1.7 Guiding principles and approaches The development and implementation of policies for sustainable tourism should be based on a number of overarching principles and approaches. Some of these are inherent to the principles of sustainability while others have been identified over time by those working in the field. Guiding concepts and principles are presented below.
Setting the course Taking a holistic view Planning and development of tourism should not take place in isolation. Tourism should be considered as part of the sustainable development of communities, alongside other activities. Its impact on other sectors, in terms of competing resource use and mutual support, should be considered. Over-dependency of an economy and society on tourism should be avoided. A holistic approach is also about taking account of all impacts and relationships within the tourism sector itself, and considering how all public policies may affect or be affected by tourism.
Pursuing multi-stakeholder engagement Sustainable tourism is about local control, but also about working together. All those implicated by tourism should have an opportunity to influence its development and management. This may involve formal partnerships or looser arrangements, as well as strengthening and utilizing local democratic structures.
Planning for the long term Short term approaches should be avoided and the long-term view encouraged, with resources committed accordingly. Where possible, actions should be self-sustaining. Projects that are structured around short term inputs and finance must take account of how initiatives, once started, can be maintained into the future.
Addressing global and local impacts Impacts on the local environment and communities are often apparent. It can therefore be easier to gain support for policies that address these local impacts rather than for policies that address global issues. However, the sustainable development of tourism should pay equal attention to global impacts, especially with respect to pollution from tourism (such as greenhouse gas emissions) and the use of non renewable resources. Such global impacts also have a direct effect on tourism itself (e.g. climate change).
Promoting sustainable consumption Sustainability is not just about the supply side. Equal consideration should be given to influencing the pattern and impact of consumption. This means influencing the volume and nature of tourism demand, the choices made by tourists (such as products selected and mode of travel), and their activities and behaviour.
Equating sustainability and quality It should be increasingly accepted that a quality tourism destination or product is one that addresses the full range of sustainability issues rather than simply concentrating on visitor satisfaction. Indeed, tourists should themselves be encouraged to think in these terms—a place that cares for the environment and its workforce is more likely also to care for them.