A Critical Analysis of Sustainable Adventure Tourism
The World Tourism Organization defines tourism as people ‘travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for no more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes’ (UNWTO, 2010). Tourism contributes to an estimated 5% of the world’s economy and has grown from £25 million to £940 million from 1950 to 2010 and is forecasted to increase in the future (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Projection of World tourism from 1950 to2020 (UNWTO, 2010).
The radical growth in tourism is due to development in technology, internet and transport advances, which meant tourists could travel to more unknown destinations. Mass tourism has brought numerous positive and negative effects, such as economical profits, destruction of ecological systems and loss of cultural heritage. In response to these concerns, the term ‘sustainable tourism’ has surfaced in the recent years.
First used in 1970’s, ‘sustainability’ is described in the Brundtland Report (Brundtland Commision, 1987, p43) as ‘Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future’. With the increased awareness of anthropogenic effects on the world, action is being taken by governments to reduce effects from the tourism industry.
Sustainable tourism is defined as ‘meeting the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future’ (UNWTO, 2001). Sustainable tourism can limit the negative effects of economic behaviour on local environments and cultures for the host community (Zurick, 1992), while absorbing inputs and continuing in social harmony despite the effects of change brought about by tourists (Mowforth, 1998). It can be easy to recognise the environmental and economic impacts that appear, but only recently have social and cultural aspects been gaining increased attention, as it can be quite difficult to see (Lansing et al, 2007). Adventure tourism,...