The double face of tourism. On the one hand, it produces undoubted benefits for tourist-receiving societies. Among other advantages, new jobs are generated, infrastructures and services are improved, economic income is increased, and the conservation of cultural, archaeological or natural sites is promoted. On the other hand, mass tourism can become an overflowing river that causes negative impacts on the local environment: exodus of the local population, noise, congestion of public services, higher rents, closure of traditional shops, etc.
Summer means going on holiday for many of us. According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), over 900 million people travelled abroad in 2022. Although tourism creates jobs and infrastructures, brings in money, and promotes cultural exchange and heritage conservation, it also generates high quantities of waste and air and noise pollution, damages ecosystems, and can give rise to social and economic issues, such as overcrowding, traffic congestion, loss of traditions, poorly paid employment and economic dependence.
Increasing awareness of the impact tourism has on the environment has led to global efforts to reduce its negative effects and the birth of a new model of sustainable tourism. Several of UNWTO’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target sustainable tourism, outlining the need for new policies at local, state and national levels as well as promoting responsible tourism. These goals and awareness-raising initiatives are positively influencing personal tourist behaviour, with demand for sustainable travel on the rise. According to this year’s Sustainable Travel Report by Booking.com, 74% of 33,228 respondents in 35 countries and regions, said that sustainability was a priority and that they wanted more sustainable travel choices.