Torren Uni – Responsible Tourism, Sustainable Tourism and Sustainable Development


Sustainability has become a common word in our everyday lives. According to Kuhlman & John 2010, the word “sustainability” is defined as the process contributing to growing a vibrant economy while respecting the environment, natural resources, and maintaining the society’s growth. This means that the development of the economy has to be combined with the development of society and the environment. Originally, sustainability used to be only about the environment. However, after that, people realized the importance of social development which has an impact on the sustainability of the environment. It is totally possible to reach sustainability when resources are limited. First of all, as the economy is growing along with the development of technology, the quality of life would be enhanced while having technology support the development of the environment and resources. Moreover, as the standard of living is higher than before, people will be provided with a full education, which leads to creativity and development of using limited resources while being able to fulfill the desires and purposes of the society. Moreover, as the standard of living is higher along with the education, the society would be more equal when people have the rights to stand on their own opinions, which lead to better policy and regulations from the government in order to reach a better future life (Welford et al. 1999).


The future generations are the ones who are supposed to need sustainability growth in order to continue to exist and grow on the Earth. The future generations are unlimited, it is anyone that is born after you. These people can be our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It would be hard to calculate how many future generations, but we can rely on our family members to know which activities we should do instead of focusing on the whole society. Tourism sustainability can be reached through a large number of activities and strategies from stakeholders such as government, organizations, and citizens. First of all, from the tourists’ point of view, it is important to respect the culture, environment, and society through supporting local activities and protecting the environment. Moreover, from the government’s viewpoint, it is necessary to have clear regulations and policies in terms of environment and society for different stakeholders (Yazdi 2012). Besides, from the organizations’ and businesses ’ viewpoints, offering high-quality service for tourism quality as well as providing local employment opportunities as well as maintaining the development of the environment is necessary (Kisi 2019).


Concepts VS. cases: Over-tourism and Responsible tourism

Over-tourism is a new term for an old problem, which happens when there are too many tourists at a destination, leading to extremely negative impacts on the society and environment of the destination (Dodds & Butler 2019). Although this term has existed for a long time, the problems of excessive tourists have been raised recently, especially in urban areas and well-attracted attractions. Over-tourism can lead to a large number of problems for different stakeholders. From the tourists’ viewpoint, they would feel irritated since they are having a bad problem while traveling, and visiting destinations is always considered to be a positive experience for people. For example, the number of tourists coming to Prague has been increasing rapidly over the last few years while this destination is having struggles with its own limits and resources in terms of facilities, types of services, and human resources. In terms of the local community, although this is a good side for developing the economy, their life has been strongly affected, leading to the dissatisfaction among local people due to little and noise from tourists. For other tourists who come to relax and enjoy the sightseeings, this has become a disaster since they have to compete with the others in order to be served, to find a quiet place and good views along with high-quality products while the price has to be increased due to the rise of demand (Colston 2019).


Besides, overtourism will damage the image and brand of the destination by which the government and business organizations are trying to build. For instance, Boracay Island, in the Philippines has had to be closed in order to combat the problem of waste after too many tourists came to this destination while there are no regulations and rules about trash management. Venice, for example, which has attracted a large number of tourists also has to face the problem of pollution from the tourist cruise ships which do not use any exhaust gas purification system and technology to reduce it (Marras 2017). On the other hand, over-tourism will lead to damage to biodiversity of the destination (Agyeiwaah 2019). Machu Picchu, Peru is famous for its local biodiversity. However, after the number of tourists increased over the last few years, the wide variety of orchids in this destination has been negatively impacted through the decreasing number of orchids, leading to the imbalance of the ecosystem of the environment (Kiwano nd). Moreover, the excessive number of tourists also leads to damage to cultural heritage. Natural and cultural heritage is the focus of tourism attractions (Farid 2015). Nevertheless, the number of tourists increasing over the last few years has led to negative changes in the physical features  and lifestyles of the host community (Cros 2008). Moreover, the land prices and services around these destinations will increase, leading to the difficulties of finding high-quality houses and products for local communities, especially in terms of opening businesses, causing depopulation and neglect of historical sites. In terms of employment, this leads to low employment for local people, especially in developing countries where there are a large number of foreign companies trying to invest in the market, leading to taking employment from the international markets who are more highly trained (International Labour Office 2010). For instance, in Italy, the lagoon in Venice has been badly affected in terms of waterways and building foundations, as well as more waste from more tourists coming to visit (Carroll 2017). This has led to a wide range of local marches during the last few years with the protest of tourists and government regulations for this cultural heritage site.


In contrast, responsible tourism is defined as an activity of making people have a place to live better while having a good place for tourists to come. In order to reach responsible tourism, it requires the actions and participation from the local government, local people, organizations, business owners, tourists to take strong and responsible actions towards people and the environment. Responsibility is considered to be the most important factor of responsible tourism. The actions of sustainable tourism focus on environmental conservation, socioeconomic development and the welfare of communities. More specifically, responsible tourism is also in a variety of forms, including creating better economic conditions for the society, providing more enjoyable experiences for tourists with high quality services and products. Moreover, responsible tourism also means the action towards respecting and making contribution to the development of the local culture, heritage and environment of stakeholders (Kokkranikal & Chettiparamb 2012). Responsibility tourism is increasingly being pursued by many governments along with business organizations.


