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Tourism industry is a very dynamic and rewarding sector all over the world. Tourism plays a key part in the economic, social and cultural structure of any country. It is a very important sector, hence there is a focus to enhance and promote its sustainability in the end. Sustainable tourism is that kind of tourism that aims at managing all resources, both economical and social, and at the same time maintains and causes low effects on the environment. This type of tourism is referred to as environmentally friendly. It aims at meeting current needs of tourists and local communities without compromising future needs of tourism. Therefore, this essay aims at discussing the nature, principles and practices of sustainable tourism and its impact on tourism industry.
Nature of Sustainable Tourism
The development of sustainable tourism was brought about by the need to conserve and protect the environment. Tourism largely depends on the environment, as this is the main resource whereby the natural environment provides most of the best tourism sites. With the increased urbanization and industrialization, the rate of environmental degradation is on the rise, and this is a threat to the environment and tourism at large.
Therefore, tourism has opted to embrace green tourism, which is environmentally friendly and meets the needs of tourists. Sustainable tourism works in a way that tries to balance current tourism needs and future generation needs.
Principles of Sustainable Tourism
Sustainable tourism is a fulfilling environmentally friendly approach that should be adopted in tourism industry. However, its implementation is not an easy task and it requires maximum planning and creation of guidelines to be followed. The following are some of the basic principles of sustainable tourism that can be used as basic guidelines.
Implementing a Code of Practice
There should be a code of practice that guides tourism activities both locally and international. This is important since it will enhance tourism planning, management and its operations in a standard manner. In addition, it will ensure that governments, agencies, corporations and locals follow the stipulated code of ethics hence respecting everyone’s environment.
Integrating Local Communities
Local communities should be encouraged to participate in tourism planning and management with the help of government and other organizations. They should also enjoy the benefits of tourism such as revenue and employment opportunities.
Adequate Information on Tourism
This important factor helps with the development of tourism. Governments, corporations and other tourism related agencies should ensure that all stakeholders in the industry including local communities are adequately equipped with authentic information and knowledge about tourism industry. Moreover, training and awareness programs should be set up in the local areas to educate people on the benefits of sustainable tourism.
Respect of Cultural Values
Implementing sustainable tourism entails making tough decisions and polices. However, this should be done in a way that does not compromise or undermine cultural and social values of any given host area. Past, present and future needs of the community should be put into consideration. Cultural values boost tourism, hence tourism activities should embrace and protect these values by listening to the communities.
Understanding the Target Market
This entails a good understanding of the host area, its needs and potentials in tourism. It also involves understanding local and global market trends and the development of suitable products that relate to a given area.
Regular Assessment of Programs
Frequent assessment and monitoring of tourism programs should be done to ensure that proposed policies are implemented. This will ensure efficient running of programs and activities that aim at developing sustainable tourism.
The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth and Green Tourism
Green tourism is an ecofriendly new approach to tourism that aims at balancing the needs of tourists while conserving the environment. It aims at encouraging sustainable development through activities that are environmentally friendly. The National Marine Park in Plymouth, UK, is a good example of sustainable development and tourism. It is the largest aquarium in the UK and its mission includes research, education and conservation of marine life.
Through the adoption of ecofriendly methods of practice, the aquarium has made major strides in protecting the environment. This has been achieved by the implementation of sustainability policies and the use of environmentally friendly resources. It is due to such great efforts that The National Marine Aquarium scooped the Sustainable Tourism Award in Devon. Mr. David Gibson, managing director at the aquarium, and his assisting staff have put tremendous efforts to ensure that while promoting tourism as a business sector the marine life is also well protected. This is achieved through various educational training programs, awareness exhibitions, environmental policies and many other conservation projects.
As a business entity, The National Marine Aquarium has numerous approaches that help it develop and grow in the business sector. Firstly, it has embraced the need to carry out educational programs that aim at educating its staff and tourists on the importance of marine life and how to conserve it for the future generations. The aquarium also runs an internship program for students. This is a convenient business approach since interns play an integral part in marketing and business management. Furthermore, exhibitions are also used to create awareness and educate the public. Education programs are essential to the aquarium and through this approach; there has been growth of the aquarium.
Secondly, the aquarium has good relations with local people and the surrounding at large. This business approach enables them to communicate well with their suppliers and the tourists hence creating a friendly environment for everyone. This in turn helps the aquarium meet its needs at comfortable rates and increase the visitors’ number.
Thirdly, through the development of sustainable policies, the aquarium was able to collaborate with a Plymouth based farm. The main aim is to channel all the consumed food and waste materials at the aquarium to the farm’s anaerobic digestion facility to produce organic fertilizers and natural gases.
Moreover, there is impressive growth in the number of visitors. The annual rate stands at 245,000 visitors and there are aims at increasing this number. There is good consumer communication and activities that aim to meet the consumers’ needs and wants. This involves quality services, fair pricing, quality food and an ambiance environment.
Many efforts promote Sustainable tourism globally. With the current need to conserve the environment, sustainable tourism is an essential approach that balances both tourism and environmental needs. There are numerous discussions on the role of sustainable tourism. Therefore, it is important to understand its scope and nature, the principles that act as guidelines and its practice.
The National Marine in Plymouth is a good example of sustainable tourism. It has been recognized for its great efforts to conserve the environment through several awards. The aquarium meets tourists’ needs while protecting marine life. It has adopted the principles of sustainable tourisms such as education, sustainable policies, integrating local community and understanding the target market. This promotes the aquarium and increases its growth in the business sector while enhancing its financial stability. Through this approach, there should be encouragement to embrace sustainable tourism in the tourism industry globally.
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