Gunn (1988) suggests four perspectives in this context, viz., those of the tourists, the developers, the providers of services, and the local resident community.
Also, alternative forms of tourism have been experimented with fair measure of success in some of the countries, under different titles, such as Green Tourism, Soft Tourism, Rural Tourism, Heritage Tourism, Cultural Tourism, Appropriate Tourism, etc., but the spirit behind them all is most humanising, and development of tourism sums up its basis (Shades of Green, 1990).
i. Conserving the natural resources;
ii. Deepening the visitor experience;
iii. Evaluating the social and economic well-being of the community.
To solve the problems such as the degradation of the environment and social milieu resulting from the increasing pressure of tourist traffic, appropriate development strategy for achieving environmentally sustainable tourism is the right choice.
Besides, there may be problem of socio-cultural pollution, in case tourism is not set on sustainable tourism track. Otherwise, long term environmental (natural and human) consequences shall be easily passed off for a marriage of convenience.
The drive for the increase in tourism is based primarily on economic benefits, not on whether such levels of tourism are sustainable. The environmental and social impacts of the unusual tourism boom call for an eventual shift to a comprehensive regional strategy that sets limits to growth in order to sustain socially and environmentally compatible tourism.
Again, it is the complexity of tourism in its interactions with other sectors of the economy and with natural and cultural environment that highlights the complexities and intricacies of sustainable tourism. The need at present is for quality control as tourism must be recognized as a valuable long-term renewal resource.
Sustainable tourism is a positive approach intended to reduce the tensions and friction created by the complex interactions between the tourism industry, the visitors, the environment and the communities which are host to holiday makers.
It involves working for the long-term viability and quality of both natural and human resources, it is certainly not anti-growth, but acknowledges that there are limits to growth. Thereupon, to ensure that tourism does not lead to a loss of environmental and cultural identity, but is rather a source of mutual enrichment, it must be well thought out by states and the people on a universal scale.
Sustainable Tourism Development contributes to human well-being while maintaining harmony with environment as it implies preservation and conservation of tourist resources; preservation of national heritage and conservation of natural environment.
Inskeep (1991) opines that tourism researchers and planners are increasingly recognizing that successful tourism development must sustain the community’s socio-cultural, natural and built environments as well as contribute to economic well-being.
The basic economics of tourism must be planned according to the sustainability and present carrying capacity of touristic areas for future need. Hawkes and Williams (1993) state that ‘the concept of sustainable tourism embodies a challenge to develop the world’s tourism capacity and the quality of its products without adversely affecting the environment that maintains and nurtures them’.
In the Brundtland Report on Our common Future, WCED (1987), sustainability is defined as ‘the idea that the needs of today’s visitor should not be met at the expense of future generations’.
Urban planners feel that sustainable tourism makes a strong plea for blending tourism in urban planning system so as to minimize the adverse effects of over urbanisation. In view of the socio- cultural impacts and the level of resentment created thereby, community’s participation in formulating, executing and monitoring the development plans is surely the best bet.
An overall view of successful and sustainable tourism development calls for a synergistic relationship of community’s involvement, planning and technical assistance. In short, sustainable tourism development (STD) means that Exploitation of Resources, Direction to Investment and Orientation of Technology should be in consonance with the needs not only of the present but also of the future.
Moreover, heterogeneity in destination systems is inherent as each destination is unique in itself. So, no specific form of tourism is sustainable in and for itself, in general. On the contrary, the existing trend of mass tourism is obviously unsustainable.
Thus, for different destination systems, different forms of tourism could be the futuristic strategy for ascertaining the ultimate, i.e., Sustainable Tourism Development.