Month: February 2018

Environmental sustainabilitySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

4 Benefits that Sustainable Tourism Development Ensures for Cuba

The story of international tourism to Cuba is a complex one. From the pre-Revolution Tropicana Club and casino days to tourism’s eradication under Castro, and now back again with predominantly Havana and all-inclusive resort promotions, the island’s relationship to international tourism has constantly evolved. Cuba received more than three million international tourists in 2014, more than any other year in its history. This trend shows no sign of slowing down as arrivals for January 2015 outpaced January 2014 by 16%. Most of these tourists come from Canada and Europe, but as you might have heard, Cuba has another huge market entering the mix.

The smoothing of relations between the United States and Cuba nations may allow for a massive influx of American tourists in the near future, but for now this is uncertain. With the potential influx of tourists from the United States, will Cuba develop a sustainable tourism model a la Costa Rica, or will they choose to emulate the all-inclusive route so popular throughout the rest of the Caribbean?

Cuba has already developed a massive all-inclusive resort enclave, Varadero, on the northern coast a couple hours east of Havana. This 20-mile strand of beach is home to many joint ventures between the Cuban government and foreign companies, and only a small percentage of profits ever benefit the Cuban people. Massive all-inclusive resorts, although becoming more sustainability-focused, have a long history of being unsustainable. Profits depart destinations, environmental degradation occurs, and local traditions are shuttered or commoditized, leading to varying degrees of tourism imperialism.

Cuba has developed a few other all-inclusive resorts outside of Varadero, but an overwhelming majority of the island still lends itself to sustainable tourism development. By choosing to move forward with the sustainable tourism model instead of further developing mass all-inclusive resort tourism, four key benefits to Cuba arise:

  1. Protection of natural areas:

Cuba has 263 protected natural areas that combine to make up over 20% its territory. Promoting ecotourism to these parts, while maintaining safe environmental limits, can funnel more money into the conservation and enhancement of these sites or encourage the designation of even more protected areas. Many travelers are seeking an experience beyond the typical sun, sea, and sand of mass tourism. A visit to Cuba’s protected areas would create this opportunity while helping to develop the ever-elusive sense-of-place that destinations desire to create.

Costa Rica has used this sustainability-focused approach to become the ecotourism epicenter of Central America, if not the world. Sustainable ecotourism has become a dominant part of their destination image, and they have well-preserved resources that will sustain their tourism economy long into the future. Why couldn’t Cuba become the king of Caribbean ecotourism? Cuba and Costa Rica have similar natural attractions including breathtaking mountains, extraordinary biodiversity, and pristine reefs and wetlands. No other Caribbean island has an array of natural assets to match Cuba. Developing a sustainable tourism model brings an incentive to keep these areas protected long into the future.

  1. Preservation of cultural heritage:

In addition to amazing natural areas, Cuba has unique cultural tourism assets as well. UNESCO has designated an astounding seven sites on the island as cultural World Heritage Sites. Perhaps most importantly, these are spread throughout the island and only one is in Havana. Havana will never lack for tourists and distributing visitors throughout the rest of the country will be key to developing in a sustainable way. Linking these UNESCO sites and other cultural attractions together will encourage visitors to stay longer while creating a more authentic experience than all-inclusive resort travel. These outcomes fit the sustainable tourism model as profits would increase due to longer stays while spreading beyond the resorts and Havana.

The socialist history of Cuba is a tourism asset in and of itself. Even as Cuba eschews some of this philosophy, visitors will remain fascinated by the stories of Fidel, Ché, and the Revolution. Marketing these already-present Revolution-themed attractions instead of further promoting mass resort tourism builds upon Cuba’s unique cultural assets without further degradation of the natural or cultural environment, a possible outcome of building more resorts. This way, Cuba can show their cultural heritage while further developing the authentic sense-of-place that encourages repeat visits and promotes a positive destination image.

Cultural tourism could become a more powerful force throughout the island and is by no means limited to socialist history or UNESCO-designated sites. Baseball, music, dance, art, culinary traditions, agriculture, and many other aspects contribute to the island’s distinct cultural identity. By moving visitors and profits beyond the resorts and Havana, Cubans have more incentive to simply act naturally and be themselves instead of putting on tacky, commoditized representations of themselves at the all-inclusives.

