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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.

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.


£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.

Sinop became one of the most important cruise shipping destinations on the Black Sea basin

Sinop is located in the Middle Black Sea Region in the administrative classification of Turkey. The province, which is situated on Boztepe Cape and Peninsula, which extends northward, is located between 41° 12' and 42° 06' North latitudes and 34° 14' 35° 26' east  longitudes.
The city has two ports: one in northwest and one in Southeast. The main port is located on the bay on southeast. Akliman and Hamsilos bays are two of the important shelters of the past.

Hamsilos Bay
Akliman Bay


In addition to such ports as Constanta, Varna, Sochi, and Batumi, Sinop became one of the most important cruise shipping destinations on the Black Sea basin.
From 2007, Sinop is a member of the destination medcruise, set up in Rome on the 11th of June 1996, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports.  Since then, tens of cruise ships have visited the city each year. Today, the association, which Sinop is also a member of, has grown to 55 members representing 78 ports around the Mediterranean region, including the Black Sea, the Red Sea and the Near Atlantic, plus 20 associate members, representing other associations, tourist boards and ship/port agents. Local authorities closely follow the agenda of Cruise Shipping Miamai, the leading international exhibition and conference serving the cruise industry. Cruise shipping is one of the most important potential tourism areas.


Sinop, Turkey - Cruiseshipping

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.


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).



To 2011, there are 3009 beaches and 639 marinas awarded the Blue Flag worldwide. Follow the links for detailed information on sites in each country

About the criteria:
The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development of beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with Water Quality, Environmental Education and Information, Environmental Management, and Safety and Other Services

Blue Flag beaches and marinas awarded by the International Jury in 2011/2012:
Bulgaria – 11 Beaches and 1 Marina
Turkey – 314 Beaches and 17 Marinas
Romania – 1 Beache and 0 Marinas

The Azores and sustainability


The Azores are an excellent example of a region developing tourism on the basis of its own local identity and the local products of the islands, that also provide an amazing scenic beauty, wildlife, and a clean environment. The region gives high priority to environmental conservation of the islands and the sea surrounding them, to its architectonic patrimony, its traditions and cultural heritage. It does not allow tourism to spoil these values.
The Azores have grown their own food and drink for a long time. The Azores has profited from local and regional product brands, especially wine, cheese, fruits (passion fruit), tea and tuna. Azores tuna is captured with traditional poles and lines, in a dolphin friendly manner; it is among the most sustainable canned tuna in the world market. Its tourism policy has been beneficial to the local economy. The region has managed to turn the economic drawback due to the international ban on commercial whaling into an opportunity by developing whale watching. A high unemployment, some twenty years ago, has changed into the lowest unemployment among Portuguese regions.
The Azores regional authority aims at exploring and optimizing renewable energy, in particular wind, geothermic and biomass. Currently 28% of the energy originates from renewable resources, targeted at 75% in 2018.
(Source: QualityCoast Programme

Example (NEW!)
FEE joins the Global Sustainable Tourism Council initiative
In April 2011, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) announces that together with Blue Flag and Green Key programmes they have joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), an international initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism practices around the world. The GSTC works to expand understanding of and access to sustainable tourism practices; helps identify and generate markets for sustainable tourism; educates about and advocates for a set of universal principles, as defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. The Criteria, a set of voluntary principles that provide a framework for the sustainability of tourism businesses across the globe, is the cornerstone of the initiative.

As a new member, FEE will work with the GSTC in its region to promote sustainable tourism principles as well as encourage the adoption of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. As part of the initiative, each member commits to promoting the GSTC to its customers, vendors and peers. Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development.  A suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee lasting sustainability.

More information about GSTC can be found at


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