Issues in Sustainable Tourism

By Valerie Clulow and Gabrielle Walters.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Tourism offers an opportunity for major development as a linchpin industry in the structural adjustment necessary to transition to a lower carbon economy in some regions. Drivers for the development of a tourism industry can be economic sustainability rather than environmental sustainability. Several issues are emerging including the need for regulation. There is a view in the literature that challenges the potential for ongoing self-regulation by the tourism industry—via instruments such as company-led environmental management systems and social responsibility initiatives and voluntary codes of conduct set up by companies or by association of companies (Ayuso 2007; Parsons & Woods-Ballard, 2003). The basis for this view is that self-regulation is by definition voluntary (Bramwell and Lane, 2010) and that industry’s behaviour can often revert to short-term self-interest at the cost of following environmental standards. The second issue is around the concept that “environmentally friendly tourism” is a niche market and not the main game, that it brings with it higher costs and a lower environmental footprint, and that there is a tension between tourism development and sustainable tourism. The third issue is a more positive, optimistic view that there are potentially market segments that are environmentally friendly as well as providing higher economic returns. These issues are explored via a theoretical focus.

Keywords: Sustainable Tourism, Economically Sustainable Tourism, Environmentally Sustainable Tourism

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.11-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 307.948KB).

Prof Valerie Clulow

Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor, Learning and Teaching, College of Business, RMIT University, Australia

Professor Clulow is Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) in the College of Business, RMIT University, Australia. She has researched and published internationally in areas related to stakeholders and resource-based view, services industries and higher education. Before moving into academe she worked as a senior management development manager in the retail industry in Australia and as a private consultant. She has supervised PhD and Masters research studies in business strategy, in areas such as retailing, utilities provision, community banking, call centres and business start-ups.

Gabrielle Walters

University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Dr Walters is a lecturer in Tourism at the University of Queensland. Her research interests include tourism marketing, disaster recovery and destination image management and her publication portfolio includes a number of internationally acclaimed Tourism Research Journals and marketing handbooks specific to these areas. Prior to her academic career, Gabrielle worked for sixteen years in the tourism and hospitality industry.