Title: Sustainable tourism development: environmental education as a tool to fill the gap between theory and practice

Authors: Maria Sakellari; Constantina Skanavis

Addresses: Research Centre of Environmental Education and Communication, University of the Aegean, Xenia Building, University Hill, Mytilene, 81-100, Greece ' Department of Environmental Studies, University of the Aegean, Xenia Building, University Hill, Mytilene, 81-100, Greece

Abstract: Sustainability is introduced as the key to address contradictions between tourism policy development on one hand and environmental protection on the other. However, in the literature exists confusion on what sustainable tourism is all about, sustainable tourism policy has relatively little influence on the broad tourism market operation and research shows that tourism stakeholders have a confused understanding of the sustainable tourism concept. Furthermore, although tourism policy planning has followed a significant turn to participatory approaches towards the development of sustainable tourism, literature neglects a range of educational methods and strategies that already exist which could support effective education responses in order that tourism stakeholders can make informed environmental decisions about sustainable tourism development. This paper suggests that environmental education is the path in order that tourism stakeholders and local community obtain a stronger understanding of the complex issue of sustainable tourism and are empowered to engage in effective ecological action.

Keywords: sustainable development; sustainable tourism; environmental education; sustainability; tourism policy; environmental protection; tourism development.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESD.2013.056316

International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2013 Vol.12 No.4, pp.313 - 323

Received: 26 Apr 2012
Accepted: 31 Jan 2013

Published online: 28 Jan 2014 *

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