Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30132
Tourism Planning in Developing Countries: Review of Concepts and Sustainability Issues

Authors: Patrick B. Cobbinah, Rosemary Black, Rik Thwaites


Globally, issues of sustainable development have become the fulcrum around which current international discourse revolves. Many governments in both the developed and the developing countries are focusing on strategies to achieve sustainable growth. Tourism has been identified as a major sector in safeguarding a sustainable future. However, research has shown that tourism if not properly managed can be detrimental. This paper posits tourism in the sustainable development discourse, exploring how the historical evolution of tourism and issues of sustainability have informed the state of tourism activities in the developing countries. Using secondary data analysis, the paper reveals that current conceptual explanations of tourism are linked to sustainable development. However, tourism activities in developing countries are usually driven by profit without adequate consideration for environmental and social factors. The paper raises two questions and further recommends that tourism activities should be informed by sustainable development principles.

Keywords: Developing countries, mass tourism, sustainable development, sustainable tourism.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 6022


[1] D. Honeck, LDC poverty alleviation and the Doha development agenda: Is tourism being neglected? Staff Working Paper ERSD-2008-03. World Trade Organisation, Geneva, 2008
[2] R. Scheyvens, Tourism and poverty reduction: Issues for Small Island States. Tourism Geographies, 2008, 10(1), 22–41.
[3] W. Zhao, & J. R. B. Ritchie, "Tourism and poverty alleviation: An integrative research framework”. Current Issues in Tourism, 10(2&3), 2007 119–43.
[4] UN, Report of the world summit on sustainable development, Johannesburg South Africa E.03.II.A.1. New York. UN. 2002
[5] K. Shah, J. McHarry, & R. Gardiner, "Sustainable tourism – Turning the tide, towards Earth Summit 2002”. Economic Briefing 4, 2002, 1-14.
[6] UNDP, Tourism and poverty reduction strategies in the integrated framework for least developed countries. Discussion paper, Geneva: UNDP, 2011. Retrieved August 26, 2011 from UNDP website
[7] S. Gossling, C. M. Hall & D. Scott, "The challenges of tourism as a development strategy in an era of global climate change”, In E. Palosou, (ed.), Rethinking development in a carbon-constrained world. Development Cooperation and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Helsinki, Finland, 2009.
[8] S. Asker, L. Boronyak, N. Carrard & M. Paddon, Effective community based tourism: a best practice manual. APEC tourism working group, Gold Coast, Australia: Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, 2010. Retrieved Aug 19, 2011
[9] F. Neto, "A new approach to sustainable tourism development: Moving beyond environmental protection”. Natural Resources Forum, UN, UK: Blackwell Publishing, 2003, 27,212–222,
[10] D. Bolwell & W. Weinz, Reducing poverty through tourism. Geneva: International Labour Organisation (ILO), 2008
[11] R. Lapeyre, "Community-based tourism as a sustainable solution to maximise impacts locally, the Tsiseb Conservancy Case, Namibia”. Development Southern Africa 27 (5), 757-772, 2010
[12] UNCTAD, FDI and tourism: the development dimension – East and Southern Africa. New York & Geneva: UN, 2008.
[13] A. Stronza, & J. Gordillo, "Community views of ecotourism”. Annals of Tourism Research, 35 (2), 448–468, 2008
[14] WTO, The state’s role in protecting and promoting culture as a factor of tourism development and the proper use and exploitation of the national cultural heritage sites and monuments for tourism. Madrid, Spain: WTO, 1985
[15] M. E. Kortanje, "The origin and meaning of tourism: Etymological study”. e-Review of Tourism Research (eRTR), 5 (5),100-108, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2011 from
[16] W. F. Theobald, Global tourism (2nd Ed.). Oxford, England: Butterworth– Heinemann, 1994.
[17] H. Ceballos-Lascuráin, Tourism, ecotourism and protected areas: the state of nature- based tourism around the world and guidelines for its development. Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK: IUCN, 1996.
[18] World Bank, World development report 2009. Washington: World Bank, 2009
[19] A. Beaver, A dictionary of travel and tourism terminology. Wallingford: CAB International, 2002.
[20] T. Berno & K. Bricker, "Sustainable tourism development: the long road from theory to practice”. International Journal of Economic Development 3 (3), 1-18, 2001.
[21] R. Sharpley, Tourism, tourists and society (2nd Ed.). England: ELM Publications, 1999
[22] G. Hyde, "Mass tourism versus eco-tourism”. A paper presented for the South Pacific Organisational Regional Ecotourism Management Seminar, 17th -21st March, Fiji, 2003
[23] A. M. Williams, "Mass tourism and international tour companies”. In M. Towner & M. Newton (eds.), Tourism in Spain: Critical issues. Wallingford: CAB International, 1996, (pp. 120).
[24] J. Urry, The tourist gaze: Leisure and travel in the contemporary societies. London: Sage Publication, 1990.
