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Sustainable Tourism Development: The Long Road from Theory to Practice

IJED, Vol. 3 No. 3, (2001)

Predicated on socio-economic changes in the more developed countries, international tourism in less developed countries has become an attractive option for economic development. As international tourism continued to grow however, it became apparent that a range of negative impacts was affected. As a result, sustainable development became a focus for tourism as a development tool. There are several inherent challenges in applying the principles of sustainable development at an operational level in tourism. These include the nature of the tourism industry and product, the fragmented fashion in which critical decisions about tourism are made, and the diverse and often conflicting interests in tourism development held by a broad range of stakeholders. Sustainability under these conditions is an elusive concept and even more of a challenge to implement within the tourism system. This paper considers the pragmatic implications of perationalizing sustainable practices in tourism development vis--vis the nature of the tourism industry and product.

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