Special Issue "Sustainable Island Tourism"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Tourism, Culture, and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Stephen Royle
Guest Editor
School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland, UK
Interests: Islands, Geography, Tourism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Tourism has become of major economic and, therefore, social and environmental significance to islands around the world. Tourism does not just provide employment; its adoption usefully sidesteps some common island problems. Visitors boost demand, assisting economies of scale for everything from goods to transport services. A tourist economy is not constrained by the limitations of on-island capacities: tourists bring money from elsewhere and spend it on goods and services whilst on the island. Some goods may even be brought in on the very planes or ships that deliver the visitors, and thus the island might just be the stage on which transactions are performed. To the tourist, the fact that islands sit apart engenders mystery and romance, positive feelings, and even paradisical associations. ‘Paradise’ and ‘island’ are words put together even in inappropriate settings, as with newspaper headlines in 2011, when 69 young people were slaughtered on the ‘paradise island’ of Utøya in a cold Norwegian lake. ‘Treasure island’ is another common phrase; how fortunate that Robert Louis Stevenson changed the novel’s original title from ‘The sea cook’. ‘The man who loved islands’ could be a tag applied to more than just D.H. Lawrence’s hero, and it is significant that when that man abandoned his first island, there were plans to turn it into a tourist resort.

Islands seek tourists, and tourists value islands, in seemingly a perfect symbiosis. However, there are tensions within such a relationship. Tourism, particularly mass tourism, can become a burden to both the environment and society. Islands are bounded, many being without wilderness or frontier regions, and the development of tourist facilities might require the sacrifice of limited, perhaps cherished, open space, or pre-existing land uses might succumb to tourist demands. Tourists need water and power, and they produce wastes, from packaging to sewage; thus, bounded island systems might struggle to provide the utilities or cope with the waste. Island cultures, perhaps including language and social traditions, might be challenged by a deluge of visitors, some of whom might not conform to local norms through disinclination or ignorance. Issues of sustainability relating to tourism’s impact on fragile insular systems may (or may not) be eased by ecotourism. Another aspect of sustainability relates to islands striving to hold on to their share of the tourism market in what is a fickle industry; fashions for destinations readily change. Tourism to islands, as elsewhere, can also be affected by strife and by economic downturns, such as the financial crisis of 2008 and now that caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This Special Issue of Sustainability seeks to explore sustainable tourism within island settings. Papers are invited that cover sustainable island tourism in general or theoretical terms or that deal with aspects of the issue relating to specific island settings.

Dr. Stephen Royle
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • island
  • tourism
  • sustainability

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Tourism, Transport and Climate Change: The Carbon Footprint of International Air Traffic on Islands
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1795; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041795 - 07 Feb 2021
Many small islands base their economy on tourism. This activity, based to a large extent on the movement of millions of people by air transport, depends on the use of fossil fuels and, therefore, generates a large amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. [...] Read more.
Many small islands base their economy on tourism. This activity, based to a large extent on the movement of millions of people by air transport, depends on the use of fossil fuels and, therefore, generates a large amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this work, these emissions are evaluated by means of various carbon calculators, taking the Canary Islands as an example, which is one of the most highly developed tourist archipelagos in the world. The result is that more than 6.4 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 are produced per year exclusively due to the massive transport of tourists over an average distance of more than 3000 km. The relative weight of these emissions is of such magnitude that they are equivalent to more than 50% of the total amount produced by the socioeconomic activity of the archipelago. Although, individually, it is travelers from Russia and Nordic countries who generate the highest carbon footprint due to their greater traveling distance, the British and German tourists account for the greatest weight in the total, with two-thirds of emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Island Tourism)
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