Promoting Sustainable Tourism through Vocational Education and Training (VET): A Pathway to a Greener Future

Sustainability is defined as the ability to meet the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In other words, it is a dynamic balance among our economic, environmental and social needs.

In general, Sustainable Tourism is a responsible approach of travelling that aims to protect the environment, preserve local cultures and support communities. The concept is centred on environmental responsibility, which means reducing the ecological impact, while maximizing economic benefits and fostering cultural respect. It involves practices that conserve natural resources, protect biodiversity, and support local economies.

In the present, the tourism industry faces significant challenges, including over-tourism, environmental degradation, and cultural insensitivity. Addressing these issues is essential for ensuring the long-term viability of tourism destinations. These problems emphasise the urgency of integrating the concept of sustainable tourism into vocational training programmes. Through educating future professionals to adopt practices that minimise environmental impact, respect local culture and promote Sustainable tourism, educational institutions are making a direct contribution to dealing with these challenges.

In this context, VET is crucial for developing a workforce that is not only skilled but also environmentally conscious. Having a deep knowledge of the subject increases professional skills and credibility, as well as improving customer satisfaction. Ultimately, it helps to acquire a competitive advantage in the market, attract more aware and responsible travellers, increase efficiency and profitability while supporting the conservation of the environment.

Professional Schools in Portugal that Teach Sustainable Tourism Practices:

Lisbon Hotel and Tourism School (EHTL) and Porto Hotel and Tourism School (EHTP): Offers courses that include modules on sustainability in tourism, ecological practices in hospitality and environmental management in hotels.

Escola Profissional de Hotelaria e Turismo da Madeira (EPHTM): Its aim is to provide training in tourism and hospitality with ecotourism components and the preservation of the island’s ecosystem.

Sustainable tourism is essential for the future of the travel industry, ensuring that tourism activities today do not compromise the ability of future generations to enjoy and benefit from the same natural and cultural resources. VET education plays a crucial role in this effort by integrating sustainability into its curriculum, producing skilled professionals who are equipped to tackle the environmental, economic, and social challenges facing the tourism industry. Embracing sustainable practices today, guarantees a greener future where tourism continues to be a source of joy and learning for generations to come.


Anne Hardy, R. J. (2010). Sustainable Tourism: An Overview of the Concept.

Gadotti, M. (2010). Reorienting Education Practices towards Sustainability. 9.

Sustainable Tourism Plan. (9th of July, 2023). From Turismo de Portugal: