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Week 1: Introduction to Sustainable Tourism

Picture 1

Source: (Edgell Sr, 2016)

The World Commission on Environment and Development published by The United Nations in 1987 noted that sustainable development should focus to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generation.TOU320, what can be expected by me from this subject?  Sustainability is a common word now-a-days and business organizations and industries seem to focus on the subject and include sustainability factors even while publishing their annual reports. Business organizations and eminent business leaders across the globe talk a lot about the Triple Bottom Line of Business- People, Profit and Planet. But I would like to contemplate on the steps and methods of sustainability that are implemented in practice by business organizations. In practice, do the business organizations really focus on creating long-term value for stakeholders or they only focus on creating profit for shareholders? Are the young generation really aware about the three pillars of sustainability- Social Responsibility, Economic factors and Environmental protection?  I attend the class of sustainability to increase my knowledge about the subject. The lectures of each week of TOU320 not only increase my theoretical knowledge related to sustainability, but also helps me gain practical insights on the subject which I can implement in practice as a socially responsible citizen. The following pages of my journal will reflect my week-by-week journey of learning about the subject. I welcome you to join me through my journey of TOU320.

Picture 2

Source: (Edgell Sr, 2016)

From the lecture of this week, I learnt that from the details of international tourism expenditure of the year 2015, China, USA, Germany, UK and France were the top countries which spent maximum amount of money on tourism. China has spent $292 billion and USA has spent $120 billion on tourism( Sharpley, 2015).  The tourism sector evolved in the year 1970 with economic development and growth. In the 1980’s several environmental regulations were imposed in the tourism sector. The social impacts of tourism were studied in 1990s and in the year 2000, all these elements were managed to foster sustainability in the tourism sector. From the lectures of this week, I was informed that sustainability in the tourism sector gained momentum from the Brundtland Report of 1987, from the 1992 Earth Summit of Rio de Janerio, from the Agenda 21 of 1995 and from WTO’s Making Tourism More Sustainable movement of 2005.  In the year 1991, Innskeep concept of Sustainable Tourism was developed.  This concept fostered appropriate levels of vistor’s flow and equity in development. The management of resources like natural habitats, history, culture, social interactions, and heritage are of paramount importance to foster sustainability in tourism.  Edgell suggested that sustainability in the tourism sector should preserve culture, heritage and history of the local community. I learnt about UNWTO and UNEP’s report on sustainable tourism in this week of lecture.  Sustainable tourism must cater to the needs of the environment, the visitors, the host community and the industry (Briassoulis & Van der Straaten, 2013).The tourism industry is impacted by factors like global warming and climate change.  The weather conditions of the host country determine at the time of the year when tourists will visit the host county and the length of stay of visitors and number of visitors are also impacted by weather conditions. The transportation and accommodation of tourists in the host country lead to the emission of greenhouse gases and adversely affect tourism. Sustainability practices like the carrying capacity of the destination, the sustainable economic growth, protection of environment and preservation of culture of the host country play a vital role in fostering the long-term development of the tourism sector. Sustainable tourism can be promoted by adopting business choices which will prevent damage and by rewarding good management (Buckley, 2012). The development of tourism in a destination can be competitive when tourism is sustainable not only ecologically and economically but culturally and politically. In this week of lecture, I learn about Gapapagos Islands. The carrying capacity of these islands was limited and thus restriction on number of visitors was imposed to conserve natural resources.  But the economy of Ecudaor was depressed and thus tourism was promoted beyond carrying capacity of the region. This was the cause of environmental stress, fragile ecosystem and endangered species. Thus, a balanced approach should be adopted towards sustainable tourism (Sharpley, 2015).

