Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Tourism as an instrument E 3.7


suited to activating the requisite incentive systems

for sustainable tourism than a protocol would be,

since for the actors there is more scope and room for

dynamic adaptation to current developments. Having

said that, this process is too focused on biological

diversity although the Framework Convention on

Climate Change (foreseeable increase in air traffic)

and the Convention to Combat Desertification (concentration

of tourism in arid and semi-arid areas) are

both affected. However it does not seem practicable

to thrash out guidelines or protocols for all of the

‘Rio Conventions’. Therefore, the Council recommends

examining whether the process launched

under the auspices of the CBD could constitute an

element in a future over-arching international regulation

on sustainable tourism.

Eco-tourism and development cooperation

The Council welcomes the fact that German development

cooperation has once again taken the first

steps towards promoting sustainable tourism, after it

had largely withdrawn from this area in the 1980s.

Tourism is not a focus of work in development cooperation.

The Council believes that within the context

of development cooperation the available control

scope should be used to steer the growing global

tourism in a sustainable direction to protect the biosphere.

Action areas within the context of development

cooperation include the promotion of

favourable framework conditions within the context

of policy advice, management of protected areas and

buffer zones, rural regional development, basic and

further training, private sector cooperation and assistance

with financing.

Above all, development cooperation concentrates

on nature tourism because the conflicts between the

protection of the biosphere and the daily survival of

people are most marked in the protected and buffer

zones. The aim is to make nature tourism in developing

countries sustainable, ie gear it towards the concept

of eco-tourism. Eco-tourism is an important

instrument for nature conservation. The Working

Group on eco-tourism has put forward a number of

funding criteria here.According to these, eco-tourism

projects within the context of development cooperation

should be promoted only if the living conditions

of the local population are improved, innovation

potentials arise that can be used to solve regional or

sectoral problems, distribution mechanisms are in

place or can be developed that secure and safeguard

as high a share of revenue as possible for the local

population, tourism development is carried out by

‘responsible’ operators and the environmental and

social compatibility of tourism can be verified (BMZ,


In development cooperation more commitment is

desirable in the promotion of eco-tourism projects.

The Council feels that tourism promotion should be

used as a development opportunity and a way of protecting

the biosphere. Bilateral and multilateral

donor organizations (eg the World Bank, IMF)

should also be committed to the principles of sustainable

tourism. Governments should be supported

in drawing up master plans for the tourism sector to

provide strategic orientation for the actors. In this

context, the active involvement of the local population

is a major prerequisite for success.

Use institutional diversity

It is far from easy to restrict, much less to ration, mass

tourism. Instead, ways to promote sustainable

tourism have to be developed, ie mass tourism has to

be steered onto sustainable paths in order to protect

the biosphere or it has to be reduced to a supportable

level.Added to this is the fact that tourism is a sector

of the economy which is particularly at the mercy of

the rules of a globalized and increasingly dynamic

market – with corresponding consequences for the

instruments to be used. The starting point for the

development of management options for tourism

compatible with the biosphere should be orientation

towards the subsidiarity principle.

The current European Union revision of the EU

Commission’s tourism programme to favour the

greater integration of aspects of sustainability is to be

welcomed. Since Europe is one of the most visited

regions, the need for action is especially great here.A

first step in the right direction is the ‘Blue Flag’ campaign

by the Foundation for Environmental Education,

which denotes clean beaches in Europe and is

now to be spread all over the world with the support

of UNEP and the World Tourism Organization. However,

campaigns of this kind should primarily aim at

the prevention of beach pollution rather than the

removal of waste with tractors and rakes, which

destroys beach life in the process. However, as yet

there is no evidence to confirm the environmental

effectiveness of the Blue Flag.

Private initiatives, such as the ‘Green Globe Initiative’

of the World Tourism and Travel Council, are

also essential for the development of sustainable

tourism. For this reason, the Council recommends

that the Federal Government support the noticeable

trend towards voluntary commitments among

tourism companies in the form of product labelling

schemes or seals of quality. This also includes help in

the introduction of environmental management systems,

such as life cycle assessments and staff training.

In this context, the ‘Environment Declaration’ issued

in 1997 by the central organizations and associations

within German tourism is an important document:

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