CHARTER FOR SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
We, the participants at the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism,
meeting in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, on 27-28 April 1995,
Mindful that tourism, as a worldwide phenomenon, touches the highest and deepest
aspirations of all people and is also an important element of socioeconomic and
political development in many countries.
Recognizing that tourism is ambivalent, since it can contribute positively to socio-
economic and cultural achievement, while at the same time it can contribute to the
degradation of the environment and the loss of local identity, and should therefore
be approached with a global methodology.
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 affords the opportunity to travel and 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
Recalling the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General
Assembly of United Nations, and the various United Nations declarations and
regional conventions on tourism, the environment, the conservation of cultural
heritage and on sustainable development.
Guided by the principles set forth in the Rio Declaration on the Environment and
Development and the recommendations arising from Agenda 21.
Recalling previous declarations on tourism, such as the Manila Declaration on World
Tourism, the Hague Declaration and the Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Code.
Recognizing the need to develop a tourism that meets economic expectations and
environmental requirements, and respects not only the social and physical structure
of destinations, but also the local population.
Considering it a priority to protect and reinforce the human dignity of both local
communities and tourists.
Mindful of the need to establish effective alliances among the principal actors in
the field of tourism so as to fulfil 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, decisionmakers 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:
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.
Tourism should contribute to sustainable development and be
integrated 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 evolution as regards its influence on natural resources,
biodiversity and the capacity for assimilation of any impacts and residues produced.
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
formulation of tourism strategies, particularly in developing countries.
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 international.
The conservation, protection and appreciation of the worth of the
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 management instruments.
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.
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
All options for tourism development must serve effectively to
improve the quality of life of all people and must influence the so-
cio-cultural enrichment of each destination.
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
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 internalised.
Governments and multilateral organizations should prioritize and strengthen direct
and indirected aid to tourism projects which contribute to improving the quality of
the environment. 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.
Environmentally and culturally vulnerable spaces, both now and
in the future, shall 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.
The promotion of alternative forms of tourism that are compatible
with the principles of sustainable development, together with the
encouragement of diversification represent a guarantee of stability
in the medium and the long term. In this respect there is a need, for many small
islands and environmentally sensitive areas in particular, to actively pursue and
strengthen regional cooperation.
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 knowledge
on tourism and environmentally sustainable tourism technologies.
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 cooperation programmes.
The travel industry, together with bodies and NGOs whose activities
are related to tourism, shall draw up specific frameworks for positive
and preventive actions to secure sustainable tourism development
and establish programmes to support the implementation of such practices. They
shall monitor achievements, report on results and exchange their experiences.
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
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.
All necessary measures should be implemented in order to inform
and promote awareness among all parties involved in the tourism
industry, at local, national, regional 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:
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.
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 agen-
cies of the United Nations system, as well as by international organizations which
have cooperation agreements with the United Nations, for submission to the Ge-