Tourism and sustainability: a winning combination

Written by Ruben Rotundo- Ambient&Ambienti on 20 January 2021

Tourism changes according to times and places, but sustainability transforms it into an eternal system of fruition and quality.

What is the relationship between tourism and sustainability? Why is this combination, today, considered to be a winning one?

Tourism has changed a lot over the years. In the past, the so-called tourist destinations were enchanting places, both from a natural point of view and from the perspective of all the services offered to the public: in fact, where nature manifested itself in its magnificent splendor, hotels, accommodation, commercial and F&B facilities were rising, which made it possible to create a civic community around them. But this process over the years has also heavily transformed the territory, so much as to make it no longer a natural tourist attraction, but a commercial one. Basically, natural beauty was no longer the destination of the journey, but instead the focus was set on what the territory itself offered in terms of receptivity.

Pilgrims walking on the path to San Gimignano among woods and yellow bushes. Backpacking trekking on the Via Francigena from Lucca to Siena. Walking through nature, history, churches, ancient villages.

Correct the course

All this has also changed the tourist demand, requiring more and more innovation from local communities, which had to adapt by inventing new services to win over the tourist and therefore not lose their clients. However, since these are passing fads, this race between tourist demand and supply has often caused considerable damage both to places and communities, where time and money have been invested for services that, despite the good intentions, have not consolidated the continuity that everybody hoped for, but which instead devastated the territories while definitively removing not only the tourists, but also the citizens themselves.

At first, a tourist destination was chosen because of its pristine and genuine spirit, then it was selected for its related services and offers, now it is no longer appreciated because it is considered expensive and polluted. Today this concept has definitely changed. With the only exception of some places that are less rapid and inclined to change, tourist destinations are aiming for a turnaround by focusing on sustainability.

A tourist offer in step with the times

What does sustainability mean? It is a system of practices that allows the system itself to remain constant over time. In the environmental field, sustainability is a process that develops relationships and actions aimed to support the system, giving priority to the environment’s respect, through the enhancement of natural resources, abolishing waste and abuse, using natural and renewable energy sources, focusing on the circular economy and waste management through differentiation and recycling. In short, every mean that is necessary to reduce and completely abolish all forms of pollution.

Thus, also tourism has become sustainable. Today’s tourist has understood the importance of protecting the environment and knows the need to support local communities and fight pollution. So that they can conserve and preserve nature, which has become a simple, constant and unchanging source of income, tourist destinations have developed offers and precise actions aimed at protecting the environment.

How to partecipate – GECO EXPO

Why is the new tourism sustainable 

For these reasons, today tourism is sustainable: it is the tourist who seeks sustainability during his holidays and, in recent years, has also been looking for sustainability in everyday life and in the cities. Focusing on a more natural approach with nature, offering trekking, bicycles, snorkeling, horse rides, or even participation in agricultural and breeding activities, the creation of agri-food and wine products in order to rediscover animals and nature. Today many turists also prefer canoeing, sailing, traveling by camper, traveling by public transport and renting electric vehicles on the spot, eating strictly local and zero-kilometer products, buying local natural products that were grown or produced in a sustainable way.

Among the various forms of sustainable tourism, there is the Finnish National Program which promotes sustainable and responsible travel to Finland and Lapland, the Astronomical Tourism in Val di Sole or the floating Glamping on the Nabi lakes in Campania. There is also Forest Bathing, a total immersion into Nature, and even apps, which ensure unique experiences that make you feel at home, or allow you to rely on local experts to enjoy the holidays immersed in beautiful places. There are also activities like hiking and the Francigene roads.


Laghi Nabi- Campania

All this makes sense because today the citizen is also the tourist, who tries to work to protect the environment, the only resource that can give security, continuity and certainty.

In short, nowadays sustainable tourism is a trend because the environment is trendy, but it is the only trend that will never go away, because it changes according to the seasons and at the same time remains constant, it is always present but changes continuously and it’s a magnificent show for all the senses, even if you experience its qualities over and over again. Sustainability has thus become our present and our future. Our everyday life.​