Sustainable Tourism: What Trends Does Academic Production Reveal?

Sustainable Tourism: What Trends Does Academic Production Reveal?

Fátima Lampreia Carvalho (University of Algarve, Portugal) and Silvia Brito Fernandes (University of Algarve, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2204-2.ch007

Abstract

This chapter compares several academic works in order to analyse if they use innovative approaches for sustainable tourism. It analyses 70 stable documents including theses, scientific papers, and reports. Some goals are assess the themes that most stand out, the contribution of academic research to the subject, and how the issues of sustainability governance and planning relate to tourism. This contributes to approach the relationship between tourism and sustainability for development. The qualitative analysis used could discern the maturity level of research on sustainability indexes. Few works use them, and, if used, most are more descriptive than quantitative. But the ones that use them have acknowledged their importance and resulting enhanced strategies, as they provide the data to decide accurately on environmental and destination matters. A challenge for the Portuguese academy is to have an ongoing role in implementing and monitoring key sustainability indices.
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Context And Objectives

In 2017 the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimated that tourism contributed with 10% of the world’s GDP and accounted for just under 10% of its total employment. However, Gossling et al. (2013) show that the contribution from tourism sector to global climate change was approximately 5% of carbon emissions. Some economies can be considerably more carbon-intense than others, thus supporting the need to monitor their growth and sustainability in the coming years. According to the environmental footprint, Portugal (with a population of 10,291,027) is one of the countries that make a difference in setting a goal of achieving carbon neutrality in 2050. Its carbon footprint is now under the European average.

Brazil, with a population of 208,862,818 (IBGE, 2015) has experienced success in slowing rain forest destruction, resulting in vast reductions of carbon emissions. The case of Brazil shows that it is possible to promote sustainability while still growing the economy. The country has reduced deforestation by 70% and kept 3.2 billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere, because forests use carbon as they grow. That makes it the biggest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of any country in the world. It became the first major developing country to pledge an absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ahead of Paris climate talks. Other affected dimensions, besides environment, are of culture, social and human nature. Nevertheless, climate and community issues are more approached when discussing sustainability matters.

The main objective of this research is to investigate in what ways academic works, especially doctoral theses, papers and reports in Portugal and Brazil, respond to the growing pressure that tourism is placing on the environment and society. Thus, the overall goal is to analyse the academic works on sustainable tourism produced in Portuguese and Brazilian higher education from 2004 to 2017. Key aspects to be assessed are: 1) which contents are most salient; 2) what differences exist between Brazil and Portugal in this matter; and 3) how topics such as sustainability, governance, planning and regulation relate to tourism sustainability indexes.

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