Thursday, 02 December 2021 11:38

Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Grade 12 - Tourism Grade 12 Study Guide

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Topic: Sustainable and responsible tourism

Revision of Gr 10 concepts:  

Meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable tourism 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 
Responsible tourism Responsible tourism focuses on short-term actions every one of us can take every day to have less of a negative impact on a given destination.
Carbon footprint

 • A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that a person, organization, event or product has produced in a given time frame.
• Greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is an example, contribute to global warming and climate change.

carbon footprint

Content: The three pillars of sustainable tourism (people, planet, profit)

The concept and background of the triple bottom line approach 
  • Triple bottom line refers to the three (triple) measures of business performance: economic (profit), environmental (planet) and social (people).
    three pillars of sustainable tourism
  • The traditional way to measure a business’s performance is to look at its profitability. The profit appears at the end of its financial statement, which is why a profit is often referred to as the bottom line.
  • The triple bottom line concept came into use when world leaders realised that economic development, which had negative environmental and social effects, was not sustainable and that we needed to measure all the effects of development. Therefore, a company’s performance not only depends on how much money it is making (the profit) and other economic considerations such as job creation, but also on what effects it has on the social and natural environment.
  • King 3, the code that regulates corporative governance in South Africa, requires companies to report on their performance in terms of three aspects namely economic, environmental and social.

Environment (planet)

Electricity is mainly generated from coal, which emits greenhouse gases which lead to climate change

Water is a scarce resource and must be used sparingly 

waste management 2

Good environmental practices

  • Good environmental practices are vital for a successful tourism business to protect the natural environment
  • Resource management (energy):
    resource management energy
  • Resource management (water):
    resource management water
  • Waste management:
    waste management 1
  • Litter control:
    litter control
Examples of types of pollution: Carbon emissions from vehicles and buildings, noise pollution, pollution from toxic materials  

Indigenous flora: plants that naturally occur in a particular area
Alien plants: plants that do not naturally occur in a particular area 
  • Pollution control:
    pollution control
  • Environmentally friendly building:
    • The way buildings are positioned, materials that are used, space design, and technologies used to run the buildings (like solar panels) can all help reduce environmental impacts
      environmental friendly building
  • Promotion of indigenous flora and control of alien invasive plants in grounds and gardens:
    • Tourism businesses should conserve and plant indigenous species as they use less water
    • Alien invasive species should be removed if they threaten indigenous species
    • Alien invasive species use more water than indigenous species
    • Certain alien species can intensify wildfires
      indigeneous species
Economy (Profit)
  • The role of business
    • Tourism businesses are organisations which profit directly from tourism
    • They provide services and products which tourists need when visiting a destination
    • Through their economic activity, jobs are created and money is brought into a destination by tourists
    • Tourism businesses also spend money on the products and services they need from other businesses
    • Tourism must create economic opportunities and benefits, not only for tourism companies and their shareholders but also for the local or host communities
  • The responsible attitude of a tourism business towards the people and environment it affects
    • If both a tourist company and the local community profit from a business and those who are affected by the business are involved and respect is given to them, this will lead to a business sustainable environment.
  • Ways to manage economic impacts:
    • Ownership:
      • Community shareholding in the business
      • Promotion of local tourism ownership will increase the positive impact of tourism in an area
    • Employment:
      • A fair recruitment process regarding gender, disability and race
      • The creation of decent work and living wages
      • Protecting staff and communities from exploitation e.g. sexual, child labour
      • Training and skills development - businesses should support staff so that they can attend e.g. training courses, and receive formal certificates for skills they gain; on the job training should also be provided.
    • Local procurement - buying locally manufactured products
      • Local suppliers should be used as far as possible
      • This can result in a positive multiplier effect where money is spent and re-spent in the same area. This prevents the leakage of money that is generated from tourism businesses out of the tourist destination
    • Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE):
      • This government policy seeks to redress the economic exclusion and marginalisation of black South Africans under apartheid
      • It concerns aspects such as ownership, management, staffing, training and skills development, enterprise development and corporate social responsibility
Social (People)
  • The positive and negative effects of tourism on local communities, culture and heritage
Positive social impacts  Negative social impacts  
Tourism creates job opportunities for the local community  Crime and violence may increase
Local community members can sell arts and crafts that showcase to their culture to visitors Cultural changes may occur as the locals may adopt the culture of tourists instead of valuing their own culture and heritage
Tourism can benefit the local community with improved access to resources and infrastructure The money generated by tourism may not be channelled back into the local community
Tourism creates an awareness of different traditions, cultures and art forms There may be racial tension between tourists and locals
Tourism creates inter-cultural understanding and tolerance There may be negative tourist behaviour such as public drunkenness
Local communities absorb new ideas, interests and values from tourists Sometimes privacy is not respected, sacred sites are invaded and cultural ceremonies are exploited
Cultural heritage is preserved, and money can be raised for the maintenance of cultural sites and museums  
The local community learn to take pride in their culture  
The money generated can be used to uplift the community  
  • Corporate social investment (CSI) in tourism:
    csi akgda

