Sustainable tourism is an approach in which the environment, whether human kind is in interaction with or not, is preserved without degradation or changing, where the cultural integrity, ecological process, biological diversity and life support systems are being maintained and at the same time all resources are being managed so that the hosts’ and tourists’ needs would be satisfied and also the future generations could meet the same requirements.

Sustainable tourism is expected to minimize the negative effects of tourism development in community and environment and to have an impact on local economy, protection of the natural and the cultural heritage while increasing the life qualities of the hosts and the visitors through tourism. 

“Sustainable tourism” concept virtually does not define a type of tourism but defines the principles that need be adopted while carrying out activities for the development of different types of tourism.

In this context, efforts are being put for developing different types of tourism within the framework of the economic, cultural, social and environmental sustainability principles and focusing on the dimension of local economic development of tourism, with a community-based approach.

The principles of sustainable tourism are defined by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as below:

1) Economic Viability: To ensure the viability and competitiveness of tourism destinations and enterprises, so that they are able to continue to prosper and deliver benefits in the long term.

2) Local Prosperity: To maximize the contribution of tourism to the economic prosperity of the host destination, including the proportion of visitor spending that is retained locally.

3) Employment Quality: To strengthen the number and quality of local jobs created and supported by tourism, including the level of pay, conditions of service and availability to all without discrimination by gender, race, disability or in other ways.

4) Social Equity: To seek a widespread and fair distribution of economic and social benefits from tourism throughout the recipient community, including improving opportunities, income and services available to the poor.

5) Visitor Fulfillment: To provide a safe, satisfying and fulfilling experience for visitors, available to all without discrimination by gender, race, and disability or in other ways

6) Local Control: To engage and empower local communities in planning and decision making about the management and future development of tourism in their area, in consultation with other stakeholders.

7) Community Wellbeing: To maintain and strengthen the quality of life in local communities, including social structures and access to resources, amenities and life support systems, avoiding any form of social degradation or exploitation.

8) Cultural Richness: To respect and enhance the historic heritage, authentic culture, traditions and distinctiveness of host communities.

9) Physical Integrity: To maintain and enhance the quality of landscapes, both urban and rural, and avoid the physical and visual degradation of the environment.

10) Biodiversity: To support the conservation of natural areas, habitats and wildlife, and minimize damage to them.

11) Resource Efficiency: To minimize the use of scarce and non-renewable resources in the development and operation of tourism facilities and services.

12) Environmental Purity: To minimize the pollution of air, water and land and the generation of waste by tourism enterprises and visitors.