Boiler Bytes: Sustainable Tourism

Published by Darron Toy on

people like to vacation and travel so much so that tourism accounts for roughly 10% of the world's gross domestic product the tourism system is very complex impacting much more than just the economy culture business and the environment all play a role in sustaining quality destination communities each affecting the other one Purdue professor is studying the system in an effort to strike a balance to make tourism sustainable for future generations so we're at a really important time in tourism and we need to make sure that whatever we consume today will leave something for the future so there's been an interesting change in the way we think about tourism particularly over the last couple of years back in the day it was hard to imagine what unsustainable tourism might look like but now we've got more and more examples whether you look at Barcelona or Venice where they're just overwhelmed by the number of visitors that they haven't tourist destinations can have a kind of life cycle so when there are too many tourists to this destination the resources in this destination can deteriorate really quickly so sustainable tourism is all bad how can take tourism which is a huge economic driver and social driver in the world and you can take tourism and make it work for the people in the communities that are impacted by it because sustainable tourism sort of can impact so many different parts of the tourism system we have students who are working in different elements of that I'm particularly interested in the preservation of cultural heritage heritage and culture and its protection are very important parts of sustainability they are very vulnerable to the negative effects of tourism so which is why we need to ensure that we have the correct policies in place to ensure its protection for future generations while studying heritage conservation we saw that heritage is actually a catalyst for economic development especially in the field of tourism I study community-based tourism and that is a form of tourism that is being operated by a community usually in rural areas specifically rural areas in Indonesia for my research I like the idea of starting small and using resources in the community as a way to bring visitors I think identifying the resources that they have is really important and how they can use that to show their culture and then once they've identified those things and then the tourism operation can be initiated sustainable tourism is about looking after people's economic well-being it's about looking after the heritage in that culture and it's also about looking after the environment so that we keep these three things working together for the benefit of the communities this is what's called the triple bottom line and getting that balanced so that all of these things are working together perhaps we're not making as much money as we could but we're balancing that with the idea of you know a better community to and a nicer environment to experience and that is what the challenge of sustainable tourism is we've learnt a lot about tourism over the last 50 years we know what's coming and no one has to feel like they're reinventing the wheel and yet there are people who who are in that case where they're becoming popular and and they don't know exactly what to do next one of the nice things about the work that we do is that we can share the best practices and what hasn't worked and helped them move through that process of planning for a future that is better than they can hope for we have a project that's based on this responsible travel but the idea of being conscious and mindful about what I'm doing when I'm traveling still having a good time but being conscious and mindful about what I'm doing we call this the travel care code and the travel care code is a set of ten simple things that you can do when you're a traveler to help contribute to sustainability and we're working with other universities and with marketing organisations we're coming together and we're really trying to build a movement of people who are interested in being more responsible travelers I think it's very important for tourists to remember that they are visitors and being a visitor they have to be responsible we have to always remember that we do not own the resources that we are about to use they belong to somebody else I was born in a village and I have seen village life and I have while working in travel I have seen how tourism has changed the lives in some of those rural areas I think by visiting these community-based tourism villages you know we can actually provide them with so much more than just kind of visiting a destination that is kind of commercial now work is designed to make lives better for the people in destinations to make lives better for individual travelers who travel into destinations and experiencing authentic real experiences when they travel and so each the elements of this sustainable tourism and responsible travel project that we're working on really speaks to making lives better knowing here but around the world graduate students and faculty are currently working with destinations and the United States and with villages in Colombia Nepal and the Philippines to build working sustainable tourist destinations as we celebrate our 150th anniversary Purdue University will continue to be a world leader and important areas of study like sustainability I'll wrap up this edition of boiler bytes remember that you can catch up on all our past stories at boiler bytes com see you next time

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