Corruption, deforestation, and tourism - Europe case study

Heliyon. 2023 Aug 11;9(8):e19075. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e19075. eCollection 2023 Aug.


Wood represents one of the most used natural resources: from construction to musical instruments, tools, toys, fuel, shipbuilding, and, not to mention, stationery, as it is indispensable for modern society. Europe has important wood resources, but for some countries, their sustainable exploitation is at least questionable. However, other countries prefer to monetize their natural resources by developing a competitive tourism industry. In this study, an analysis of European countries in terms of corruption, deforestation, and tourism is undertaken, in order to approach and discuss the specific characteristics and to identify the factors that determine a country to manage its natural resources in a sustainable way. The methodology used is quantitative, employing secondary data, resulting in different ways of data visualization. The main finding is that low levels of corruption and high levels of tourism competitiveness are associated with countries that manage their forests in a sustainable way. This confirms the research question: Competitive European destinations that enjoy the presence of well-established sustainable tourism products have managed to reduce the level of corruption and implement developed environmental policies, including forestland protection. The practical outcome of this paper is to point towards a long-term solution to decrease deforestation. In summary, sustainable development of the tourism sector must be part of the long-term initiatives to reduce the levels of illegal deforestation.

Keywords: (Sustainable) tourism; Corruption; Deforestation; Europe; Sustainability.