Sustainable tourism, sustainable development through tourism, principles of sustainable
development in tourism and tourism development in terms of sustainable tourism, in the
literature often treated as names for the same phenomenon, are becoming increasingly
interesting for scholars and practicians of tourism from various countries.
Tourism is big business and getting bigger. In the 20 years from1980 to 2000
global tourism receipts increased at an annual rate of nearly 8 per cent,
much faster than the rate of world economic growth of around 3 per cent.
In 2000, income from tourism combined with passenger transport totaled
more than $575 billion, making this sector the world number one export
earner, ahead of automotive production, chemicals, petroleum and food
(UNEP web site1).
The recent boom has focused world attention on the GCC economies—not only as exporters of oil and
gas, but as investment destinations with major infrastructure projects, booming tourism and financial
services sectors. As US economic growth has slowed, GCC investors have begun to diversify their assets
more widely, making investments in Asia, Africa and within the Gulf region itself.
The individual segments of business tourism (conferences and meetings, exhibitions and trade
fairs, incentive travel, corporate events, outdoor events) are the five segments which are the
prime focus of marketing activities by venues and destinations, because decisions about where
the events take place are open to influence. The organisers of the event may have greater
flexibility in deciding where it is held, and are able to use their own judgement or discretion.
For this reason, these five segments are often described as ‘discretionary’.
Despite all the above and whatever impacts technology, global economies and terrorism are
likely to have, there is still the desire amongst international associations to meet, press the flesh
and exchange views which will always remain. According to ICCA the UK’s market share of
the international association congress segment remains stable at around 5.6% and is second
only to the USA.