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The role of tourism in sustainable economic development


  • Salvo Creaco
  • Giulio Querini


Tourism is now one of the world?s largest industries and one of its fastest growing economic sectors. For many countries tourism is seen as a main instrument for regional development, as it stimulates new economic activities. Tourism may have a positive economic impact on the balance of payments, on employment, on gross income and production, but it may also have negative effects, particularly on the environment. Unplanned and uncontrolled tourism growth can result in such a deterioration of the environment that tourist growth can be compromised. The environment, being the major source of tourist product, should therefore be protected in order to have further growth of tourism and economic development in the future. This is specially true with regard to tourism based on the natural environment as well as on historical-cultural heritage. Sustainable tourism has three interconnected aspects: environmental, socio-cultural, and economic. Sustainability implies permanence, so sustainable tourism includes optimum use of resources, including biological diversity; minimization of ecological, cultural and social impacts; and maximization of benefits for conservation and local communities. It also refers to the management structures that are needed to achieve this. The paper provides a theoretical framework for sustainable tourism. It comprises two parts. The first part presents general views on tourism and sustainable economic development, and some opinions on the relationship between tourism and the environment. The second part concentrates on strategies and policy instruments.

Suggested Citation

  • Salvo Creaco & Giulio Querini, 2003. "The role of tourism in sustainable economic development," ERSA conference papers ersa03p84, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa03p84

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nick Hanley & Clive L. Spash, 1993. "Cost–Benefit Analysis and the Environment," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 205.
    2. World Commission on Environment and Development,, 1987. "Our Common Future," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192820808.
    3. Hediger, Werner, 2000. "Sustainable development and social welfare," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 481-492, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gasparino, Ugo & Bellini, Elena & del Corpo, Barbara & Malizia, William, 2008. "Measuring the Impact of Tourism Upon Urban Economies: A Review of Literature," Knowledge, Technology, Human Capital Working Papers 37846, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    2. Nermin Kişi, 2019. "A Strategic Approach to Sustainable Tourism Development Using the A’WOT Hybrid Method: A Case Study of Zonguldak, Turkey," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(4), pages 1-19, February.
    3. Andreas Freytag & Christoph Vietze, 2013. "Can nature promote development? The role of sustainable tourism for economic growth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 16-44, March.
    4. Bellini, Elena & Gasparino, Ugo & del Corpo, Barbara & Malizia, William, 2007. "Impact of Cultural Tourism upon Urban Economies: An Econometric Exercise," Knowledge, Technology, Human Capital Working Papers 8220, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    5. De Bruyn C & Meyer N & Meyer D.F, 2018. "Assessing the Dynamic Economic Impact of Tourism in a Developing Region in South Africa," Journal of Economics and Behavioral Studies, AMH International, vol. 10(5), pages 274-283.
    6. Jerzy Korzeniewski & Maciej Kozłowski, 2020. "Development of tourism in Polish poviats in the years 2010–2017," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 54(5), pages 1591-1612, December.
    7. Borseková, Kamila & Vaňová, Anna & Vitálišová, Katarína, 2017. "Smart Specialization for Smart Spatial Development: Innovative Strategies for Building Competitive Advantages in Tourism in Slovakia," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 39-50.
    8. Azam Muhammad & Mahdiat Mahdiat & Hafeez Muhammad Haroon & Bakhtyar Baher, 2022. "Investigating the Role of Tourism in Economic Growth: Empirical Evidence from Pakistan," Polish Journal of Sport and Tourism, Sciendo, vol. 29(1), pages 39-47, March.
    9. Maria Kuklina & Andrey Trufanov & Tuyana Bayaskalanova & Nina Urazova & Alexei Tikhomirov & Olga Berestneva & Olga Marukhina & Igor Vidyaev & Oksana Fisochenko & Ivan Lyzin & Elena Berestneva & Nadezh, 2020. "Network Platform for Tourism Sector: Transformation and Interpretation of Multifaceted Data," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(16), pages 1-15, August.
    10. del Corpo, Barbara & Gasparino, Ugo & Bellini, Elena & Malizia, William, 2008. "Effects of Tourism Upon the Economy of Small and Medium-Sized European Cities. Cultural Tourists and “The Others”," Knowledge, Technology, Human Capital Working Papers 37522, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    11. Kucherenko, Ksenia, 2017. "Assessment Of Impact Of Global Business Environment On International Tourism Brands," EUREKA: Social and Humanities, Scientific Route OÜ, issue 4, pages 21-36.
    12. Panan Nurancha & Wasin Inkapatanakul & Kasem Chunkao, 2013. "Guidelines to the Management of Firefly Watching Tour in Thailand," Modern Applied Science, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 7(3), pages 1-8, March.
    13. Waheed Ahmad & Tariq Majeed & Zubaria Andlib, 2020. "Tourism Led Growth Hypothesis: Empirical Evidence From Five South Asian Countries," Bulletin of Business and Economics (BBE), Research Foundation for Humanity (RFH), vol. 9(1), pages 51-59, March.
    14. Resmiye Alpar Atun & Hassina Nafa & Özlem Olgaç Türker, 2019. "Envisaging sustainable rural development through ‘context-dependent tourism’: case of northern Cyprus," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 1715-1744, August.
    15. Julie Jasmine Silikam & Angeline Raymonde Ngo Essounga, 2021. "Socio-Cultural Potentials of the CEMAC Zone for Sub-Regional Integration and Development," Technium Social Sciences Journal, Technium Science, vol. 21(1), pages 718-727, July.
    16. Campa, Juan Luis & Arce, Rosa & López-Lambas, María Eugenia & Guirao, Begoña, 2018. "Can HSR improve the mobility of international tourists visiting Spain? Territorial evidence derived from the Spanish experience," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 94-107.
    17. Andreas Freytag & Christoph Vietze, 2006. "International Tourism, development and Biodiversity: First Evidence," Jenaer Schriften zur Wirtschaftswissenschaft (Expired!) 11/2006, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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