FOREWORD: Around the world, tourism is becoming increasingly popular, as both domestic and international visitors flock to the most attractive places. This growth is a cause for both enthusiasm and concern. Tourism can generate badly needed revenue for local and regional economies, increased local awareness of the importance of biodiversity conservation, and new incentives for governments and dwellers in and around appealing natural areas to preserve them.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) recognizes the enormous potential of tourism as the world’s major civil industry. It is also aware of the many dangers that poorly managed or uncontrolled tourism poses for the environment, the culture and the societies. It therefore believes that only tourism that is respectful of the environment and the well-being of local and indigenous people should be encouraged and promoted. Sustainable tourism is supposed to have the potential to meet each of these requirements.
However, if sustainable tourism is to fully achieve this potential, well-founded principles and clear guidelines for the active involvement of host communities, local planners, developers and private entrepreneurs, will be necessary. In addition, guidance is required to facilitate in-depth regional and site-specific research on the socio-economic and environmental impacts of visitors, and the development of appropriate local, national and regional tourism strategies.
Sustainable Development –the goal universally agreed to at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 – has become the main challenge, against the background of the continued growth of tourism industry, which keeps pretending to “develop” the most remotest parts of the world.
Within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity and based on the “Berlin Declaration on Biological Diversity and Sustainable Tourism”, it is now necessary to identify clearly the key sustainable development issues and to formulate recommendations for concrete action – at global, regional and national levels. Especially for ecologically sensitive regions this would appear to be a logical step according to Article 10 of the Convention that considers sustainable use of biodiversity as a vital framework for its long-term preservation.
Therefore, effective input from national and regional agencies is required. In preparation of one of the cross-sectoral themes at the seventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, BMZ and GTZ, the German Agency for Technical Cooperation, would like to contribute hereby to the issue of Tourism and Sustainable Development in order to promote principles and practises of sustainable tourism. We feel that expected outcomes of CSD-7 could provide a helpful framework for ensuring follow-up work leading to the International Year of Eco-Tourism (2002), in order to develop, in collaboration with relevant international organisations and major groups, an action-oriented international programme on sustainable tourism.
Writer Dr. Uschi Eid
Parliamentary State Secretary to the Minister for Economic Co-operation and Development
Follow the green link to download the report Sustainable Tourism as a Development Option – Practical Guide for Local Planners, Developers and Decision Makers.
This uploaded is written by Majbritt Thomsen, administrator on ‘Views On Tourism’.