Expressed simply, sustainable tourism can be defined as:
“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 communities”
In fact, sustainable tourism guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism. It’s principles refer to theenvironmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development. To guarantee its long-term sustainablity, a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions.
Thus, sustainable tourisme should:
- Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of the host community, conserve the built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
- Make optimal use of environmental resources, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural heritage and biodiversity.
- Contribute to poverty alleviation by providing income-earning opportunities.
Sustainable tourism should also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to the tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices amongst them.
Making Tourism More Sustainable – A Guide for Policy Makers, UNEP and UNWTO, 2005, p.11-12