Content: Responsible tourism and tourists

Codes of conduct for tourist behaviour (social, economic and environmental)

Code of conduct for tourist behaviour: Guidelines (set of rules) for tourists that help them understand how to act responsibly and appropriately when at the destination 



  • Research the cultural, ethnic, religious, and heritage practices before your visit
  • Learn a few words in the local language to make meaningful contact with the local community
  • Ask for guidance on appropriate dress, behaviour, local foods and drink
  • Respect the human rights of the local community e.g. ask permission before taking a photo
  • Be vigilant about the exploitation of children


  • Buy souvenirs and products that are made locally
  • Ask for guidance on tipping and bargaining practices 
  • Give preference to tourism services that are operated by inhabitants of the destination


  • Be informed about where and how to recycle at the destination
  • Reduce your consumption of water and electricity during your trip
  • Do not buy products that are made from plants or animals that are in danger of extinction
  • Select routes that cause the least impact on the landscape 
  • Use public transport where possible
  • Do not remove natural resources e.g. stones, fossils, plants, shells, flowers from their natural environment 
How can a tourism destination attract environmentally (people, planet, profit) conscious tourists?

A destination can attract environmentally conscious tourists in a number of ways. For example, they can:

  • Implement strategies to ensure businesses are sustainable and that they act responsibly towards people, the planet and the economic environment
  • Ensure that natural assets are well protected and marketed
  • Implement sustainable tourism certification among destination businesses
  • Ensure that public sites and facilities set good examples of environmental, social and economic practices
  • Encourage joint socio-economic and environmental programmes at destination level to which tourists can contribute
  • Market the destination according to its sustainability ethos and choose targeted channels to do so e.g. online travel information and booking websites supporting ethical travel, such as

The contribution of FTT towards encouraging responsible and sustainable practices

Fair trade: to make tourism more sustainable by ensuring that the people who contribute their land, resources, labour and knowledge to tourism are the ones who benefit 
  • Fair Trade in Tourism (FTT) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that promotes sustainable tourism development and responsible tourism management in South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
  • FTTSA initiatives:
    • A certification scheme that provides a trademark (or label) to tourism businesses that can show that they meet FTT principles - assures tourists that the business is responsible
    • Research, support and skills building for FTT businesses 
    • To encourage tour operators who send tourists to Africa to promote packages to FTT-certified businesses
  • Principles of Fair Trade in Tourism:
    fair trade tourism
  • Tourists are able to identify tourism organisations that meet the FFT criteria as the logo will be included on the certified business’s marketing material
  • By using the services of FTT certified organisations, tourists can be assured of making a contribution to responsible and sustainable tourism
Last modified on Thursday, 02 December 2021 12:13