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Why is sustainable tourism important?

The tourism sector has grown exponentially in recent years, and is responsible for a good part of the economy and commerce in many places. However, in addition to the great advantages that this activity presents, it generates another large number of inconveniences with high repercussions, for example, the contamination of natural spaces with a large influx of tourists. Thus, sustainable tourism arises from the need to create a type of tourism that allows us to continue enjoying the wonders that we can find all over the world, but guaranteeing their conservation so that others can continue to enjoy them.

If you are still not convinced by the importance of this new type of tourism, in this AgroCorrn article we will tell you why sustainable tourism is important . We anticipate that it has become such an important issue for the planet that congresses are held for it in many countries, such as the National Ecotourism Congress held in Spain.

What is sustainable tourism or ecotourism

Sustainable tourism, also called ecological tourism , refers to tourism that is governed by the principles of sustainability , that is, that considers the effects it has currently and in the future in order to meet the needs of visitors and generate income and employment, but causing a low impact on the social environment and the environment that this tourism receives.

From sustainable tourism comes another related term, solidarity tourism . This tourism is one that considers a way of traveling that is based on the respect of those travelers who make tourism towards the other people and places they visit. In addition, these tourists contribute to the economy of the place through the use of accommodation found in places managed by that community, as well as visiting and collaborating in solidarity projects that are developed in the area and the purchase and consumption of local produce.

Find out more about Ecotourism: definition and characteristics in this other AgroCorrn article. However, it should be borne in mind that concern for the environment at this deeper level is something recent in the tourism sector and, therefore, the different entities related to it, such as the National Ecotourism Congress in Spain, consider that The foundations of sustainable tourism still have to be well laid, many aspects defined and their management improved in the different destinations

The principles of sustainable tourism

We have commented that sustainable tourism is governed by the principles of sustainability. But what are these principles? The sustainable, ecological or responsible tourism is considered more than a specific model type, as a movement that is based on the following basic principles :

  • Based on the social, economic and environmental characteristics of each destination, sustainable tourism tries to find models that develop forms of tourism that are sustainable and specific to these certain areas.
  • It denounces all the possible negative impacts that it can generate in the destination areas, as well as the wrong and distorted image that tourists can make of this visited place.
  • Appreciates and values ​​sustainable tourism models, for which it demands the responsibility of all those involved in them as tourists and public institutions in the area.

The objectives of sustainable tourism

Hand in hand with the principles on which it is based, sustainable tourism encompasses a series of essential objectives supported by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) . Common to all of them is the need to guarantee sustainability through tourism. The basic premise of sustainable tourism is that we are able to visit a place and enjoy it without producing a negative impact on it when we leave.

As we can guess with all the above information, the main goal of sustainable tourism is to take into account both the benefits and the derived problems. In this way we will be able to enjoy to a greater extent while avoiding the damages that we can cause to the environment, especially in the environmental and social fields.

Based on the objectives set by the UNWTO, we can distinguish the following objectives of ecological tourism :

  • The search for sustainable and inclusive economic growth through social introduction, job creation and reduction of poverty levels.
  • In the field of the environment, it pursues an efficient use of natural resources, environmental protection and the fight against growing climate change.
  • Promote cultural values, diversity and heritage. This type of tourism causes people to create a critical awareness about how the tourism they are developing can affect the well-being of other people, as well as conserve and protect heritage both culturally and in the natural environment.
  • Promote mutual understanding, guaranteeing peace and security.

Although we remember that, as we have commented before, the different associations and other entities, such as the National Ecotourism Congress, continue to debate and set ecotourism objectives, both locally and generally, throughout the globe.

Why Sustainable Tourism Matters – Top Reasons

Tourist activity moves a very high number of people around the world. Undoubtedly, it provides multiple economic benefits where this tourism is received, but it also produces great impacts on the social and natural environment and the environment . Some examples of these damages are the acceleration of climate change , the large amount of waste that is produced and that is harmful, the loss of natural spaces due to the large influx of people, with the consequent loss of biodiversity, among many other aspects. In this other article you can consult information on How ecotourism influences the environment .

For all this, it is necessary to include a type of tourism that allows us to travel and visit places, but that does not cause dire consequences on the environment. Thus, sustainable, ecological or ecotourism tourism offers another more respectful alternative that produces multiple benefits at different levels. For all this, sustainable tourism is important :

At an environmental level

  • It tries to minimize the impact that occurs on the environment by promoting respect for it and through the responsible consumption of its resources.
  • It helps to achieve a balanced development that is proportionate to the needs of the environment.
  • It produces economic benefits from flora and fauna resources that benefit local communities.

Ecotourism at a cultural level

  • It contributes to tolerance between people of different cultures, respecting the reality and sociocultural truth of each of the local communities.
  • It promotes activities for the maintenance, restoration and preservation of collective or national tourist attractions such as archaeological sites, architectural monuments or any other physical work. With this, it is achieved that these cultural manifestations are valued at multiple local, regional or national levels.
  • With all of the above, it is encouraged to increase community self-esteem by being attractive to tourists.

