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Sustainable Mass and Ethical Tourism


  • Introduction
  • Mass tourism Industry and its impact on economy
  • Consumerism and Consumer Culture
  • Mass tourism Industry and need for Sustainability
  • The Inelastic Demand Mechanism
  • Sustainability
  • Unique Selling Propositions and Code of Ethics
  • Ethics and Moralities in Tourism
  • Planning for Tourism, Indigenous Perspective
  • Fragile Environments
  • Significance of Sustainability to Tourism
  • Conclusion
  • References


With the passage of time the life is getting busier and more complex. People do not have time to spend with their families to sit back, relax and talk. It’s all about accumulating wealth and how much can you accumulate. Under such intrigue situations people all over the world go on holidays and vacations whenever they get time to spend with their loved ones. Choosing a tourist destination is not that simple today, now you need to consider a number of factors before you make the final decision. Majority of the mass tourism today is dominated by travelers that want to explore the world and to discover the secrets and signs hidden in its beauty, matter and treasures.

The market dynamics in today’s brisk paced world have revolutionized. Media empowerment, advancement of internet and technology and emergence of public entities, social groups and Non Government Organizations have revolutionized the market place from top to toe in all respects. Today the consumer is obstinate from a marketer’s perspective and has the power and liberty to repudiate or purchase, literally, anything based on personal liking and choice. This is how the marketplace works in the real world today with the emergence and existence of a new concept known to us as consumerism (Assadourin, 2010).

The tourists today are also aware of the morals and ethics of travelling and they really take care of the fact that they are visiting places that offer healthy and genuine mass tourism. Healthy and genuine mass tourism refers to the fact that the culture and the heritage that is portrayed as local are original and not captured or illegally acquired. Similarly greener environments are preferred over places that are not environment friendly. Similarly with growing political tension in different parts of the world, terrorism and discriminatory acts have labeled some of the greatest tourist destinations as no go zones and this has led to the shift in interests of and choices made by tourists to decide upon their dream location for vacation (J.D Roth, 2011).

Sustainable Mass and Ethical Tourism

Mass Tourism Industry and Its Impact on Economy

After the recession, the global economy is still recovering from its aftershocks and after-effects. The recession blew away all the megastructures that were created by the financial gurus and the corporate masterminds for the economic stability of Global business community. All their efforts literally went in vain as their hard work of years did not enable their businesses to survive a couple of years of economic downturn.

As the disastrous recession of 2007-08 comes to an end, the corporate sectors and the global economies look for industries that are virtually recession-proof and that will help them come out of the recession more quickly than others. One such industry is the Global Mass tourism Industry. According to mercopress.com the Global Mass tourism Industry accounts for 9% percent of the world GDP and 8% of the total world employment. These are big numbers and by 2019 the Global Mass tourism Industry is expected to create 296 million jobs worldwide. The former discussion greatly highlights the significance of Mass tourism industry to global economics thus it becomes a subject that requires to be studied and explored to the fullest across the globe, a great deal.

Consumerism and Consumer Culture

Consumerism, in literal terms, refers to the creation and maintenance of an economic order that is characterized by ever excessive consumption of goods and services by the consumers. Such a phenomenon tends to empower the customers and binds the marketers by placing barriers ahead of their success and profitability in the form of quality of products to be offered, social responsibilities and obligations to be met and above all satisfaction of the customer at all times (Roth, 2011). Consumerism encourages the spending of money by consumers as it is perceived to be advantageous to the economy and it also draws lines such as ethics in advertising and discouraging the employment of hazardous materials and malpractices in the process of production to be respected by the marketers. With the rise and development of media and technology the consumer is wary of the prevalent developments in the market place and this has given marketers another potential unique selling proposition (USP) to tout their products to the consumers, compete with the players in the industry and position themselves in the industry in a variety of ways (Global Issues, 2011).

