Sustainable Tourism
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Sustainable Tourism

Principles, Contexts and Practices

David A. Fennell, Chris Cooper

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  2. English
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eBook - ePub

Sustainable Tourism

Principles, Contexts and Practices

David A. Fennell, Chris Cooper

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About This Book

This new textbook provides a comprehensive overview of sustainable tourism framed around the UN's sustainable development goals. It examines the origins and dimensions of sustainable tourism and offers a detailed account of sustainable initiatives and management across destinations, the tourism industry, public sector and leading agencies. The book explores the principal values and priorities in sustainable development through a better understanding of values, ethics and human nature. It covers a broad range of studies from an array of disciplinary perspectives and includes learning objectives, discussion questions and international case studies throughout. It is an important text for students and researchers in tourism and sustainability.

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Year
2020
ISBN
9781845417680
1. To explore the history and evolution of the term ‘sustainable development’.
2. To introduce the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
3. To provide an introduction to the fundamentals of the tourism industry, and illustrate why sustainable development is so important in tourism.
4. To link tourism with consumerism and consumption.
5. To explore some of the history of concern in tourism around the social, economic and environmental impacts of the tourism industry.
There is no shortage of popular culture articles and blogs on the importance of travelling sustainably in the new age of tourism. The titles of these articles include ‘Open road, clear conscience’ (Bures, 2006) and ‘The conscientious tourist’ (Wagner, 2005). Because of the multitude of problems with innumerable people travelling and the inequitable relationship that exists between the haves and the have-nots, it is natural for some – in fact many – to speculate, as Bures (2006) does, on questions such as: How do we travel ethically? How do we know if we are doing any harm? Are we destroying the coral reefs, ancient ruins and natural wonders in a rush to see them? Are we supporting corrupt regimes by spending our money? Does the massive global warming effect of airline travel outweigh even the greenest ecotour?
Consumers are starting to demand greener products (Weeden & Boluk, 2014; Wight, 1994a); these demands have become a key challenge for the tourism industry now and into the future, with many arguing that this is our most important challenge. How can we accommodate demand for more sustainable, greener or more ethical products and experiences, while at the same time being commercially successful? At what expense do we strive for commercial success given the degree and magnitude of impacts?
These questions, and many more, rest at the heart of tourism and sustainability. We can argue that sustainable development (SD) continues to be such a global force because it takes an intermediary position on a continuum between a strict anthropocentric approach to human agency and more radical or deeper ecological views. SD appears to be the more rational and functional form of change, given the challenge that lies ahead in meeting present needs while taking into consideration the needs of future generations. As such, SD and sustainable tourism (ST) are important because they represent our best chance to move forward in manner that reconciles often competing entities and interests along economic, sociocultural and ecological lines.
This chapter discusses the origins and rationale of sustainable development along with the themes, principles and goals of SD. The focus moves into a preliminary discourse of sustainable tourism through a discussion on the nature of tourism, the nature of consumption and consumerism, and then on to the structure and conceptual framework that guides the rest of the book.
Sustainable development is not an idea that emerged instantaneously. It is the product of several years of questions around the impacts that development had on both planetary resources and human groups. Stabler (1996) argues that the new conservation movement of the 1950s and early 1960s was the precursor to the principles and practices that we recognize as SD today. Other important catalysts include three watershed meetings, all in 1972, which tabled issues tied to human use and damage to the natural world. These meetings included: The United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm (UNEP, 1972); publication of the Club of Rome’s report, The Limits of Growth (Meadows et al., 1972); and UNESCO’s (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (Dangi & Jamal, 2016).
These meetings translated into an expanding ecodevelopment literature which was central in terms of defining the basic structure of SD. Two early advocates that helped build this structure were Miller (1976, 1978) and Riddell (1981), both of whom captured the essence of the dissatisfaction taking place from sociocultural, economic and ecological perspectives. Ecodevelopment was premised on:
1. enlarging the capacity of individuals to fulfil the desire to be useful and wanted, thereby dignifying labour-intensive and socially directed efforts of environmentally non-degrading kinds;
2. expanding the capacity of communities to be self-sufficient, thereby leading to the replenishment of renewable resources and the careful use of non-renewable resources; and
3. enhancing the fairness and justice of society, in environmental terms, avoiding wasteful consumption.
The term ‘sustainable development’ was coined in 1980 by the NGO, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, through its publication World Conservation Strategy (CrabbĂ©, 1998; Krueger, 2017). The Brandt Report, also of 1980, stressed the need for development to include ‘care for the environment’. The World Commission on Environment and Development’s (WCED, 1987) Our Common Future helped the term ‘sustainability’ gain more common usage and acceptance (Archer, 1996), by characterizing SD as a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional changes are made consistent with present as well as future needs. Put succinctly, SD refers to development that meets the needs of present populations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED, 1987). It is based on the idea that economic growth should occur in a more ecologically responsible and socially equitable manner. While there were only a few definitions of sustainable development in the 1980s, by the mid-1990s there were over 300 (Dobson, 1996), attesting to how firmly academics, government and industry embraced SD during that period of time.
Some of the earliest scholarly papers on SD often used terms interchangeably. For example, Barbier’s (1987) comprehensive treatment of ‘sustainable economic development’ (SED) also included use of the term ‘sustainability’ to make reference to the same set of themes. He argued that the primary aim of SED is ‘to provide lasting and secure livelihoods that minimize resource depletion, environmental degradation, cultural disruption, and social stability’ (Barbier, 1987: 109). An important addition to Barbier’s stance is maximizing goals across biological, economic and social systems through dynamic and adaptive processes of trade-offs, and that sustainability needs to be applied across all types of economic and social activities, including forestry, agriculture and fisheries.
Other scholars argued that SD ought to be grounded in pre-established knowledge domains. For example, Nelson (1992) suggested that the theoretical basis of SD fits within heritage and human ecology. Heritage, Nelson suggests, refers to all the objects that come to us from the past, including culture, flora, fauna, language and institutions. Human ecology comprises all ‘economic, technical, social and cultural ways in which human beings in different societies and places have been influenced by and have influenced the world around them’ (Nelson, 1992: 7; see also du Cros, 2001). Porter (1978) characterizes human ecology as the use of ecological systems that emphasize equilibrium, balance, homeostasis and feedbacks, to explain the interconnectedness between people and environments. It is more effectively applied at scales that are small and in situations that are not overly complex. It is therefore more appropriate for small systems and cultures which are more manageable. Human ecology is a reflection of the belief that human actions are an expression of culture, and this includes human cultural actions that transform the natural world (Leighly, 1987). Berkes (1984) implemented Hardesty’s (1975) theoretical argument around the notion of different human cultural groups as distinct cultural species, in the case of competition between commercial and sport fisherman on Lake Erie, Canada. Berkes argues that with any limiting resource such as food or space, competition will emerge when ecological niches overlap in a similar habitat. What Berkes found, however, was that competition was more in line with perceived conflict, with real competition not taking place at all.
Human ecology studies have also been completed in tourism contexts. De Castro and Begossi (1996) investigated local and recreational (tourist) fishermen on the Rio Grande in Brazil. While local and recreational anglers typically fish for different species in different parts of the river using different equipment at many points during the year, conflict emerges in the wet season when fish stocks are lower. In cases where there is a limited resource, conflict and competition is usually imminent. In the case of Rio Grande, it is the use of different fishing strategies between both groups that appears to be sufficient to avoid inter-group conflict. Fennell and Butler (2003) used Budowski’s (1976) ideas around tourism and conservation as conflict, co-existence or symbiosis to argue that different tourism st...

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