  1. Support for the Entrepreneurial Movement sweeping the Island

The combination of Cuba’s natural and cultural assets can be integrated into an immensely marketable sustainable tourism arsenal. In theory, this sounds great, but what is the vehicle for achieving this goal? One option would be to facilitate the formation of private enterprise and entrepreneurial development, which has led to innovation, efficiency, and coordination in the tourism sector in other destinations. In recent years, the Cuban government has slowly integrated private enterprise into the economy. This has been undertaken largely to reduce dependence upon the government, which can no longer supply everyone with jobs or a livable wage, and to bring black market activities into the formal economy.

As private enterprise becomes more viable, competition will lead to innovation and increased efficiency in the tourism industry. The Cuban people, who are quite resilient and creative, have actually had to develop a sort of entrepreneurial spirit over the years to overcome economic hardships. In Cuba this concept is known as “resolver,” which literally means “to resolve” and can be understood as something along the lines of “we’ll figure it out,” or “we’ll do what we have to do.” Deep neighborhood and family networks have evolved out of this process. These networks have come together to solve problems time and time again. Isn’t that what entrepreneurs do?

Cuban citizens view tourism as an engine for enterprise creation, mainly in the forms of private houses (rooms available for tourists to rent in private homes), “paladares” (small, privately-owned restaurants) and transportation services. Patronizing these businesses undoubtedly leaves the impression of an authentic experience in the minds of travelers while simultaneously contributing to the well-being of local residents via increased income. However, categories of legal self-employment are still restricted in Cuba. For example, Cuban citizens cannot be self-employed as tour guides, although the government has shown a recent affinity for being more responsive than in the past. Further developing private enterprise in tourism disseminates the benefits of tourism beyond the top level, reduces leakage, and creates competition. Competition is vital to innovation and a constantly evolving tourism product.

  1. Improved well-being of Cuban citizens

As sustainable tourism catches on, Cubans will have access to more jobs and careers, higher earning potential, cross-cultural interaction, and new skills and training. A successful tourism industry with a healthy private sector component reduces dependence upon the government while empowering Cuban citizens to forge their own path. If Cuba can develop tourism similarly to the Costa Rican model, the results will be well-maintained natural areas and cultural sites which will provide jobs and careers well into the future. All of these developments contribute to improved financial security and overall well-being for Cuban citizens.

I see the potential for these four benefits to “spiral up” to create a sustainable tourism model in Cuba. If private enterprise flourishes, resident well-being increases, thus providing further incentive to protect natural and cultural heritage. Cuba has fantastic natural and cultural attractions, and once Cuban citizens gain more sovereignty in the business development process, the potential for innovative and sustainable tourism products is infinite. Of course the government will still be a key figure in this development, but it can help by enforcing environmental regulations and supporting programs to preserve cultural identity. Ideally, the public and private sectors work together to ensure that Cuba’s tourism growth happens in a sustainable way.

During my studies at East Carolina University’s M.S. Sustainable Tourism program, I worked with Dr. Carol Kline on my M.S. thesis and a subsequent publication in Tourism Management. My research examines the relationship between private enterprise and tourism development in Cuba. I traveled to Cuba as part of a research team to interview residents about these topics. Out of this process came a realization that this is a critical time in history for Cuba’s tourism industry. The possible influx of U.S. tourists only adds to the importance and immediacy of the need for Cuba to choose a sustainable path of tourism development. These decisions will determine the long-term success of tourism on the island and who benefits.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Community%20based%20Tourism

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

How Has Digital Changed Destination Touchpoints?

The rules of marketing have definitely changed. In this new digital environment, a weak and inadequate brand will quickly be exposed. The potency and breadth of new digital platforms are compelling DMOs to engage in activities that have greater relevance, integration, targeting accuracy, speed, and responsiveness. It’s now a two-way encounter, no longer totally controlled by the destination and its partners.

