Sustainable tourism: rest without leaving marks on the planet

Awareness of issues related to climate change and, consequently, sustainability and the need to preserve natural resources is irrefutable. However, the road to effective change is still long and crosses all sectors of activity, including tourism! Tourism growth in the last three decades has brought social, economic and environmental challenges.


In a month typically dedicated to the most prolonged vacation period of the year, we consider it essential that, before leaving, you discover more about what sustainable tourism is, its importance and good practices, which we can already apply.

turismo sustentável

A memorable and environmentally friendly experience


From an economic and social point of view, tourism’s positive impact is evident, but it has also represented a problem regarding the environment and climate. According to Francisco Ferreira from the environmental association Zero, tourism “can and must be part of a sustainable development that encompasses the environmental, economic and social aspects”. Sustainability has become, today, one of the main allies of tourism. Because only in this way will the sector continue to meet the high expectations of consumers, who are increasingly aware and demanding concerning this issue.

Sustainable tourism, which is focused on the long-term tourism industry, promotes meeting the needs of the present without compromising those of future generations. According to the World Tourism Organization, “sustainable tourism must make good use of environmental resources, respect the socio-cultural authenticity of communities and ensure that economic activities are viable in the long term. It also requires the informed participation of stakeholders, constant monitoring of its impacts, maintaining a high level of tourist satisfaction”.

This practice considers the needs of travellers, host communities, local businesses and nature and is a shared responsibility of political leaders, tourism companies and all stakeholders.

It is worth noting that sustainable tourism is different from responsible tourism. Although they are closely intertwined, the second concept refers to the concern of travellers regarding the way they interact with destinations, with the main focus being people.

Sustainable tourism

More sustainable practices for tourism with a future


Sustainable tourism is one of the trends that already marks the sector, either by tourist agents or by travellers, especially in this post-COVID-19 recovery. In this sense, it is crucial to understand that a trip can generate many benefits for the receiving place but also consequences such as excessive use of resources, emission of polluting gases, displacement of wildlife and damage to the local culture. So, to mitigate these effects, we can, on the next trip we make, consider some sustainable tourism actions which go far beyond the environment:


  • Whenever possible, travel locally and choose to travel on foot or by bicycle. For longer distances, opt for public transport or direct flights so that you can reduce your carbon footprint;
  • Opt for the lightest possible luggage, which will help to reduce fuel consumption;
  • Support local commerce, consuming typical products of the region, purchasing handicrafts and supporting local producers, for example;
  • Choose companies, accommodation and restaurants and leisure spaces with a seal of social and environmental responsibility;
  • Pay attention to waste production, say no to plastic consumption whenever possible and recycle, including waste you find, for example, on beaches or other natural environments. Always take your garbage with you;
  • Avoid recreational activities or tours that use wild animals as a point of attraction.
  • Don’t waste water and food;
  • Respect local policies and cultures;
  • Whenever this opportunity exists, participate in local actions to preserve the environment and forests, such as planting trees.


Did you know that the Azores was the first archipelago in the world to achieve international certification as a sustainable destination?


In 2019, the Azores archipelago became the first archipelago in the world to achieve international certification as a sustainable destination, with the Silver degree awarded by EarthCheck. With this distinction, the commitment assumed to ensure that the development of the destination is supported by the Sustainable Development Goals in the context of the 2030 Agenda, stimulating sustainable tourism among partners in the public and private sectors.



Sustainability is thus an essential practice for understanding the future of tourism and tourism in the future. For this to be possible, we need all tourists to be sensitive to this issue, to get involved and demand more. In addition, a conscious and joint movement of all stakeholders is essential to build and maintain more friendly practices for the environment and local cultures. Valuing local communities and traditions, biodiversity, and the social and economic well-being of the regions are essential pillars for this new tourism model.
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