Sustainable Tourism in the Context of Environmental Economics


Increasing international focus on sustainable development have highlighted the need for a new paradigm of sustainable development in the tourism industry. Tourism, more than any other activity, depends on the quality of natural and social resources. The rapid spread of Covid-19 and its already palpable impact on the travel and tourism industry has highlighted the increasing complexity of the interconnections in the world. Sustainable tourism takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors and the industry. The subject of this paper was the sustainable development of tourism in the context of environmental economics. The main goal of this research was to examine the interplay between tourism and the environment within the context of the pandemic. The methodological basis was the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), with a particular focus on environmental sustainability. The paper included an impact assessment of Covid-19 on sustainable tourism and forward-looking scenarios for 2021-2024. One of the key considerations was a SWOT analysis of the tourism industry within the pandemic conditions. Global recovery scenarios were discussed, as was the economic impact of Covid-19 on tourism in the European Union. Finally, this research put forward policy recommendations for governments to avert the worst effects and facilitate recovery in this field.

Keywords: tourism economics, environmental sustainability, Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), European Union, Covid-19, crisis management

[1] Bulin D, Tenie IP. Preliminary assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the tourism industry. Global Economic Observer. 2020;8(1):41-46.

[2] Rebuilding tourism for the future: COVID-19 policy response and recovery. OECD policy responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Publishing; 2020.

[3] Guide for Local Authorities on development sustainable tourism. World Trade Organization; 1998.

[4] Butler RW. Tourism and sustainable development: Monitoring, planning, management. Nelson JG, Butler RW, Wall G, editors. Waterloo: University of Waterloo; 1993. Tourism: An evolutionary approach.

[5] Đekić S, Jovanović S. Konkurentnost i održivi razvoj privrede Republike Srbije. Krstić B, editor. Niš: Ekonomski fakultet u Nišu; 2016. Održivi turizam kao strategijski cilj razvoja turizma u zemljama jugoistočne Evrope; p. 272-288.

[6] United Nations Environment Programme, World Tourism Organization. Making tourism more sustainable - A guide for policy makers. United Nations Environment Programme, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics; 2005.

[7] Creaco S, Querini G. The role of tourism in sustainable economic development. Paper presented at: 43rd Congress of the European Regional Science Association; 2003 Aug 27-30; Jyväskylä, Finland.

[8] Jovičić D. Turizam i životna sredina. Beograd: Ton Plus; 2010.

[9] Moisey RN, Mccool S. Tourism, recreation and sustainability: Linking culture and the environment. CABI; 2008. Sustainable tourism in the 21st century: Lessons from the past, challenges to address, p. 283-291. doi: 10.1079/9780851995052.0343

[10] World Tourism Organization, Tourism for Development – Volume II: Good Practices. UNWTO.Madrid; 2018 DOI:

[11] Jovičić D. Turizam i životna sredina – Koncepcija održivog razvoja. Beograd: Zadužbina Andrejević; 2000.

[12] Mowforth M, Munt I. Tourism and sustainability: Development and new tourism in the Third World. London: Routledge; 2003.

[13] Stefanović V, Azemović N. Geneza teorijske misli o razvoju turizma. Teme. 2011;35(1):69-84.

[14] Duffy R. A trip too far: Ecotourism, politics and exploitation. London: Earthscan Publications; 2002.

[15] Popesku J. Menadžment turističke destinacije. Beograd: Univerzitet Singidunum; 2016.

[16] Pulido-Fernández JI, Andrades-Caldito L, Sánchez-Rivero M. Is sustainable tourism an obstacle to the economic performance of the tourism industry? Evidence from an international empirical study. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 2015;23(1):47-64.

[17] Farsari Y, Butler R, Prastacos P. Sustainable tourism policy for Mediterranean destinations: Issues and interrelationships. International Journal of Tourism Policy. 2007;1(1):58-78.

[18] Cucculelli M, Goffi G. Does sustainability enhance tourism destination competitiveness? Evidence from Italian destinations of excellence. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2016;111:370-382.

[19] Radukić S, Kostić Z. 4th international thematic monograph-modern management tools and economy of tourism sector in present era. Bevanda V, Štetić S, editors. Ohrid, North Macedonia. Belgrade, Serbia: Association of Economists and Managers of the Balkans in cooperation with the Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality; 2019. What is the impact of price factors on sustainable tourism competitiveness?; p. 169-182. DOI:

[20] Impact assessment of the Covid-19 outbreak on international tourism. World Tourism Organization; 2020 [cited 2021 Mar]. Available from:

[21] World Economic Forum. The travel and tourism competitiveness report. Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum; 2019.