For long holiday tourism has been in the grip of economic thinking and sociological research. On this webpage a more balanced view is maintained on the focal centre of tourists' activities: tourists themselves and their encounter with their holiday destination. Tourists take what is given to them and then turn it into their own ends; it is these ends what is of our primary interest and more than 25 articles on this site are about just that: the tourists' tourism.

Under the heading "Tourism" a new article has been added on Climate Change (July, 2020)

and also under the heading "Tourism" I have added a new article about Phenomenology and Tourism (Feb. 2020).


Tourists and Sustainable development

There is an element of great importance in tourism, but whereof a tourist cannot create any image beforehand: sustainable development, nature conservation or the role of a local population in tourism. The influences and footprints a tourist leaves behind are usually not taken into account with his holiday evaluation and there are very few tourist interested in doing so. The reason is clear: no need will be satisfied. There is only a very small group of tourists (on the Tourist Lifestyle scale on the left-hand side) that may be concerned at sustainability issues during their holiday.

How many tourists are there who sit down after their holiday and run over in their minds how sustainable their trip was? Or the lack of it?

Very few, I am afraid. What happens is that tourists may notice things or circumstances that show a clear lack of ecological considerations. As part of the coninuous evaluation a tourist may feel guilty when travelling for hours through a barren and dry landscape and to arrive at his hotel with lush gardens, swimming pools and sprinklers working everywhere. Even the most insensible tourist will notice this. The contact between rich and poor is another point, that tourist may question spontaneously. We know that there are many tourist taking pictures of poverty, since it enhances the adventure element of their holidays, but at the same time they may wonder if there is not some project for poverty aleviation they may contribute to . However,  for most tourists that is it what sustainable considerations are concerned.

There are two ways this may change: The first one is making sure a tourist creates a need concerning his role in influencing the environment and the mitigation thereof. To help save the planet may form a well defined need indeed.

Experience has shown that the more tourists are confronted with sustainable practices the more they get interested in it. When one hotel is clearly separating the rubbish and another is not, the tourist may question this. To be honest, the number of tourists that really tries to find out how sustainable an Impsource or hotel is, remains very small indeed. Few tourists show interest how a hotel heats the water, treats the sewage or how local the staff is. Construction materials is another point, where tourists demand comfort in the first place, before really wondering if ecological motives were applied.

On the other hand, tourists like to be critical and they usually like to be asked for their opinion. A better preparation may help tourists to be more critical, which in turn can create a need to be satisfied by means of opinion polls, for example.

The second option is not to wait for tourists to get motivated, but simply to implement a series of obligatory codes of conduct the tourist has to study beforehand (on the Internet) and the tourist has to show that he understands them. When in 2001 after the twin tower disaster airport controls turned extremely strict in name of the national security of the USA, there is no reason not to imply strict measures in name of the salvation of the Planet.

Both options may lead to positive holiday experiences and both need much more attention from all parties involved.

All rights reserved. Complete or partial reproduction is prohibited without the permission of Marinus Gisolf and without mentioning the source.

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