Discuss the Contention That Sustainable Tourism Is, Perhaps, an Impossible Dream.

1719 words 7 pages
Discuss the contention that sustainable tourism is, perhaps, an impossible dream.

The definition of sustainable tourism is much debated. However, a suitable meaning can be inferred from the broadly used definition of sustainable development, an economic process to which sustainable tourism is intrinsically linked. Sustainable tourism would be that which ‘meets our needs today, without compromising the ability of people in the future to meet their needs’ (Swarbrooke, 1999, p. 3). These needs would be those of all involved in the tourism, ‘the host population, tourism guests, tourism organisations and the natural environment’ (Cater, 1995, p. 21). These needs are equitable to the prime interests of said parties, for example the tourist’s
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98). Plans like this help to spread the tourism across the whole of the country, ensuring the economic and social benefits of the having the tourists there reach all sectors of the country. Government

The Gambian government also put plans into place to foster sustainable tourism. In 1999 the Gambian government set legislation in place to outlaw all inclusive tourism (TourismConcern, 2009). This move was made given the nature of all inclusive tourism. This brand of tourism shuts off the tourists from the country itself, providing them with food, drink, transport, and entertainment. This drastically limits the potential of the host nation to benefit from the tourism. By outlawing these types of holiday, it forces interaction of tourists and locals, allowing the tourists to gain more from their holidays and the locals to reap the economic and social benefits from the new inflow of custom they experience. However, this move by the government was met by heavy resistance from many European tour operators, forcing the government to abandon the law just one year after its passing (TourismConcern, 2009). The popularity of this brand of tourism made it economically non-viable for the tour operators to continue operations in Gambia without the availability of all inclusive holidays. This shows that despite the obvious benefits of sustainable tourism, it can be very difficult to implement.

The Gambian example highlights the conflicting ideals of the many stakeholders


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