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Sustainable tourism refers to a type of tourism that aims at catering for the needs of the current generation as well as future generations with low impacts on the environment and cultures. It aims at bringing positive change and development to the inhabitants of the toured areas while at the same time maintaining tourism satisfaction. Sustainable tourism preserves the environment as well as the culture of the people being visited. The development of new forms of tourism helps in ensuring that most countries achieve sustainable tourism. There exist numerous forms of sustainable tourism. These include ecotourism, village, cultural, pro-poor, community-based and responsible tourism. All these form of tourism seek to address the needs of the people and other biodiversity within the visited areas. Critically, sustainable tourism aims at preserving the environmental, economical, and socio-cultural influences that tourists create during their visits (Budruk, 2011). In this regard, the knowledge of sustainable tourism has become significantly essential. Additionally, the enhancement of sustainable tourism promotes the needs of current tourists without compromising the future tourists’ demands.
When tourists visit new areas, they considerably affect the remote or primitive cultures as wells as ecological systems of their destinations. Various forms of tourism have been initialised that cater for the needs of sustainable tourism within the visited countries. In this regard, the key aspects highlighted in the features of sustainable tourism are catered for. One of these features is the preservation of the natural, historical, cultural, and other tourism resources for the current and future use. Secondly, sustainable tourism aims at ensuring that the development of tourism is planned appropriately to avoid the dire consequences of environmental and socio-cultural problems. At the same time, it seeks to ensure that the overall quality of tourism is either upgraded or maintain in its current form if satisfactory. Moreover, it concentrates on the retention of marketability and popularity of the maintained tourist destinations (Ryan, 2005). Additionally, sustainable tourism focuses on the reception of tourism benefits across the whole society. All these features make tourism definitive and purposeful, as there is continuous satisfaction of any generation.
The urge for sustainable tourism has necessitated the emergence of alternative tourism. These forms of tourism have been effective in both the developed and developing countries. Because of alternative tourism, most forms of tourism that had significant impacts either environmentally or on the aspects of socio-culture have been regulated. Notably, because of tourism, there have been great modifications on various cultures resulting to the emergence of mixed cultures that lack moral values. When sustainability was inculcated into tourism, problematic exposures of tourists at their destinations as well as environmental impacts have been significantly reduced (Pfister, 2009). In this regard, sustainable tourism has brought numerous benefits either environmentally, economically or culturally through the various forms of tourism.
To achieve the requirements of sustainable tourism, we focus on the development of alternative forms of tourism that are its sub-segments. Ecotourism promotes the development of sustainable tourism. It focuses on tourism that involves the visiting of fragile and pristine places that contain flora, fauna, and cultural heritage as the main attraction. In this regard, tourist are imparted with knowledge concerning the need to volunteer and contribute towards ecological conservation and the economical development of the visited people. On this note, tourists learn about the influence of human beings on the environment as well as fostering the appreciation of natural habitants within our reach. Nevertheless, the future generations will have access to current tourist destinations if not interfered with by humans.
Responsible tourism involves all the stakeholders whether tourists, businesspersons, locals or other tourist with responsibilities concerning tourism development. If the stakeholders realize this requirement, the process of environmental conservation will become significantly simplified and the sustainability of cultural heritage will be enhanced. The stakeholders will learn by themselves the need to improve and maintain the nature of the destinations to warrant satisfaction for all the parties involved (Swarbrooke, 1999). Similarly, responsible tourism seeks to address conflicting interests among multiple stakeholders and balance the various problems. In this regard, more value will be added to the existing sources of attraction rather than the guiding and influencing factors such as the finance and immediate satisfaction of individual stakeholders. Notably, with the dynamism of responsible tourism that seeks to address the needs of sustainable tourism it even goes further towards the involvement of the neglected and segregated individuals like the disable, handicapped and the poor.
Under responsible tourism, there exists a form of treatment given to the stakeholders referred to as responsible hospitality. The main emphasis of responsible hospitality is the provision of better services to the visitors as well as the locals in the destination. In this regard, tourists receive proper services that improve the marketability and popularity of the destination. On this note, the interests of the visitors will be address while enhancing the acknowledgement of the need of environmental conservation and cultural heritage appreciation. As this service promotes tourists attraction, it eventually leads to the initiation of corporate social responsibility. Thereafter, the needs of the locals are acknowledged and they can benefit immensely from the visitors while maintaining their culture free of any form of interference. In the long-run, this boosts revenue collection as a result of booming business in such regions.
