With increasing prosperity across the globe, more and more people are undertaking long haul holidays or vacationing domestically which has been further facilitated by a boom in low cost carriers. Many countries and cities, particularly in industrialising countries, wish to encourage tourism in order to boost local incomes and employment. However, this tourist boom is not without significant ecological and social impacts as excessive numbers of visitors can lead to environmental degradation as well as radically impacting the local culture and customs.
In response to these issues there has been increased efforts to mitigate these effects through the development of green hotels, resorts and tourism. Certification has been a key element here, with the Blue Flag certification for beaches, marinas and boating; and the Green Globe certification for companies and organisations assessing sustainable management, social/economic factors, cultural heritage, and environmental management. National governments have also been involved, such as Costa Rica’s Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program which is now been spread nationally and regionally.
There is also an increasing interest in zero carbon resorts, one example facilitated through international assistance is the Zero Carbon Resorts programme. The private sector has also shown interest with the first energy positive hotel having been announced for construction.
For those concerned about the carbon emissions of airline travel, a number of carbon offset schemes have been created whereby tourists can help finance schemes which will reduce carbon emissions by the amount that was emitted by their travel.
Are there other sustainable tourism initiatives or policies that you know about? What policies, instruments, frameworks, projects or initiatives do you know about? Are there policies in your country, region or city to facilitate and encourage sustainable tourism? Do you know about or are you involved in projects in your community, school or business that promote sustainable tourism?
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