Tourism offers an opportunity for major development as a linchpin industry in the structural adjustment necessary to transition to a lower carbon economy in some regions. Drivers for the development of a tourism industry can be economic sustainability rather than environmental sustainability. Several issues are emerging including the need for regulation. There is a view in the literature that challenges the potential for ongoing self-regulation by the tourism industry—via instruments such as company-led environmental management systems and social responsibility initiatives and voluntary codes of conduct set up by companies or by association of companies (Ayuso 2007; Parsons & Woods-Ballard, 2003). The basis for this view is that self-regulation is by definition voluntary (Bramwell and Lane, 2010) and that industry’s behaviour can often revert to short-term self-interest at the cost of following environmental standards. The second issue is around the concept that “environmentally friendly tourism” is a niche market and not the main game, that it brings with it higher costs and a lower environmental footprint, and that there is a tension between tourism development and sustainable tourism. The third issue is a more positive, optimistic view that there are potentially market segments that are environmentally friendly as well as providing higher economic returns. These issues are explored via a theoretical focus.
|Keywords:||Sustainable Tourism, Economically Sustainable Tourism, Environmentally Sustainable Tourism|
Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor, Learning and Teaching, College of Business, RMIT University, Australia
University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia