Huellas in English

Is ecotourism the only type of sustainable tourism?

The United Nations Environmental Program recognizes that the tourism industry is one of the main drivers of growth and development of the world’s economy. “It employs more than 250 million workers worldwide (one in nine) and generates about 11% of the world’s GDP“, according to the Organization of Ibero American States. This is why it becomes one of the main areas for generating employment and with numerous facilities for domestic and foreign investments.

At least 90 tons of waste are recovered each year from the Ozama river.
At least 90 tons of waste are recovered each year from the Ozama river.

But like all human activity, it generates great impact on the localities and environment where these projects take their place. It’s one of the main sources for water pollution, unlimited production of CO2 and for wast production with no responsible consumption.

Following recent evidence of the changes experimented in climate and worldwide ecosystems brought by the use given to natural resources, some specialist strive to change to a “responsible tourism” as a solution to the unintended consequences of tourism as we know it. Switzerland, for example, has remained has the best nation brand of the world since 2012, thanks to the way it “shows that working for freedom, tolerance, transparency and ecology returns good fruits”, this according to Summa Magazine that mentions the last report of Future Brand.

Costa Rica takes the first position at the Latin american list for its idea of becoming “the first carbon neutral country in the world by 2021”. So, Is sustainable tourism guaranteed only by the conservation of ecology and the environment?

Some solidary tourists approach museums and churches to connect with the culture of local places they visit.
Some solidary tourists approach museums and churches to connect with the culture of local places they visit.

Not necessarily. “The guidelines and management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, (…). Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability”, according to a document on sustainable tourism development of the World Tourism Organization.

Therefore, tourism activities in the city, in the fields, on a business visit, outing for scientific studies, to get to know a piece of art and architectural spaces or recreate in a theme park can be part of an industry with low impact in local culture, the environment, social structure and long-term economic resources.

Here, there is a short list of examples of sustainable tourism in Dominican Republic:

  • The Bohíos
  • Ecotourism Project Rio Blanco
  • Cooperative Vega Real
  • Rancho La Cueva
  • Tropicalia
  • Plaza de la Cultura
  • La Caleta National Underwater Park
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