How can tourism become more sustainable?

Step 1: Read the key terms list below. Make sure that you understand and could give a definition to somebody else.

Step 2: Read the information in Section 1. Answer the exam questions here. 

Stewardship and conservation 

Stewardship is all about careful management and responsibility for the natural environment, globally, regionally, nationally and locally.

Development priorities are set and managed sustainability. This also involves careful and calculated use of natural resources in order to limit environmental impact. In a perfect world, all governments would plan and develop according to the guidelines of stewardship. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Conservation is stewardship on a much smaller scale. it is about personal responsibility. We all have a responsibility to look after the environment and use resources responsibly.

Solar power - an example of a renewable energy source

Solar power – an example of a renewable energy source


Ecotourism is tourism which is environmentally friendly. It’s main aims are:

  1. To encourage tourists to be environmentally aware and understand their own personal impact on the environment.
  2. Promote sustainable energy use, increasing the use of renewable energy sources.
  3. Encourage the use and purchasing of local food and products, This helps local people and the local economy.
  4. Outdoor and natural environment activities which do not require massive amounts of building or development.
  5. Limiting the amount of waste produced from tourism.

Sustainable tourism case study – Galapagos Islands

The galapagos Islands are 50 volcano islands off the coast of South Africa, belonging to Ecuador. 90% of the area is designated as National Parks or marine reserves,. The islands are home to many fragile and rare specifies of  wildlife and plant species. The area is also a biosphere reserve and whale sanctuary.

Tourists can visit the islands under strict rules. They are limited in numbers and only allow tourists on the islands at specific times. Tourists have to pay a £25 fee to go to the Galapagos Island Conservation Trust. Tour boats are owned by local people to help to promote local employment. Visitors are educated about the island and how to prevent damage whilst visiting.

Ecotourism has brought a number of benefits for the Galapagos Islands. These include:

  1. Environmental benefits – Money generated from tourism is used to conserve the islands. Local people are employed in tourism and so this has prevented the need to develop new industries and use other resources on the island. This also keeps pollution to a minimum.
  2. Economic benefits – Local businesses make money from tourists which helps to contribute to the local economy. Tourists usually stay in small guest houses and there are no big hotels on the islands. This means that local people gain employment and can open their own businesses. Many visitors also give tips which helps to boost the personal income of island inhabitants.