The word “sustainable”, applied to tourism, has many definitions, but in short terms, means a kind of tourism that respects the environment. But sustainable tourism has some principles, that make more complicated this term. Now we will define this principles, to make an easier explanation :
Ecological sustainability: That means that tourism must respect the maintenance of the essential biological process, of the biological diversity, and of the biological resources.
Social and cultural sustainability: The development must respect the local culture, and the local population's values, as well as it must keep the community's identity.
Economic sustainability: The development must be economically efficient.
Another important concept is the occupation capacity. This is the full use of an area that musn´t have negative effects on the resources, for the environment to suffer at less as possible.
Ecotourism (ecological tourism) is one of the modalities of sustainable tourism that have experimented a more quick increase in Europe in the last years. Another example is rural tourism, that is related of active tourism (that kind of tourism in which the tourist takes part in the activities , like hunting, horse-riding, etc.). And it's because rural places allow the practise of this kind of sports. This phenomenon is causing a change of the traditional flow country- city, to the opposite side. People are moving to rural areas that are far away from cities, and this is causing a re-organisation of the economic activity of the new rural areas.
Agrotourism is also related to sustainable tourism. It's a kind of tourism in which the tourist takes part of agricultural activities in farms, and places like this. The farmer welcomes guests, and he shows them his job (how to be in touch with the animals, the plants, the craft, etc.). This kind of tourism gives “life” to the rural area, and it proposes comforts in agreement with the habits of the area.
But today, there are areas that have been exploited by men in great measure, and this touristic areas, due to this exploitation, have to be “saved” from tourists; a characteristic example of this kind of “tourist areas” in our country is Lanzarote, in Canary Islands.
Lanzarote was in fashion in the last years of the 20th century. There was so much tourism, that a few years ago, the government had to take measures. They made a “plan”, that has some points; in short terms, the Government wants to “give” water to the islands, to reduce the touristic infrastructures (because there were a lot of projects to build in Lanzarote, and it doesn't respect the environment), to foment other sectors jobs (75% of the population works in touristic sector), and to reduce the contamination and to protect the environment. That's why I'm using this example: to protect the environment is the main objective of Sustainable Tourism.