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Sustainable Development in Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure

This essay will attempt to critically analyse the current thinking on sustainability in the vast and ever changing industries of hospitality, tourism and leisure. It will look at these industries from a local, national and international perspective, whilst also making reference to the role of public, private partnerships (PPP) and of community involvement and participation in the development process. There are many different definitions on sustainability, but the following is widely used by many of the leading industry experts:

"Tourism which is economically viable but does not destroy the resources on which the future of tourism will depend, notably the physical environment and the social fabric of the host community" (Swarbrooke, 1999:13)

 

Attempting to ensure tourism is sustainable, has led to more awareness and alternative forms of tourism. Eco-tourism is an example of this, which aims to assist in the conservation and positive influence on local communities (Swarbrooke, 1999). But, it is often these 'eco-based' activities that are the most fragile and hence can become more damaged revealing a contradiction. This highlights why it is so difficult to conclude one way or the other if tourism is sustainable. Some may argue that in realistic terms, communities have little control over the development, so sustainability depends on the providers, participants, planning and management of how resources are conserved. However, as consumers we all have the power of choice; which means that we can ensure sustainable development in hospitality, tourism and leisure by choosing responsible cultural and environmental ways that in turn, would be provided by the marketers if these were what the consumer wanted.

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