Why Responsible Tourism?

From providing cost savings to increasing economic stability and ensuring the long-term appeal of a destination, responsible tourism practices simply make good business sense.

Since the mid 1990s there has been a shift towards defining economic performance in terms of the “triple bottom line” – growth that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Responsible Tourism addresses this shift by giving equal weight to the economy, society and the environment – the three pillars of sustainable development.

The drive towards corporate citizenship has also forced responsibility and accountability to the top of business agendas. Global tourism initiatives, such as the World Tourism Organisation’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism and the Tour Operators Initiative reflect this growing emphasis. The Tour Operators Initiative, (TOI) which has been developed by tour operators to show support for sustainable tourism, has the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO). The TOI has developed indicators to measure the level of responsibility of global tourism suppliers.

Similarly in the UK the Association for Independent Tour Operators (AITO) has developed a responsible tourism policy, which may become a condition of membership in future. Tourists themselves are becoming increasingly vigilant consumers. Recent market research by the UK’s Tearfund shows that more and more British tourists want to learn about the host country, reduce environmental impact and meet local people. Destinations promoting good practice undoubtedly have a market advantage. Responsible environmental practice has other benefits by reducing energy and water bills, sewage treatment and waste disposal costs. Good environmental management also improves the quality of a tourism operation’s surroundings, enhancing the overall experience for guests.

Lastly, responsible tourism may well be a matter of survival. Local communities need to be meaningfully involved in tourism to perceive its benefits. Good economic practices can create jobs, stimulate entrepreneurship and boost regional economic growth. A responsible approach ensures that all sectors of society benefit from a virtuous tourism cycle.

This is the first in a series of short blogs on Responsible Tourism that will deal with everything from ‘Evaluating your commitment’ to ‘Motivating Guests to be Responsible’ and from ‘Economic responsibility’ to ‘Environmental responsibility’. Come back soon!


  1. Your articles relate with what we do, they are great

    • Darryl Lombard

      I’m pleased that you can relate to the blog posts! You guys are doing a great job.


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