Sustainable tourism at a social level

  • For tourists it is an enriching experience and encourages tourism practices that are sustainable in the environment of the area that receives tourists.
  • It is encouraged that a part of the benefits obtained from tourism is destined to the construction of works that may be of community interest.
  • It makes rural areas reactivate and arouse the interest of other people.
  • It improves the quality of life of the local population on many levels.
  • Given the greater influx of tourists and people who come to visit the place, the development of improvements in the infrastructure of the town is promoted.

At an economic level

  • New local jobs are created.
  • The creation and development of tourism businesses is encouraged.
  • Provides capital income to the local economy.
  • It reduces poverty thanks to the creation of employment and the arrival of income.
  • It encourages the consumption of native and natural products made locally.

We also recommend this other AgroCorrn article to give you ideas on How to do sustainable tourism .

National Congress of Ecotourism in Spain

As we have pointed out at the beginning, as a result of the great reception and growth that ecotourism is experiencing, a variety of specialized companies, associations and other entities dedicated to this type of tourism have emerged. In addition, congresses are already taking place around the world, bringing together industry professionals and other stakeholders to discuss and work to continually improve the concept, goals and achievements of sustainable tourism.

This is the case of Spain, the National Ecotourism Congress has been created due to the significant increase in this in recent years. This congress is about to celebrate its third edition and it will be held in Cangas del Narcea, in Asturias , from November 13 to 15, 2018. It arose from the growing need to lay the criteria and foundations of sustainable tourism or ecotourism, which It will facilitate that all those involved, from companies and associations to the users and tourists themselves, can understand the related aspects equally. Likewise, it is also an important point for the conservation of nature and for local development, issues that the congress intends to address to ensure that it is really contributing to it.

The III National Congress of Ecotourism is the reference congress for destinations and sustainable tourism companies in Spain, since it will talk about the aforementioned, but it will also seek to identify new needs of the sector and, based on them, it will try to define the next actions to improve ecotourism in Spain. Thus, it will talk about the management of destinations for ecotourism in Spain, marketing and promotion aspects and also about training and cooperation between the different agents involved in Spanish sustainable tourism.

It has been decided that this edition will host Cangas del Narcea, in the Principality of Asturias, due to the fact that it has long been a benchmark in sustainable tourism and nature tourism . This, in addition, offers those attending the III National Congress of Ecotourism in Spain the possibility of carrying out complementary activities, such as tastings and guided visits, and also visiting the Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Íbias Natural Park , as well as the Reserve of the Muniellos Biosphere , enclaves for this type of tourism.

As a summary, in order to know well the focus and reason for the III National Ecotourism Congress, we explain two fundamental points in more detail: why Cangas del Narcea has been selected as the place of the event and the specific objectives of this congress.

The selection of the venue: Cangas del Narcea, Asturias

After the success of the two previous editions of the Congress, in which the business sector and public administrations have responded with high attendance, its celebration in future editions has generated great interest. With the approval of the Secretary of State for Tourism, the candidacy of the Rural Tourism Association of Fuentes del Narcea , a member of the Ecotourism Club , was accepted to host the third edition of the Congress in 2018 . This candidacy had the firm support of the City Council of Cangas del Narcea and the public tourism company of the Principality of Asturias, to which the following aspects were added in favor :

  • Until now the congresses have been organized in a National Park and in a Geopark, so it is very appropriate and strategic to hold the next one in a Biosphere Reserve.
  • Currently there is less development of the ecotourism product linked to the Ecotourism Club in northern Spain, so it would be strategic to try to involve the business sector and public administrations of this area of ​​the national territory.
  • The Congress will support the business sector and local population of the area, showing the attractions that the area has for ecotourism where, throughout these years, business initiatives linked to natural and ethnographic heritage have been consolidated, combining sustainability and rural development. As well as, contributing directly to a conservation and reforestation project within the framework of the Congress.
  • The Principality of Asturias and the destination Muniellos-Fuentes del Narcea Biosphere Reserve are an example in the commitment to nature tourism and ecotourism.

Specific objectives of the National Ecotourism Congress

The goal of the III National Ecotourism Congress is to be the useful meeting space and reference for the actors involved in Ecotourism in Spain. The specific objectives :

  • Publicize Ecotourism as the most beneficial and sustainable tourism product for protected areas and the rural environment.
  • Present the situation of the Ecotourism product in Spain and the organized impulse that has been given to it with the Ecotourism Club in Spain.
  • Serve as a space for the debate of the limiting factors of the development of Ecotourism in Spain, in order to propose lines of work and specific actions.
  • Improve practical and effective cooperation between the actors involved in promoting ecotourism, through roundtables, workshops or meetings that allow the generation of support for the sector.

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