs. Thereby they can improve their standard of living. When hosts can benefit in this way they will experience better social justice. This makes hosts feel they belong to the community they live in. This creates visitors and hosts meetings where hosts want to share experiences with visitors.
Definition of ecotourism, by The International Ecotourism Society
TIES define ecotourism as:
”Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
This means that those who implement and participate in ecotourism should accept the following principles:
1. Minimize impact
2. Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
3. Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
4. Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
5. Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
6. Raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate
7. Support international human rights and labor agreements
Nature’s Best - Swedish Ecotourism label, by the Swedish Ecotourism Society.
The Swedish Ecotourism Society decided to accomplish more and better ecotourism in Sweden. To do so they created a tool that became the Nature’s Best quality label. The tool defines how service providers should organize their tourist activities and their company to be able to market themselves as providers of labeled ecotourism activities. The Natures Best concept also includes helping service providers to reach their market. Essential to the system is that we focus on quality labeling exiting activities. Not many people travel to prove they are environmentally correct. They travel to experience, have fun and learn about new things.
These are the 6 principles that Nature’s Best is based on:
1. Respect the limitations of the destination – minimize the negative impacts on local nature and culture.
Ecotourism is about preserving what the visitor has come to experience. The ecological and cultural capacity of each area must be respected. This means tour operators must have a solid knowledge of the destination, a local presence and work closely with others present in the area.
2. Support the local economy.
Ecotourism is about community development. Conservation can easily fail if local people object to it. Tangible benefits from tourism are a positive force. Each visitor contributes economically to the well being of the destination by renting rooms, hiring local guides and purchasing goods and services. The more the better.
3. Make all the operators activities environmentally sustainable.
Ecotour operators must set a good example of sound environmental practice. Approved operators have policies to minimize environmental impact by prioritizing e.g. collective transport, sustainable lodging, waste management etc…
4. Contribute actively to nature and cultural conservation.
Ecotourism assumes responsibility for the protection of biodiversity and special cultural values. This means supporting nature preservation in various ways. Our operators cooperate to find ‘win-win’ ways of doing business.
5. Promote knowledge and respect and the joy of discovery.
Ecotourism is about travelling with curiosity and a respectful mindset. Approved operators are competent hosts providing visitors with a good introduction to the area. Good advice and guidance are often the key to a memorable trip.
6. Quality and safety all the way.
Ecotourism is quality tourism. Approved tours must meet and even exceed our customers’ high expectations. Safety issues are taken very seriously, and we have many satisfied customers. An approved tour operator is a trusted supplier and partner.
Sápmi Experience is based on the same principles adding more indigenous criteria.
Published 796 days ago by dan.jonasson