Sustainable tourism, trevi fountan, rome, italy
Sep 07, 2018
Posted by: Daniel Walker

What is sustainable tourism and why is it important?

Over the past few years, sustainable tourism has become a much talked about idea. But what is sustainable tourism and why is it important? Sustainable tourism is in simple terms the concept of travelling somewhere as a tourist and implementing positive practices towards the environment, society and economy.

Sustainable tourism is something that both of us here at Wanderwalkers genuinely believe is important and we have been doing our very best to contribute to sustainable practices where we can. We are definitely by no means experts, we have a lot to learn and we can do even better in the future.


If you would like to know more about responsible tourism click the link below to find out more:

 How to be a responsible traveller


*Disclaimer: Some of the links below may be affiliate links or referral links. At no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links. By purchasing through these links you are supporting us and this blog.*


Implementing positive practices to the:

1. Environment

please leave nothing but your footprints, sustainability, beach


When most people think of sustainable tourism the first thing they think of is the environment. Sustainable tourism means that your impact on the environment is minimal and does not permanently damage it in any irreversible way. Environmental sustainability is very important and can be implemented through small changes. One of the best ways to protect the environment is to reduce and minimise the number of plastics we use and throw away. But there are lots of other ways too, including to:

  • Take all trash with you and dispose of it correctly
  • Volunteer to plant trees
  • Ride bikes and use public transport instead of driving
  • Stay on all designated pathways and do not tread on vegetation
  • Use eco-friendly sunscreens before going swimming and eco-friendly soaps while showering.


2. Society

Sustainable tourism, trevi fountan, rome, italy


Sustainable tourism in terms of society can be a range of things and interconnects with the other two things on this list. When it comes to sustainable tourism for a society it is the way in which you interact with the local people and how it affects those people and the region. In recent time we have all heard about places like Venice, Barcelona and Amsterdam all struggling to cope due to over-tourism. Over tourism is just one of many unsustainable practices, others include:

  • Failing to learn and attempt the very basics of a local language and always expecting people to know English.
  • Not abiding by local laws, customs and traditions, including dressing in inappropriate clothing.
  • Travelling in large group tours and visiting already overcrowded and overrun destinations.


3. Economy

Supporting local economies is the third way in which we can implement positive and sustainable practices. Buying local is the easiest way to help the local economy. By supporting local businesses you put money into the pockets of the locals. When you purchase food from a multi-national coffee or burger chain you are not adding money back into the local economy but in fact, making the rich companies richer. Other ways in which you can support local economies can include:

  • Buy locally made and handcrafted souvenirs rather than generic imported made in China stuff
  • Bargaining for goods when necessary but never going too low and trying to rip off small business owners from making a living.
  • Stay in independent and local hotels or guest houses rather than large multi-nationals


Book your next independent hotel at Hotels Combined for the best rates.

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I have previously written a long list of 50 ways you can be a sustainable traveller. I highly recommend reading through that list to see how you can contribute to a more sustainable tourism industry. You can read it here:

50 ways you can be a more sustainable traveller


Thanks for reading this article about what is sustainable tourism and why it is important. Both Kayleigh and I hope you really think about this idea and implement some of the things listed. Being conscious and aware of how to reduce and eliminate harmful practices to the environment, society and economy are important and every traveller has a part to play.



Daniel Walker - Author

Daniel Walker is an Australian landscape photographer, blogger, outdoor enthusiast and travel addict originally from western Sydney, now residing in Melbourne, Victoria.

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