Tourism is the world’s largest industry. Although it is a “smokeless industry”, it has environmental implications. Expanding tourism has the great capacity to pollute the environment. The environmental resources exploited for tourism attract tourists because of their outstanding beauty, recreational possibilities or cultural interest. The environmental amenities which attract tourists have tended to be taken for granted. But in every tourist spot there is a carrying capacity for tourists, which will vary with the fragility of the area and with the nature of the tourist activity. Of all the modern industries, tourism has the greatest need to protect the environment of the places of natural and cultural importance – be it a monument, sanctuary or a beach.
Sustainable tourism is a kind of approach to tourism meant to make the development of tourism ecologically supportable in the long term. The very importance of sustainable tourism lies in its motives to conserve the resources and increase the value of local culture and tradition. Sustainable tourism is a responsible tourism intending to generate employment and income along with alleviating any deeper impact on environment and local culture. Definition:-
“Sustainable Tourism Development is a systematic process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investment, the orientation of technology development and institutional changes are made consistent with present needs and without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own need.” Characteristics of Sustainable Tourism Sustainable Tourism tries to maintain the importance of local culture and tradition. Sustainable Tourism is informatory, as it doesn’t only let tourist know about the destinations but it also helps locals to know about the culture and civilisation of tourists. This kind of tourism is aimed to conserve the resources of destinations. Sustainable Tourism seeks deeper involvement of locals, which provide local people an opportunity of employment. Any development without proper planning and control, without any thought given to the environmental factors can in fact prove to be disastrous. As many agencies are involved in tourism development, coordination is very necessary among the agencies concerned. In order to develop a sustainable tourism, some key areas to consider include: sound financial planning for environmental management sensitivity to cultural and social dynamics efficient management, training and customer service consideration and inclusion of all concerned offices long term vision and good joined-up governance marketing and communications programs to showcase the positive elements Relationship between Ecotourism and Sustainable tourismEcotourism basically deals with nature based tourism, and is aimed “to conserve the environment and improves the well-being of local people”. On the other hand, sustainable tourism includes all segments of tourism, and has same function to perform as of ecotourism – to conserve the resources and increase the local cultural and traditional value. Though the goals of ecotourism and sustainable tourism are much similar, but the latter is broader and conceals within itself very many aspects and categories of tourism. Conclusion: Sustainable tourism is about refocusing and re-adapting. A balance must be found between limits and usage so that continuous changing, monitoring and planning ensure that tourism can be managed. This requires thinking long-term (10, 20+ years) and realising that change is often cumulative, gradual and irreversible. Economic, social and environmental aspects of sustainable development must include the interests of all stakeholders including indigenous people, local communities, visitors, industry and government.