Sustainable development is a strategic objective of the international tourism policy especially since the Earth Summit in 1992. Within the framework of policy for the sustainable tourism development, an international legal framework has been put in place which in several ways seeks to harmonize the tourism development with the protection of the environment. The effectiveness of this legal framework depends on several factors, among which is its integrity, internal consistency, its applicability etc. At the same time, a particularly important parameter is the acceptance of this framework by the local communities and the realism in its application. This study examines the existing international and national legislative framework regarding sustainable tourism development and seeks to investigate especially for the island of Rhodes, a) whether the framework is rightfully applied, and b) in case that it is not or only partly applied, the reasons for this lack of compliance. The results of this study indicate that while the existing legal regime allows the regulation of the relations between tourism development and environmental protection, these laws largely do not apply to the island of Rhodes, either in terms of prevention and/or in terms of repression.

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