Sustainability means qualitative and balanced growth preserving both socio cultural and environmental value. Sustainable development is defined as “the satisfaction of the present moment without compromising the capacity of the future generations to satisfy their needs”. In the tourism industry there are several forces favoring a tourism sustainable development:

  • The consumer pressure: greater consciousness about environmental issues, increase of alternative tourism concepts such as ecotourism, agrotourism, etc. and better preservation of the destination’s environmental and cultural resources.
  • The public authorities: through new regulations incentivizing conservation and recuperation of the environment.
  • The civil society: increasingly concerned about the environment, demanding measures for the conservation of the cultural, social and natural heritage.

There are however some forces against the sustainable development, namely the economic growth, which has to be countered with development planning measures and policies. Businesses want to increase revenue and financial value, the society is demanding employment, and the public administration needs their taxes to provide public services.

According to Professor Muller from the University of Bern, there are five conditions that a destination should comply with to be sustainable, all ingrained in the public policies:

  • Economic development, intending to develop tourism as an alternative economic sector.
  • Environmental conditions, intending to develop environmental consciousness and preserving the natural heritage.
  • Cultural identity, fostering traditions and local cultural heritage.
  • Social base, improving the life quality of the destination inhabitants.
  • Tourism attractiveness, improving the visitor satisfaction by leveraging the local heritage.

The public administration has to consider the needs of this development in the regulations, and ensure the participation of the local stakeholders through a campaign to arouse consciousness and concern about these issues.

Do you think of other conditions to make a destination sustainable?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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