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  • Subject Name : Tourism and Hospitality

Responsible or Sustainable Tourism

Table of Contents

Introduction.

Tourism in Australia.

Sustainable tourism or Responsible tourism..

Responsible tourism dealing with the crisis situations.

Responsible tourism in Australia and abroad.

Importance of responsible tourism in sustainable development planning.

Practices and policies in Australia for sustainable development

References.

Introduction to Constructing Sustainable Tourism Development

The travel and tourism industry mainly refers to the various aspects of the large service industry that aims to cater to the needs and desires of people travelling from one part of the world to another either for leisure or business purpose (Hall 2019). This travel and tourism industry forms a major industry and is a significant contributor to the economies of many countries of the world. Similarly, travel and tourism is also one of an essential industry for Australia. The basic goal of travel and tourism sector assist in developing and promoting tourism in a region, maintaining the competitive position of this country as one of the preferred tourist destination (Hall 2019). This sector also helps in improving and expanding the existing tourism product portfolio in order to generate more employment and speed up the economic growth of the country. However, while promoting tourism it is also essential for the administration of that region and other people who are a part of this tourism sector, which help in protection of the environment and that region from the impacts of the tourism. This necessity has given rise to the concept of sustainable and responsible tourism.

The presented article elaborately explains about the concept of sustainable or responsible tourism and its importance. It also gives an overview of such a sustainable tourism adopted in the region of Australia, and other policies and practices adopted by this region.

Tourism in Australia

Tourism in simple terms is the process travelling to different destinations and places and exploring these places of the world in order to indulge in recreational activities and to pursue relaxation and pleasure, along with using the commercial services of recreation provided by those destinations (Kapera 2018). There is a rapid growth in the travel and tourism industry in Australia presently. Australia is known to be one of the oldest civilizations on this earth, and consist of a rich cultural heritage. Australia has some of the world’s most iconic landmarks and attractions. Some of the most popular cities of Australia famous for tourism include Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Gold coast, and sites like the Sydney Opera House, The Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, and so on. The estimated value of international visitors visiting Australia in 2019 was about 9 million (Australian Bureau of Statistics n.d.). The tourism industry contributed approximately 3.1% of total GDP of Australia, which is about 60.8 Billion AUD in the year 2019 (Australian Bureau of Statistics n.d.). The industry also significantly contributed to the employment growth of Australia by providing employment to an estimated of 6.5 lakh people in Australia in the same year (Australian Bureau of Statistics n.d.) 

Tourism also includes other broad tourism concepts other than tourism for pleasure and relaxation such as business tourism, sports tourism, religious and pilgrimage tourism, medical and well-ness tourism, and eco-tourism. However, while developing this industry the government should ensure the protection of the natural ecosystems and heritage of Australia. Thus, sustainable tourism is a significant concepts of almost all the countries promoting tourism. Most of the countries presently are focusing on developing the concept of sustainable and eco-tourism as this kind of tourism is linked to the sustainability of the environmental.

Sustainable Tourism or Responsible Tourism

Sustainable tourism is also referred to as responsible tourism. This term Responsible Tourism was first coined in the year 2002 in Cape Town at the World Summit being held for Sustainable Development (Mathew and Sreejesh 2017). The definition of responsible tourism of the Cape Town Declaration is now widely accepted and is being accepted by almost all the tourist countries in order to protect their natural habitat and environmental and of the world (Mathew and Sreejesh 2017) .

Responsible Tourism relates to developing better world for everyone to live in and better regions for tourism. Responsible Tourism includes that all the stakeholders and elements of the tourism industry like the operators, hoteliers, governments, tourists and also the local people residing in that location take up the responsibility and the required action and preventive measures to make tourism more sustainable (Mathew and Sreejesh 2017).

The excessive growth of the tourism sector leads to the rise in number of tourists visiting the different places. This leads to overcrowding in these places, which have an impact on the resident people living in that region and also on its environment. The local people generally are impacted due to temporary and seasonal tourism cycles, which has imparted permanent changes to the lifestyles, amenities use and their well-being (Hall 2019)

Thus, to prevent such impact, it is important for all the countries to dedicate efforts in developing and promoting sustainable or responsible tourism. Sustainable tourism is a concept which relates to the responsibility of an individual to visit some place as a tourist and having a positive and good impact on the ecosystem of that region, the community, and also the economy of that region.

