Sustainable Tourism

AAT-Green-Steps-logo-AAT-environmental-efforts-prog2While looking for possible job opportunities in the field of sustainability I came across a company that offers sustainable vacations. I remembered Dr. Samson mentioning sustainable tourism in his class on ‘Latin American Culture & Society Today’ in reference to the impact the tourism industry has on the local cultural heritage and environment in places like, for example, Mexico. As more regions and countries develop their tourism industry, it produces significant impacts on natural resources, consumption patterns, pollution and social systems. The need for sustainable/responsible planning and management is imperative for the industry to survive as a whole. Sustainable tourism, which is defined by the World Tourism Organization 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”, could greatly improve the situation. It aims at getting travelers to re-focus and adapt to a new way of tourism that finds a balance between limits and usage of this industry so that continuous changing, monitoring and planning ensure that tourism can be managed. Economic, social and environmental aspects of the development of the sustainable tourism industry must include the interests of all stakeholders including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industry and government. Tourism will never be completely sustainable as every industry has its impacts, nonetheless, there are many things that can be changed to make this industry more sustainable.