Millions of people travel to popular tourist destinations each year. So, it is not a surprise that the tourism industry has made a considerable impact on the global economy. This industry contributed about 7.6 trillion U.S. dollars in 2016, based on a study conducted by Statista.
The World Tourism Organization encourages each country to promote sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism is a balance of environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism. The concept is to visit a place and leave a positive impact on the environment, people, and economy. It is an act of respecting the people, culture and custom, and their socio-economic system.
How is Sustainable Tourism beneficial?
- It helps the economy.
It introduces local employment while providing and improving infrastructure. The demand for accommodation, food, transportation, and other services to cater to the tourists increases. Local residents find ways to meet these demands. In turn, they are given jobs.
There were about six million new jobs created within the tourism sector in 2016. Now, tourism covers 1 in every 10 jobs in the world. This data is based on World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report. This means that six million people received a decent job and, in turn, helped their country’s economy.
- It protects nature.
Local organizations receive empowerment from international agencies to strengthen their environmental management. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is a U.S government agency that has provided help to reduce deforestation in Brazil. They also help in strengthening the country’s regulation on sustainable tourism.
Sustainable tourism promotes ecotourism. It helps maintain the resources of the area through conservation and preservation. Its essence is to leave the place the same way it was when one arrived.
- It encourages gender equality.
Sustainable tourism fosters fair opportunities for both men and women in any activities. Women receive access to different training. They are supported when they run their own business. It also promotes higher education among women and young people.
A report from WTTC showed that travel and tourism employed a higher number of women and young people. The study was conducted in Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, and Turkey. Among these countries, women make up to half of the whole working population. From the same report, it showed that the employed youth from ages 15-24 was higher in the travel and tourism sector compared to other sectors.
- It develops global partnerships.
Global partnership for sustainable tourism provides guidance in transforming the tourism industry in every country. Private and public organizations help support the implementation of sustainable tourism practices by applying effective policies. They also create life-changing projects to share local skills and expertise. More details available here.
The United Nations declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The booming of tourism worldwide provides the industry huge opportunities to create tremendous contributions to the economy, society, and environment. Travel and tourism sector is strong and still shows vast potential for growth. The sector is expected to flourish more in the next ten years.