Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and a large to almost sole source of income for a number of countries.

Like many forms of development, tourism is the cause of problems such as economic dependencies, ecological degradation, loss of cultural heritage and social issues. Ironically the natural environment that tourism in many instances relies on is also destroyed by tourism.

2020 has been the year in which, due to COVID-19’s travel bans and restrictions, many countries are struggling financially and the tourism industry has been hit extremely hard. Yet, undeniably, it has also had a positive impact on natural landscapes, resulting in cleaner waters and bringing back certain species to certain areas.

Increasingly, people are becoming aware of their contribution to some of the negative impact on the places they visit and are looking for more responsible holidays. This is where sustainable tourism has really started to shine.

Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.
World Tourism Organisation 

In essence, sustainable tourism should help in conserving natural heritage and biodiversity by making use of environmental resources. It should also respect the host communities’ socio-cultural authenticity in conserving their cultural heritage, traditional values and contribute to cultural understanding and lack of prejudice. It needs to secure long-term economic functions, fair distribution of socio-economic benefits to all stakeholders (communities, tourists, NGOs, governments, employees, suppliers, education, small businesses, transport etc), stable employment and job opportunities, as well as contribute to the reduction of poverty.

Some examples of the impact of tourism when not operated sustainably in Europe are:

  • Animal exploitation, e.g. tourist rides on exhausted and overworked donkeys in Santorini despite the protests of locals and activists.
  • Locals being pushed out of their homes as a result of gentrification and rising rental prices in places like Girona and Barcelona.
  • Locals in cities like Venice being disrespected by tourist behaviour, littering and their lack of appropriate attire such as beachwear in the city centre.

These are but a few of a growing number of problems that affect a high number of European cities and natural landmarks as well as many other places around the world.

Due to these environmental, social and economic dependency concerns, some countries and organisations have implemented sustainable tourism methods in certain cities or areas.

Within Europe, Slovenia has one of the best protected natural habitats in the world and takes great care of its biodiversity. Many of the hotels in Ljubljana offer electric scooters as well as green food in order to reduce the environmental impact.

The Eden Project in Cornwall is an educational charity that demonstrates the importance of plants to people and the vital intertwined relationship between the two.

Between 2017 and 2020, Finland has invested millions of euros in developing sustainable tourism in Lapland and has an extensive guide on their website on how to travel responsibly with lists of sustainable hotels and activities.

Many other places across Europe are paying more attention to the needs of their locals and their environment whilst still wanting to find a healthier balance with tourism.  For this to work and be sustainable, three pillars of impact need to be implemented: economic, social and environmental impact.

These days, with a quick online search, it is extremely easy to find out which places nearby and overseas offer sustainable tourism, and how you can be more mindful of your impact on locals and the environment you plan to visit.

Autor: Marijke Everts. Źródło artykułu: Europeana Foundation. Licencja CC BY-SA 4.0.
Definicje i przykłady zdań pochodzą ze słownika Cambridge Dictionary.


sole /səʊl/ – being one only; single;
jedyny, wyłączny

dependence (also: dipendency) /dɪˈpen.də – the situation in which you need something or someone all the time, especially in order to continue existing or operating;
zależność, uzależnienie

heritage /ˈher.ɪ.tɪdʒ/ – features belonging to the culture of a particular society, such as traditions, languages, or buildings, that were created in the past and still have historical importance;
dziedzictwo, spuścizna

instance /ˈɪn.stəns/ – a particular situation, event, or fact, especially an example of something that happens generally;
przypadek, wypadek

ban /bæn/ – an official order that prevents something from happening;

restriction /rɪˈstrɪk.ʃən/ – an official limit on something;
ograniczenie, restrykcja

struggle /ˈstrʌɡ.əl/ – to experience difficulty and make a very great effort in order to do something;
zmagać / borykać się, walczyć

undeniably /ˌʌn.dɪˈnaɪ.ə.bli/ – in a way that is certainly true;

species /ˈspiː.ʃiːz/ – a set of animals or plants in which the members have similar characteristics to each other and can breed with each other;

increasingly /ɪnˈkriː.sɪŋ.li/ – more and more;
rosnąco, wzrastająco

contribution /ˌkɒn.trɪˈbjuː.ʃən/ – something that you contribute or do to help produce or achieve something together with other people, or to help make something successful;
wkład, udział

sustainable /səˈsteɪ.nə.bəl/ – causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time;
zrównoważony, przyjazny dla środowiska

take account of sth /teɪk əˈkaʊnt ɒv ˈsʌmθɪŋ/ – to consider or remember something when judging a situation;
brać coś pod uwagę

address /əˈdres/ – to give attention to or deal with a matter or problem;
zajmować się czymś

in essence /ɪn ˈes.əns/ – relating to the most important characteristics or ideas of something;
w zasadzie

biodiversity /ˌbaɪ.əʊ.daɪˈvɜː.sə.ti/ – the number and types of plants and animals that exist in a particular area or in the world generally, or the problem of protecting this;

authenticity /ˌɔː.θenˈtɪs.ə.ti/ – the quality of being real or true;

conserve /kənˈsɜːv/ – to keep and protect something from damage, change, or waste;
oszczędzać, chronić

prejudice /ˈpredʒ.ə.dɪs/ – an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge;

stakeholder /ˈsteɪkˌhəʊl.dər/ – an employee, investor, customer, etc. who is involved in or buys from a business and has an interest in its success;
udziałowiec, wspólnik

poverty /ˈpɒv.ə.ti/ – the condition of being extremely poor;
bieda, ubóstwo

exploitation /ˌek.splɔɪˈteɪ.ʃən/ – the use of something in order to get an advantage from it;
wykorzystywanie, eksploatacja

exhausted /ɪɡˈzɔː.stɪd/ – extremely tired;
wykończony, wyczerpany

gentrification /ˌdʒen.trɪ.fɪˈkeɪ.ʃən/ – the process by which a place, especially part of a city, changes from being a poor area to a richer one, where people from a higher social class live;
gentryfikacja („proces zmiany charakteru części miasta w bardziej skomercjalizowany, zdominowany przez osoby o wyższym statusie materialnym”, SJP)

litter /ˈlɪt.ər/ – to drop rubbish on the ground in a public place;

attire /əˈtaɪər/ – clothes, especially of a particular or formal type;
ubiór, strój

concern  /kənˈsɜːn/ – a worried or nervous feeling about something, or something that makes you feel worried;
zmartwienie, troska

habitat /ˈhæb.ɪ.tæt/ – the natural environment in which an animal or plant usually lives;

vital /ˈvaɪ.təl/ – necessary for the success or continued existence of something; extremely important;
konieczny, niezbędny

intertwined /ˌɪn·tərˈtwɑɪnd/ – twisted together or closely connected so as to be difficult to separate;
związany, powiązany (dosł. spleciony)

pillar /ˈpɪl.ər/ – a very important member or part of a group, organization, system, etc.;

mindful /ˈmaɪnd.fəl/ – careful not to forget about something;