Dominican Sustainable Tourism Organization, DSTO

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ODTS About ODTS Sustainable Tourism
Sustainable Tourism PDF Print E-mail


To understand what sustainable tourism is, we must clarify in advance the concept of sustainable development, which establishes and / or frames the guidelines of all human activities with regard to the environmental, cultural and economic sustainability.

Sustainable Development

Sustainable, term defined as, "Said as a process that can maintain itself."

The term “sustainable development” is applied to the socio-economic development and its usage was formalized for the first time in the document known as the Brundtland Report published in 1987, as a result of the work of the World Commission on Environment and Development of United Nations, created in United Nations General Assembly in 1983.

The definition given by the committee, for “sustainable development”, was the one assumed the principle number three (3) of the Rio Declaration of 1992:

"Meeting the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of the future ones to meet their own needs."

Brundtland Report. It is a socio-economic document drawn up by various nations in 1987 for the United Nations, UN, by a commission headed by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland. Originally it was called Our Common Future. In this report, as formalized and defined the term “sustainable development”, it has been involved since then a major change in regard to the idea of sustainability, primarily ecological, to a framework that emphasizes the economic and social development.

There were identified as target purposes of sustainable development the following:

1.To satisfy human needs.

2.Carry out two types of restrictions: a) Ecological, that is towards the preservation of our planet Earth, and b) Moral: renounce consumption levels to which not all individuals can aspire.

3.To achieve the economic growth in those places where there has not been met the needs mentioned before, that is, in poor countries.

4.To control population, referring mainly to birth rates.

5.To preserve the natural systems that sustain life on Earth.

6.To conserve of ecosystems so they would be subordinate to human welfare, since not all ecosystems can be preserved in its virgin state. The use of non-renewable resources should be as efficient as possible.


Sustainable development requires to understand that inaction will bring consequences, so that, institutional structures must be changed to encourage individual behaviors in relation to the objectives described above.

The field of sustainable development is conceptually divided into three parts: the environmental, economical, and social development. It is considered the social aspect because of the relationship between social welfare with the environment and the economic progress.

The needs of society, such as food, health, clothing, housing, and work, must be satisfied, because if poverty were usual, the world would be directed to disasters of various kinds, including ecological. Also, development and social welfare must be limited by the level of technology, resources and the capacity of the environment to absorb the impact of human activity.

Sustainable Development in Dominicana

In the country since 1995, has been carried out an initiative called "Dominicana, a Country Project towards Sustainable Development" integral project of sustainable development, designed, planned, and implemented by citizens, cooperation a non governmental organizations, private sector and public authorities, under the leadership of the Council for Sustainable Development and Promotion of the Dominican Republic, CONDESPI, (Consejo para el Desarrollo Sostenible y Promoción de la República Dominican, CONDESPI, in Spanish), which has defined the concept of sustainable development as follows:

"It is the developing desired by our societies, which should be governed globally, depending on how accurate are the decisions we take today and what turns out to be efficient in achieving the goals set by maintaining the environment, social and economic balance, to ensure the satisfaction of our present needs without affecting the capacity and ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

"This Sustainable Development may be achieved only within the framework of a model where freedom, equity and justice are practiced, based on participation and integration of citizens committed to building their societies and / or nations on an individual basis which will hoist, increase and respect the highest principles and values of our civilization."

"The acceptance, implementation and progress of this concept and / or model are subjected to technological advances, knowledge in its favor, and its proper and adequate dissemination. In particular, we must remove the misperception that the sustainable development means action to protect the environment and not for what it is really its goal: the economic growth and progress in balance with the development or social welfare and in harmony with the environment."

This project strives to raise awareness and gain the acceptance of the concept, motivating and raising awareness in the Dominican citizens to accept our responsibility and patriotic duty to participate and integrate all actions necessary to improve our life quality, through the respect for environment, the right to social development, and the right to a growth and economic progress, all in a balanced manner.

In this way enhance the Dominican self-conscious and promotion of our country, within the framework of a democratic, moral, ethical, equity and lawful, mutual respect and global solidarity model, fully committed to the development of mankind.

Sustainable Tourism

Is defined as those activities for leisure, business or other reasons, carried out by people during their travel and stay in places outside their usual environment, which are conducted in a manner that respects the natural, cultural and social environment and the values of a community. These allow to enjoy a positive exchange of experiences between residents and visitors, where the relationship between tourists and the community is fair and benefits of tourism are distributed fairly, and where visitors have a truly participatory attitude in their travel experience.

Logically, and notwithstanding the above definition could be interpreted in the field of tourism, sustainable tourism is one that combines in its implementation, both the offer and the management or operation of the activity, framed under the concept of sustainable development or sustainability.

The tourism as a powerful tool for development, can and should participate actively in the strategy of sustainable development. A good tourism management requires ensuring the sustainability of the resources on which it depends.