[25] N. Vanhove, "Mass tourism: Benefits and costs”. In S. Walab & J. J. Pigram (eds.), Tourism development and growth, the challenge of sustainability. London: Routledge, 1997
[26] E. deKadt, Tourism: passport to development. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.
[27] S. Obenaus, "Ecotourism – sustainable tourism in national parks and protected areas Banff National Park in Canada and National Park Gesäuse in Austria – A comparison”. Unpublished Maters Thesis, University of Calgary, Canada, 2005
[28] J. Swarbrooke, Sustainable tourism management. Wallingford, UK: CABI, 1999
[29] G. Young, Tourism: blessing or blight? Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1973.
[30] S. Ross & G. Wall, "Ecotourism: Towards congruence between theory and practice”. Tourism Management, 20, 123–132, 1999.
[31] R. Bushell, "Global issues for protected areas and nature-based tourism: Case studies of partnerships in Australia addressing some of these issues”. International Expert Workshop Sustainable Tourism & Biodiversity Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Germany Isle of Vilm 11 - 14th Nov, 1999.
[32] WCED, Our common future, report of the Brundtland Commission. U.K: Oxford University Press, 1987
[33] R. Malcom, A guidebook to environmental law. London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1994.
[34] R. W. Butler, The tourism area life cycle: conceptual and theoretical issues (Vol. 2). Clevedon: Channelview Publications, 2006.
[35] WTO, Guide for local authorities on developing sustainable tourism. Madrid: WTO, 1998
[36] WTO, Actions in assisting developing countries to implement agenda 21 undertaken by the World Tourism Organisation since 1992. DESA/DSD/PC2/BP3New York: UN, 2001
[37] UN, Earth Summit (5) — Programme for the further implementation of agenda 21. New York: UN, 1998.
[38] UN, Report of the seventh session of the United Nations commission on sustainable development. E/1999/29-E/CN.17/ 1999/20, New York: UN, 1999.
[39] D. Harrison, "Sustainability and tourism: reflections from a muddy pool”, In B. Archer, L. Briguglio, J. Jafari, & G. Wall, (Eds.), Sustainable Tourism in Island and Small States, (Vol. I). London: Mansell, 1996, (pp. 69-89).
[40] UN, Sustainable development of tourism. Report of the Secretary-General, E/CN.17/2001/PC/21. New York: UN, 2001
[41] M. A. Borges, G. Carbone, R. Bushell & T. Jaeger, Sustainable Tourism and Natural World Heritage: Priorities for Action. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2011 Retrieved September 8, 2011 from
[42] UNEP & WTO, Making tourism more sustainable, a guide for policy makers. Madrid: UNEP & WTO, 2005.
[43] J. K. Lankford & S. V. Lankford, "Tourism and sustainability: Can they be partners?” Journal of World Leisure, 42, 4-10, 2000.
[44] S. H. Tsaur, Y. C. Lin & J. H. Lin, "Evaluating ecotourism sustainability from the integrated perspective of resource, community and tourism”. Tourism Management, 27, 640–653, 2006.
[45] V. Middleton & R. Hawkins, Sustainable tourism: A marketing perspective. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, 1998.
[46] R. Sharpley, "Sustainability: A barrier to tourism development?” In: R. Sharpley & D. J. Telfer, (eds.), Tourism development: Concepts and issues. UK: Cambrian Printers Ltd, 1997, (pp. 319-337)
[47] R. Butler, "Tourism- An evolutionary perspective”, In: J. G. Nelson, Butler, R. & Wall, G. (Eds.), Tourism and sustainable development: monitoring, planning, managing, Waterloo: Heritage Resources Centre, University of Waterloo, Canada, 1993, (pp. 26-43).
[48] C. Tosun, "Challenges of sustainable tourism development in the developing world: The case of Turkey”. Tourism Management, 22, 289-303, 2001.
[49] L. Twining-ward, "Towards sustainable tourism development: Observations from a distance”. Tourism Management, 20, 187-188, 1999.
[50] B. H. Farrell, "Conventional or sustainable tourism? No room for choice”. Tourism Management, 20, 189-191, 1999.
[51] G. T. Hvenegaard, "Ecotourism: A status report and a conceptual framework”. The Journal of Tourism Studies, 5 (2), 24-35, 1994.
[52] D. B. Weaver, The encyclopaedia of ecotourism. Oxon and New York: CABI Publishing, 2001.
[53] C. M. Hall & A. A. Lew, Sustainable tourism: A geographical perspective. England: Longman, 1998.
[54] W. M. Adams, The future of sustainability, re-thinking environment and development in the twenty-first century. Report of the IUCN renowned thinkers meeting, 29–31 January 2006. Retrieved August 16, 2011 from IUCN website
[55] X. Font & J. Tribe, "Promoting green tourism: The future of environmental awards”. International Journal of Tourism Research, 3, 9-21, 2001.
[56] A. Holden, J. Sonne & M. Novelli, "Tourism and poverty reduction: An interpretation by the poor of Elmina, Ghana”. Tourism Planning & Development, 8(3), 317–334, 2011.
