Tourism

The importance of tourism in people's lives has grown considerably over time. The aptitude to travel and make new experiences, against human and cultural enrichment, generates unfortunately dangerous impacts on the environment such as habitat damages, landscapes alteration, biodiversity loss, natural resources depletion, air pollution, increase of waste generation etc.

Tourism brings flows of people in "waves" everywhere in the world, with tangible consequences on the environment, resources and quality of life. Given the twofold dimension of tourism, both social and environmental, specific indicators may provide useful information for the assessment of the impacts of this activity on the environment, both at municipal and provincial level. In particular, ISPRA’s Urban Environment Quality Report analyzes some "key" factors involved in the relationship between tourism and environment: tourist accommodation density, number of beds, number of arrivals and number of visitors, tourism intensity, average stay, impact of tourism on the waste generation.

A sustainable tourism development, however, can progress without damaging the resources on which it relies on. Therefore it is necessary to promote sustainable forms of tourism in order to safeguard the natural, environmental, cultural and artistic heritage, which is at the basis of tourism development.

The voluntary eco-labeling EU Ecolabel (Regulation 66/2010) applied to the tourism sector as provided by the European Commission Decisions 2009/578 / EC and 2009/564 / EC, currently under review, is a significant indicator of environmental excellence of local tourist services. All the tourist facilities (from camping to b&b, from houses to hotels) whose priority is to protect the environment in which they are located, minimizing resource consumption, are eligible to obtain the EU Ecolabel.

The Ecolabel criteria applied to tourist services ensure that certified facilities take care of the following aspects: waste reduction, water and energy saving (with a constant attempt to use or increase the renewable sources), minimization of hazardous t substances. They also commit to promote  environmental education programs to disseminate the knowledge of the area.