Week 2: Sustainability Indicators

 From our reading of this week, I can contemplate that like all other sectors of industry, tourism is also a sector that should contribute substantially towards sustainability. The presence of tourists in the host country should not pose threat to the socio-cultural or natural environment of the communities of the host country. Tourism should benefit the local communities and environment of the host country.  Tourism should boost the members of the host country culturally and economically.   However in many developing countries across the globe, the models of tourism focus only on profitability and neglect the sustainability factors. In our reading of this week, we had the opportunity to learn about indicators which are instruments that are of paramount importance for   planning, management and monitoring of the tourism sector and to provide accurate information for decision making. These technical guidelines and manuals are published by UNWTO’s Sustainable Development of Tourism Department to help tourist destinations focus on sustainability factors. I have learnt from the lecture of this week that sustainability indicators which emerged after the Rio Summit of 1992 help in risk management in the tourism sector. Good indicators are essential for monitoring systems and illustrate the changes related to policies and regulation and provide timely information to cope with the risks associated with tourism development. Good indicators are generally volumetric and economic, for instance, tourist arrival, tourism revenue and expenditure, overnight spent, accommodation and capacities (Lozano-Oyola et al., 2012).  Good indicators like information about tourist arrival in peak season can help managers to develop sustainable tourism. In class we watched videos related to the Future of Tourism. In this video, we got to know how G Adventures adopts policies that benefit the population of the host country and how the organization achieves social, economical and ecological sustainability which help to increase customer base of the organization. In this week I also got an opportunity to learn about indicators at different level like national level, regional level, tourism groups and individual tourism business. I also got an opportunity to learn about types of indicators like early warning indicators, current state of the industry and management efforts, results and performance. We were also taught about quantitative and qualitative indicators. Quantitative indicators are raw data like visitors numbers per site, ratios like tourist: local and percentages like percentage change in visitors’ arrival. Qualitative indicators are Category indices, normative indicators Nominal indicators (Yes/No Indicators); Opinion based indicators (visitor satisfaction/local resident’s feelings towards tourism).  The indicators address socio-cultural issues of sustainability like attitudes of the host community, awareness and involvement of community members, healthy, contingency planning, and foot safety of tourists (Ngamsomsuke, Hwang & Huang, 2011).  Tourism has various economic benefits like it contributes to the economy of the host country by generating foreign exchanges, tourism generates employment opportunities, leads to development of infrastructure in host country and creates value for both tourists and host community. In class, we have watched a video about the importance of tourism to the economy of New Mexico. From this video, it can be contemplated that in Mexico, without tourism the unemployment rate would be 17% which is at present 7 %. The spending of 32 million visitors is $5.5 billion.

Tourism often leads to damage of the environment of the host country. I can contemplate that the tourists are not educated about the culture of the host country; neither do they have enough knowledge about the environment of the host country. Thus tourism sector must focus on planning of energy management, waste management, sewage treatment, reducing pollution and noise and preserving critical ecosystems and fragile sites which are endangered because popular tourist destinations are overcrowded by tourists.

Figure: The European Tourism Indicator System

Source: (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2012)

The European Tourism Indicator System that was shown in class is very useful for implementing sustainability factors while developing the tourism sector in Europe. Core indicators can focus on destination management, create economic value and has social and cultural impact.  Supplementary indicators can focus on maritime and coastal tourism like development of water quality, beaches, passengers and ports (Tanguay, Rajaonson & Therrien, 2013).  Supplementary indicators should also focus on sustainable tourism policy like the percentage of tourist destination with accessible tourism strategy should be determined, equality and accessibility should be measured like the percentage of business that have a budget for accessibility improvement should be assessed, transport impact should be reduced like there should be availability of public transport.Resident survey, destination management survey and enterprise survey play a pivotal role to provide information about transnational cultural routes. Indicators should be concerned for environments of tourist destination and A Management Response System can be used to improve the sustainability factors of the tourist destination (Cohen et al., 2014).

In this week, we visited Tokyo which is a wonderful tourist destination. This place is crowded and there is scarcity of land but the place is clean and truly cared by both locals and tourists. There are recycle bins available in parks, public places and subway stations and tourists can use these bins to deposit wastes. I learnt that as a visitor in Tokyo, I can foster sustainable tourism by using public transportation like taxi. In department stores of Tokyo, I have noticed that two levels of packaging is used, all items are wrapped and then placed in shopping bags. I refused this extra level of packaging to promote sustainable tourism.  The restaurants, museums, parks and markets of Tokyo attract several tourists. The modern architectures, the Buddhist temples and statues of robots really fascinated me.

Picture 3

Source: (Edgell Sr, 2016)

My visit to Tokyo has made me practically aware of the sustainability factors of tourism that every tourist should care for. I have learnt to respect the values of the host community that is the residents of Tokyo from this trip. I have learnt to respect the culture and values of the host community from my trip to Tokyo.

In week 3 of TOU 320, we learnt about the tools and techniques of sustainability. We learnt about protected areas of the tourism sector. Legal components are included in UNWTO & UNEP for sustainable tourism in protected areas.  I got a chance to contemplate on the visitors management strategy which focuses on balancing the supply and demand, visitor behaviour should be modified to there should be resistance while accessing parks and protected areas. In this week, we got an opportunity to learn about direct management practices which emphasizes on regulation of behaviour and has high degree of control. Some examples of direct management practices were provided in the class. These practices are imposing fines, increasing surveillance area, restriction to use of protected zone overtime, limiting usage via access point, Limiting size of group and length of stay in protected are. In the lecture of this week, we got a chance to learn about indirect management practices which emphasize on influencing and modifying behaviour of tourists and control activities of management is not strong. The examples of indirect management practices are advertising specific attributes of the area, advertising underused areas, educating users of basic concepts of ecology, charging consistent entrance fees from users, charging differential fees from users by trial, zone (Edgell Sr, 2016). 

