Recreation and tourism

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Leisure and recreation are essential to personal well-being. Some recreational activities contribute to maintaining personal health and social cohesion, and preserving the environment and natural resources. Others can have negative effects on personal health, social cohesion or the environment, and use a lot of natural resources. Some are important for local and national economies.

Tourism in particular can have important positive and negative effects ...

… on people and the environment in the areas visited depending on how it is organized, who reaps the economic benefits, and how the tourists behave.

On the one hand, natural areas form the very basis of many touristic attractions by highlighting scenic value or exceptional encounters with fauna and flora. However, some forms of tourism can be extremely detrimental to ecologically sensitive areas, resulting in habitat degeneration or destruction, in the disturbance or hunting even of rare or threatened species. The pressure from short holiday seasons and specific, sometimes small, locations of touristic interest result in conflicting land-uses, such as in the Alpine regions, at Mediterranean beaches, and along many banks of inland waters.

What Transforming our World – Agenda 2030 says about recreation and tourism ...

In the declaration (#37), governments recognizes that “Sport is also an important enabler of sustainable development. We recognize the growing contribution of sport to the realization of development and peace in its promotion of tolerance and respect and the contributions it makes to the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities as well as to health, education and social inclusion objectives.”.

The declaration (#33) commits governments to “promote sustainable tourism, to tackle water scarcity and water pollution” while, under SDG-8, target 8.9 is: “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

Under SDG-14, target 14.7 is: “By 2030, increase the economic benefits to small island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.” And a number of NGOs are promoting ‘sustainable tourism’.

Share your experience and ideas:
    • How do recreation activities and tourism impact people, social cohesion and the natural environment?
    • What is sustainable tourism and recreation?
    • How can recreation activities and tourism contribute to progress towards the SDGs and the general well-being of people and our planet? How can they inhibit it? (Please provide practical examples)