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Sustainable Coastal Tourism has the potential to promote social development through employment creation, income redistribution and poverty alleviation. Positive impacts of sustainable tourism are explained below.

 

 

Tourism as a force for peace

Travelling brings people into contact with each other. As sustainable tourism has an educational element it can foster understanding between people and cultures and provide cultural exchange between hosts and guests. This increases the chances for people to develop mutual sympathy and understanding and to reduce prejudices.

Strengthening communities

Sustainable Coastal Tourism can add to the vitality of communities in many ways. Examples are events and festivals of the local residents where they have been the primary participants and spectators. Often these are refreshed and developed in response to tourists’ interests.

The jobs created by tourism can act as a very important motivation to reduce emigration from rural areas. Local people can also increase their influence on tourism development, as well as improve their jobs and earnings prospects through tourism-related professional training and development of business and organizational skills.


During the first Global Summit on Peace Through Tourism (November 2000), more than 450 world leaders of the travel and tourism industry ratified an "Amman Declaration" that recognized travel and tourism as a global peace industry. The document committed itself to building a culture of peace through tourism that supports tourism as a fundamental human activity. Free of undue restriction and respectful of human differences and cultural diversity. "Peaceful relationships among all people should be promoted and nurtured through sustainable tourism", the document said. It called for protection and restoration of historical monuments and landmarks, accessible to all people, as "valuable assets for humanity and legacies for future generations". Preservation and wise use of the environment, coupled with ecological balance, "are essential to the future of tourism" while acknowledging "ancient wisdom and care for the Earth"( International Institute for Peace Through Tourism).

 

Development of facilities as a benefit to residents

In cases where the tourism industry supports the creation of community facilities and services that otherwise might not have been developed can bring higher well-being standards to a destination. Benefits can include upgraded infrastructures, health and transport improvements, new sport and recreational facilities, restaurants and public spaces as well as an influx of better-quality commodities and food.

Example
For quite some years now, the Aldemar Hotels in Greece have been working with the local communities in order to protect the surrounding environment as well as improving the quality of people’s lives. Together with its employees they are running the environmental programme "Mare Verde" and they also participate in several international environmental programmes and organisations such as Green Globe or the WWF. Among other things, the Mare Verde programme involves energy saving by using solar panels; tree planting campaigns; buying fruit, vegetables and seasonal plants from local farms; hosting an annual eco-cultural festival; and encouraging the staff to continually develop their knowledge on environmental issues. Additionally, their beaches have been awarded the European Blue Flags from 1998 and onwards.

 

Example
£ukêcin and Pobierowo are good examples of a tourist development of the seaside resorts in West Pomeranian Coast, Poland.

In the past, the town of £ukêcin was a very small agricultural village. Tourists started visiting it at the beginning of the 20th century. Looking at a map from 1943 the built-up area was about 500-700 meters from the seaside. Nowadays the town of £ukêcin has extended eastwards and a tourist and recreation centre provided with rest houses has been developed. The road from Dziwnow to Rewal was built to facilitate the travel between seaside resorts and to improve the transportal infrastructure of the village.

A history of Pobierowo started in the 16th century and was connected with a German family called Kleis. In the later half of the 19th century Pobierowo started changing its agricultural character because of the degradation of the agricultural grounds due to the coastal sand. That is why at the beginning of the 21st century there were only 3 farmers where as in 1886 there were dozens of them.
In 1907 the "Seeblick" Hotel was built at the seaside by a farmer called Frohreich. That was the beginning of bathing and recreation in Pobierowo. Later on, other farmer families started to settle in the western part of the town. In 1939 an important land owner divided his possessions into 800 square metres plots of land and sold them to people from Berlin who built small wooden holiday houses there.
Nowadays the main tourist street is Grunwaldzka Street which is situated 100 metres from the coastline. This street is almost 4 kilometres long and links the eastern and the western part of the town.

These two seaside resorts are well known for their wide and clean beaches, cliffs, ancient pine and spruce forests. The town of £ukêcin and the town of Pobierowo are still developing dynamically at the seaside but they also have their specific character of tourist towns.

 

Revitalization of culture and traditions

Sustainable Tourism has the potential to improve the preservation and transmission of cultural and historical traditions. Contributing to the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources can bring usually the chance to protect local heritage or to revitalize native cultures, for instance by regenerating cultural arts and crafts.

 

TTourism that encourages social involvement and pride

In some cases, tourism also helps to raise local awareness concerning the financial value of natural and cultural sites. It can stimulate a feeling of pride in local and national heritage and interest in its conservation. More broadly, the involvement of local communities in sustainable tourism development and operation seems to be an important condition for the sustainable use and conservation of the biodiversity.

 

Example
On Hjälmö, an island of the archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden, some families of Västergården are running a guiding tour company, along with their ecological farming. Visitors can come and stay at the island and take tours in the archipelago and they can also buy the products of the farm like archipelago salami, smoked lamb and fleece. The tours of Västergården are custom-made and dependant on what the visitors want. During the tour, the guide lets the visitors know what the archipelago consists of and how it is to live on an island in the archipelago, both at present and historically. How the archipelago was created, how wind, weather, water and man have helped to form it the way it is today are other issues that are explained. The visitors get to know the natural and cultural landscape they find themselves in and the importance of the agricultural landscape in the archipelago.It is significant that it is sustained for the future (Svenska Naturskyddsföreningen Swedish Society for Nature Conservation).

 

Example
In 1999, the ACI Marina in Dubrovnik, Croatia, received the European Blue Flag environmental award. This is given to societies that make special attempts to keep their beaches and marinas nice and manage them with concern for the local environment. The marina is cooperating with the local schools on educational activities and cleaning actions such as waste collection and separation. This is done in order to preserve their Blue Flag labelling. Situated at the mouth of Ombla river it can be reached by road from the city centre. There is an information board on the marina with all the relevant information, brochures, leaflets, books, etc. For tourists and locals to learn and understand more about the local environment (ACI Marina, Dubrovnik, Blue Flag Campaign).
 

Benefits for the tourists of Sustainable Tourism

The benefits of sustainable tourism for visitors are numerous: they can enjoy unspoiled nature and landscapes, environmental quality (clean air and water), a healthy community with low crime rate, thriving and authentic local culture and traditions.

 

Exercise for user
Considering the drawing elements from definitions of sustainable tourism as quoted above, make a check list of criteria that you would use to asses the sustainability of coastal tourism



 


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