"Sustainable tourism development guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and the various niche tourism segments. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee long-term sustainability.”- World Tourism Organisation, (Conceptual definition 2004)
‘VALUES-BASED TOURISM’Destination Building/Civic TourismSustainable Community Tourism Development The growing necessity for 'values-based tourism'- to foster civic & economic well-beingTourism development and tourism marketing (at the destination level) are fundamentally tied to local economic, civic & environmental well-being. They all influence the fortunes of each other for better or for worse ... and because of this should always be considered together in management terms. Fortunately more and more communities are now recognizing this - and in pursuit of superior outcomes, their civic leaders and managers are adopting a more closely integrated planningand public policy approach.Fully endorsing this new path to progress is an evident convergence of key community and tourism values.The approach:Excellence in tourism planning & development now fundamentally involves enhancing & protecting local quality of life. (And being consistently mindful of the necessity for sensitive and smarter approaches to community development). Such thinking can help form the foundations of a more holistic and sustainable tourism vision based on: •shared respect for community values, dreams, needs and opportunities, and •shared respect for the natural world - including its vulnerable ecologies and totally interdependent life forms.Multiple benefits:This development focus makes sound economic sense too, in the context of desirable & clear cut cost savings over time. Not to mention meaningful enhancements to brand image, greater levels of public support for tourism ... and last but not least, formally acknowledging and conserving the special value of areas and experiences known to be loved by locals & visitors alike.Generating many different kinds of mutual benefits is also inherently possible. Because community-based town improvements and conservation measures can serve to create benefits for visitors ... and vice versa. (With sustainable visitor-based improvements in turn benefiting local communities in a variety of welcome ways, including the adoption of policies that spread the economic benefits of tourism more widely at the local level).A new reality:In terms of both day to day realities and accelerated rates of change, nowadays spending time and effort on talking about the ‘need’ for sustainable community-based tourism development is fast becoming redundant. Beyond all notions of civic responsibility, good business practice & competitiveness (at home & abroad) now demands it. Fast advancing technologies, ‘local economy’ movements, revolutionary production methods and an intensified focus on the value of ideas and creativity will also accelerate the new approach.As is readily evident in so many parts of the world, new and ‘greener’ codes and superior ‘in-house’ standards have been introduced for everything from - construction & insulation materials, to energy usage, to waste recycling. In some instances this has even been accompanied by early signs of smarter and less wasteful consumption habits. It has also become apparent that both the demand and supply sides to production are more effectively working in tandem. And helping to facilitate these changes and their related advances in economies of scale.Unquestionably, the more these ‘sustainable’ modes of thinking become more comprehensively absorbed into the fabric of everyday actions and life, the more such measures will come to be taken for granted. ‘Doing it’ having quietly replaced ‘talking about it’ ... while no-one was looking.