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Different Types of Sustainable Tourism

Info: 1933 words (8 pages) Essay
Published: 8th Sep 2021 in Tourism

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Law thinks that Tourism has become one of the largest and most influential industries in the world. It has created inestimable value for the environment, societies and cultures.(as cited in Seldjan and Donald, 2009) But at the same time, tourism as an characteristic industry has its own guilt and damaging effects in socio-cultural and environmental terms(Opperman and Chon, 1997 as cited in Nevenka, 2002). With the global emphasis on sustainable development, a growing proportion of the tourism research has paid attention on the sustainable tourism. Although a detailed discussion of sustainability is difficult, but in order to understand the views are emerging of sustainable tourism now, and can work out useful strategies about the future development of tourism at destination areas.(Hunter,2002)

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The aim of this essay is through understanding the definition and discussing different types of sustainable tourism(ST) to find new approach and make new strategy to achieve ST. This paper begins with the interpretations of the concept of sustainable development(SD) and definition of ST. Then will discuss the fundamental information of Tourism, for example the two types of it. Final step is to require recommended strategies and approaches.

Sustainable Development

As the World Commission on Environment and Development’s Report(WCED), the definition of SD is “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. ” It involves within it two key concepts, the first is to meet the needs of the world’s poor priority. The second is strictly limit the status quo of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability in order to meet the needs in present and future. Debate has described such correlative important concepts as: SD needs to seize the opportunity to satisfy their desire to make life better; At least SD must not jeopardize the nature systems that provide resources for life on Earth; SD requires that the rate of consumption of non-renewable resources should reduce as few future options as possible; SD must protect the plant and animals species and reduce the adverse impacts on water and the quality of air in order to maintain the overall integrity of the ecosystem. (Geneva, 1987) Turner argued that Interpretation of SD can be divided into the range from “very strong” to “very weak”. (as cited in Hunter, 1997) There are four major SD positions and two key issues of debate are selected for elaboration. Weak sustainability positions highlight the possibility of capital substitution and the strength of the technical process to to alleviate resource consumption and pollution problems. Strong sustainability positions Recognize the main value of the maintenance of ecosystem function and integrity through human resources. (Hunter, 1997)

Sustainable tourism

With the popularization of the concept of sustainable development in the WCED, the same as other industries and fields of academic research, sustainable tourism also responded to the concept of sustainable development. World Tourism Organization expressed sustainable tourism simply as “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.” Sustainability principles related to environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, these three areas is important to constitute a suitable balance in order to assure its long-term sustainability. So ST should :

  • take full advantage of environmental resources to maintain essential ecological processes and the protection of natural heritage and biodiversity, which is the key factor in sustainable tourism development.
  • Respect for the authenticity of the socio-cultural and protect their original culture and traditional values while promoting inter-cultural understanding and tolerance.
  • Ensure economic long-term operation for an equitable distribution of socio-economic benefit to all stakeholders. Benefit include stable employment, opportunities of income earing and social services. At same time contribute to the poor area. (unwto, 2012)
  • ST as shortened descriptors to two variants-‘light green’ (LG) and ‘dark green’ (DG) by Hunter(2002). Under normal circumstances, these two variants are applicable to different levels, from the individual business up to a national tourism development plan or policy statement. People adhere to the DG just like students are more interested in ecology, geography and the environmental sciences in the school, and are likely to represent views from cautionary or knowledge-based perspectives by Jafari (1989). And advocates of LG just like students who only focus on use which natural resources can get benefit, and are likely to express views from advocate and adaptancy perspectives by Jafari (1989). (Hunter, 2002)

An example of sustainable tourism is around Rimini, Italy and Calvia, Spain. It is a Life Environment project. Its called ‘Strategies and Tools for Sustainable Tourism in Mediterranean Coastal Areas.’ After almost four million tourists descend each year, their beaches and the destinations are search for associate economic and social aspects to respect the environment. This project has three actions include:

  • A comprehensive strategy for the management of coastal areas in mass tourism destinations.
  • Help private operators improve environment performance.
  • Enhance tourist and tour operator consciousness on environmental issues. (sustainabletourism, 2012)

