Sustainable development of tourism as a priority direction of the World Tourism Organization: formulation of the research problem

Sustainable development of tourism as a priority direction of the World Tourism Organization: formulation of the research problem

The sustainable development of tourism is considered as a priority area for the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The article analyzes the international experience of formulating the problems of studying sustainable tourism and the prospects for its application for the sustainable development of Russian regions as tourist destinations.

Keywords: tourism, sustainable development, tourist destinations, research problems, the impact of tourism.

Since the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Lanzarote in 1995, the concepts of sustainable tourism and sustainable tourism have continuously appeared on the political agendas of the United Nations and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), resulting in to significant declarations, governing documents and initiatives [2] and becoming, in fact, a priority area of ​​UNWTO activities. At the same time, in UNWTO documents, these concepts are often used as synonyms.

In general, recommendations for sustainable tourism development and sustainable development management practices are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of tourist destinations, including various segments of tourism, including mass tourism. The principles of sustainability relate to the environmental, economic and sociocultural aspects of tourism development, and a balance must be struck between these three dimensions to ensure long-term sustainability.

Therefore, sustainable tourism should:

1) ensure the optimal use of natural resources, which are the main element of tourism development, supporting essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural resources and biodiversity; 2) respect the socio-cultural characteristics of the host communities, preserve their cultural heritage and traditional values, and promote intercultural understanding and tolerance; 3) guarantee sustainable, long-term economic operations by providing and equitably distributing socio-economic benefits for all participants - sustainable employment and income opportunities, social security in host communities, thereby contributing to poverty reduction.

The development of sustainable tourism requires both the informed participation of all relevant stakeholders and strong political leadership to broaden the range of actors and reach consensus. Ensuring sustainable tourism development is an ongoing process and requires constant monitoring of impacts to take preventive and/or corrective action whenever necessary.

Sustainable tourism must also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure that they gain significant experience by raising awareness of sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices.

The Twelve Goals for Sustainable Tourism (UNWTO)

Currently, UNWTO has formulated the following priority goals for sustainable tourism development [5].

1. Economic viability - to ensure the viability and competitiveness of tourism destinations and businesses so that they are able to continue to thrive and deliver long-term benefits. 2. Local prosperity - to maximize the contribution of tourism to the prosperity of destinations, including maintaining the proportions of the tourist load on the region. 3. Quality of employment - to increase the quantity and quality of local jobs created and supported by tourism, including the level of wages, conditions of service and accessibility to all without discrimination on the basis of gender, race, disability or other reasons. 4. Social justice - to promote widespread distribution of economic and social benefits from tourism throughout the host community, including improving opportunities, income and services available to the poor. 5. Accessible Tourism - Provide safe and comfortable tourism for all visitors regardless of gender, race, disability, etc. 6. Local control - involve local communities in planning and empower them to make decisions about the management and future development of tourism in the area (after consultation with other stakeholders). 7. Community welfare - to maintain and improve the quality of life in local communities, including social structures and access to resources, amenities and life support systems, avoiding any form of social degradation or exploitation. 8. Cultural Wealth - to respect and enhance the historical heritage, true culture, traditions and characteristics of the host communities. 9. Physical integrity - to preserve and improve both urban and natural landscapes, to prevent their visual or physical destruction. 10. Biodiversity - to support the conservation of natural areas, habitats and wildlife and minimize damage to them. 11. Resource efficiency - to minimize the use of scarce and non-renewable resources in the development of tourism and tourism activities. 12. Environmental friendliness - to minimize waste production and pollution of air, water and land by tourism enterprises and visitors.

These goals allow to formulate the problem and subject of research and development, to take the necessary measures for the sustainable development of tourism, when necessary. They also help maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and awareness of sustainability issues. The goals are a confirmation that the main objective of sustainable tourism is to achieve a balance between the host, the tourist and the environment. However, finding a balance to protect and conserve resources, taking into account the needs of all participants (present and future) is a complex task and a very important research problem.

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