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Sustainable tourism development: a critique

Liu, Zhenhua (2003) Sustainable tourism development: a critique. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 11 (6). pp. 459-475. ISSN 0966-9582

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Sustainable tourism has become an increasingly popular field of research since the late 1980s. However, the sustainable tourism debate is patchy, disjointed and often flawed with false assumptions and arguments. This paper is a brief critique of some of the weaknesses in the sustainable tourism literature. In particular, it explores six issues that are often overlooked but must be addressed in research: the role of tourism demand, the nature of tourism resources, the imperative of intra-generational equity, the role of tourism in promoting sociocultural progress, the measurement of sustainability, and forms of sustainable development. Finally, it is argued that in order to transform research on sustainable tourism to a more scientific level, a systems perspective and an interdisciplinary approach are indispensable.