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Sustainable tourism definition: 3 common mistakes

For some years now, we have heard more and more about sustainable tourism.

There are many hypotheses about the meaning of this concept, and many projects start with this justification.

Do you want to know what we are talking about?

I am going to present to you the three main common mistakes in the perception of sustainable tourism in Italy.

TYPOLOGY VS APPROACH

Typology vs approach means that very often sustainable tourism is considered a type of tourism, a kind of offer. Instead, I’m afraid that’s not right because unlike sports tourism, luxury tourism, wellness tourism and many others, sustainable tourism is a fundamental approach that applies through different strategies to any tourism.

The definition of Sustainable tourism is as an approach to tourism that takes into account ecological sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability.

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM = SOLIDARITY

The second most common mistake, particularly in Italy, is to consider sustainable tourism as an act, as an instrument of solidarity.

In reality, things are quite different because when we talk about solidarity, about non-profit, the objective must be to contribute to the wellbeing of people, of the target we are addressing. As far as sustainable tourism is concerned, the aim is to make a profit. Making a profit in such a way that neither the environment, nor society, nor even our economy, especially the economy of local people: the residents, the community, has adverse effects.

The consideration above leads to the third most common mistake when thinking about sustainable tourism: the fear of profit.

FEAR OF PROFIT

Fear of making a profit, fear of making a profit from tourism and having a sustainable approach is wrong!

The very definition of sustainable tourism includes a crucial part: economic sustainability for a company, project, initiative, destination in the medium and long term.

Each practice, action, and approach must be made in a way that it is commensurate with the economic possibilities, the size of the company or entity that wants to undertake them.

I hope this information is of interest to you.

Sara

PS. I would like to know which of the mistakes I have just mentioned interested you the most and whether you think there are other important ones to point out. Please let me know in the comments!

 

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Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Interesting thoughts dealing with vast topics that can cover whole books! I believe that you are talking about popular perceptions, rather than definitions. Nowadays there are very detailed legal definitions of what sustainable tourism is and is...

Interesting thoughts dealing with vast topics that can cover whole books! I believe that you are talking about popular perceptions, rather than definitions. Nowadays there are very detailed legal definitions of what sustainable tourism is and is not, based on criteria, such as the GSTC criteria, the European Eco Label and many national certification schemes. In relation to typology vs approach, you are right that sustainability goes beyond industry segments. On the other hand, there are segments and types of tourism that clearly are unsustainable -> An extreme example: 4x4 tours on a sandy beach full of turtle nests. Sustainable tourism does not equal solidarity, it would be romantic and unreal to fully equate it. But I think that it includes solidarity and social responsibility. In the 21st century, Tourism, particularly sustainable tourism, must solve more problems than it creates. This is the whole meaning of building back better, after the pandemic. As to the fear of profit: I do not believe any sustainable tourism practitioner is really afraid of profits. But perhaps they are afraid of making these profits at the expense of employees, community members, the environment.

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Antonis Petropoulos
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hello Antonis, thank you for your comment! The post is exactly about the widespread perception I am experiencing in Italy. I am aware the perception is different in other countries. I am going to modify the article, adding this detail. I did the...

Hello Antonis, thank you for your comment! The post is exactly about the widespread perception I am experiencing in Italy. I am aware the perception is different in other countries. I am going to modify the article, adding this detail. I did the GSTC training that is a fantastic source of information and criteria. Sara

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sara vitali
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