3 min.

18 April 2023

As the world faces global warming and sustainable development challenges, sustainable tourism is becoming increasingly popular. More and more tourists are seeking ways to become eco-conscious and reduce their impact on the environment. However, the term « sustainable tourism » can still be confusing.

Sustainable tourism is crucial for preserving nature and ensuring that future generations can enjoy the same wonders of the world as we do. By adopting sustainable tourism practices, we can minimiza the negative impact of tourism on the environment, local communities, and cultures.

In this article, we’ll explain the principle of sustainable tourism and provide practical tip for eco-conscious travelers. Whether you’re planning a beach vacation, a city break, or a wildlife adventure, you can make a difference by practicing sustainable tourism. Let’s explore how!


What are the characteristics of Sustainable Tourism?

According to the World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism is defined as « tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities ». This means sustainable tourism involves discovering new places in a way that considers everyone involved, for tourists to local communities, while minimizing harm to the environment.

Sustainable tourism is often categorized into three subcategories:

  • Responsible tourism: this type of tourism aims to minimize environmental damage and carbon footprint. It involves adopting eco-friendly practices such as reducing waste and energy consumption, using renwable energy sources, and supporting local conservation efforts.
  • Solidarity tourism: This type of tourism focuses on developing territories and helping local communities. It involves staying in locally owned accommodations, eating locally sourced food, and supporting local businesses and cultural events.
  • Fair tourism: This type of tourism is bases in the principle of fair trade. It involves ensuring that the local community benefits from tourism, such as through fair wages and working conditions for local employees, as well as suppporting social development projects.


Ecotourism VS sustainable tourism:

Ecotourism and sustainable tourism are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there a difference between what they mean.

  • Sustainable tourism: creating travel opportunities with minimal impact and positive benefits for destinations and their communities. This includes using eco-friendly practices such as reducing water and energy consumption, supporting local businesses and conservation efforts, and promoting cultural awarness and respect.
  • Ecotourism: educating tourists about nature and the environment, and involving them in conservation and cultural activities. The aim is to promote environmental awarness and appreciation, while also supporting conservation efforts and local communities.

While all exemples of ecotourism should be sustainable, not all examples of sustainable tourism are ecoutourism. For instance, staying in a sustainably powered lodge and taking a train to get there is a sustainable option, but it may not necessarily involve learning about nature and your local surroundings in an educational sense. Ecotourism places a greater emphasis on education and conservation activities, while sustainable tourism covers a broader range of environmentally and socially responsible travel practices.


You want to learn about sustainable tourism and event management? Discover an exclusive MSc program: Master of Science « Sustainable Tourism and Event management » by Esdes Business School. This short program is designed for students looking to develop managerial level careers in the hospitality sector.

The program has been created under the careful guidance of professionals from both the International Tourism and Events sectors who have a first-hand understanding of the competencies and knowledge required to succeed in these industries. This program is devised using novel teaching approaches with hands-on fieldtrips, research and practitioner led teaching. Upon completion of the MSc program, students will be equipped with the necessary skills to make a sustainable impact in the Hospitality sector.

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