What does Sustainability mean?
Well, according to dictionary.com it means “the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld or confirmed”. In recent times (from 1972 according to dictionary.com) in its general sense it has been associated with economics, agriculture and ecology. It’s social aspect is often overlooked.
Sustainability is the catchphrase of the late 20th and beginning of the 21st century. It is mentioned in nearly every speech about the environment. Therefore, in relation to its meaning for environmental science it is seen as “the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long term ecological balance”.
“Sustainability is defined as a requirement of our generation to manage the resource base such that the average quality of life that we ensure ourselves can potentially be shared by all future generations”… Development is sustainable if it involves a non-decreasing average quality of life.
(Geir B. Asheim “Sustainability” The World Bank, 1994, taken from Dictionary.com,2017)
What is Sustainable Tourism?
According to the World Tourism Organization, Sustainable Tourism is meant “to establish a suitable balance between the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, it plays an important role in conserving biodiversity. It attempts to minimize its impact on the environment and local culture so that it will be available for future generations, while contributing to generate income, employment and the conservation of local eco systems.
Simply said, ‘We have invited you into our home, you may come and enjoy our hospitality, but please leave it as you found it, with as little to no damaging influence and interference as possible, we want to maintain our culture and our natural beauty for everyone to experience. The question is, “Is it truly possible to remain untouched and unspoilt with thousands of visitors passing through your home daily ?’
Therefore, this people oriented industry’s development has led to issues such as social dislocation, loss of cultural heritage, economic dependence and ecological degradation. It’s benefits, however, such as providing jobs and reviving and revitalizing local economies have made it a necessary evil for third world countries economic development.
Therefore, in an effort to save our countries identity and people, tourism activities of whatever motivation – holidays, business travel, conferences, adventure travel and ecotourism – needs to be sustainable. It’s not just about the environment, it’s not just economical it’s also social, it can’t just be seen as only for the benefits of the tourist visiting, but for the benefit of the main stakeholders, the indigenous people, the tourism workforce and the local communities.
Here are some sustainable tourism guidelines for us to consider.