Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Tourism as an instrument E 3.7


medium-sized tourism enterprises, taking into

account their effect on employment, to exploit the

full potentials of tourism to combat poverty and,

within the framework of the CBD, to develop guidelines

for sustainable tourism for especially important

vulnerable ecosystems. However, no agreement

could be reached during the discussions on a definition

of sustainable tourism and eco-tourism.

The private sector has also now become involved

in sustainable tourism. The ‘Green Globe’ initiative

of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC),

which came into existence in 1994, is an initiative of

tourism companies who have signed up to the sustainability

principle. Voluntary undertakings are to

be used to adhere to fundamental standards for the

protection of the natural environment. A ‘Green

Globe’ logo signals to the consumer that a tour operator

has undertaken to adhere to these environmental

standards (WTTC, 1995). There is an annual

check to ensure that these ‘Green Globe’ guidelines

are still being adhered to. The ‘Green Globe’ Prize is

awarded to outstanding positive examples.

The United Nations is also active in the tourism

sector.The World Tourism Organization, a subsidiary

organization of the UN Development Programme

(UNDP), promotes tourism projects worldwide.

Among other things, it cooperated in the development

of a tourism master plan for Ghana (1996) and

an action plan for sustainable tourism in Uzbekistan

(1997). Some examples of short-term projects were

pilot projects on eco-tourism in Congo, hotel classification

in Ecuador, the development of new tourism

legislation in Nicaragua, reservation management in

the Maldives, the protection of historical sites in the

Philippines or for the marketing of reserves in China.

In addition, the World Tourism Organization has

developed a series of manuals for the tourism industry

and tourism planners, such as:

Sustainable Tourism – Manual for Planners,

– What Tourism Managers Have to Know: Indicators

of Sustainable Tourism,

– Incentives for Better Coastal Zone Management:

The Example of the ‘Blue Flag’,

– AGENDA 21 for the Travel and Tourism Industry,

– Bilateral and Multilateral Sources for Financing

Tourist Development,

– Guidelines for the Development of National


Above and beyond these concrete implementation

activities, the World Tourism Organization also documents

all developments in worldwide tourism

through statistical analyses.

Finally, the European Union is also involved in the

promotion of tourism. The EU Commission has its

own tourism department. Since 1990 around ECU 18

million have been spent in the EU tourism programme,

mainly in ACP states (Steck et al, 1998).The

much-criticized programme (ineffectiveness and low

significance of environmental protection) is currently

undergoing restructuring in order to bring

about greater emphasis on sustainability aspects.


Under applicable international law, sustainable

tourism has not been specifically and comprehensively

regulated. Only in a few cases are there indirect

and regionally limited agreements (BfN, 1997b).

One example of such a regionally limited regulation

is the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Alps’

(hereafter referred to as the ‘Alpine Convention’)

that the Alpine states concluded to protect the

Alpine environments and that entered into force in

1995. There is a Tourism Protocol among the seven

protocols that have since been negotiated.The aim of

the protocol is to contribute to the sustainable development

of the Alpine areas by means of environmentally

sound tourism. This protocol is remarkable

because it is the first instrument for sustainable

tourism that is binding under international law and

that identifies the possible deficits in regulation, even

if it does refer only to the Alps (BfN, 1997b). However,

to date there is no example to show that regulations

of this kind can be used to prevent the nonsustainable

spread of the tourism industry (Box

E 3.7-2). On the contrary, after a temporary ‘pause’ in

the 1980s, where there was a wave of protected area

designations, since the early 1990s building activity

and land conversion in the Alps has been rising again.

For example, some municipalities increased their bed

capacities ten-fold for the 1992 Albertville Winter

Olympics. Over all, the number of French ski resorts

rose from 120 in the late 1970s to around 280 today.

In 1998 the expansion ordinance to the Environmental

Audit Act came into force in Germany. This

means that the environmental audit system is open to

many service providers. Tour operators, travel agencies,

the hotel trade and municipalities reliant on

tourism can now have their environmental commitment

certified and be awarded the coveted EC

Environmental Management Emblem. Now that

some environmental verifiers have already received

their accreditation for the new sectors, this process

can now commence in earnest for tourism destinations,

among other groups. However, the scope of

local authority public administration does not cover

the entire area of the municipality, but rather individual

properties, in line with the definition of ‘site’ in

the EC EMAS Regulation.

A general international law instrument for sustainable

tourism should be launched within the context

of the Convention on Biological Diversity

(CBD). However, the Parties at the COP-4 of the

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