Tourism has always been – from a historical perspective – a societal response to the human need for wellbeing and personal development, through interaction with other people and the environment.

Globally, demand for tourism and recreation opportunities has grown steadily over the last decades and tourism development, beyond its contribution to national economies, is nowadays a major driving force that impacts essential environmental assets (air, water, biodiversity, soil, land), both in tourist destinations (locally) and on a global scale.

Particularly, major tourist destinations are faced with challenges related to water supply, waste and waste water generation and management, which may exceed, in some cases, the carrying capacity of the territories. Also, land take and soil sealing, air and noise pollution from local means of transport, as well as visual pollution by the ever-expanding built-up areas, represent other – quite common – traceable consequences of tourism development.