Third International Conference on Sustainable Tourism

pcr2.jpg3 - 5 September 2008


SustTourism08.jpgThe 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Tourism took place recently in Malta, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology with the collaboration of the Complutense University of Madrid.

The Co-Chairmen of the Meeting and Co-Editors of the book were Professors Francisco Pineda of Complutense University and Carlos A. Brebbia, Director of the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT).

The first of the Sustainable Tourism meetings took place in Segovia, Spain in 2004, followed by another in Bologna, Italy (2006) and their success led to the continuation of the series that deals with an important topic of high relevance to the economic and social aspects of our civilisation.

The archetypical tourist is at present slowly evolving towards a cultural model, to which human labour, on one hand, and nature and landscape on the other, constitute the most important attractions.  Classical mass tourism remains the most relevant source of income in most tourist destinations and for the powerful industries associated with transport and with the destination itself.  Nevertheless it is interesting to observe that, once the mere need for holidays has been satisfied, many people set themselves objectives typical of more cultural societies.  Mass tourism instead leads to serious environmental problems and to the search for new objectives.  The study of all these objectives requires the collaboration of ecologists, scientists, economists, anthropologists and professionals from other disciplines focusing on the importance of interdisciplinary work.

tourism1.jpgThe natural and cultural landscape’s capacity to accommodate the local and worldwide environmental effects of tourism, the implications for human economy and society constitute very important study objectives.  The development of tourism involves degradation of the natural landscape, caused by the industry associated with the phenomena and periodically, it is also associated with the high value the tourist gives to places free of human presence.

The phenomenon of tourism has also much more serious implications for all these circumstances.  While the media continually informs us of the increase in population in the world, tourism continues to grow.  Not even adverse economic developments are capable of stopping tourism.  This current society makes no effort to internalise the costs of this economic development, such as pollution, degradation of the environment, loss of quality of life in relation to standard of living; but it also incorporates tourism among its priority objectives.

Professor Pineda, author of the above comments, welcomed the delegates to the Conference and explained some of the objectives of the meeting.

tourism4.jpgProfessor Carlos Brebbia spoke of the importance of this type of conference for his Institute as a way of supporting interdisciplinary activities which WIT has been fostering for a number of years.  Many of the research projects at WIT, Professor Brebbia explained, help to bring together physical scientists and colleagues working in the humanities for instance in an effort to bridge the present gap between these disciplines.  WIT offers special programmes for postgraduate studies at Master and PhD level which allow participants to continue working in their own environment while visiting the Institute at regular intervals.  These programmes, which are popular, result in projects more relevant to the environment.

Professor Brebbia stressed that WIT actively fosters links with many academic and other organisations.  This is an important part of WIT’s objectives as a centre for knowledge transfer at international level.

Professor Brebbia concluded by inviting the participants to visit the WIT campus in the New Forest and in that way, learn more about the work carried out at the Institute.

 Conference Topics

The Conference covered a wide range of topics grouped in the following sessions:
  • Tourism strategies
  • Tourism impact
  • Rural tourism
  • Community involvement
  • Tourism and protected areas
  • Tourism as a factor of development
  • Climate change and tourism

 Invited Presentations

There were invited presentations as follows:
  • “Prospective analysis for Sustainable Tourism in Coastal region of the Gulf of California” by O. Arizpe, University of Baja California, Mexico.
  • “Enhancing services provision in urban greenspaces through tourism promotion: the case of the private patios in Central America” by A Gomez-Sal, University of Alcala, Spain
  • “Methods, tools and techniques for measuring sustainability in tourism based communities” by S Conway, Urban Environmental Research, USA
  • “Recreation suitability analysis: application in protected and non-protected areas” by FD Pineda, University Complutense, Madrid, Spain
  • “Climate change in winter sport destinations – transdisciplinary research for implementing sustainable tourism” by U Probstl, University of Natural Resources, Vienna, Austria

 International Scientific Advisory Committee

The International Scientific Advisory Committee met over dinner to discuss reconvening the conference in 2010.  There was agreement on the need to emphasize the social and economic aspects related to tourism, adding a number of new topics to the Call for Papers.  The location for the 2010 meeting was also discussed and several locations were proposed and are to be investigated by WIT’s Conference Division.

 Conference Dinner

tourism4.jpgThe Conference dinner took place on the island of Gozo, famous for its historic and prehistoric sites and home of the renowned falcon, used since antiquity for the sport of falconry.  The trip to Gozo began at the hotel’s beach in a typical Luzzu, the classical Maltese boat.  The delegates were shown the sites of Gozo by a guide and then taken to an outstanding restaurant where they were offered a selection of excellent dishes.  After dinner, delegates sailed back to the hotel in the Luzzu. 

The beautiful sights during the crossing and tour, combined with the high standards of the cuisine and wines at the restaurant made the occasion truly enjoyable.

 Publication of Papers

The proceedings of Sustainable Tourism III, 368pp (ISBN: 1-84564-124-5) are available in hard back from WIT Press priced at £121/US$242/€181.50. Orders can be placed by telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223, fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the WIT Press web site at

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online in the WIT eLibrary as volume 115 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at