More Accessible Touchpoints

Touchpoints are the most critical moments where the customer comes in contact with the place and where its brand reputation can be enhanced or devalued. The Digital Age is opening an even greater range of opportunities to connect with customers before, during and after their visit.

Mobile devices have provided consumers with the 24/7 ability to source information (web), navigate (GPS), be entertained and learn (video), communicate (text), compare (Yelp), meet (Foursquare), brag (Facebook and Instagram) and review (TripAdvisor) while wandering through a museum, walking a forest trail or driving an historic route. Not to mention the power to enhance the interpretation, storytelling and ability to bring a place to life through place-based solutions. They are dramatically changing the way that visitors interact with places.

There are extensive opportunities for destinations to bring their brand to life and deliver value and amazing visitor experiences. For DMOs the challenge is to orchestrate and influence encounters to be as close as possible to the brand vision at every critical touchpoint. This coverage can now be integrated through traditional and digital platforms. While touchpoints may vary for each customer, they may be in the form of a magazine ad, tradeshow, booking, website, tweet, kiosk, smartphone apps, map, street sign, tour guide or myriad other encounters.

A location that doesn’t optimize the use of these assets and fails to present itself as interactive, engaging and experiential won’t develop a meaningful brand or sustainable destination. Those destinations that will excel are clearly differentiated, innovative, and connect and inspire customers across its most critical touchpoints.

An Era of Opportunity

Rather than be threatened by these new rules and digital tools, DMOs should embrace them by fostering a city-wide culture of innovation, adaptation and collaboration. Despite these new assets and changes to consumer behavior and interaction, the basic principles of branding haven’t changed. To thrive and survive DMOs must learn new skills and be more adaptive in conveying their destination’s distinctiveness and benefits across myriad media, platforms and touchpoints that destination managers could not have accessed a decade ago. And to achieve this they must be guided less by politics and appeasement, and more by collaboration, product development, and true customer focus.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Environmental sustainabilityStrategySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Six Models to Link Tourism to Conservation (II)

If developed and managed properly, a sustainable tourism strategy can aid conservation efforts. A destination’s natural environment, often the catalyst for tourism development in the first place, must be preserved to sustain tourism in the long run. Part I of this article discussed the first three of Solimar’s six models that link tourism to conservation:

  • Improve Tourism Operations and Guidelines
  • Increase Tourism Awareness and Constituencies
  • Increase Income Diversification

Here are three additional ways that tourism can assist a destination’s natural conservation efforts:

  1. Increase Monitoring and Research

This model supports conservation by increasing the presence of guides, visitors, and researchers in critical areas where environmental degradation occurs. Two main strategies arise:

      4.1 Increase the Role of Local Residents in Monitoring and Research

Local residents often participate in conservation efforts by forming patrols or gaining employment as research assistants. Coastal residents can conduct nightly beach patrols to prevent the poaching of sea turtle eggs or illegal fishing. Tourism stakeholders can commit funding to these patrols or commission research projects with local residents as assistants. Execution of this strategy often depends on vital support from NGOs. By playing a role in monitoring and research, local residents gain awareness of conservation issues and form a deeper attachment to the local natural environment.

       4.2 Increase the Role of Visitors in Monitoring and Research

‘Voluntourism’ increases in popularity every year. Tourists increasingly seek travel through which they can learn about a cause while making a positive impact on their chosen travel destination. Tourists can sign up for long-term stays at ecolodges or engage in direct conservation efforts through National Parks or private businesses offering such experiences.

  1. Increase Tourism-Generated Conservation Financing

Most conservation professionals agree that increased funding would help their efforts. If tourism can increase the amount of funding available to conservation-related businesses and organizations, reliance upon donations decreases and the whole operation becomes more sustainable. This model involves four strategies:

     5.1 Utilize Sustainable Tourism Profits to Support Conservation Activities

This should be seen as investing in a destination’s long-term future. The natural environment often draws tourism to an area in the first place, so investing in the future of that environment enhances the likelihood of long-term sustainable tourism. Examples of profit reinvestment include increased monitoring and research, hosting ‘volontourists,’ or replacing less efficient equipment with new, more eco-friendly equipment.