We also learnt about site design and sustainable infrastructure development. There are certain factors which should be considered while developing a new tourism service site, some of these factor are natural hazards, transportation access for staff and tourists, traditional activities, climate, slope, energy and utilities .access to natural and cultural features, to relevant goods and service (Spenceley, 2012). Wadi El? Hitan?Valley of the Whales World Heritage Site, Egypt provides an example of proper site design.

Picture 4

Source :( Hall & Page, 2014)

From my whale watching trip of this week I could contemplate those commercial trips for whale watching is highly successful because popular whale populations are targeted at peak season during these trips. I understood that whale watching requires patience. The experience I had with my tour guide was phenomenal.  I had the opportunity to see several varieties of whales on our whale watching excursion. It was an incredible experience.

We also learnt about visitors’ code of conduct. The use of code of conduct becomes limited unless they become legally binding. In this week we got an opportunity to learn about foot printing and carbon budget analysis. The ecological footprint is a means to quantify environmental impacts and provides opportunity to save cost. Companies like British Airways have joined emissions trading scheme. I got a chance to contemplate on Fair Trade in Tourism. WTO is promoting fair trade in early stages of tourism.  In my opinion, the principles of fair trade help to optimize the social, economic and environmental impacts of tourism. In any industry the principles of fair trade is very important because we can stills unhygienic labour conditions in most of the countries (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2012). In this week of lecture, information was provided in class about the role of a tour guide. The tour guides needs to be culturally sensitive to the needs of clients. They should act as site interpreters and should be a source of information for visitors. The tour guide should also educate tourists (Leslie, 2012).  The local community should be engaged in the tourism planning process. The major sustainability issues will be bias and equity in presentation of results. In my opinion, the tourists and the local community should cooperate and co-exist in harmony to foster sustainable tourism.

Figure: (Benefits of Responsible Tourism for Host Communities)

Source: (Lee, 2013)

In this week, I derived powerful insights about the fact that nature, people and culture is affected by tourism apart from the economic impacts of tourism industry. The environment of a country can be preserved by utilizing the revenue generated from tourism, for instance, revenue is generated from entrance fees which can be used to establish preserves and parks. Also management, appreciation and education play a vital role in increasing awareness related to environment among host community and tourists. Infrastructure like roads, airports and ports and superstructure like hotels, restaurants and welcome center are of paramount importance for the development of tourism. With an increase in tourist’s population, the environment of the host country gets adversely affected by decimation of fauna and flora and heritage sites, pollution like air pollution, land erosion, noise pollution (Saufi, O'Brien & Wilkins, 2014).   The host community plays a vital role in the tourism industry. There are several resources of the host community like local residents who interact with visitors, community’s ecosystem, and the infrastructure and government services of the community and natural resources of the host community (Jenkins & Schröder, 2013). I could contemplate that these resources play a vital role in development of tourism. From the lecture of this week I learnt that three forms of culture attract tourists. These are material goods like distinctive arts, daily life activities like food and language and special expressions of culture like architecture and history. We learnt that tourism can also pose threat to sustainability factors. For instance, residents resent that they have to share resources with visitors. The host communities often envy material goods of tourists (Saufi, O'Brien & Wilkins, 2014).  The superstructure and infrastructure build by government are available for tourists but remain unavailable for locals. There is also correlation between number of tourists and crime in the host country. The interaction between tourists and hosts is important for fostering sustainability in tourism. Doxey’s index of tourist irritation describes the ways communities react to increasing number of tourists. In the lecture of this week, I contemplated that tourism can be linked with social change. I contemplated that whether quality of life is reduced by tourism will remain a subjective matter as tourism has positive effects like alleviation of poverty, generation of employment as well as negative effects like increased amount of crime and pollution. The host community is impacted by tourism like tourism has impact on values, lifestyle, moral conduct, individual behavior and safety of host community. The tourist host relationships can lead to a win-win situation where both community and tourists benefit, can be a win-lose situation where community is benefitted but not tourism, lose-win situation where community loses but tourism wins or lose-lose situation where neither tourism or community is benefitted. I could conclude from the lecture of this week that without participation of host community members, a win-win situation is difficult and local communities should be supported by government and NGOs, the law of the host country and private sector in the host country play a vital role on the development of regional areas so that the quality of the environment is preserved in the host country (Lee, 2013).

