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Sustainable Tourism – promoting environmental public health

University of Copenhagen via Coursera


The MOOC introduces learners to key environmental health and natural resources management challenges associated with the rapid growth in international tourist arrivals into low-income countries. Since infrastructural and regulatory capacities in such countries are often limited they are more exposed to the negative implications of such development. The MOOC will present experiences and potential avenues to develop a more sustainable form of tourism.

The Course particularly focuses on the problems and potentials of tourism development in small island states in tropical and sub-tropical settings and highlights the challenges of such development on vulnerable ecosystems. It also highlights how tourism development in Zanzibar results in increased pressure on its marine environment, solid waste management, water resources and control of mosquitoes. These factors will be used as tracers of impacts and areas for future improvement towards a more sustainable form of tourism. Zanzibar will be in focus during this course and used as a case in order to exemplify how a massive increase of Tourism in a low income and resource poor setting, can increase the vulnerability of the local population.

The Course topics also relate to a number of targets under the global Sustainable Development Goals, especially:
Goals 3: “good health and well-being”
Goals 6: “clean water and sanitation”
Goals 14: “life below water”
Goals 17: “partnerships”.
Thus, the Course is a continuation of the efforts and discussions raised as part of the 2017 international year of sustainable tourism.

A diversity of perspectives and areas of expertise will be presented by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, State University of Zanzibar, representatives from the hotel sector and international experts in specific areas of sustainable tourism.


  • Tourism and the global sustainability agenda
    • This module will present the global trends in tourism and its social and environmental impacts. Policies and strategies aimed at developing a more sustainable form of tourism in low-income countries will be discussed, including the role of sustainability certification systems for hotels and destinations. The importance of tourism to Zanzibar and the environmental health impacts associated with the tourist sector on Zanzibar will be highlighted.
  • Tourism - a major consumer of freshwater and producer of waste water
    • This module will highlight the role of hotels, in low-income countries in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, as significant consumers of freshwater and producers of wastewater. The module will discuss the impacts this may have on the health of the marine ecosystem and the management of the freshwater resources, especially the problem of saltwater intrusion. Zanzibar will be used as a case. The potential of introducing new policies, technologies and management approaches in support of a more sustainable management of water resources will be discussed.
  • Promoting the environment
    • The general challenges of managing solid waste generation by the tourist sector will be highlighted and examples provided to explain the scope of the problem. The extent and nature of the obstacles associated with poor solid waste management linked to the tourist sector on Zanzibar will be discussed focusing on the environmental health impacts of waste generation. Policies and private sector initiatives taken to improve waste management will be presented. In particular, environmental management interventions aimed at mosquito control at resorts will be highlighted as an example of how to develop a more sustainable tourist sector.

Taught by

Flemming Konradsen


4.7 rating at Coursera based on 1248 ratings

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