Mass Tourism Industry and Need for Sustainability

The mass tourism industry is recession-proof and this is because it is an inelastic commodity. This means that tourists across the globe are not conscious about the level of prices of travelling and other expenditures associated to mass tourism. The reason for this is the majority of the tourists do not want to spend a short vacation in a soothing environment and then resume their jobs immediately after the vacation. In fact the major chunk of tourists comprises of those individuals that spend their lives exploring this world and discovering various signs of nature and symbols of the Creator.

The Inelastic Demand Mechanism

Their hunger to discover and learn more makes them travel long distances for long durations. Their thirst to unveil the secrets of nature and to study the miracles of beauty makes them travel to different parts of the globe on regular places. The anxiety to discern and unfold different hidden dimensions of beauty do not allow them to stop even in days of recessions, because when they travel, the tourists actually satisfy their needs and certainly not the wants and that is the reason that why mass tourism industry has an inelastic demand.

In the future historical places, artifacts and museums are the most likely tourist attractions. To quench their thirst for historical facts about and significance of different destinations tourists will continue to spending excessive amounts of money on travelling and mass tourism. This provides the economies with rich history and culture a direction to work in. these economies need to preserve their culture, history and heritage to attract more and more tourists every year. In this regard the Asian economies like Malaysia, China and India will become the top-rated tourist destinations (I Munt, 2008).


Sustainability in terms of tourist destinations refers to the ability of a particular tourist attraction to attract more and more tourist year after year for an enduring period of time. Various tourist destinations in the world have employed different techniques and strategies to make their mass tourism industry sustainable over the long run. Sustainability is required by mass tourism industry because a large number of national workforces are employed under this sector. Economies today rely a great deal on mass tourism industries and spend millions of dollars in developing the infrastructure and making their tourist attractions even more appealing to the foreigners as well as locals (A Crane, 2002).

The economies blessed with natural heritage and rich culture must use the technology to its fullest to market their industry in a comprehensive manner. The local mass tourism ministry websites in all the countries must be regularly updated and must be really user friendly to help all sorts of tourists plan out their itinerary and have a comfortable journey. The staff in the mass tourism industry must be very helpful and amicable to help tourists solve their problems instantaneously.

Keeping in mind the different, significant cultural festivals and rituals the domestic mass tourism industries must market themselves appropriately and design lucrative offers for the tourists, in order to give them additional reasons and motivational factors to visit the particular country. Using these tactics and considering the formerly discussed trends in mass tourism and travelling industry economies globally will prosper and reap benefits from this industry from the many, many years to come (L France, 2002).

Unique Selling Propositions and Code of Ethics

Though consumerism has smothered the business proceedings today but still, the marketers and entrepreneurs have used the concept of consumer culture greatly to their advantage. Consumer culture has provided marketers and entrepreneurs, means to understand the needs and wants of a particular market better and then cater these needs and wants in a profitable manner (Tashakova, 2011). Understanding consumer culture includes looking at the trends of the market in terms of profitability, analyzing demand, consumer behavior, the satisfied and unsatisfied needs and wants of the market. Once these market dynamics have been taken care of, only then the marketers draw the road map for the future and pitch in with their immaculate marketing strategies (Green, 2000). Using the concept and dynamics of consumerism and consumer culture today mass tourism ministries worldwide lay down plans and strategies in defining the Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) of their mass tourism and to position themselves better in the minds of potential tourists across the globe. 

Turkey is a very unique country in terms of its geostrategic position on the map. It is the only nation in the world to be able to that lies on the border of Asia and Europe and hence it offers a great mix of cultures of both the continents (Singleton, 2010). Due the fact that Turkey is culturally and historically a very rich region therefore the tourists find a large number of museums all over Turkey. The museums are aimed at protecting and preserving the histories, remains and assets of ancient civilizations that lived in Turkey and also the national heritage of Turkey. There are museums that are theme-based and that depict the simulation of war and the national hero Ataturk (Adam Singleton, 2010).

