12.B Sustainable tourism
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The tourism industry is one of the most important industries worldwide, a key economic sector in Germany, and important for international understanding. At the same time, the industry, like no other, is heavily dependent on natural and socio-cultural resources. Impressive landscapes, intact flora and fauna, cultural heritage and the hospitality of the people in the host country are the prerequisite for a high-quality holiday and a high level of guest satisfaction. Uncontrolled tourism can lead to undesirable effects, including the pollution of natural areas, loss of biodiversity, increased CO2, pollutant and noise emissions, increased water consumption and land sealing, and higher prices for locals.
Monitoring tools will enhance the impact of sustainable tourism, creating jobs on fair terms, promoting local culture and products, strengthening the regional economy while protecting, making visible, and understandable the environment.
The Federal Government promotes sustainable tourism development through the federal competition ‘Sustainable Tourism Destinations in Germany’ and various ongoing projects, e.g. the development of indicator systems for sustainable tourism in Germany and the national tourism strategy, which integrates ecological and social sustainability into the development of sustainable tourism in Germany. Certification systems and guidelines that are based on international quality and sustainability standards and that help destinations and tourism companies improve their sustainability performance also contribute to sustainable tourism development in Germany (see the Requirements for Corporate Certification for Sustainable Tourism in Germany, Practical Guide for Sustainability in German Tourism). Industry initiatives are also driving the development of sustainable tourism (e.g. the forum anders reisen, Futouris). Compensation platforms and information portals for sustainable tourism help consumers make sustainable decisions.