Establishing the Connections Between the Goals of Sustainable Development and Creative Tourism

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper


The three founding fields of sustainability, social equity, economic development and environmentalprotection, strive for opposing goals. The differences of these disciplines are often likely tolead to compromised solutions between their actors, than to any type of holistic sustainable outcome.This reality transcends to the debate of sustainability in tourism. Responses to mass tourism gave wayto forms of tourism such as alternative and sustainable tourism. The latter type of tourism was criticizedfor asking for an unachievable balance between three opposing disciplines.The question at stake asks if creative tourism could be used by actors in local tourism schemesin order to resolve the conflicts between the three goals of sustainability. Given the nature of creativetourism, the latter concept could resolve the conflicts of sustainable development because it wouldhelp to establish beneficial links between the different goals and resources of the actors involved insustainability and in tourism. Creative tourism enables such complementation because it promotes thetourists’ active participation in their destinations’ development schemes and it enables communities tovalorize their local space in creative and complementing ways that preserve their cultural and naturalintegrity. Actors in sustainability and tourism thus avoid the need for compromised outcomes and aremore likely to head towards sustainable development. It is also claimed that a framework combiningthe two sets of theory can be built as theory unfolds.Through qualitative research on the case study of Sólheimar eco-village in Iceland, it is revealedthat creative tourism rather contributes to strengthen existing complementation between goals in sustainability.The overall results establish that creative tourism can be used as a tool to find a way tocreate stronger and more meaningful links between goals in sustainable development. A final frameworkcoupling the two sets of theory is presented.The findings shed light on a few points. Firstly, the focus of actors involved in sustainable developmentshould be on complementing each others’ goals rather than compromising. Sustainability isfound in the interactions between its actors. Conceptualizing sustainability as a form of interactionmakes the concept more accessible to local actors. Moreover, tourists have a responsibility in theprocess of local development when they become participants. It will be the community’s decision howit wants to promote its essence, to what extent it wants to open up to tourists and what role it is willingto let these play in its local development. Further research needs to consider the challenges in sustainabilityand tourism left unelaborated in this work.

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