Sustainable tourism development needs the participation of all the involved stakeholders. It also requires the participation of the region’s administration in order to increase awareness. Sustainable tourism must also be able to provide a high tourist satisfaction while ensuring good experiences to the tourists. Along with that it should be able to impart awareness and promote sustainable practices for tourism.

Sustainability is term which is often not understood by all and thus responsible tourism has is the most commonly used term in the industry.

Responsible tourism is tourism that is more responsible in nature and undertaken responsibly.

Mathew and Sreejesh (2017), have stated various benefits of responsible or sustainable tourism, such as:

  • Minimizing the negative effect of tourism on the community, economy and environment
  • Generating employment and higher economic benefits to local residents and improving their well-being
  • making significant contributions for conserving the environmental and cultural heritage and maintain the diversity balance of the ecosystem
  • provides greater customer experiences to the tourists by building meaningful connections with the resident people
  • Responsible tourism is culturally sensitive and helps in building respect between the tourists and the local people, and also develop feeling about pride and confidence about the cultural heritage.

Sustainable tourism and sustainable development are terms that are related. Sustainable development can be described as steps taken in order to fulfil the needs of the present without compromising the ability of next generations to meet their needs (Saarinen 2015).

Tourism is based on the natural environment and the historical and cultural heritage (Kapera 2018). Sustainable tourism comprises of three elements which are interrelated: environmental, socio-cultural, and economic. Sustainability includes optimum use of resources, minimizing the ecological, cultural and social effects and maximizing the benefits for conservation and local communities (Kapera 2018).

Responsible Tourism Dealing with The Crisis Situations

One of the current crisis situation that has largely affected the tourism sector is the global pandemic of COVID-19. This global pandemic of COVID-19 has majorly impacted the socio- economic of almost all the countries worldwide. Tourism is a sector which has been effected economically by this pandemic and the industry might experience an exponential decline. This pandemic has most significantly raised the awareness about the importance of sustainability in each human’s life. The Global Tourism Crisis Committee in May 2020, has launched an initiative, to recover this tourism sector affected by COVID-19 (One Planet Network n.d.). The One Planet Vision for a Responsible Recovery of the Tourism Sector is built on the UNWTO Global Guidelines to recovery of tourism. This programme will be implemented to restart the development and implementation of recovery plans in accordance to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement (One Planet Network n.d.).

This programme will provide responsible tourism recovery for people, their health, and society, Conversation of biodiversity, climate and economy.

Another sustainability tourism initiative of the Global Tourism Crisis Committee is the Global Tourism Plastic Initiative (One Planet Network n.d.). According to this initiative, the tourism sector addresses the crisis situation of increasing plastic pollution and aims to reduce and eradicate it.

Similarly, other crisis whether natural or due to other reasons have an unprecedented negative impact on the tourism sector of that place. Thus, taking corrective and preventive steps of sustainable tourism is important to deal and manage these crises. The above step taken by the Global Tourism Crisis Committee in terms of reviving the tourism sector is on the right track, as it is considering the need of sustainability and responsible tourism, and protection of environment.

Responsible Tourism in Australia and Abroad

Australia remains as one of the preferred travelling locations for many tourists attributed to its rich flora and fauna, and many iconic attractions and landmark located here. As a result, people keep travelling and the number of tourists here continue to rise.

In order to decrease the environmental effect of millions of tourist travelling to Australia and other parts of the world it is essential for all the stakeholders of the world to take up responsible and sustainable tourism. The tourists all over the world have begun to observe and realize the negative effects of tourism on the environment. Thus, many tourists are now opting for responsible and sustainable vacations. Sustainable and responsible tourism include tourism like nature-based tourism and ecotourism.

Ecotourism is environmentally responsible visit of relatively to a place, not disturbing the natural areas, for the purpose of pleasure, study and research and appreciating nature and the cultural features of that location. Such a kind of tourism promotes conservation of the natural flora and fauna, decreases the impact of tourist, and allows active involvement of the local people.

One case or example of the sustainable tourism in Australia, the adoption of 5-year strategic plan for sustainable tourism in Northern Australia, and providing education and awareness on this to the organizations of this sector. Another case where the sustainable or responsible tourism can be observed in the city of Melbourne where the local administration have developed and adopted an environmental program which will assist the hotels of the city to reduce various costs like energy, water and waste management. The Savings in the City program is a sustainable development program which will provide leadership, support, recognition and suggestion to hotel operators and other elements of tourism of that region. It will enable hotels to identify effective actions which will help to reduce energy consumption and operation expenditure of the hotels and other recreational centres. Another practice of responsible or sustainable tourism in Australia, is the implementation of Sustainable Streets program in Byron Bay, a town of Australia. This program is aiming to foster community level sustainability. The hotel operators in this region and the locals dedicate their efforts foe environment friendly solution like using solar power for energy generation, encouraging the use of local foods and goods, harvesting rainwater for their use.

