Sustainability, defined by Websters, is the ability to use something without depleting it completely or use methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources. To many, “sustainable” is synonymous with “eco-friendly.” Environmental awareness is an important factor to being sustainable. A tourist attraction or location can be “green” but not necessarily sustainable. Learn to recognize sustainable tourism by first understanding the three areas of sustainability consideration: environmental, economic, and socio-cultural.
Environmental. Of course, the environment is important to tourism. The natural environment like beaches, forests, and waterways are great tourist destinations; just as the constructed environment like historic buildings, memorials, and ruins, are crucial to be preservation and protection of resources for future generations to enjoy.
When an area becomes a tourist destination, the social and cultural impacts on the host community can be seen by increased traffic, an influx of seasonal tourists, and potentially an increase in crime. Communities can minimize the negative impact by focusing more on positive attributes like cultural exchange and preserving local traditions can bring unity to the host community. For the tourist, they have a more genuine experience while interacting and absorbing the local culture.
The last area of sustainability consideration revolves around money. One doesn’t usually associate the economy with sustainability, however, it’s key to making a tourism venture sustainable, especially keeping the money local. When the community is involved in tourism they can share in the financial gain and the sense of pride that comes with protecting the earth.
If you want to experience sustainable tourism at it’s finest, check out the Blue Moon Rising Resort, located overlooking Deep Creek Lake in the western Maryland mountains. With thirteen eco-friendly tiny cabins, the resort specializes in sustainable construction practices along with earth friendly techniques that have minimal impact on the environment. Start planning for your summer vacation and advocate sustainable tourism as a way of giving back to our beautiful planet.