The development of Sustainable tourism, with an emphasis on natural tourist attractions in the North Clare (Ireland) region
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Tourism is one of the most successful industries, and largest employer, in the world. A recent phenomenon in tourism involves sustainability and how this ‘trend’ is vital to the future of the industry. Sustainable tourism has evolved rapidly and is now in the foremost of stakeholder’s minds. It is essential that tourism’s current resources are protected and sustained in order for the industry to remain viable in the future. The main purpose of this paper was to reinforce this argument and apply it on a regional scale. This paper also explores how practising sustainable tourism can benefit the provider, visitor and host community. Implementing a more sustainable approach was found to generate endless beneficial opportunities for the provider, including development, increased visitor numbers and a durable future for the business. Visitors can continue to enjoy amenities through a more managed approach and the host community can experience numerous subsidies such as culture promotion, employment, and environmental preservation. This research has assessed how sustainable tourism has developed the North Clare region into a successful tourist destination without compromising the environment or local people. Relevant literature was examined and evaluated and there were a number of gaps identified, including insufficient evidence to support regional perspectives on the topic. Another area of concern includes tourist’s lack of understanding sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism requires effective participation of various elements in order for it to reach its full potential. Proficient collaboration between stakeholders is an essential aspect and is a key participator in sustainability. Another crucial aspect is the development of a realistic ‘carrying capacity’ policy within tourist attractions. The primary data in this paper was generated through a number of sources including tourists visiting the North Clare region and tourism providers and their representative bodies. This information was acquired through a number of surveys and semi structured interviews. Following the information generated by the researchers objectives, a significant lack of evidence to depict the level of sustainability being practiced by tourism providers in North Clare was ascertained. Greater awareness is also needed by tourism providers and local people on the importance of sustainability. This paper concludes that the concept of sustainable tourism is advanced, to a certain degree, but that further improvements need to be made by tourism stakeholders in North Clare to develop the industry to its full potential.
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