An introduction to Sustainable Tourism

By Tegan Gibaud

It is no secret that there are serious environmental issues worsening each day in our modern world. Think climate change, biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, the list goes on. While these may seem detached from sectors like tourism, it is important to recognise that tourism is one of the largest industries globally. Tourism is not only a major economic driver but also a contributor to employment, infrastructure development, and cultural exchange. Knowing this, it’s easy to 
understand why tourism plays a large role in environmental changes. Enter, sustainable tourism. This is the solution presented to avoid environmentally harmful
tourism practices. Sustainable tourism is described by the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as “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." This concept has become increasingly talked about and considered in the global industry as more and more people become aware of the ongoing climate crisis.

Sustainable tourism is a flexible term used to encompass many different sustainable practices within tourism. It is most often used in terms of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which are a group of 17 goals presented by the UN and adopted by countries and organisations to ensure a better future for people, and the planet. They include goals such as ending poverty, ensuring climate action, protecting the ocean, and so on. Read more about the SDGs here:

Sustainable tourism touches on these goals and aims to incorporate them within activities, business development and more. The importance of sustainable tourism is highlighted in SDG target 8.9 where “by 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”, as well as in SDG target 12 (b) which aims to “develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

To summarise what sustainable tourism aims to do, it can be simply put that it is all about:
1. Protecting the environment, natural resources, and wildlife
2. Providing socio-economic benefits for communities who live in tourist destinations
3. Conserving cultural heritage and creating authentic tourist experiences
4. Bringing tourists and local communities together for mutual benefit
5. Creating inclusive and accessible tourist opportunities.

At Big Tree Marketing, sustainable tourism is our kind of tourism. We prioritise this in many aspects of our company, and we look forward to sharing more on this topic!


United Nations World Tourism Organisation. 
United Nations SDGs. 
United Nations Sustainable Development.
Future Learn. 

Tegan Gibaud

Tegan Gibaud - Bio

Tegan is an early career climate change scientist, and aims to make the science behind global change more accessible. Her interests lie across broad sustainable topics but with Big Tree Marketing, her specific focus is sustainable tourism. While she completes her studies, she works in the digital marketing space as the social media manager at Big Tree Marketing, as a freelance content creator, and as a journalist at two local newspapers in her student town. She is also interning at The School for Climate Studies and is picking up wisdom from some of the top climate change scientists in South Africa, which she hopes to share in fun ways, like blogs!

Articles by Tegan Gibaud

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