German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Soft tourism

The concept of soft tourism encompasses environmental and social compatibility, optimum wealth creation, and a "new culture of travel".

The term has become the buzzword for a change of values in tourism, which has been demanded and is already being implemented to some extent. Resulting from the criticism of mass tourism (hard tourism) and its negative ecological, social, cultural and economic impact on popular destinations in Europe but also in the Third World, the call for "soft tourism" began to be heard towards the end of the 1970s in the social and tourism policy debate: its aims are qualitative, not quantitative sectoral growth, and quality of life instead of quality of consumption for holiday-makers and travellers.

The criticism of tourism began long ago:

As early as 1908, Hermann Löns is said to have complained:

"In future, it will be less a matter of our being able to travel anywhere, but whether it will still be worth arriving"

"Tourism destroys what it is seeking simply by finding it"

was Hans-Magnus Enzensberger's analysis in 1979.

Following the longstanding calls, primarily from protectors of Germany's natural environment such as Löns, and the later demands by conservationists and social critics for the conservation of the natural heritage, landscape and cultural identity, in 1987 representatives of the tourism industry declared nature and landscape to be the essential basis, or "quity", of tourism which must be preserved. In doing so, their ideas increasingly came into line with the notion of "conomy through ecology".

Last Change: 22/01/2020