Tourism sells nothing short of paradise. Whether paradise is an experience or a place depends on the travellers’ perceptions. Nevertheless, this does not make paradise a perception. In real terms paradise is used to refer to pristine, unspoilt, remote places with less modernisation (development) but with modern luxury made available at the tourist resort to attract the “luxury chasers”. Moreover, tourism is constantly in search of pristine, unspoilt places – the roads less travelled to meet the need of this market segment. In doing this, tourism opens up these pristine places to opportunities and challenges, and eventually they become regular common destinations. This constant cycle of find/discover, develop, exploit, sell and leave gives the impression of a “hit and run” approach to tourism.
A new trend is emerging to prove this hit & run approach. Today, tourism investors are working hard to build a high value product portfolio that they can eventually list in the stock market or sell. These investors, make their money from selling the business, and move on to find the next pristine destination. They care less for the long-term future of the destination. This trend is dangerous for paradise.
If tourism is going to save paradise it must have long term plans and invest for the long term in paradise. This may require that tourism businesses get involved in designing and contributing to the growth plan of a destination especially if the destination is tourism driven. The designs need to take care of ecological, social, and economic opportunities and challenges. Of course the plans needs to be supported by right green policies. This will ensure that the “right” development takes place in paradise. This is sustainable development through tourism.
While tourism is an economic activity that must make money, reality is, it requires some passion and concern for saving the natural & social resources that support the business – #sustainabletourismtalk by @GonaJudy