Another example of responsible tourism practice other than Australia, can be observed in New Zealand. Intercity is New Zealand’s only public transport network which is aiming to be more sustainable. This InterCity Group has developed an active Responsible Tourism programme which engages its local communities and mitigates the impacts of resource usage.

Importance of Responsible Tourism in Sustainable Development Planning

Sustainable tourism which is similar to responsible tourism is based on the principle of taking care and protecting the environment, society and economy (Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage n.d.). One of the prevailing misconception is that tourism cannot be sustainable due to the higher consumption of fuel and other resources involved in tourism and operations and providing services to the tourists both domestic and international (Kapera 2018). With the increased globalization and the world being easily connected to each other, people prefer exploring the world outside and consider tourism as the best option to pursue pleasure and relaxation. This growth in the tourism industry is at the expense of natural resources, local economies and local communities. Many people travelling as tourists are not always aware of the negative effects that their actions may have on those places. Also, many tourist placers may be largely at risk to these negative impacts of tourism, as these places do not have great experience in tourism, and thus may not be able to counter the challenges that they have to face if tourism is not properly managed.

While tourism is mainly dependent on the natural environment it is also the cause of destruction of it. Some of the negative impacts of tourism on the environment and on the society include destruction of the natural habitat, erosion of land, pollution, local goods becoming expensive, housing becoming expensive for local people due to increasing demand of holiday home, and so on (Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage n.d.).

For managing and preventing such effects of tourism there is an urgent need for sustainable development. Sustainability can be achieved only through being responsible through the environmental. Thus, while planning for sustainable development addressing responsible tourism is thus mandatory. Responsible or sustainable planning and management throughout the tourism industry takes into account the economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development. And it also considers all stakeholders interest which include the local communities, tourists, private organisations and public bodies.

Practices and Policies in Australia for Sustainable Development

The government of Australia has developed and adopted various policies and regulations for sustainable and responsible tourism in Australia. One of the policies adopted by Australian government is The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a landmark global paradigm is adopted to achieve peace, prosperity and sustainability for all people by 2030 (Australian Council for International Development 2016). It also provide a framework for the preserving the natural environments and the promotion of health, well-being and health equity as interconnected pursuits. SDG aims to achieve the sustainability on water, climate change, and marine ecosystems. Sustainable tourism development is able to fulfil the needs and desires of present tourists and host regions and also protects and improves opportunities for the future generation. It is aimed for managing all resources in a manner to fulfil the economic, social and aesthetic needs and also the maintaining cultural integrity, environmental balance and biological diversity (Australian Council for International Development 2016). Also many hotels in Australia like the Ovolo Nishi and the Alto Hotel in Melbourne have applied by adopting themselves a green hotels.

References for Constructing Sustainable Tourism Development

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (n.d). Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account, 2018-19. [Online]. Available at https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/5249.0?OpenDocument. [Accessed on 13th September, 2020]

Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage. (n.d). Steps to sustainable tourism. [Online]. Available at https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/9c8f5084-3565-4f26-8801-77da3458f497/files/steps.pdf [Accessed on 13th September, 2020]

Australian Council for International Development. 2016. Australian Aid and the Sustainable Development Goals. [Online]. Available at https://acfid.asn.au/sites/site.acfid/files/resource_document/From-Policy. [Accessed on 13th September, 2020]

Hall, M. 2019. Constructing sustainable tourism development: The 2030 agenda and the managerial ecology of sustainable tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27 (7), pp. 1044-1060.

Kapera, I. 2018. Sustainable tourism development efforts by local governments in Poland. Journal of Sustainable Cities and Societies, 40, pp. 581-588.

Mathew, P. and Sreejesh, S. 2017. Impact of responsible tourism on destination sustainability and quality of life of community in tourism destinations. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 31, pp. 83-89.

One planet network. (n.d). Sustainable tourism. [Online]. Available at: https://www.oneplanetnetwork.org/sustainable-tourism. [Accessed on 13th September, 2020]

Saarinen, J. 2015. Critical Sustainability: Setting the Limits to Growth and Responsibility in Tourism. Sustainability Journal, 6, pp. 1-17.

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