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Sustainability is a growing concern for all industries and is now finding its way into mainstream tourism. The increasing popularity of sustainability has led to differing understandings of what sustainability really means. To help clarify this issue for industry professionals, the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University has developed a working definition that includes "actions that contribute to a balanced and healthy economy by generating tourism-related jobs, revenues and taxes, while protecting and enhancing the destination's socio-cultural, historical, natural and built resources for the enjoyment and well-being of both residents and visitors."
Tourism businesses that have adopted sustainability can benefit from their “Triple Bottom Line” approach: taking into consideration their financial responsibilities, social responsibilities and environmental responsibilities. Implementing all three elements of sustainability is a process rather than an end goal, with tourism owners and operators challenging themselves, their staffs and their guests, to be more responsible today than they were yesterday, and more tomorrow than they are today.
The long-term success of a tourism destination, attraction, or accommodation now depends heavily on implementing sustainable practices to protect cultural and natural resources, so these wonderful resources can be enjoyed today and in the future. But implementing sustainability is becoming increasingly important for short-term success as well, driven by rising utility costs, changing consumer and stockholder expectations, employee recruitment, and supply chain pressures.