The capital of Turkey is Ankara but the main tourist destinations in Turkey include Istanbul, Bursa, Cappadocia, Konia, Anatolia, Antalya etc. These regions are rich in nature, color and tradition. The national cuisine in Turkey is very diverse and contains large varieties of meat and vegetables. The Turkish tea and desserts are the most famous and integral part of Turkish cuisine. There are a large number of tombs and mausoleums found in Turkey. These tombs are religious symbols of the rich religious culture that existed in Turkey during the caliphate of the Ottoman Empire. Let’s take a look at Turkey in accordance to the specific topics discussed in class (Alison Gardner, 2011).

On the other side, in the North Holland Province of the world known as Nederland, Amsterdam is host to some of the best, beautiful and surprising visitor attractions on the face of the planet. Amsterdam is home to impressive tourist sites, such as the Royal Castle, Vondel Park and ING Building. Among the people of the USA, Europe and several other prospective countries in the country, the city is regarded as a very popular tourist destination. The mass tourism industry plays an essential role in delivering an exceptional lift to Amsterdam’s economy and thus to Nederland. As of 2007, the revenue of the Amsterdam tourism industry alone amounted to a considerable 5 billion dollars and the number of workers generated in the sector was around 50,000. One reality worth remembering here, though, is that nature, architecture and architectural aesthetics are not the only tourist attractions in Amsterdam (City of Amsterdam 2008).

The licenced Red Light Districts in the city are one of the key factors that makes Amsterdam an exciting tourist destination amongst young and hedonistic tourists. Within the authority of the country, the establishment of sex shops and brothels is entirely legal. With a valid licence, tens of hundreds of brothels and sex shops run and shape a distinctive hallmark of the tourist attractions of the region. Thousands of prostitutes earn cash out of this trade to feed their bellies on a regular basis and help their families. Prostitution is treated in Amsterdam like every other occupation, and prostitutes are not viewed as lower cast human beings to be looked down on. Not only is the Red Light District renowned for the lustful and sensual attractions among visitors, it often includes architecture, including colonial house style houses, large windows, the mixture of paint on the walls and lighting in pink and red colours. A recognisable portion of the region shapes the Red Light Area. Glamour, beauty, uniqueness and attraction are there. And citizens who hate Red Like Districts can find themselves spellbound and intrigued by the elegance of the area and, if not part of them, enjoy the scenes.

Here the fact can be observed that two different tourist destinations have been mentioned but both have set themselves a distinctive USP to attract the tourists and help the national economy to grow and expand. The question that arises here is, is legal prostitution in Amsterdam justified in terms of ethics? This shall give a completely new dimension to the concept of sustainability in the mass tourism industry. Turkey uses its great heritage and culture to attract tourists while Amsterdam is known for prostitution and the red light district. Two distinct tourist destinations, both positioned distinctly from the other, so which one is ethical is a debatable concern (L Percy, 2008).

Ethics and Moralities in Tourism

To define the guidelines of ethics in tourism marketing one needs to differentiate between tourists and travelers. This distinction is really important. Tourists are not really into exploration and discovery of nature and artifacts. Their objective to visit countries could be anything from invasion to sex and from juggernaut to rape. So as discussed earlier the attractions in Amsterdam will inspire tourists more than travelers whereas the latter will be more interested in visiting Turkey and exploring the landscape of Cappadocia of the heritage and culture of Roomi in Konya. So the ethical dilemma remains where it started from and the morality and ethics in tourism cannot be defined permanently thus the discussion remains vague and inconclusive in this regard. However while branding their respective tourism industries the ministries and establishment shall utilized societal marketing concepts ensuring endurance and sustainability of their people, environments and society (M Jones, 2009).

Planning for Tourism, Indigenous Perspective

With the economic significance of the tourism industry placed quite prominently in front of the governments, government spending has to be directed towards it for its development and establishment. The tourism ministries worldwide spend billions of dollars in planning out the road map for the enhancement and further development of their respective tourism industries every year. The planning is done bearing in mind the cultural, economic, environmental and social dimensions of the industry in mind. Planning not only entails adding value to the existing infrastructure and facilities offered by the destination to the travelers and tourists but more importantly it involves creating more and more reasons for the tourists to visit the destination. In other words planning also includes branding of the destination. Branding of the destination covers planning events and festivals that are in line with social and cultural aspects of the country and that will boost the economic side of the economy as well. Indigenous people from an integral component of the tourist destination itself; consider Asian countries that are well know not only for the geographic attractions but also for the local cuisine and hospitality. The planning must consider the likes and dislikes of the locals as well (G Miller, 2005).

