Phrase Of The Month
By: Heng Sopheap (National Institute of Management)..Picture by:Jon Bugge ( July, 2002 Volume 2 No.7 )

Sustainable Tourism Development

Many national governments have adopted sustainability as their fundamental development policy. The WTO (World Tourism Organization) has adopted the tourism planning and development studies. The WTO has defined sustainable tourism as follows: "Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity, and life support systems." Within the framework of this basic statement, principles of sustainable tourism development can be further elaborated as follows:
The natural, historical, cultural and other resources for tourism are conserved for continuous use in the future, while still bringing benefits to the present society.

The sustainable development approach is particularly important in tourism because this sector depends mostly on tourist attractions and activities that are related to the natural environment and historic and cultural heritage of an area. If these resources are degraded or destroyed, then tourism cannot thrive. In fact, conservation of some of these resources can often be enhanced through tourism development. Maintaining the desirable aspects of cultural traditions and ethnic identities is an important element of conserving the cultural heritage of an area. Conservation of tourism resources can help make residents of an area more aware of their heritage and support its protection.

Tourism development is planned and managed so that it does not generate serious environmental or socio-cultural problems in the tourism area.
Environmental planning approaches and carrying capacity analysis are important techniques for preventing environmental and socio-cultural problems resulting form tourism. Application of environmentally friendly technology can greatly assist in reducing the adverse effects of tourism development.

The overall environmental quality of the tourism area is maintained and improved where needed.
Most tourists wish to visit areas that are attractive, functional, clean and not polluted. Tourism can provide the incentive and means to maintain and, where needed, improve the environmental quality of areas. A high level of environmental quality is also very important for the local residents to enjoy. Tourism can help make residents more aware of the quality of their environment and support its maintenance and, where necessary, improvement.

A high level of tourist satisfaction is maintained so that the tourist destinations will retain their marketability and popularity.
If tourists are not satisfied with the tourism area, it cannot retain its tourist markets and remain as a viable destination. Older resorts, for example, usually require periodic revitalization to meet present sustainability and marketing objectives.

The benefits of tourism are widely spread throughout the society.
Tourism development should be planned and managed so that its socio-economic benefits are spread as widely as possible throughout the society of the tourist destination. In this way, benefits will be maximized and residents will support tourism if they are receiving benefits from it. Community-based tourism projects are an important technique for spreading benefits to local residents.