     5.2 Develop Travel Philanthropy Programs

Creating programs that provide a reliable way for visitors to donate can greatly aid conservation efforts. This strategy involves several steps: developing visitor appreciation of the site’s resources, increasing visitor understanding of the threats to those resources, fostering visitor understanding of efforts to mitigate those threats, and finally, presenting the visitor a reliable way to donate to those efforts.

    5.3 Develop Conservation-Themed Brands and Merchandise

Many National Parks and conservation organizations sell t-shirts, mugs, hats, and other merchandise. A simple, easily identifiable logo with clear text should be used on merchandise as well as websites, publications, and news releases. The WWF and their panda logo provide a good example. Publicizing details about how merchandise sales lead to conservation can encourage sales.

   5.4 Promote Mandatory or Voluntary Protected Area Entrance/User Fees

Visitors often have to pay a mandatory fee to use a protected area. Parks can sell daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, or yearly passes. Sometimes fees correspond to an activity undertaken in the park so entrance may be one price while an additional fee may apply for fishing or camping. These fees can be used to hire more guides or rangers to protect the park or to increase the availability of interpretation within the park.

  1. Increase Conservation Partnerships:

Increased cooperation between local residents, protected areas, NGOs, and private business can accelerate conservation efforts. When communities can share in the economic benefits of a sustainable tourism strategy, the likelihood of effective long-term partnerships increases. This model involves two main strategies:

     6.1 Developing Partnerships between Protected Areas, NGOs, and Universities

Attracting researchers from NGOs or universities brings revenue to protected areas through the provision of food, lodging, and other services. The research itself builds a more thorough understanding of the natural processes taking place and can inform future conservation efforts. The Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador often hosts researchers for months at a time while bringing in large student groups for 2-3 day tours and hikes. Many of these efforts develop through a partnership with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).

     6.2 Developing Partnerships between Protected Areas and Communities

Concession agreements, which allow local businesses to operate within protected areas, are becoming more widespread. This creates a financial incentive for local residents to engage in sustainable tourism practices. As business flourishes, commitment to the sustainable management of the protected area arises.

Destinations seeking sustainable solutions to conservation issues should employ the models and strategies listed above.

This blog post is from   www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/item/222-solimar-s-six-models-to-link-tourism-to-conservation-part-ii

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketingTourism trends

Integrated, Multichannel Tourism Marketing: Gadgets, Books, Films & more

When content is king and there are multiple channels to distribute various types of content, how can we make sure that the right message appears at the right people at the right time? Today that travelers are using a combination of offline/online sources and platforms throughout the travel buying cycle, it is crucial to develop integrated, multichannel marketing campaigns as a result of proper strategic planning. Right content at the right time means appropriate messaging per channel, smartly using available tools which will all come together to complement the overall destination brand. DMOs are called to utilize any given opportunity to pull their audience deeper into the destination’s brand, by being active content distributors, combining traditional promotional tools and marketing activities in smart ways which place excellent content where their target market is. Let’s have a look at a variety of recent destination marketing initiatives across various channels and mediums:

First Google Glass Tourism Campaign

Tourism authorities at The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel have become the first to use Google Glass technology for a tourism marketing campaign,  wanting to give visitors a hands-free way to capture their vacation. The Floridian beach area saw 1.3 million people create 17.9 million social media impressions in four days earlier this month when five bloggers, writers and authors visited the area under the #FindYourIsland hashtag, with the new glass technology to test whether this could actually be a new way of visitors’ destination experience.

Google Glass can show users various information through the lenses while it allows the user to take photos and video and share them on social media platforms by voice command. New way of experiences on the way?

The five ambassadors showed the region’s natural beauty, history, outdoors, art and culture and culinary offering through a series of challenges. Potential tourists participating had the chance to win a holiday to the area or a pair of Google Glasses when they become available in 2014. Tweets included the #throughglass hashtag to maximize the spread of all the images, videos and blogs.

Tourism Ireland Launches Online Foodie Films

Tourism Ireland has launched the first in a series of new online short films, with the intention of enticing foodies across the globe to visit Ireland.  For the first short, online now and available to view here, Cobh and Cork are in the spotlight.

