According to World Bank figures, in 2008 there were 936 millions of tourists around the world. In 2018 this figure reached 1.4 billions of people, which means an increase of almost 50%. In Chile, 2008 arrived in 2.710.000, a figure that has steadily increased to reach 5.720.000 in 2018. That is, in the last 10 years the number of tourists in our country has more than doubled.
When evaluating these figures, it is essential to consider the impact of the growing arrival of tourists to our country both socio-cultural and environmental. On a global level, the concept of sustainable tourism has become increasingly important, through which the economic development granted by the tourism industry is considered, including its impact on the environment and communities.
According to the definition given by the United Nations, sustainable tourism is “ tourism that takes care of its economic, social and environmental impacts, whether present or future, considering the needs of visitors, industry, the environment and communities".
Sustainable tourism practices are applicable to all forms of tourism, be it mass or smaller niches. A balance must be sought between the socio-cultural, environmental and economic impacts of this industry, in order to guarantee its long-term development.
According to the United Nations Tourism Organization (UNWTO), sustainable tourism must:
- Make optimal use of environmental resources that constitute key elements in tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural resources and biodiversity.
- Respect the socio-cultural authenticity of local communities, preserve their living heritage and traditional values, and contribute to understanding between cultures and tolerance.
- Ensure viable and long-term economic operations, granting socio-economic benefits distributed evenly among those involved, including stable jobs and opportunities to generate income and social services to organize communities, and thus contribute to poverty reduction.
Definition of Sustainable Tourism, obtained in U.
In order to reach acceptable levels of sustainable tourism, it is necessary to coordinate policies and involve all the participants and thus achieve consensus building. For this, a constant monitoring of the impacts is required, implementing the corresponding preventive and / or corrective measures.
In Chile, the National Tourism Service created the Tourism Sustainability Program, through which the use of sustainable practices by this industry is promoted. Interested persons can opt for the S-Seal, which recognizes operators that implement sustainability practices in their ventures.
To know more about the Program, you can click here