In Australia for example, the development of responsible tourism has been strongly implicated with the participation of the government, private sectors, local people and tourists coming to the country. First of all, the country has regulations and rules to improve the rise of local employment in vast areas of land. For example, although the mining industry has become such a potential growth for the country, the government has banned it from continued attempts of big businesses coming for profit in order to conserve the land including the Great Barrier Reef (Responsible Travel nd). On the other hand, in terms of people and culture,  a large number of private sectors have combined their business activities along with the participation of the local community in order to attract customers who prefer authentic experiences while showing support to the community. For example, Longitude 131,  a luxury lodge located In the country have provided tourist with opportunity to visit the Aboriginal art centre while having the chance to connect with local people, artists to know more about their history as well as their activities and cultures, which have become a motivational activity for tourist, especially young people while helping local community to increase employment and reserving local cultures and attractions. Moreover, this is also an interesting and meaningful experience for the guests and visitors when they can learn high-quality knowledge and gain useful experiences about the places and activities of not only the lodge but also the life of the local communities.


Besides, a large number of restaurants in Australia have combined between the local community’s activities and the demand for local experiences of tourists through offering opportunities for education and taking resources of the local community. For example, Lake House, which is located near Melbourne, Australia has been taking resources from local farmers near the restaurants while offering seasonal and fresh ingredients for the tourists coming to this place. Moreover, tourists can also learn the history of these ingredients while learning from famous chefs from around the world preparing and cooking dishes right in front of them (Australia nd).


It is considered to be difficult for businesses,, government and the local community to maintain the development of the economy, environment and society at the same time. However, if sustainability is considered to be the high priority of the tourism industry, there would be several recommendations in order to support the development of sustainable tourism. First of all, it is important to promote tourism in different periods of time during the years (not in the most popular times like summer or holidays). This will help to decrease the number of tourists during the special days as well as increase the economy profits and employment for local people during the less popular time. This can be done through special events, programs, promotion of the destination done by the government and private sectors. On the other hand, it is important to encourage the dispersion of tourism within the area by suggesting and promoting the visit of lesser known destinations. This would be done through promotions, marketing activities of the government as well as supporting local people to open business in this area.


Moreover, from the government’s points of view, it is important to have regulations for tourists, local people and private sectors In terms of tourists, the government should have regulations on waste disposal, noise problems as well as their activities and responsibilities with the local businesses and local people. By showing the rules of punishments as well as clear instructions for tourists, this will help them to raise awareness and behave responsibly during the time they come to the country or destinations. For example, Singapore has been charging people with a lot of money when they see anyone throwing trash in public places, even local people and tourists. By implementing this rule, tourists will have more awareness on the waste disposal while they travel the country. On the other hand, for private sectors, it is important to have rules and regulations about the environment and touris’s rights that they have to follow in order to protect the rights of the tourists as well as conserve the local environment resources. Moreover, it is important to open training programs for the local people in terms of skills for work and awareness about how to protect the environment while bringing the ideal experiences for the customers. This will help to increase the number of employment for local people, leading to higher standard of living while still delivering the high-quality travelling experiences for tourists based on the high qualifications of the local community.


For private sectors, it is important to combine the high-quality facilities along with the local experiences for tourists. Nowadays, people, especially youngsters, are seeking for more local and authentic experiences when they travel to new places. Therefore, it is recommended that resorts, hotels and restaurants should open local activities for them combined with their main business in order to attract tourists, increasing their satisfaction while still supporting the local people. Several activities can be included such as exploring cultural villages, planting trees, supporting local people’s activities as well as youth programs for youngsters (Cavagnaro & Staffieri 2015).


From the tourists’ viewpoints, there are a large number of things they could do in order to improve and support responsible tourism. First of all, they should include sustainable tourism activities in their trip plan so that they would take every action into serious consideration while still satisfying their demands and needs. Moreover, it is highly recommended to support local businesses and activities if possible with their products and services. On the other hand, it is necessary to try to protect the cultural heritage by not damaging it by taking actions that seriously damage the environment and cultural sites. It is important to follow the government of the country’s regulations as well as the rules of business organizations such as hotels, resorts and restaurants. Moreover, when travelling, it is crucial to try to recycle bags and assets in order to protect the environment and not to damage the activities and living places of local people. Besides, tourists should also consider the time they travel during the destination’s periods of travelling in order to avoid overcrowded tourists which would have a negative impact on their travelling experiences as well as their expectations and plans for the destination trips. Moreover, it is highly recommended tourists should use green products and services as well as join community activities in order to have an unique experience as well as supporting the development of local communities and environment.

In conclusion, it can be said that sustainable tourism has become an important part of the tourism and hospitality industry which needs high attention and participation of different stakeholders including government, private sectors, local communities and tourists. Sustainable tourism includes various strategies and activities  in order to help to raise the development of the economy while still protecting the environment and development of society such as standard of living, employment and cultural activities. On the other hand, over tourism can lead to a large number of negative impacts on both society, environment and economy, as we can see different cases of Italy, Philippines and Peru. Therefore, different types of stakeholder should show their responsibility and activities in order to avoid over tourism in order to reach the development of sustainable tourism, which would not only benefit their daily lives but also become a valuable legacy for the future generations.

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