What is the difference between Sustainable and Responsible Tourism?

Key Difference: The main difference between sustainable and responsible tourism is that sustainable tourism aims to minimize the negative impact of tourism on the environment, while responsible tourism aims to maximize the positive impact of tourism on the local community.

Responsible tourism also takes into account social and economic issues, whereas sustainable tourism focuses mainly on environmental concerns.

What is Sustainable Tourism?

Sustainable tourism is a form of tourism that is designed to minimize the negative impact of tourism on the environment and local communities.

Sustainable tourism initiatives often focus on preserving cultural heritage, promoting responsible environmental practices, and providing economic benefits to local communities.

It is important to note that there is no single definition of sustainable tourism.

The definition used by any given organization or community will vary depending on their specific goals and objectives.

However, all sustainable tourism initiatives share a common goal of minimizing negative impacts while maximizing positive outcomes.

The definition of sustainable tourism used by the United Nations World Tourism Organization is:

“Sustainable tourism is a kind of tourism that takes into account the three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic. It offers tourist destinations the opportunity to manage their natural and cultural resources in a way that protects and enhances them, making it possible to maintain their viability and improve the quality of life for local communities.”

What is Responsible Tourism?

Responsible tourism is a subset of sustainable tourism that focuses specifically on the responsible management of tourism-related resources.

Responsible tourism initiatives often focus on preserving cultural heritage, promoting responsible environmental practices, and providing economic benefits to local communities.

Making better places is at the heart of responsible tourism.

It is about creating destinations that are worth caring for, and managing them in a way that benefits everyone – from local communities to businesses and visitors.

Sustainable Tourism vs Responsible Tourism

Important differences between sustainable and responsible tourism are –

Idea

Sustainable tourism is the idea that tourism can be managed in a way that does not damage or deplete the resources it relies on.

On the other hand, responsible tourism goes a step further and aims to manage tourism in a way that benefits the visitors and the locals alike.

Implementation

Sustainable tourism is often about trying to preserve the environment and limiting the negative impacts of tourism on local communities.

Responsible tourism, meanwhile, puts more emphasis on actually benefiting the local community – through initiatives such as training and providing job opportunities.

Global Impact

Sustainable tourism is a global concept, with various organizations and certification schemes working to promote it.

Responsible tourism, meanwhile, is more localized – with each destination managing its own responsible tourism initiatives.

So, while sustainable tourism is more about trying to do things the right way, responsible tourism is about actually making a positive impact on the ground.

Tourists’ Role

Sustainable tourism asks tourists to change their behavior – for example, choosing sustainable forms of transport.

Responsible tourism asks tourists to get involved with the local community and participate in responsible initiatives.

The role of the tourist is very different in these two types of tourism.

Similarities

Both sustainable tourism and responsible tourism share the goal of trying to make tourism more sustainable and less damaging.

They also both focus on the importance of engaging with the local community.

Thus, the two concepts are very closely linked.

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