Its origin dates back to the years of 1970 when there where new approaches to the tourism theme from critical environmental views, but it was not until 1991 when it was carried out the forty-first congress of the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (Association Internationale d'experts scientifiques du tourisme, AIEST, in French) under the title "Qualitative Tourism", that raised the complexity of the analysis of sustainability in tourism, emerging that the original definition of Sustainable Tourism is one that maintains a balance between the social, economic and ecological interest, integrating the economic and leisure activities with the purpose of reaching the conservation of natural and cultural values.

Its rise comes from the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, when it began to implement Agenda 21, the agenda of the Organization of the United Nations (UN) to promote the sustainable development at global. National and local levels, in which it would be the axis of any strategy for the sectors of the economy and tourism, in this case, which led to the spread of information and input from different areas in favor of its sustainability.

In 1983, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in the document entitled "Tourism in 2000 and beyond qualitative aspects" defined the concept of Sustainable Tourism:

"Sustainable tourism caters to the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and promoting opportunities for the future. It is conceived as a way to manage all the resources so as to meet the economic needs, Social and aesthetic, while respecting the cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and the systems that sustain life."

In 1994, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) considered fundamental to the implementation of Agenda 21 at tourist centers, the following requirements, waste minimization, conservation and energy management, management of water resources, the control of dangerous substances, transport, urban planning and land management, environmental commitment of politicians and citizens, and program designed for sustainability and partnership for sustainable tourism development.

In 1995, it was published by the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism, which sets out 18 principles that seek to lay the foundations for a global tourism strategy based on sustainable development. The Charter of Lanzarote implies acceptance of the bonds of sustainability, conservation, and development of resources, and the central role of tourism for development, at global, national and local levels.

Charter for Sustainable Tourism

1st World Conference on Sustainable Tourism

Lanzarote, Canary Islans , Spain, 24 - 29.04.1995


We, the participants at the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism, meeting in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, on 27-28 April 1995,


Mindful that tourism, as a worldwide phenomenon, touches the highest and deepest aspirations of all people and is also an important element of socioeconomic and political development in many countries.


Recognizing that tourism is ambivalent, since it can contribute positively to socioeconomic and cultural achievement, while at the same time it can contribute to the degradation of the environment and the loss of local identity, and should therefore be approached with a global methodology.


Mindful that the resources on which tourism is based are fragile and that there is a growing demand for improved environmental quality.


Recognizing that tourism affords the opportunity to travel and to know other cultures, and that the development of tourism can help promote closer ties and peace among peoples, creating a conscience that is respectful of the diversity of culture and life styles.


Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of United Nations, and the various United Nations declarations and regional conventions on tourism, the environment, the conservation of cultural heritage and on sustainable development.


Guided by the principles set forth in the Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development and the recommendations arising from Agenda 21.


Recalling previous declarations on tourism, such as the Manila Declaration on World Tourism, the Hague Declaration and the Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code.


Recognizing the need to develop a tourism that meets economic expectations and environmental requirements, and respects not only the social and physical structure of destinations, but also the local population.


Considering it a priority to protect and reinforce the human dignity of both local communities and tourists.


Mindful of the need to establish effective alliances among the principal actors in the field of tourism so as to fulfill the hope of a tourism that is more responsible towards our common heritage.


APPEAL to the international community and, in particular, URGE governments, other public authorities, decision makers and professionals in the field of tourism, public and private associations and institutions whose activities are related to tourism, and tourists themselves, to adopt the principles and objectives of the Declaration that follows:


1. Tourism development shall be based on criteria of sustainability, which means that it must be ecologically bearable in the long term, as well as economically viable, and ethically and socially equitable for local communities.


Sustainable development is a guided process which envisages global management of resources so as to ensure their viability, thus enabling our natural and cultural capital, including protected areas, to be preserved. As a powerful instrument of development, tourism can and should participate actively in the sustainable development strategy. A requirement of sound management of tourism is that the sustainability of the resources on which it depends must be guaranteed.


2. Tourism should contribute to sustainable development and be integrated with the natural, cultural and human environment; it must respect the fragile balances that characterize many tourist destinations, in particular small islands and environmentally sensitive areas. Tourism should ensure an acceptable evolution as regards its influence on natural resources, biodiversity and the capacity for assimilation of any impacts and residues produced.


3. Tourism must consider its effects on the cultural heritage and traditional elements, activities and dynamics of each local community. Recognition of these local factors and support for the identity, culture and interests of the local community must at all times play a central role in the formulation of tourism strategies, particularly in developing countries.


4. The active contribution of tourism to sustainable development necessarily presupposes the solidarity, mutual respect and participation of all the actors, both public and private, implicated in the process, and must be based on efficient cooperation mechanisms at all levels: local, national, regional and international.


5. The conservation, protection and appreciation of the worth of the natural and cultural heritage afford a privileged area for cooperation. This approach implies that all those responsible must take upon themselves a true challenge, that of cultural, technological and professional innovation, and must also undertake a major effort to create and implement integrated planning and management instruments.


6. Quality criteria both for the preservation of the tourist destination and for the capacity to satisfy tourists, determined jointly with local communities and informed by the principles of sustainable development, should represent priority objectives in the formulation of tourism strategies and projects.


