RESPONSIBLE TOURISM, SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
The development of tourism can influence the structure of the
host society, creating or increasing social differentiation. This
is because the benefits that remain in the destination region tend
to be unequally distributed and are monopolised by a minority sector
of the population.
Sustainable Tourism and Responsible Tourism. The consequences of
tourist development, particularly in southern countries, seem to
have been predominantly harmful. Nevertheless, some cases of alternative
tourism run by the local community itself seem to show that a certain
type of tourism, on a smaller scale and differently managed, can
have positive effects. The issue, therefore, is Sustainable Tourism.
The World Tourism Organisation (WTO), on the basis
of the definition of sustainable development established by the
Brundtland Report, states that:
'The growth of Sustainable Tourism responds to the needs of tourists
and of the host regions present, at the same time as it safeguards
and improves opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading
to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social
and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural
integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity
and life support systems.'
The concept of Sustainable Tourism is related
to carrying capacity. This is defined as the maximum use that can
be made of the region's economic, social, cultural and natural resources
while satisfying visitors' expectations and without having a harmful
impact for the host society or the environment. We can therefore
speak of Sustainable Tourism when it does not exceed the carrying
capacity of a destination area.
We must bear in mind that a responsible implementation of tourism
can make it a useful instrument for reducing economic hardship in
the countries of the south, providing opportunities for development
and employment for all those living on less then one dollar a day.
The Walata Development Project opts for responsible tourism aimed
at the traveller with cultural concerns rather than the massive
influx of those tour operators interested solely in making a profit
out of adventure tourism. Controlled tourist growth that respects
the city's cultural and architectural heritage, its arts and crafts
and its natural wealth and the pleasant, hospitable nature of its
inhabitants will yield considerable benefits for the city and the
rest of the region without detracting from Walata's principal features,
which make it so attractive to anyone who has ever seen it.