Pro-poor tourism is another form of tourism that considers the benefits of tourism as compared to the costs of tourism itself. The main agenda of this tourism is to involve individuals who live below the normal standards of living. As these individuals are involved in tourism, it helps in the realisation of a poverty free society. The adoption of such policies ensures that everyone can afford the basic necessities thus mitigating hunger and crime (Ritchie, 2003). Nonetheless, tourism becomes an avenue for the access of regular job opportunities that improve livelihoods because of increased income. Notably, the benefits of tourism spread across unevenly among the poor. However, its impact is felt by everyone. This implies that as a result of pro-poor tourism, poverty in the society is significantly alleviated which contribute to the core objectives of sustainable tourism.
Village tourism focuses on the need for sustainable tourism. Village tourism entails the visiting of villages by tourists to check for varied attractions in various destinations. In this regard, tourists participate in every event undertaken by the locals. This assists in maintaining the existing culture as there is no alteration of behaviour of the locals. Additionally, tourists cannot create any environmental hazard since they are under the locals’ regulations. The tourists are just strangers exploring a diverse culture in a different environment (Weaver, 2010). In village tourism, tourists remain within the area of visit for their period of stay engaging in the local events. This implies that the tourists are served with the local foods and provide with the local form of entertainment. Furthermore, in this regard, the cost of village tourism becomes affordable since tourists do not have to incur costs such as food and accommodation. Additionally, the locals with little entrepreneurial skills can significantly gain from the easy access to tourists. Importantly, this form of tourism is very critical towards the decentralization of resources to the local level. This may eventually lead to poverty alleviation. Moreover, tourists learn more about the culture of the inhabitants and gain access to critical local values.
Cultural tourism enhances the need for cultural heritage retention and maintenance as per sustainable tourism. Cultural tourism educates tourists on communities’ cultures and customs with regard to the preservation of culture. Under cultural tourism, many aspects are covered. These include the cultural landscape, local art and craft, festivals and archaeological heritage (AlSayyad, 2001). The cultural landscape of the locals involves settlement patterns, lifestyles, dressing codes and jewellery, folk songs and dances and local cuisines. The Local art and craft include things like architecture, sculptures and paintings, music instruments and local craftsmanship. The festivals as well as fairs include items like religious and commercial fairs, famous festivals and celebration modes. The archaeological heritage entails items like forts, temples, ancient ruins, excavation sites and other valuable historical occurrence. On this note, tourists are bound to learn the ancient history and practices of the locals thus creating popularity and marketability of such destination. Notably, cultural tourism focuses on the values of the locals thus tourists are bound to have minimal impacts on the environment. This boost tourist’ contributions that are later used to cover other conservation measures regarding environmental or cultural practices.
Another form of emerging alternative tourism that enhances sustainable tourism is the community-based tourism. This tourism involves the participation of the community in tourism development and maintenance. Tourists meet with the locals to exchange some knowledge about their cultural practices. These moments become a good ground for the tourist to witness the rare and secretive aspects of the local’s lifestyle. Additionally, tourists get an insight into the treasured values of the locals. Although, the locals might rebel concerning the manner in which tourists are hosted, it is always acceptable when the locals conduct the whole events themselves. Nevertheless, the urge for cultural conservation and protection is enhanced promoting sustainable tourism.
Coastal tourism has been an emerging form of sustainable tourism that seeks to address the protection and rehabilitation of the coastal environment. Because of the increasing number of tourists and rapid changes in lifestyles, the need for sustainable tourism through coastal tourism has been considerably advocated for. In this regard, the utilisation of the narrow strip of the ocean edge can be optimized efficiently and effectively. The detrimental impacts of tourism are controlled while curbing the influence of tourists on the locals. In this perspective, the coastal biodiversity are also catered for appropriately since there are measures established to minimize their exploitation. Similarly, the investors in the coastal regions are bound to obtain enormous returns since there are numerous visitors (Williams, 1998). The provision of varied products and services in the coastal areas like beaches and water games promotes sustainable coastal tourism. At the same time, the society gains as it receives multiple contributions from tourists. Since the coastal regions are the key areas of attraction, they can be used to analyze the role of every stakeholder towards the promotion of sustainable tourism.
Considering the enormous contributions by sustainable tourism, alternative forms of tourism have proved to be crucial towards the growth of the tourism industry. In evaluating the importance of the tourism to the locals, sustainable tourism takes into consideration the impacts on the environment and the cultures of the locals. Through this analysis, the cultures of the locals are preserved and environment degradation avoided. However, on certain incidences, there have been crucial measures taken towards the rehabilitation of earlier depleted natural resources. After such events, proper precautions are introduced both for the endangered species and for the existing ones. These practises therefore enhance the need to protect the current environmental conditions and cultures for the sake of future generations.
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