Blue Community Program Coastal Sustainability Best Practices

Florida "Sustainable Toursim Management Practices"

Picture: Tampa Bay Times

Tourism Location: Florida

Overview: In 2016, Florida welcomed nearly 113 million tourists to the Sunshine State. This was a 5.9 percent increase from 2015 and the 6th consecutive record year for visitation. Florida’s Governor Rick Scott stated, “Visitors spent $109 billion and supported a record 1.4 million Florida jobs in 2016”. With tourism on the rise, some officials question whether or not Florida’s infrastructure and waste water management systems can handle the volume of tourism expected in the coming years.

Positive Sustainable Tourism Management Practices: Visit Orlando announced, “Of the 113 million tourists that visited Florida in 2016, a record 68 million visitors came to Orlando”. Many of those visitors pass through Disney parks and resorts. Disney has been taking giant strides to make sustainable tourism a part of their business model by considering the environmental, economic, and cultural impacts of doing business. Just one of Disney’s successes, is the state of the art design of their Reedy Creek Waste Water Treatment Plant that has the capacity to handle 15 million gallons per day. The treatment system is so effective that the resulting water is safe to drink according to state and federal requirements. Instead, the water is used for a number of other uses like watering it’s 175,000 trees, four million shrubs, and 13,000 rose bushes. So the waste water is not wasted, Reedy Creek has a series of weather stations controlled by more than 800 controllers throughout Disney’s properties that are used to control the irrigation.

Suggestions for Florida to improve Sustainable Tourism Management Practices: With Florida so dependent on tourism as a source of income, Florida will have to make serious changes to their current infrastructure and waste water management systems. These updates will save the state from potential human health and environmental disasters that are likely to occur in the future. St Petersburg learned this lesson in 2016 when they spilled an estimated 29 million gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay and the surrounding estuaries due to their waste water treatment plant reaching capacity and unable to handle outflows following multiple heavy rainfall events. This was a disaster that could have been avoided if the city had taken proper measures to manage their waste water in a sustainable manner. Beach closures are becoming more frequent around the state as officials test for bacteria in the water, and Disney could have the road map towards a sustainable future that will save the state and its cities from future economic and environmental disasters.

For more information on best sustainable tourism management practices visit:

For more information on Disney’s Sustainability efforts visit:





Yin, I. (2017). Florida "Sustainable Toursim Management Practices". Retrieved from


To add a comment, please Log In.