Figure: (Consumer Behavior in Tourism)

Source: (Sharpley, 2015). 

In this week of lecture, we learn about different types of travel like travel for sports. This includes travelling to participate in sports or to watch sports like Olympics and World Cup, adventure travel which includes bungee jumping,  white water rafting. I learnt that 98 million people in the United States opted for adventure tourism in the last few years( Sharpley, 2015).   Religious travel which is also known as pilgrimage has been practiced for hundreds of years and is fairly common today, for instance, Muslim pilgrimage to Hajji and Mecca. Churches, mosques and temples also attract millions of tourists every year. I learn the definition of health tourism as defined by Goodrich and Goodrich.  The host country can attract tourists by promoting healthcare services and features. Healthcare services include services like medical examinations and operations, medical treatments for diseases like arthritis.  The main determinants of demand for travel and tourism are economic factors, comparative prices, geographical factors, media communication, information and communication technology, environmental factors that promote tourism and access to personal transport(Hall & Page, 2014).  In this week of lecture, I got an idea about factors that motivate tourists like personality, image, perceptions, lifestyle and past experience. Psychological characteristics of tourists like motivation, beliefs and attitudes, learning and perception also affect tourism. The perceptual process includes selective attention, selective retention and selective distortion. People travel to satisfy physical needs like achieve relaxation, to satiate emotional needs like adventure, to meet personal needs like visiting friends, to meet cultural needs like sightseeing and for personal development like learning a new skill. In this week of lecture we learnt about the model of consumer behavior that determines why people travel and other models like Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.  There are several factors that affect consumer’s behavior like cultural, social, personal and psychological factors. In this week of lecture we learnt about the push-pull model of tourism. The pull factors of tourism include sporting events, scenic beauty and historical areas and push factors of tourism are adventure, escape, and excitement. We got an opportunity to learn about models of tourism like Pierce Leisure ladder model, Stanley Plog Model. Psychocentrics are people who prefer to travel common tourist destinations and prefer sun and sports. Allocentrics are those who prefer non-tourist destinations and enjoy meeting people from different culture. We got insights about the Iso-Ahola Two dimension Motivational Theory.  The two dimensions of this theory are intrinsic rewards and escaping the everyday environment. We also learnt about Card and Kestel theory. The Krippendorf’s eight factors of tourist motivation include factors like communication and happiness. The travel values include value for money and time. The currency devaluation and unstable political situation of the host country can bring down tourists. In the year 2003, UNWTO reported 2% decrease in tourism across the globe due to factors like terrorism and global economic recession (Jamal & Camargo, 2014).  Travel bargains can be encouraged by government and thus government can encourage leisure tourism

From the lecture of this week, I learn Europe continued to lead in being the most popular tourist destination. I was informed that transport by air will enhance the market share of tourism but pace of this will be slow. The recent trends of tourism show that travel between regions have grown faster that travel within the same region. In recent years the growth of outbound tourism in Asia and Pacific will be noteworthy. The drivers of tourism are social drivers, political drivers, technological drivers and environmental drivers. The new tourists are experienced, sophisticated and demanding; they seek authenticity and are technologically skilled. The new tourists care about corporate social responsibility and ethical consumption. Companies adopt various ways to get greener,  Companies publish Environmental, social and governance(ESG) reports, educate customers and stakeholders,  take initiatives like greening of supply chain by making procurements from small and medium sized enterprises. Cooper talks about two trends of tourism. These trends are artificially enhanced destinations like theme parks, cruises and resorts and authentic experiences like contact with indigenous communities and nature. The future transportation network boost tourism, for instance, Shanghai Maglev has high speed train networks (Maitland & Newman, 2014). There are certain barriers to sustainable tourism like power and politics, lack of coordination and interaction between host community and tourists. Priority is given to economic factors over environmental and social goals, and policies which avoid issues of sustainability. The sustainable tourism triangle balances the social, economic and environmental factors of tourism (Ruhanen et al., 2015). The patterns and trends of tourism are conspicuous leisure, for instance, for high net worth individuals of China travel is the pursuit of leisure. The UNWTO has forecasted the international tourism sector to grow by 3% to 4%. China has a strong position in the tourism source market and had more than 100 million travelers in the year 2013. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau accounted for 70 percentage of outbound travel (Cernat & Gourdon, 2012).  We were informed this week that shopping safaris foster travel. The China and the United States have experienced an expenditure of USD $170 billion in China and USD $ 110 billion in the United States by global and local tourists for shopping.   1.8 billion People of the world belong to the millennial generation (Page, 2014).

