Unit 7 Sustainable Tourism Development

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The aim of this unit is for learners to gain understanding of the rationale and different approaches to tourism planning and development, sustainable tourism, current issues and impacts of tourism.

 Unit abstract

This unit aims to increase learners’ awareness of the need to plan and manage tourism at all levels within an international, national, regional and local framework. Emphasis is placed on current trends in planning for tourism development in a range of destinations. The stages in the planning process are identified and learners will be encouraged to apply theoretical models to practical case studies and site visits. The principles and philosophy of sustainable development are introduced in this unit and learners will be required to show an in-depth understanding of issues such as carrying capacities, environmental impact and the guest-host relationships as they relate to current tourism initiatives, eg access, conservation, enclave tourism.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand the rationale for planning in the travel and tourism industry

  • Rationale:to achieve the determined objectives eg improved employment opportunities, protection and conservation of wildlife, landscape, co-ordination between public/private partners, to maximise benefits, provide infrastructure, co-ordinate development, consumer protection; involvement of stakeholders eg developers, tourism industry, tourists and host community; public/private partnerships and advantages/disadvantages of; effective use of resources eg infrastructure; natural, cultural, heritage, human resources

2 Understand different approaches to tourism planning and development

  • Planning: environmental; economic; social; international; national; regional; local; strategic; short term; qualitative; quantitative; methods of measuring tourism impact eg Cambridge Economic Impact Model (STEAM), Environmental Impact Studies, Pro Poor Tourism; Responsible Tourism, interactive planning systems and processes
  • Development: preservation, conservation, new build

3 Understand the need for planning for sustainable tourism

  • Sustainable tourism: definitions eg Brundtland Report (1987), Triple Bottom Line, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Principles for Sustainable Development (1995)
  • Principles: planning considerations, benefits to the environment, the host community, the tourism industry, the visitor; factors of supply of facilities and resource weighed against demand; proposed developments eg infrastructure required; interdependence eg of society, economy and the natural environment; citizenship eg rights and responsibilities, participation and cooperation; future generations; sustainable change eg development.

4 Understand current issues related to tourism development planning

  • Current issues: conflict eg tension between the planner, tour operator, tourist, government, developer, local community, guest-host relationship; impacts eg economic, social, environmental; access eg balance of supply and demand, imposition of limits, pressure on finite resources; enclave tourism eg advantages and disadvantages to the local community, moral and ethical issues of enclave tourism

5 Understand the socio-cultural, environmental and economic impacts of tourism in developing countries and emerging destinations

  • Socio-cultural: social change, changing values, crime and gambling, moral behaviour, change in family structure and roles, tourist/host/relationships, provision of social services, commercialisation of culture and art, revitalisation of customs and art forms, destruction and preservation of heritage.
  • Environmental:types of conservation and pollution eg air, visual, noise etc, land use, ecological disruption, pressures on infrastructure and finite resources, erosion, preservation of environment eg national parks, drainage, irrigation.
  • Economic: generation of employment, provision of foreign exchange, multiplier effect of tourism as contribution to the balance of payments, economic leakage, development of the private sector, foreign ownership and management
  • Developing countries: countries eg India, Thailand, Jordan
  • Emerging destinations: destinations for medical tourism eg India, Thailand, Hungary; other destinations eg Bulgaria, Qatar, Shanghai


  • Bartol, K. M., & Zhang, X. (2010). Linking Empowering Leadership and Employee Creativity: The Influence of Psychological Empowerment, Intrinsic Motivation, and Creative Process Engagement. Academy of Management Journal .
  • Dearnaley, P. 2014, "Competitive advantage in the new social care marketplace: a new theoretical perspective", Housing, Care and Support, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 5-15

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