Tourism - introduction

Tourists in Svalbard (Photo: NPI)

Tourism 2013
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The Barents Sea ecosystem is driven by climate conditions and is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change; it is inherently a highly dynamic system. Human forces now present in the system and are already affecting environmental conditions. Within this unstable setting, a rapidly growing tourist industry is also producing change and exerting impacts. It is important to anticipate ways in which tourism will affect the environmental quality, cultural integrity, economic

structure, and governance within the Barents Sea region. It is also likely that tourism itself will be impacted by the natural and human-induced changes now occurring and anticipated to occur. Evaluating the extent of those vulnerabilities and then applying appropriate responses to prevent negative impacts on the Barents Sea ecosystem is the challenge to sustainable development. An appropriate response to that challenge may require selection of sustainable development objectives, and identification of management techniques which incorporate best practices to accomplish those objectives. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have formulated principles for the advancement of sustainable tourism (UNEP/UNWTO, 2005) which emphasize:

  • Conserving environmental quality
  • Preserving cultural and social values by means of participatory decision-making
  • Creating sustainable economies
  • Ensuring positive visitor behavior, safety, and enjoyment.
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