While tourism development may still be an item of debate to most stakeholders, they all seem to agree that tourism has proven to be one the most integral part of economies that cannot be ultimately ignored. In the early years of tourism development, the initial regions to consider this as a socioeconomic wheel were the UK and Australia. As the developing and Island economies embraced tourism as an economy phenomenon, airlines, accommodation providers and tour operators began to embrace eco friendly operations to comply with global environmental sustainability policies.
Though mass tourism development has been prevalent, sustainable tourism development has increasingly become one of the most debated issues in the tourism development. With sustainable tourism development, communities and tourism generating areas can be developed and the local people can benefit. Seemingly, mass tourism development may not produce little benefit or respect for the local physical or sociocultural environment, but it may be the dominant of tourism development mechanisms in place. Through tourism development, most economies have attained a level of growth that would not be attained through any other economic channel.
On the other hand, there may be definite strengths and weaknesses to this concept of economic development. On one hand, tourism development has brought about economical changes and proven to be a dominant economical wheel for some regions/countries. On the other hand, if the debate on whether mass tourism development should be sidelined to pave way for sustainable tourism development, is not concluded, there may be adverse environmental and socioeconomic challenges that may be encountered in the long run.
Through the years, sustainability policies and practices especially those that support ecofriendly and environment friendly practices have been widely adopted. This has hence led to the lessening of friction between the industry, communities, tourists and the environment. This brings to the light the necessity to embrace sustainable tourism development.
Sharpley, R. and Telfer, D. J. (2002). Tourism and Development. Concepts and issues. Sustainability: A barrier to tourism development? (pp. 319-337).