Tourism Ireland aims to tell the story of our indigenous food, to capture the attention of foodies worldwide. The short videos, called Flavours of Ireland, aim to whet the appetites of those interested in a culinary journey on their holiday or short break. at the same time,

Florida Tourism is Getting into Reality TV

The chief marketing officer for Visit Florida recently announced that the state’s quasi-public tourism marketing agency is supporting three new reality TV shows with three cable networks. The shows on the Golf Channel, Telemundo and BET will feature Florida settings and start running next year. It’s the first time Visit Florida is getting into the reality TV business, although the agency has supported other television ventures, including a Florida cooking show with Emeril Lagasse that will have a second season. Meanwhile, going beyond movies,

Hong Kong Tourism Marketing through Books

In its latest marketing drive, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has collaborated with bestselling Indian author Durjoy Datta to write a romantic novel set in the city, “Hold My Hand”. The HKTB firmly believes that the passion of Indian consumers for books and Datta’s popularity in the market will generate huge interest in Hold My Hand and Hong Kong, the city where the love story in the book takes place. HKTB Executive Director Anthony Lau said, “India, with its rapidly growing outbound tourism, is one of Hong Kong’s five key new markets. Seeing Indian’s passion for books, we decided to go for an unusual way this year to attract more Indian visitors to Hong Kong.  We hope that our ground breaking PR initiatives, including the book, will help us consolidate Hong Kong’s presence in the market and attract more Indian visitors to Hong Kong.” Leveraging the novel, the HKTB will collaborate with major attractions and other trade partners in Hong Kong to develop a special “Hold My Hand” Travel Package that features the romantic places visited by the novel’s protagonists. It will also partner with Macau and Indian travel agents to promote multi-destination itineraries to Indian travellers. Sources: Hong Kong Tourism BoardVisit FloridaTourism IrelandThe Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel

This blogpost is from   http://www.toposophy.com

Environmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0SustainabilityThird sector and social sustainabilityTourism marketing

Destination Marketing for Voluntourism

Increased awareness of world issues and global needs has led to a rise in the desire to help others abroad. Travelers want to reconnect with humanity, find a sense of meaning, and help their global neighbors in a hands-on way, rather than simply through monetary contributions. While there has been some push-back questioning the merits of voluntourism, many eager travelers are still looking for opportunities where their time and skills will be useful to others.

What is Voluntourism?

Voluntourism, the responsible travel experience which combines helping, learning, and exotic traveling, is becoming increasingly popular for people of all ages who are concerned with world issues and social responsibility. Travelers use their holidays to give back to others, rather than as pure recreation. These trips can be anywhere in length from a few days to a few months. Projects can involve teaching, building schools or other infrastructure, helping with agriculture, or assisting with disaster relief.

Participants typically pay their own expenses when volunteering abroad, but some costs can be tax-deductible. In exchange for their time, voluntourists typically receive an affordable alternative to a vacation that includes orientation, language and technical training, a safe place to live and work under conditions common to the country, and a network of logistical staff to help plan the trip.

Types of Voluntourism

1. Philanthropic or donor travel. Travel philanthropy differs from other types of voluntourism in that its purpose is to supplement a philanthropic gift. Charitable organizations sometimes plan or even sponsor trips for their donors so that they can experience first-hand the work that the organization is doing. The trip could be intended to research a cause, establish a relationship with the recipient, or as reassurance that a philanthropic gift is worthwhile.

2. Private or group travel. Individuals or groups who want a charitable experience during vacation can participate in cultural or community exchanges in which they can volunteer their time. Families, groups, or individuals can create their own voluntourism holiday with a tour operator or join an existing trip with an organization.

3. Urgent service travel and disaster relief. There is an abundance of intense volunteer opportunities in second-response disaster zones after any type of natural disaster. This type of voluntourism tends to be less expensive than other types, although some organizations require that the participants raise additional donations above the cost of the trip. Skilled professionals like doctors and construction workers are in high demand, though almost anyone can help to provide immediate relief.

