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“Sustainability is a paradigm for thinking about the future in which environmental, societal and economic considerations are balanced in pursuit of an improved quality of life”
In today’s world, it is often stated by many people that in order for the future generations to enjoy the benefits that this earth has to offer, it is necessary to adopt a sustainable way of living life so as to preserve the resources for the benefit of the coming generation. And what better way to incorporate sustainability into our lives than by integrating it in the tourism sector which allows for people from all over the world to visit places and live their lives to the fullest (Higgins-Desbiolles 2018).
The World Tourism Organization has come to define sustainable tourism as one where three conditions are met, which are utilising the ecological resources that are present already to the maximum possible extent and not disturbing the environment and its myriad processes and thus preserving biodiversity of an area in return; by not disturbing the prevalent local culture of a region, respecting it and also by contributing to the cultural understanding of the locals with your own culture; and ensuring that in the longer run, the local markets and economy that is dependant on this tourism is not negatively affected in any manner whatsoever and also ensuring that the local marketers and entrepreneurs are given a fair chance to alleviate their poverty by getting a fair share of the tourism opportunity.
While the tourism and travel industry is invited generally for the benefits and the opportunity that it is able to create with ease, people are understanding that there is a need to acknowledge the fact that the relationship between tourism and environment Is interlinked and as such there is a growing need for recognising this relationship and attempting to preserve it to the fullest in order that the future generations are able to enjoy the very same tourism opportunities that we enjoy today (Gunawan, 2020).
India is quite populous and as such the different culture that is present in India is massive. This provides lot of opportunities for the tourists to come and visit India in order to observe these different cultures. The difference in culture and traditions can be seen and understood from the fact that two regions that are not far from each other would be completely different in terms of cultures and traditions that are followed by its people. This makes India a very interesting place in terms of tourism. Further more, increase in tourism in India can also be attributed to another fact that there are vast amount of places and monuments which one can visit to make their stay much more enjoyable. India enjoys rich history of kings and kingdoms as well as royalty being expressed through a display of power and wealth unlike anything that the world has ever seen before. as such, this is another Avenue where tourism gets attracted in India. Due to the growth of tourism, there are a lot of stakeholders involved such as the local people residing in a place where tourism spikes, the government at both central level and at state level as well as the local market in the particular region which gets a huge boost. It is therefore necessary to adopt the approach of a sustainable way of tourism in order to protect this vast culture and tradition and its authenticity.
A variety of concerns can be attributed when adopting a sustainable approach to tourism. Some of these concerns in respect of the economy, the environment as well as in terms of a social context are discussed below.
Sustainability concerns in terms of economic context create three major issues which are mentioned below.
Tourism requires infrastructure to be set up in place before the tourists start trickling in. As such the government spends on building up rest houses or hotels for accommodation, restaurants or any other eateries for providing food, various park and areas where the tourists can rest after a hectic day of visiting various places. If adopting the sustainable method, it has to be seen that the nature of infrastructure is changed. Earlier, where the parks or the recreational areas could be built by cutting down trees, now have to be built taking care that the tree is not to be cut down. There are numerous examples where sustainable approach to tourism would end up driving the cost of setting up infrastructure again (Leonard, et. al. 2020). As such, care has to be taken that the costs do not increase exponentially as the same may end up affecting the prices and eventually the tourism in the particular region.
Tourists come from outside countries and as such currencies differ. For example Rs, 70 in Indian currency may be just equivalent to $1 for an american tourist. This leads to inflation in the market prices and affect the local goods by making them being priced higher than their actual or fair value. This ends up leading a drop in the tourism rates. Care has to be taken that the goods do not end up being too pricey or the tourists would stop coming to such pricey destinations.
A businessman who is well-connected would establish his shop in a prime location to get the most benefits. This would lead to the other businessmen earning less on account of disparity in money and opportunity. Care has to be taken to ensure that the opportunity is not granted unequally among the business class (Seyfi, et. al. 2020).
Sustainability concerns in terms of environmental context create three major issues which are mentioned below.
When tourists arrive in the region, apart from visiting they also utilise the resources of that particular region during the period of their stay. As such the resources tend to get consumed. Particular care has to be taken to ensure that the resources are not depleted to the extent where there is no resource left at all.
Tourists are of various mindsets. Some come with the intent to enjoy all that a place offers while some come with the intention of causing harm or defacing. There have been numerous instances where a region has suffered from physical degradation on account of this factor. Apart from the local government and the people, the tourists also have to show concerns and regard for the place which they are visiting and not abuse it (Whitmarsh, et. al. 2020).
When tourists come, this means an increase in business. As such there would be more number of vehicles on the road catering to the transportation of the tourists. This would lead to more pollution taking place. Furthermore, the tourists would also eat. This would lead to more food wastage or throwing of edibles in places other than dustbins. Apart from these there are various other ways by which pollution opposed by tourists. As such care has to be shown by the tourists alone on this part in not causing excessive pollution (Lansing & De Vries, 2017).
Sustainability concerns in terms of social context create three major issues which are:-
When tourists intermingle with the local population, there is a risk of the cultural identity and authenticity of the local population being lost. In order to prevent that, the tourists have to take care that they do not present a wrong side of their culture which may negatively affect the local culture in turn.
There have been various instances where The tourists who are visiting a region commit crimes. It is not always possible that the tourists who come always come with a clean heart and with an intention to enjoy the place. Some may even come with the intention of committing some sort of crime. As such this leads to increase in crime rates in the area.
More number of tourists leads to overcrowding of a particular region or a tourist place. For this point, the local government and the people have to devise approaches or strategies so that such overcrowding does not happen (Ashraf,et. al. 2020).
In order to implement a sustainable approach to tourism, the government has to take help of the local people and utilise the resources present locally in order to devise approaches or strategies to at least look into the concerns presented above. The government should look into making policies, rules and regulations for the tourism industry, improve awareness of sustainable tourism issues among tourists as well as the local population. The government can also look into collaborating with the various stakeholders especially those who are in important roles for achieving a sustainable approach to tourism in India.
Higgins-Desbiolles, F. (2018). Sustainable tourism: Sustaining tourism or something more?. Tourism management perspectives, 25, 157-160.
Gunawan, F. X. C. (2020). Community Based Sustainable Tourism Development in the District of East Sumba. Journal Economics & Business Atmajaya Indonesia, 4(1), 1-12.
Siakwah, P., Musavengane, R., & Leonard, L. (2020). Tourism governance and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa. Tourism Planning & Development, 17(4), 355-383.
Rasoolimanesh, S. M., Ramakrishna, S., Hall, C. M., Esfandiar, K., & Seyfi, S. (2020). A systematic scoping review of sustainable tourism indicators in relation to the sustainable development goals. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1-21.
Xu, F., Nash, N., & Whitmarsh, L. (2020). Big data or small data? A methodological review of sustainable tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 28(2), 144-163.
Lansing, P., & De Vries, P. (2017). Sustainable tourism: ethical alternative or marketing ploy?. Journal of Business Ethics, 72(1), 77.
Ashraf, M. S., Hou, F., Kim, W. G., Ahmad, W., & Ashraf, R. U. (2020). Modeling tourists' visiting intentions toward ecofriendly destinations: Implications for sustainable tourism operators. Business Strategy and the Environment, 29(1), 54-71.
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