[57] F. Aref, "Tourism industry for poverty reduction in Iran”. African Journal of Business Management 5 (11), 4191-4195, 2011.
[58] T. Binns & E. Nel, "Tourism as a local development strategy in South Africa”. The Geographical Journal, 168 (3), 235-247, 2002.
[59] R. N. Okech, "Tourism development in Africa: Focus on poverty alleviation”. The Journal of Tourism and Peace Research, 1(1), 1-8, 2010.
[60] C. Ashley, "Applying livelihoods approaches to natural resource management initiatives. Working Paper 134, Overseas Development Institute, London, 2000.
[61] M. Honey, Ecotourism and sustainable development: who owns paradise? Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1999..
[62] A. Kiss, "Is community-based ecotourism a good use of biodiversity conservation fund?” Ecology and Evolution 19 (4), 232-256, 2004.
[63] C. Murphy & L.Halstead, "The person with the idea for the campsite is a hero’: Institutional arrangements and livelihood change of community-owned tourism enterprises in Namibia”. DEA Research Discussion Paper 61. Directorate of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Windhoek, 2003.
[64] C. Murphy & D. Roe, "Livelihoods and tourism in communal area conservancies”, In S.A. Long, (Ed.), Livelihoods and CBNRM in Namibia: The findings of the WILD project. Final Technical Report of the Wildlife Integration for the Livelihood Diversification (WILD) Project. Prepared for the Directorates of Environmental Affairs and Parks and Wildlife Management. Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Government of the Republic of Namibia, Windhoek, 2004.
[65] A. Spenceley, "Local impacts of community-based tourism in Southern Africa”, In A. Spenceley (Ed.), Responsible tourism: Critical issues for conservation and development. London: Earthscan, 2008.
[66] T. C. H. Tao & G. Wall, "Tourism as a sustainable livelihood strategy” Tourism Management, 30, 90–8, 2009.
[67] UNWTO, Tourism highlights 2008. Madrid: UNWTO, 2009.
[68] C. M. Rogerson, "Local economic development and post-apartheid reconstruction in South Africa”. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 18, 175–95, 1997.
[69] C. M. Rogerson, "Tourism and uneven local economic development: Route tourism in South Africa”. Paper presented at the International Conference of Tourism Development and Management in Developing Countries, Guilin, China, November 2001.
[70] A. B. Asiedu, "Making ecotourism more supportive of rural development in Ghana”. West African Journal of Applied Ecology, 3, 1-16, 2002.
[71] J. Courvisanos & A. Jain, "A framework for sustainable ecotourism: Application to Costa Rica”. Tourism and Hospitality Planning & Development, 3 (2), 131– 142, 2006.
[72] L. S. Sebele, "Community-based tourism ventures, benefits and challenges: Khama Rhino Sanctuary Trust, Central District, Botswana”. Tourism Management, 31,136–146, 2010.
[73] W. Suntikul, T. Bauer & H. Song, "Pro-poor tourism development in Viengxay, Laos: Current state and future prospects”. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 14(2), 153-168, 2009.
[74] D. Harrison, "Pro-poor tourism: A critique”. Third World Quarterly, 29(5), 851– 68, 2008.
[75] R. Sharpley., J. Sharpley & J. Adams, "Travel advice or trade embargo? The impacts and implications of official travel advice”. Tourism Management 17(1), 1-7, 1996.
[76] J. Brohman, "New directions in tourism for third world development”. Annals of Tourism Research, 23(1), 48-70, 1996.
[77] V. B. Teye, "Prospects for regional tourism cooperation in Africa”, In S. Medlik (Ed.) Managing Tourism. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 1991, (pp. 286-296).
[78] J. Lea, Tourism and development in the third world. UK: Routledge, 1993.
[79] I. Sindiga, Tourism and African development: Change and challenge of tourism in Kenya. Kenya: African Studies Centre Research Series, 1996.
[80] R. Sharpley, "Tourism management: Rural tourism and the challenge of tourism diversification: The case of Cyprus”. Tourism Management, 23, 233–44, 2002.
[81] W. Jamieson & S. Nadkarni, "A reality check of tourism’s potential as a development tool”. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 14 (2), 111-123, 2009.
[82] R. Bushell. & P. Eagles, Tourism and protected areas: benefits beyond boundaries. London, UK: CAB International, 2007.
[83] Overseas Development Institute, Methodology for pro-poor tourism case studies. Pro-Poor Tourism Working Paper No.10, ODI, United Kingdom, 2002.
[84] O. Kamuaro, " Ecotourism: Suicide or development? Voices from Africa”. Sustainable Development, Issue no. 6 UN Non-governmental Liaison Service, Geneva, 1996.
[85] Christian Aid, An abuse of innocence: tourism and child prostitution in the third world. London: Christian Aid, 1995..
[86] N. G. McGehee & K. L. Andereck, Factors predicting rural residents’ support for tourism. Journal of Travel Research, 43(2), 131-140, 2004.