Tourism is a form of a development that contributes to the income of local communities and to the growth of the industry. This growth helps residents by providing employment and addressing the major issues of poverty especially in small islands and developing countries.
In a UNESCO data, the number of international tourists has doubled to 982 million by 2008 in less than 20 years. The World Tourism Organization forecasts that by 2020, this number will increase to 1.6 billion. GDP in a country where tourism is an important backbone in the economy rises to approximately 10%.
However, with the growing demands of tourism comes various community problems and economy challenges. These dilemmas can cause loss of cultural heritage, economic dependency, and ecological deterioration.
What is Sustainable Tourism?
Sustainable tourism is important to ensure that tourism benefits local populations with the aim of promoting local economies in a sustainable way. It gives hope to future generations and empowers communities to play a role in managing their assets and providing for their future. Learn more at Asilia Africa about the positive impact of sustainable tourism and why we should care about it. Asilia Africa believes in protecting the habitats of Africa’s threatened wildlife while empowering local communities with opportunities to succeed.
Reasons Why Sustainable Tourism Matters
There are many different reasons why sustainable tourism is essential. Find out the reasons below:
1. Environmental Sustainability
Tourism impacts the environment and its ecosystem. It contributes to the quality of the air, bodies of water, wildlife, and the natural phenomena. In Africa, some wild animals may be sensitive to tourists. This change can be detrimental to their health. Environmental sustainability ensures that the health of the ecosystem is maintained and cared for.
2. Socio-cultural Sustainability
As tourism increases in a country, the influx of social and cultural diversity becomes common. Locals may see overcrowding in cities, diversity in language, change in culture, and rise in migrant workers for employment in the tourism industry. While tourism promotes gender equality, good health, and empowerment of natural resources, the interactions may cause a loss of culture and social well being of the country. Thus, it is important that local traditions are preserved and cultural exchanges are practiced in a balanced manner.
3. Economic Sustainability
Economic impacts contribute to high employment rate, better services, and social stability. However, it can also mean high costs of living, rising rates for locals, and immigration. Economic sustainability ensures that locals are still able to enjoy the price of increased tourism by keeping the money within.
In summary, sustainable tourism affects everyone involved. A tourist’s responsibility is to ensure that cultures and natural resources are highly respected and cared for. Locals must do their share in promoting and developing their community as well.
Tourism is always a two-way street. As a tourist, isn’t it nice to visit a place where locals are personally involved in the development of their country? Wouldn’t it be better to travel to a place where the community is more concerned about the sensitive impacts of tourism? Practicing sustainable tourism implies that resources for the use of future generations are not compromised.