Planning for the development of tourism industry is a Herculean task that takes into account research, fieldwork, policy-making and implementation and evaluation and situational analysis. Planning tourism provides sustainability to the tourism industry at various fronts. There are particular tools that could be employed to ensure the maintenance of a sustainable tourism environment in the country. Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is one such tool. With the development and advancement of media and activation of public interest groups tourists have become more and more aware of concepts such as environmental friendly tourism practices. Tourists keep track of such practices of the governments and steps taken in this direction for time to time. In such cases EIA could prove to be vital as it regulates the practices in a tourist destination under the laws of guidelines of environmental protection (T Hinch, 2007).

Fragile Environments

Term fragile environment refers to those ecosystems that are prone to destruction by means of human interaction. Countries that depend on tourism industry need to preserve these fragile environments to position themselves as socially and environmentally responsible in the minds of potential tourists. Malaysia is a good example in this case. Malaysia has preserved its nature, forests and micro and macro habitats with great care, and today these habitats have become tourist destinations for millions of tourists across the globe (D C Malloy, 2007).

Deserts and mountains are also considered to be fragile physical environments and hence are required to be handled with care. The deserts and mountains in India form an integral part of the local heritage and have become great tourist attractions for travelers from all parts of the world. The fragile landscapes are best dealt with when they are allowed to survive in accordance with the cultural norms and values of the destination. Interaction of modern equipment with these monumental structures may destroy them, instead. Festivals and local events such as the Birding Festivals in North America may serve to help the cause a great deal. The festivals organized on regular basis serve to create awareness among the people of the world regarding the culture and tradition of a particular region and more importantly it strengthens the interest of the locals in preserving their natural heritage and rich cultures for enduring durations of time (J Higham, 2007).

Significance of Sustainability to Tourism

With the rise of consumerism, hedonistic behavior has not only increased among humans but somehow it has also become acceptable. The escalating urge among humans to consume more and more under the banner of Capitalism has given license to its flag bearers to ravage the natural environment for the multiplication of their wealth and maximization of their pleasures and profits. This brings the world to an alarming situation and here emerges the need to have “sustainable tourism industry” as the agenda and manifesto of the establishment of every country (P Nijicamp, 2009).

The growth and rise of transnational corporations have lead to a depletion of natural assets and resources in countries of the world. This has lead to a loud outcry from NGOs and public to promote environmentally healthy and friendly practices across the globe. Sustainable tourism industry is also one of the demands of pressure groups not only because of its environmental significance to the world but also because of its economic impact that it has on jobs and employment (H Assael, 1998).

We find ourselves today in an era where policymaking is the key to sustainable tourism. In the name of tourism promotion capitalism activists are ruining natural habitats by transforming agricultural lands into golf courses and seven star hotels and restaurants.


In a nutshell, with the entire discussion in mind this can be concluded that the mass tourism industry has exceedingly gained significance on the global level and today it is means to innumerable jobs, employment and transactions. This sector can no more be taken for granted by the authorities. With ample amount of secondary research conducted and contemporary works of authors, environmentalists and experts consulted for the compilation of this paper, a brand new perspective to the notion of tourism industry has come to limelight.

Tourism industry, with its inelastic demand and ability to bolster the economic progress single-handedly, requires the authorities to take measures to ensure its sustainability over the longer periods of time. To do this a lot of planning is required to be done and this is where things get tougher. The authorities are not only required to promote tourism industry but also to preserve the cultural heritage and the indigenous environment in their respective countries. For the sake of immaculate and meaningful implementation of plans, authorities are also required to monitor the practices of societal marketing and the globally accepted norms and principle of code of ethics. By working honestly and showing dedication to the cause of nurturing tourism industry by conserving natural habitats, ecosystems and organisms, sustainability to the tourism industry can be ensured and guaranteed.

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