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The challenges of tourism destinations sustainable development

A sustainable tourist destination is reached when environmental, community and economic values are balanced and resolved through collaboration and compromise to achieve a level and style of tourism that:

• protects and enhances the natural and built features upon which the tourism industry is based

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• is consistent with community values and aspirations both now and over the long term, and contributes to community development and well-being

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• is appropriately developed and marketed so that it is distinctive, competitive and synergetic, and with the flexibility to respond to market changes now and in the future

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• increases the contribution of tourism to the economy of regional destinations and promotes long-term industry viability

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• increases destination appeal, delivers on brand promise, increases repeat visitation and enhances the reputation of the destination resulting in increased yield from tourism

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Challenge 1: Reducing the seasonality of demand

This may require:

· Adjusting target market selection towards non-seasonal markets (e.g. business tourism, non-family segments and certain niche markets)

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· Innovative product development, packaging, events and promotion in the off-season

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· Price differentials and incentives

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· Joint working between service suppliers and operators to extend opening times

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· Re-scheduling and spreading of school holidays.

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· Encouraging employers to enable flexible leave taking.

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Challenge 2: Addressing the impact of tourism transport



 

This may require:

• Research, support and regulation leading to improvements in vehicle, aircraft and fuel technology and traffic management (including air traffic control)

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• Participation by the aviation sector in an EU emissions trading system, and encouragement of all international airlines to participate in similar systems.

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• Actively promoting carbon-offsetting schemes to travellers, with the support of operators.

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• Adjusting taxation and pricing mechanisms to reflect environmental cost.

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• Actively and creatively promoting alternative transport options (equally for the enjoyable experience they offer as well as for their low impact) and providing high quality information to tourists on them.

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• Investing in appropriate infrastructure and services (cycle trails, rail services, coach and car parking, etc.) using revenue from environmental taxes where appropriate.

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• Continuously improving integration between different types of transport service and ease of use by tourists.

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• Adjusting target markets and promotion towards more local and domestic source markets.

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• Encouraging fewer but longer holidays, while recognising that this goes against recent market trends.

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• Promoting attractions and activities within and around the destination rather than longer excursions.

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Challenge 3: Improving the quality of tourism jobs

 

Action should include:

• Strengthening the application of common standards in tourism training and mutual recognition of qualifications

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• Application of life-long-learning initiatives

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• Exchanging good practice in tourism training, removing language and other barriers to common uptake.

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• Integrating sustainability issues into mainstream tourism training and education.

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• Active promotion and PR work to stimulate response to tourism as a career and participate in training at all levels.

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Challenge 4: Maintaining and enhancing community prosperity and quality of life, in the face of change

In response to both types of change, careful destination planning and management is required to:

• Influence the scale, nature and location of development, to ensure that tourism is integrated with existing activities and that the community remains in balance.

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• Check that proposed new development is in line with market trends and future demand – for example, demand patterns in rural tourism are significantly different now than in the past.

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• Give priority to types of accommodation and facilities that reflect the special character of the destination, minimise environmental impact and deliver value to the community (economic and employment).

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• Maximise the proportion of income that is retained locally and other benefits to local communities, through strengthening local supply chains and promoting use of local produce, shops and other services by visitors.

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Challenge 5: Minimising resource use and production of waste

Other issues relating to efficient resource use and waste management include:

• Minimising energy consumption (for example in air-conditioning and heating) and encouraging the use of renewable sources and improved technology.

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• Promoting and facilitating the reduction, reuse and recycling of materials.

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• Water quality, including the efficient treatment of sewerage, avoiding discharge into marine and river environments. Greywater should be reused wherever possible.

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• Air quality, including conditions relating to traffic congestion.

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• Reducing and managing litter.

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Challenge 6: Conserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage

Relevant action to address this includes:

• Being more prepared to use the tourism argument (as an economic driver) as a reason to fund the protection of nature and culture and prevent damaging change.

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• Appropriate designation of protected areas.

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• Strengthening the relationship between protected areas and local tourism interests, within the context of a sustainable tourism strategy and action plan.

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• Strengthening skills and tools available to protected areas, relating to development control, environmental management, visitor management, product development, information and interpretation, and monitoring.

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• Adopting visitor management plans to ensure that tourism does not damage natural and cultural resources.

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• Pursuing ways of increasing contributions to conservation and management from visitors, the tourism sector and other enterprises benefiting from tourism.

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• Supporting conservation activity, linked where appropriate to tourism, on individual sites and private land, including the restoration of heritage buildings and the maintenance of traditional landscapes and habitats.

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• Strengthening the development, interpretation and promotion of quality products and services based on natural and cultural heritage, including traditional crafts, local produce and other elements of local distinctiveness, as a component of the visitor experience.

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• Developing monitoring programmes to measure trends and impacts and facilitate adaptive management.

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Challenge 7: Making holidays available to all

 

Relevant action includes:

• Encouraging policies and actions to support social tourism at all levels.

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• Raising enterprise awareness of the size of the market and the economic advantages as well as social benefits.

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• Ensuring universal adherence to workers’ leave entitlement, safeguarding this aspect of social security guaranteed by the social model.

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• Improving information relevant to disabled people and under-privileged groups.

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• Encouraging a broad price range in tourism facilities and experiences

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• Pursuing specific schemes to facilitate and encourage holiday taking by people on low incomes, such as the holiday voucher systems run in some countries based on tax incentives and involving governments and operators.

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Challenge 8: Using tourism as a tool in global sustainable development

 

Relevant action include:

• Promoting equity in tourism development and travel, whereby all countries have the same right to develop tourism and citizens of all countries have an equal right to travel.

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• Encouraging aid programmes to recognise, and support, appropriate tourism development as a tool for sustainable development and poverty alleviation, and to work together and with international bodies on this.

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• Encouraging tour operators and investors in tourism services abroad to abide by sustainability principles and seek to benefit the environment and local communities in which they operate.

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• Promoting awareness by locals of responsible travel options and behaviour.

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• Sharing knowledge and good practice on sustainable tourism with other countries and regions of the world.

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Date: 2016-03-03; view: 249


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