Tourism is defined as traveling for recreation to places of interest, and while it may not seem like much on paper, tourism is beyond important for people and countries to sustain their economy. Tourism is a big boon to businesses, from hotels to shops, to restaurants, and even the businesses that provide services.
One of the best methods of tourism is called sustainable tourism, and while being eco-friendly is only part of the journey, three methods must be sustained and kept up to truly have sustainable tourism.
The first pillar, environmental, is what most people think of when it comes to the word sustainable. While ensuring that areas such as beaches and parks are kept clean and aren’t doing too much damage to the world around them, the term environmental sustainability means preservation.
The park can be kept as clean as it can be, but unless it is maintained and taken care of, then it will eventually stop being a tourist attraction and instead be an eyesore. The resources need to be cared for and persevered to ensure that future generations can use them.
The second pillar, socio-cultural sustainability, is keeping the local culture intact while it’s being exposed to worldwide tourism. Increased traffic, an increase in crime, and new languages from different people are all impacts of tourism. Socio-cultural sustainability means shrinking the negative problems and raising the value of the positive ones.
Cultural exchange is needed to promote tourism and often by letting locals use their talents and skills, it can cause positive impacts. An example would be using locally made jewelry, food, or antiques to entice tourists into spending money.
Other times the culture is the reason people go to different places, just to experience something different from the norm, and this gives both visitors and locals a new experience as well as making tourism beneficial for everyone.
Finally, economic sustainability is the last pillar and the most important thing is to keep the money local and keeping the money in the community. When foreigners spend money at a restaurant, that money goes into the pockets of local business owners, who spend money on local shops, and so on so the funds stay local.
Allowing funds to go overseas or otherwise leave the community doesn’t benefit anyone but the tourist and whoever gets the money. This way, communities are less likely to accept tourism because all the money and profit leaves their community.
So when traveling, especially if the goal of the trip is to experience a new culture, then try to see which hotels or attractions are locally owned, protect the environment, keep the money in the local economy, and keep negative impacts of tourism to a minimum.
By going for the more sustainable option, then both the local community and the tourists will benefit, while the tourist site will stay preserved for future generations of people to enjoy.
It’s a good cycle and one that needs to be preserved to keep the tourism industry running smoothly.