Figure: World Share of International Tourist Arrival by 2020

Source: (Cernat & Gourdon, 2012)

They are motivated to travel to enhance their knowledge as well as to experience life in another a foreign country (Sharpley, 2011).  Internet access, technology and gadgets like Wi-Fi facilities in hotel rooms also promote tourism.  Free Wifi in tourist corridors and city center promote tourism. Also the Millennial travelers are highly social and post pictures of their vacation on social media sites. In this week of lecture, I have discovered that economic hotels provided by companies like Airbnb was the choice of 10 million people in 2016. I could contemplate that bleisure trips will be the future trend of tourism where business trips will be combined with leisure trips. In this week of lecture I was informed that fronterism is a recent trend of tourism and 26% travelers in the United States enjoy travelling to remote landscapes like Antarctica. Another future trend of tourism is residential tourism where millionaires prefer to buy second home in foreign countries, for instance, 22, 3000 foreign multimillionaires owned homes in London. Another trend was noticed in the tourism sector, LGBT communities spent more than USD$200 billion every year on tourism (Sharpley, 2015).  I was informed in this week of lecture that global brands like Coca-cola and Ferrari World attract tourists across the globe, for instance, Hersey’s Chocolate World in Pennnsylvania attracted more than 4.1 million visitors every year. I could conclude from the lecture of this week that we should respect local culture, protect heritage, save energy and buy local to ensure sustainability in tourism sector.

Reference Lists

Briassoulis, H., & Van der Straaten, J. (Eds.). (2013). Tourism and the environment: regional, economic, cultural and policy issues(Vol. 6). Springer Science & Business Media.

Buckley, R. (2012). Sustainable tourism: Research and reality. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(2), 528-546.

Cernat, L., & Gourdon, J. (2012). Paths to success: Benchmarking cross-country sustainable tourism. Tourism Management, 33(5), 1044-1056.

Cohen, S. A., Higham, J. E., Stefan, G., & Peeters, P. (Eds.). (2014). Understanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: Psychological and behavioural approaches (Vol. 43). Routledge.

Edgell Sr, D. L. (2016). Managing sustainable tourism: A legacy for the future. Routledge.

Goeldner, C. R., & Ritchie, J. B. (2012). Tourism: principles, practices, philosophies (No. Ed. 12). John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Hall, C. M., & Page, S. J. (2014). The geography of tourism and recreation: Environment, place and space. Routledge.

Jamal, T., & Camargo, B. A. (2014). Sustainable tourism, justice and an ethic of care: Toward the just destination. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 22(1), 11-30.

Jenkins, I., & Schröder, R. (Eds.). (2013). Sustainability in tourism: A multidisciplinary approach. Springer Science & Business Media.

Lee, T. H. (2013). Influence analysis of community resident support for sustainable tourism development. Tourism management, 34, 37-46.

Leslie, D. (Ed.). (2012). Responsible tourism: Concepts, theory and practice. CABI.

Lozano-Oyola, M., Blancas, F. J., González, M., & Caballero, R. (2012). Sustainable tourism indicators as planning tools in cultural destinations. Ecological Indicators, 18, 659-675.

Maitland, R., & Newman, P. (Eds.). (2014). World tourism cities: Developing tourism off the beaten track. Routledge.

Ngamsomsuke, W., Hwang, T. C., & Huang, C. J. (2011). Sustainable cultural heritage tourism indicators. In International Conference on Social Science and Humanity, IACSIT Press, Singapore (5).

Page, S. J. (2014). Tourism management. Routledge.

Ruhanen, L., Weiler, B., Moyle, B. D., & McLennan, C. L. J. (2015). Trends and patterns in sustainable tourism research: a 25-year bibliometric analysis. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 23(4), 517-535.

Saufi, A., O'Brien, D., & Wilkins, H. (2014). Inhibitors to host community participation in sustainable tourism development in developing countries. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 22(5), 801-820.

Sharpley, R. (2011). The study of tourism: Past trends and future directions. Routledge.

Sharpley, R. (2015). Tourism and development. Sage Publications.

Spenceley, A. (Ed.). (2012). Responsible tourism: Critical issues for conservation and development. Routledge.

Tanguay, G. A., Rajaonson, J., & Therrien, M. C. (2013). Sustainable tourism indicators: Selection criteria for policy implementation and scientific recognition. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(6), 862-879

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