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Sustainable Tourism

Tourism is the first industry in the world with a contribution of approximately 5% to the economic activities and a total number of direct and indirect jobs averaging 7% at the international level. The forecasts of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) indicate that the growth of the international tourism will continue until 2030 with an average annual growth of 3.3% for the international arrivals. This represents 43 million additional international tourists every year (WTO, 2011).

Fig. 1 - Vision 2020 of the WTO

Additionally, according to the growth projections of the WTO, the arrivals will reach 1.8 billion in 2030; in other words, in twenty years, 5 million persons will cross every day the international borders for any sorts of reasons: leisure activities, business or also family and friends’ visits. The international arrivals of the destinations in emerging countries should continue to progress twice as fast (4.4% per year) as those of developed countries (2.2% per year). Such is the case for the Middle East (8%) and Africa (7%). By 2015, the emerging countries will count more arrivals than the developed countries, and in 2030, they should represent 58% of the market (WTO, 2011).

Nevertheless, the increasing and fast development of the tourism sector is not without impacts on the environment, the society and the economy. These repercussions are both negative and positive. It should be noted that the quality of the environment (be it natural or built) is essential for the tourism as such. However, numerous tourist activities have unfavourable environmental effects (overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, etc.). In this respect, a more sustainable approach of tourism is necessary to reduce its negative effects on the environment and to maximize its advantages for the local populations. Indeed, sustainable tourism “takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities” (WTO). The operators are aware that the sustainable tourism is a niche to be exploited and does correspond to the consumers’ demand.


Fig. 2 - The scenario of the sustainable tourism of the blue Plan 2025
Source : Haut Commissariat au Plan (Maroc), 2008

In fact, the studies of the Blue Plan show that during the last twenty years, the general sustainability situation seriously degraded in the Mediterranean Sea. This confirms that the traditional model of tourism requires a strategic reorientation in order to value viable alternative approaches and to structure the development of the tourism sector towards a more sustainable model.

So, in order to address the various challenges of sustainable tourism, adjustment measures have to be taken. Indeed, sustainable tourism can only result from a political will supported by clear guidelines, incentive mechanisms, operational and technical tools as well as concrete projects. In this respect, sba and its partners, developed approaches in order to integrate sustainability in the tourism sector.


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