Whose needs and what is to be sustained?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Collaboration for Sustainable Tourism Development




School of Science




Hughes, M., & Morrison-Saunders, A. (2018). Whose needs and what is to be sustained?. In J. Liburd, & D. Edwards (Eds.), Collaboration for Sustainable Tourism Development (pp. 112-129). Goodfellow Publishers. https://www.goodfellowpublishers.com/academic-publishing.php?promoCode=&partnerID=&content=story&storyID=409


This chapter explores sustainable tourism development and collaboration in relation to the needs of tourists and of host communities. It is a collaboration of two academics operating in parallel, although occasionally intersecting, fields of study: tourism, and sustainability assessment. Through combining our knowledge and pursuits in each field, we work towards a shared goal that hopefully transcends what could be accomplished alone. Our approach is to explore the notion of human needs as it is expressed in the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) (1987) definition of sustainable development and the UN World Tourism Organisation (WTO) appropriation of the definition for sustainable tourism development. Our starting point is thus to unpack the key terms employed in these definitions prior to drilling down more specifically into analysing needs in the context of sustainable tourism development and collaboration. In so doing, many inter-related facets of sustainability thinking and of tourism understanding are revealed. Our method is principally a literature review amounting to a theoretical exploration of concepts, illustrated with published examples from practice. Our analysis leads us to propose an alternative definition of sustainable tourism development that emphasises the priority of 'host community' needs that better aligns with the spirit of the WCED definition.

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