Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA
Rutgers Model United Nations 7 2002 to Present: Update of Status Inspired by numerous environmental moments in the last two decades the concept of sustainable development is relatively new. In particular the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1992 was a major international meeting that helped to conceptualize sustainable development. Sustainable tourism, therefore, is also a new term for international organizations, governments, and individuals to understand. The difficulty in assessing sustainable tourism is that adequate research has not been performed to point those charged with implementing it in the right direction. It is known, however, that sustainable tourism is the only way to secure our common future in travel. Actors and Interests Tourists and the Tourism Industry Travel in particular has long played a vital role in the development of civilizations; much of the exchange in culture and discoveries of new lands can be attributed to this global phenomenon. International tourists are perhaps the most important contributors to the debate on sustainable tourism policy. In 2004, the World Tourism organization reported that more than seven hundred and sixty million people traveled internationally with tourism receipts exceeding $622 billion dollars in that same year. 15 Tourists, however, are often shielded from the negative impacts they incur on their destinations, giving them a short-term look at the life of other locales. It is vital that tourists in the twenty-first century are made aware of the importance of respecting cultural diversity and develop identities that reflect both their home nation and the areas of the world to which they travel. In the past, tourism was producer driven but today the industry is increasingly consumer-driven. It is up to tourists especially to demand that tourism-related industries in high-tourism destinations behave responsibly. 16 Tourism still remains a luxury enjoyed mostly by affluent citizens of industrialized 15 David L, Edgell, Sr., Ph.D, “Managing Sustainable Tourism: A Legacy for the future” Haworth Hospitality Press, 2006, Binghamton, New York 16 Ibid.
Rutgers Model United Nations 8 nations and as such their values, beliefs, and attitudes are often in conflict with those of the host nation. Demands for resources utilized by tourists are also lowering the ability of the local community to maintain sustainability which only exacerbates the problem. More often than not, tourists simply lack the information to make responsible choices about their impacts on different cultures and environments. 17 Addressing the issue of sustainable tourism through tourists will help to alleviate the issue from its core. In addition to tourists, businesses within the tourism sector have a heavy influence on the future of sustainable tourism. The tourism industry much like tourists are at a disadvantage however because they also lack information on what measures must be taken to ensure sustainable tourism is achieved. Consequently, their main pursuit falls towards economic gains instead of responsibility in the area of social and environmental issues. 18 Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples According to the Commission on Sustainable Development, “tourism is a powerful agent of change… [Tourism] acts as a catalyst for the transition from traditional ways of life to so-called modern, Western forms of society. Very often these are contradictory to traditional norms existing in the host community, and can come into conflict with its cultural identity and threaten the traditional value systems there.” 19 This assessment of the role that tourism plays in local communities is key because it highlights the need for awareness of the effects that tourism has on local societies and the peoples who live there. There is a strong disconnect on all levels of our global community regarding the effects that tourism has on local people. The UNWTO often introduces conflict between the needs of indigenous peoples and their goals of globalization and economic growth. Tourists introduce a “consumer culture” into communities whose 17 United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development NGO Steering Committee “Influencing Consumer Behaviour to Promote Sustainable Tourism Development” April 20, 1999 http://csdngo.igc.org/tourism/tourdial_cons.htm 18 Commission on Sustainable Development Seventh Session, “Tourism and Sustainable Development: Sustainable Tourism: An NGO Perspective” 19-30 April 1999, New York www.gdrc.org/uem/eco-tour/ngo4.pdf 19 Commission on Sustainable Development Seventh Session, “Tourism and Sustainable Development: Sustainable