“The sustainable development approach to planning tourism in acutely important because most tourism development depends on attractions and activities related to the natural environment, historic heritage and cultural patterns of areas. If these resources are degraded or destroyed, then the tourism areas cannot attract tourists and tourism will not be successful.
More generally, most tourists seek destinations that have a high level of environmental quality-they like to visit places that are attractive, clean and neither polluted nor congested. It is also essential that residents of the tourism area should not have to suffer from a deteriorated environment and social problems.” Co-ordinate Approach:Because of the nature of the tourism industry, i.e. it is fragmented with many players; problems have arisen because of conflicting interests. Venice is a good example of where co-ordinate overall planning has proved difficult.
There is riot one government department that has responsibility for planning and conflicts have arisen between the needs of the locals and the needs of the tourists. Everyone should take responsibility for achieving sustainable development. Government is usually involved, for instance in terms of granting planning permission. Developers arc involved, but do not always have long-term objectives, particularly if they come from outside the community in which the development is taking place. The local community have a vested interest in ensuring that their “home” is not spoilt, but often there are conflicts between hotel owners (or any who benefit from tourism) and those who only “suffer” the tourists (e.
g. traffic jams etc). Tour operators and travel agents have started to take a more responsible stance-in their brochures they try and “educate’ the tourists to be more aware of local customs involved. Sustainable Approach of WTO:According to WTO two approaches to responsible planning for sustainable development are possible. 1. A top down approach, with plans prepared by a central authority, (central or regional, government), or. 2. A bottom-up approach, driven by the community.
Often a combination of the two approaches the best results. Steps in Achieving Sustainability:
(a) Creation or development of popular resorts in one area, as a way to relieve pressure from another area of a more sensitive nature.
(b) Dispersion policy: the use of resorts may cause the depletion of resources in one area, and the exclusion of the rest of the population of an area from the financial benefits of tourism. To prevent this, a policy of dispersing tourist resorts across a region or country may be adopted. In West Indies each region has been allowed to develop one beach resort-thereby spreading the benefits across the island. (c) Zoning: this is the division or categorisation of land-permitting only certain kinds of use on it.
This may also be applied to lakes e.g. some lakes may be zoned for water skiing or fishing.
(d) The encouragement of green policies: this is when green policies are adopted to protect and restore the environment or offset an environmental problem, and at the same time indirectly improve recreational resources. An example of this is the growth of urban forests by the City Authorities which could in turn lead to these sites being used for recreation. (e) The provision of urban tourist facilities: if there is provision of tourist or recreational facilities like urban forms, water splash parks or access 10 existing facilities like rivers and lakes, it removes pressure from ecologically sensitive areas as the impact of tourism in urban areas is less. It fulfills the need of the tourists by finding a use for their leisure income that would have been spent elsewhere. It also reduces the social and environmental cost of travelling to and from a tourist destination and also in a way substantially removes the desire for a holiday by reducing the demand for travel.
(f) Create environmental awareness: making people aware of the effects of tourism. Providing tourists with information on scarcity of natural resources can do this. Information relating to culture difference and advice regarding acceptable behaviour may also be considered.
(a) Restrictive entry: this is where access is controlled by the use of various means. (b) Barriers across entrance points. (c) Quotas for visitors during the year. (d) Use of price mechanism: to reduce the number of tourist’s high prices may be charged.
This will create an image of “exclusivity” which in turn helps to justify the high price. (e) Site management signposting: by providing visitors with information and by the creation of signposted walks, behaviour may be modified and tourists may be kept away from sensitive areas. Signposting can be used in conjunction with information provision. (f) Protecting footpaths: the sustained use of footpaths can lead to problems such as soil erosion or the widening of paths. In order to prevent this, care has to be taken in planning footpaths and also consideration of what materials should be used in order to create a state of naturalness which also sustains high levels of pedestrian flow. (g) Control of access points: similar to the first point.
The location and size of car parks, roads or hotels in relation to areas of a sensitive nature can reduce the number and impact of tourists. Recreational Preferences:International tourism by definition draws persons from diverse cultures. Regional resource inventories and evaluation for the development of tourism should, therefore, attempt to take into account diverse recreational preferences. The travel preferences of tourists from different cultures should also be considered in the layout and design of tourist facilities. Particular attention is needed for cultural preferences in the total environment destined for tourism use. Such consideration will again assist in assigning specific values to different landscapes and natural resources. Archaeological Sites and Wildlife:Tourism has the great need to protect the environment of the places of natural and cultural importance be it a monument, a beach resort, national park, recreational area or a wildlife sanctuary.
The planners must consider the environmental process wherever large investment is made in tourism development. The tourist has a strong desire to see and experience places of wonder and beauty in areas where nature remains essentially unspoiled. Destinations noted for their particular character and beauty should not be reduced to innocuous urban jungles in order to keep pace with the visitor inflow.
Wildlife which is deteriorating and vanishing so rapidly can be safeguarded. The environment in which various animals live can be properly preserved. Similarly, many other tourist areas can be safeguarded against forces which are responsible for their degeneration. Tourism must be used as a positive factor in environmental improvement.
Area Development:Area development and physical planning are therefore very essential for environmental improvement. Tourism development can become a positive factor for improving the environment if a certain amount of basis planning and aesthetics are applied in the entire process. Whenever there is any major tourism development, environment planning should be made part of that development. Any development without some controls, without any thought given to the environmental factors can, in fact, prove to be disastrous and ultimately will be counter-productive for tourism itself. Coordination in Tourism Development:As many agencies are involved in tourism development, coordination is therefore very necessary among various segments responsible for environmental development and improvement. With a view to preserving the unique character, atmosphere and natural setting of monuments and other places of tourist interest, a coordinated approach needs to be evolved to exercise environmental control of tourist centres.
In countries where there are Town and Country Planning Acts, These should be made effective enough and their provisions should cover legal protection to control environmental balance in tourist development areas. In order to ensure that the Act is properly enforced, it would be desirable to involve all those agencies which are responsible for tourism development. In countries having a federal set-up, the authorities responsible for governing should carefully study the impact that the opening of a new area to tourists is likely to have on the cultural’ and social environment of the area. A Master Plan or Area Development Plans should be formulated before permitting the tourists access to these areas.
Concerned local authorities should be consulted at the time of working out of the proposals for area development with tourist potential. In order to ensure the implementation of the environmental control, it may be desirable for various regions to appoint coordinating committees consisting of various interests and departments to implement effectively environmental policies.