Mass tourism and Alternative tourism

There are two key forms in ST that are Mass tourism(MT) and Alternative tourism(AT). Vanhove argue that Mass tourism is a lot of people enjoy traveling in the same place, which is its first feature. The term “mass tourism” means that the holiday is standardized, rigidly packaged and inflexible (as cited in Julien) Mass tourism has dominated the entire tourism industry for many years, more and more negative impacts of environment, people began to pay attention to a new form of tourism-alternative tourism. Increase interest in alternative tourism is also weaken mass tourism.(Julien) Academic pay more and more attention in alternative tourism, Alternative tourism has been a variety of explanations, such as Weaver & Lawton (2002) argued that is “polarized opposite and substitute for mass tourism” (as cited in Rami.K.I, 2010) and Butler (1992) argued that is “yet others speak of a transformation in all tourism towards more benign forms” ( as cited in Rami.K.I,2010)

According to comparison between mass tourism and alternative tourism of Butler (1990: cited in Gartner, 1996. P.338-342) General Features : the fast development is MT characteristics, it focus on growth the economic but ignore environment issues and sociol problems. The development will become uncontrollable cause MT, it just focus on develop quickly rather than sustainable development. As focus on environmental and social factors that AT development is slow, but try to find the economic benefits from a long-term perspective. Tourist Behaviour: a large number of tourist would like go to buy the souvenirs, but they did not realize the tradition culture deeply in MT. A small group of tourist who like to have a conversation with local people and truly be effected by culture. Basic Requirements: MT have two extreme results of development, because it has seasonality. AT can exist anytime. The last comparison is Tourism Development Strategies: many scenic are being overdeveloped, lead to reduce the proportion of traditional industries, finally the local people did not get benefit yet in MT. Rely more on the local labor force and the original source of funds to develop itself in AT. (as cited in Narueporn. L, 1999)

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Complexity of the tourism system

Simple method can not understand the tourism as stakeholders in a complex system of stakeholders. External and internal can affect all types of stratification, including subsystems, and influenced by related behavior will lead a unpredictable results. For tourism industry it is necessary to understand the relationship, meaning, underlying values and issues of each module of complex system and need ability balance for each parts that can improve sustainable tourism development.(Janine.R.M, 2009) There are some characteristics of complex tourism system. First is a large number of foundations and agents, its impaction is flexibility reciprocity. Second is polystage and decked in nature. Thirdly newness emergence ceaseless and self-organization. Fourthly it has potential that input a little to the system can have distinct change. These characteristics were summarized by Cilliers, 1998; Coveney & Highfield, 1995; Geldof, 1995; Prigogine & Stengers, 1985; Waldrop, 1992. (as cited in Janine.R.M, 2009)

Challenges, new strategic and approach

There is a major challenge to sustainability for now and the future, how to define sustainable tourism, and this definition need blend into the environmental factors used in conjunction. (Randy J.V. & Megha.B, 2011) another is difficult to reach balance of each of stakeholders which base on protect environment. (Nicolae.C and Cristina.P, 2010) So find an appropriate strategic and approach is important. Hall (2000) notes that strategy of sustainable tourism planning and development seeks is to achieve that increase experience of mutual influence between the visitors and resources while protecting the resource value, to maximize protect who is the stakeholders of their country’s economic, social and environmental. (as cited in Lisa,R, 2010)

There is am approaches called community- based approaches. Kirsten and Rogerson(2002) argued It provides greater opportunities of involve the local business by combine with limited environmental and social impacts. (as cited in Gianna, 2007) Hall (2005) thought this approaches are popular for tourism, because local stakeholders tough it can understand that the decisions about the types and locations of proposed tourism development. (as cited in Gianna, 2007)


Tourism is an important industry of the process of achieve sustainable development. It has been help a lot of countries developed, and contribute for economic in whole world. But environmental and social problems also emergent in present time. So it is necessary transfer original form of development, that is sustainable development. For tourism industry is sustainable tourism. In this paper, according to a lot of authors perspective, it help readers realize definition and characteristic of ST and SD easily. SD is the foundation of long-term economic operation that can meet needs and create better life.(Geneva, 1987)

This paper also discuss two key forms of tourism. Both MT and AT affect the environment and economic. Detail about characteristic of each form is in MT and AT part. Also discuss the complex tourism system, it is necessary to balance ability of each module. Finally according to summarize challenge to find new strategic and approaches to achieve ST. The key point of strategic and approaches is develop economic at the same time must not destroy environment. (Geneva, 1987)


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