7. To participate in sustainable development, tourism must be based on the diversity of opportunities offered by the local economy. It should be fully integrated into and contribute positively to local economic development.


8. All options for tourism development must serve effectively to improve the quality of life of all people and must influence the sociocultural enrichment of each destination.


9. Governments and the competent authorities, with the participation of NGOs and local communities, shall undertake actions aimed at integrating the planning of tourism as a contribution to sustainable development.


10. In recognition of economic and social cohesion among the peoples of the world as a fundamental principle of sustainable development, it is urgent that measures be promoted to permit a more equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of tourism. This implies a change of consumption patterns and the introduction of pricing methods which allow environmental costs to be internationalized.


Governments and multilateral organizations should prioritize and strengthen direct and indirect aid to tourism projects which contribute to improving the quality of the environment. Within this context, it is necessary to explore thoroughly the application of internationally harmonized economic, legal and fiscal instruments to ensure the sustainable use of resources in tourism.


11. Environmentally and culturally vulnerable spaces, both now and in the future, shall be given special priority in the matter of technical cooperation and financial aid for sustainable tourism development. Similarly, special treatment should be given to zones that have been degraded by obsolete and high impact tourism models.


12. The promotion of alternative forms of tourism that are compatible with the principles of sustainable development, together with the encouragement of diversification represent a guarantee of stability in the medium and the long term. In this respect there is a need, for many small islands and environmentally sensitive areas in particular, to actively pursue and strengthen regional cooperation.


13. Governments, industry, authorities, and tourism-related NGOs should promote and participate in the creation of open networks for research, dissemination of information and transfer of appropriate knowledge on tourism and environmentally sustainable tourism technologies.


14. The establishment of a sustainable tourism policy necessarily requires the support and promotion of environmentally-compatible tourism management systems, feasibility studies for the transformation of the sector, as well as the implementation of demonstration projects and the development of international cooperation programs.


15. The travel industry, together with bodies and NGOs whose activities are related to tourism, shall draw up specific frameworks for positive and preventive actions to secure sustainable tourism development and establish programs to support the implementation of such practices. They shall monitor achievements, report on results and exchange their experiences.


16. Particular attention should be paid to the role and the environmental repercussions of transport in tourism, and to the development of economic instruments designed to reduce the use of non-renewable energy and to encourage recycling and minimization of residues in resorts.


17. The adoption and implementation of codes of conduct conducive to sustainability by the principal actors involved in tourism, particularly industry, are fundamental if tourism is to be sustainable. Such codes can be effective instruments for the development of responsible tourism activities.


18. All necessary measures should be implemented in order to inform and promote awareness among all parties involved in the tourism industry, at local, national, regional and international level, with regard to the contents and objectives of the Lanzarote Conference.


Final Resolution


The World Conference on Sustainable Tourism considers it vital to make the following public statements:


1. The Conference recommends State and regional governments to draw up urgently plans of action for sustainable development applied to tourism, in consonance with the principles set out in this Charter.


2. The Conference agrees to refer the Charter for Sustainable Tourism to the Secretary General of the United Nations, so that it may be taken up by the bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, as well as by international organizations which have cooperation agreements with the United Nations, for submission to the General Assembly.


Resolution On Follow Up Committee


Following the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism and the adoption of the World Charter for Sustainable Tourism, and in view of the importance of the agreements reached, the need is seen to plan for the future. Continuity of the line of work and the collaboration already achieved is of vital importance and, in order to consolidate the work achieved thus far, it is appropriate and necessary to follow up and implement this Charter for Sustainable Tourism.


With this objective in mind, the following agreement is adopted:


1. It is agreed to create a Follow-Up Committee for the Charter and its Plan of Action. Said Committee shall comprise the international institutions and agencies making up the Conference Organizing Committee.


2. The Follow-Up Committee shall oversee the dissemination and circulation of the Charter and the best possible application thereof. It will also undertake activities to guarantee its continuity and the detection of critical situations, and encourage all kinds of public and private entities with a view to assuring sound application and use of the principles of sustainable tourism.


3. This Committee shall promote the carrying out of studies, projects and actions aimed at creating exemplary situations which may serve as points of reference for each major problem on the world level, thus constituting the best form of application of the Charter in relation to the principles of sustainable development.


4. This Committee will carry forward and follow up the agreements reached by the Conference and will take on responsibility for circulating and presenting the present Charter to the protagonists of Sustainable Development in tourism, including representatives of the tourism industry, governmental organizations, NGOs, agencies of the United Nations, and other international bodies.

In 1999, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) publishes the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, adopted by resolution A/RES/406 (XIII) of the Thirteenth General Assembly of WTO held in Santiago, Chile, 27.09 - 01.10.1999. This creates a framework for responsible and sustainable development of world tourism. Its text was inspired by numerous declarations and industry codes that preceded it, and that adds new thoughts that reflect the permanent change in our society in the early 21st century.