Sustainable Tourism Law

Sustainable tourism and consumer protection – perfect match or contradiction? Michael Wukoschitz President Emeritus of International Forum of Travel and Tourism Advocates I. INTRODUCTION Tourism, in particular leisure tourism, is built on imagination, built on dreams of a better place to be and built on desires. However, tourism is an industry with a tendency to destroy its own resources and to devalue its values. While tourism is still regarded as an important source of income for local residents in many regions and its economic importance keeps growing, the excesses of mass tourism have become a considerable burden in some places and led to anti-tourism sentiments and “stop tourism” movements. Crowded beaches with hardly any room for privacy, polluted water and sand mixed with litter are far away from the pictures the word “beach” creates in our mind. In Venice and other cities by the sea, cruise tourism creates big problems by endangering historical structures and the environment while hardly leaving any benefit for the residents, due to the various offers of meals, shops and leisure activities available on board. Even some remote areas in the mountains, a cliché of idyllic nature, silence and solitude, have become highways for wannabe mountaineers and those looking to reach the summit, pushing upwards in huge crowds and leaving behind their footprints on eroded ground. The legal framework of travel law provides a high level of protection for tourists who are regarded as a vulnerable group. But aren’t the local residents even more vulnerable? Don’t they need to be protected against the devastation of their environment and livelihoods? This article will take a closer look at some pieces of legislation and their impact on both consumer protection and sustainability.