The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) described twelve aims for making tourism sustainable.

  1. Economic Viability: to ensure viability and competitiveness so they are able to prosper and deliver benefits in the long term

  2. Local Prosperity: to maximize economic contribution to the host destination, including a proportion of the visitor spending to be retained locally

  3. Employment Quality: to strengthen the local employment opportunities, including level of pay, conditions and availability without discrimination by gender, race, disability or other ways.

  4. Social Equity: to seek a widespread and fair distribution of economic and social benefits from tourism throughout the recipient community, including benefiting the poor

  5. Visitor Fulfilment: to provide safe, satisfying and fulfilling experiences for visitors to all, without discrimination

  6. Local Control: to engage and empower local communities in the planning, decision making, development, management and future strategies of tourism in their area, in consultation with all stakeholders

  7. Community Wellbeing: to maintain and improve the quality of life in local communities, including access to resources, amenities and life support systems, and avoiding social degradation and exploitation

  8. Cultural Richness: to respect and enhance the historical heritage, authentic culture, traditions and distinctiveness of host communities

  9. Physical Integrity: to maintain and enhance landscapes, both urban and rural, and avoid physical and visual degradation of the environment

  10. Biological Diversity: to support the conservation of natural areas, habitats, and wildlife, and minimize damage to them

  11. Resource Efficiency: to minimize use and waste of scarce and non-renewable resources in the development and operation of tourism facilities and programs

  12. Environmental Purity: to minimize the pollution of air, water and land and the generation of waste by tourism enterprises and visitors

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) have developed guidelines or Criteria to be followed for the implementation of sustainable tourism programs. These are known as the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, and provide a method for organizations to implement as many as possible of the twelve aims mentioned above.

It is also recognized that in the case of small or micro and community owned tourism businesses that have a small social, economic and environmental footprint, limited resources may prevent comprehensive application of all criteria.

Eco-tourism Africa recognizes this and assist companies in identifying their Social, Economic and Environmental strengths and weaknesses, and helps them improve to meet the desired criteria.