Charter for Sustainable Tourism
The Charter for Sustainable Tourism was developed at the World
Conference on Sustainable Tourism, in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain on 27-28
April 1995. The following is a transcript of the findings of the participants:
Mindful that tourism is a worldwide phenomenon and also an
important element of socioeconomic and political development in many
countries, and that tourism touches the highest and deepest aspirations of all
Recognizing that tourism, as an ambivalent phenomenon, since
it has the potential to contribute positively to socioeconomic and cultural
achievement, while at the same time it can contribute to the degradation of
the environment and the loss of local identity, should be approached with a
Mindful that the resources on which tourism is based are
fragile and that there is a growing demand for improved environmental quality.
Recognizing that tourism can afford the opportunity to travel
and to get to know other cultures, and that the development of tourism can
help promote closer ties and peace among peoples, creating a conscience that
is respectful of the diversity of culture and life styles.
Guided by the principles set forth in the Rio Declaration on
the Environment and Development and the recommendations that emanate from
Recalling declarations in the matter of tourism, such as the
Manila Declaration on World Tourism, the Hague Declaration and the Tourism
Charter and Tourist Code.
Recognizing the objective of developing a tourism that meets
economic expectations and environmental requirements, and respects not only
the social and physical structure of the location, but also the local
Taking into account the priority of protecting and reinforcing
the human dignity of both local communities and visitors.
Mindful of the need to establish effective alliances among the
principal actors in the field of tourism so as to build the hope of a tourism
that is more responsible towards our common heritage.
APPEAL to the international community, and, in particular, URGE
governments, other public authorities, decision-makers and professionals in the
field of tourism, public and private associations and institutions whose
activities are related to tourism, and tourists themselves, to adopt the
principles and objectives of the Declaration that follows:
1. Tourism Development shall be based on criteria of
sustainability, which means that it must be ecologically bearable in the long
term, as well as economically viable, and ethically and socially equitable for
local communities. Sustainable development is a guided process which envisages
global management of resources so as to ensure their viability, thus enabling
our natural and cultural capital, including protected areas, to be preserved. As
a powerful instrument of development, tourism can and should participate
actively in the sustainable development strategy. A requirement of sound
management of tourism is that the sustainability of the resources on which it
depends must be guaranteed.
2. Tourism has to contribute to sustainable development and its integration with
the natural, cultural and human environment; it must respect the fragile
balances that characterize many tourist destinations, in particular small
islands and environmentally sensitive areas. Tourism should ensure an acceptable
solution as regards the influence of tourism activity on natural resources,
biodiversity and the capability for assimilation of any impacts and residues
3. Tourism must consider its effects on the cultural heritage and traditional
elements, activities and dynamics of each local community. Recognition of these
local factors and support for the identity, culture and interests of the local
community must at all times play a central role in the formulations of tourism
strategies, particularly in developing countries.
4. The active contribution of tourism to sustainable development necessarily
presupposes the solidarity, mutual respect, and participation of all the actors,
both public and private, implicated in the process, and must be based on
efficient cooperation mechanisms at all levels: local, national, regional and
5. The conservation, protection and appreciation of the worth of our natural and
cultural heritage afford a privileged area for cooperation. This approach
implies that all those responsible must take upon themselves a true challenge,
that of cultural, technological and professional innovation, and must also
undertake a major effort to create and implement integrated planning and
6. Quality criteria both for the preservation of the tourist destination and for
the capacity to satisfy tourists, determined jointly with local communities and
informed by the principles of sustainable development, should represent priority
objectives in the formulation of tourism strategies and projects.
7. To participate in sustainable development, tourism must be based on the
diversity of opportunities offered by the local economy. It should be fully
integrated into and contribute positively to local economic development.
8. All options for tourism development must serve effectively to improve the
quality of life of all people and must entail a positive effect and
inter-relation as regards sociocultural identity.
9. Governments and the competent authorities, with the participation of NGOs and
local communities, shall undertake actions aimed at integrating the planning of
tourism as a contribution to sustainable development.
10. In recognition of economic and social cohesion among the peoples of the
world as a fundamental principle of sustainable development, it is urgent that
measures be promoted to permit a more equitable distribution of the benefits and
burdens of tourism. This implies a change of consumption patterns and the
introduction of pricing methods which allow environmental costs to be
Governments and multilateral organizations are called upon to reorient aid
related to tourism, particularly aid which leads to negative effects on the
Within this context, it is necessary to explore thoroughly the
application of internationally harmonised economic, legal and fiscal instruments
to ensure the sustainable use of resources in tourism.
11. Environmentally and culturally vulnerable spaces, both now and in the
future, should be given special priority in the matter of technical cooperation
and financial aid for sustainable tourism development. Similarly, special
treatment should be given to zones that have been degraded by obsolete and high
impact tourism models.
12. The promotion of alternative forms of tourism that are comparable with the
principles of sustainable development, together with the encouragement of
diversification, participate in medium-and long-term sustainability. In this
respect there is a need for many small islands and environmentally sensitive
areas in particular, to actively pursue and strengthen regional cooperation.
13. Governments, industry, authorities, and tourism-related NGOs should promote
and participate in the creation of open networks for research, dissemination of
information and transfer of appropriate tourism and environmental knowledge on
tourism and environmentally sustainable technologies.
14. The establishment of a sustainable tourism policy necessarily requires the
support and promotion of environmentally-compatible tourism management systems,
feasibility studies for the transformation of the sector, as well as the
implementation of demonstration projects and the development of international
15. Bodies, particularly associations and NGOs whose activities are related to
tourism, shall draw up specific frameworks for positive and preventive actions
for sustainable tourism development and establish programmes to support the
implementation of such practices. They shall monitor achievements, report on
results and exchange their experiences.
16. Particular attention should be paid to the role and the environmental
repercussions of transport in tourism, and to the development of economic
instruments designed to reduce the use of non-renewable energy and to encourage
recycling and minimization of residues in resorts.
17. The adoption and implementation of codes of conduct conducive to
sustainability by the principal actors involved in tourism, particularly
industry, are fundamental if tourism is to be sustainable. Such codes can be
effective instruments for the development of responsible tourism activities.
18. All necessary measures should be implemented in order to sensitize and
inform all parties involved in the tourism industry, at local, regional,
national and international level, with regard to the contents and objectives of
the Lanzarote Conference.
The World Conference on Sustainable Tourism considers it vital to make the
following public statements:
1. The Conference recommends State and regional governments to draw up urgently
plans of action for sustainable development applied to tourism, in consonance
with the principles set out in this Charter.
2. The Conference agrees to refer the Charter for Sustainable Tourism to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, so that it may be taken up by the
bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, as well as by international
organizations which have cooperation agreements with the United Nations, for
submission to the General Assembly.
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