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The Sustainable Development of Travel & Tourism

The Issues

Travel & Tourism is now the world's largest industry, and the largest generator of wealth and jobs. This is borne out by WTTC/WEFA forecasts that, directly and indirectly, 100 million new jobs will be created across the global economy through Travel & Tourism by 2010.

However, this potential needs to be put into context, and the creation of wealth and jobs must be undertaken alongside a recognition of the finite resources on which the industry depends.

The development gap between the industrialised and developing countries has widened, and the number of people living in poverty has not diminished. More than 1 billion people in the developing world live without adequate food, health care, education, and housing, while those in developed countries consume most of the world's resources.

Sustainable development and enhancement of the environment are priority issues that affect not only the global population but also world economic growth. During the last three decades, concern has been mounting over the continued deterioration of the environment, evidenced by local area smog, ozone depletion, deforestation, desertification, and other phenomena. If this disruption of the global ecological balance continues, it could jeopardise the Earth's life-sustaining qualities and, eventually, lead to severe ecological and economic consequences.

Agenda 21 is a development blueprint for the next century, and its aim in a Travel & Tourism Industry context is to establish systems and procedures to incorporate sustainable development issues as part of core management functions (for companies), and to identify actions needed to bring sustainable tourism into being. There are ten priority areas for action. Click below to find out more about each issue.

  1. Design for sustainability
  2. Energy efficiency, conservation and management
  3. Hazardous substances
  4. Involving staff, customers and communities in environmental issues
  5. Land use planning and management
  6. Management of freshwater resources
  7. Partnerships for sustainable development
  8. Transport
  9. Waste minimisation, reuse and recycling
  10. Waste water management


Bibliography

Agenda 21 for the Travel & Tourism Industry - towards Environmentally Sustainable Development, WTTC, WTO & Earth Council, 1995

Sustainable Tourism - a Marketing Perspective, Middleton & Hawkins, 1998, Butterworth Heinemann

The Green Travel Guide, Neale, 1998, Earthscan