thinking long term
One of the big challenges is to get people to see the difference between the abstract goal of sustainability and taking responsibility for specific issues in specific places.
Denmark recently changed its rather strict regulation of coastal areas to facilitate development of “sustainable” tourism facilities. In your view, does the new regulation do justice to the holistic understanding of “sustainable tourism” as used in academia?
Denmark’s coastlines have been protected from tourism development and construction for more than 80 years. In 2014, the Danish politicians opened up for softer regulation of the coastlines and invited proposals for tourism development projects within the hitherto protected coastal zone.
The call explicitly requested nominations for sustainable tourism projects, but our comparison between academic sustainability discourse and the approved projects suggests that tourism actors do not address sustainable tourism development as a holistic concept.
Moreover, our research has documented how long-term perspectives are largely absent, whereas economic benefits are emphasized.
Interview: Janne Liburd on Tourism Education and the Sustainable Development of the Wadden Sea National Park, Denmark