Voluntourism Marketing Strategies for Destinations:

  • Review the region’s current service assets to identify unique opportunities for visitors.Creativity and uniqueness are important, because travelers have a variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from. Offering one-of-a-kind experiences to travelers with differentiate a destination from its competitors.
  • Build on exisiting organizational relationships.Choose service projects that will also support tourism-related causes, issues, and events, such as museums, zoos, historic buildings, national parks, and conservation efforts that will interest tourists as well as connect them to the region’s other offerings.
  • Add information about volunteering to destination websites. The Alabama Gulf Coast’s website promotes future travel experiences in voluntourism on its website and across its social media platforms as a fun activity to participate in that will preserve the coast for generations to come.
  • Create a catalog of volunteering options for travel planners.Providing a program of unique voluntourism activities will interest tour operators as well as individual travelers. For example, partnering with zoos and national parks can provide sustainable conservation opportunities, while arts programs and museums can provide cultural opportunities for volunteers.

This blog post is from  www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Destination%20Management?start=10

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Disney “Commandments” = Great Learning for Cities and Downtowns

I once came across the informal guidelines that have inspired and guided generations of Disney Imagineers as they design and manage the Disney theme parks and guest experiences. These guidelines are based on the original insights that Walt Disney used when he built Disneyland in 1955.  But it was Marty Sklar who documented these principles and called them “Mickey’s Ten Commandments: Ten Things You Can’t Forget When You Design a Theme Park”. Sklar was one of the unsung heroes of Disney. He joined Disney one month before Disneyland opened, and until his retirement in 2009 directed the Imagineers using these Commandments.

The Commandments are very simple and the principles can be applied to many situations related to tourism development, branding and marketing, urban planning and visitor experience management.

  1. Know your audience – Don’t bore people, talk down to them, or lose them by assuming that they know what you know.
  2. Wear your guest’s shoes – Insist that designers, staff, and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible.
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas – Use good storytelling techniques, tell good stories not lectures, lay out your exhibit with a clear logic.
  4. Create a ‘weenie’ – Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey.
  5. Communicate with visual literacy – Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication – color, shape, form, texture.
  6. Avoid overload – Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects, don’t force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more.
  7. Tell one story at a time – If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories. People can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical.
  8. Avoid contradiction – Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. The public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen. (Yes, Walt Disney was advocating the principles of branding long before they were applied to places.)
  9. For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of fun – How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let them participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all of the senses.
  10. Keep it up – Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance,
    people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on a broken and dirty environment.

In suggesting Disney principles and techniques I am not advocating the “Disneyfication” of cities and downtowns. Make no mistake, Disney properties are theme parks. They are not city or community downtowns where residents live, work, study and play. However, Disney locations have raised best practice standards in visitor experience design and consequently provide excellent learning opportunities for ambitious communities.   The genius of Walt Disney never ceases to amaze me, along with lessons from his systems that we can apply to communities everywhere.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Environmental sustainabilitySustainabilityTourism trends

Six Models that Link Tourism to Conservation, (I)

One of the ways that tourism benefits destinations is by augmenting conservation efforts. After conducting an analysis of both internal and partner projects, Solimar International has identified six principal sustainable tourism models that link tourism to conservation:

  1. Improve Tourism Operations and Guidelines:

This model emphasizes limiting or reversing the negative consequences on nature that can result from tourism. There are three principal strategies for improving tourism operations and guidelines to promote conservation efforts:

         1.1. Promote Sustainable Tourism Guidelines with Visitors

By promoting a ‘code of conduct’, destinations can ensure that visitors, for example, do not leave trash, pick endangered flora, or use flash photography where it might be harmful or startling to wildlife. It is important that these codes of conduct are communicated effectively through signage, pamphlets, interpretive guides, or even on websites and social media so visitors have an understanding of conservation before they arrive. Myanmar, new to hosting significant numbers of tourists, provides a great example of a visitor code of conduct with their ‘do’s and don’ts‘ campaign.

          1.2 Promote Sustainable Tourism Guidelines within the Travel Industry

By promoting effective guidelines within the travel industry, local businesses and organizations can work together to limit their impact on the natural environment. Agreeing upon certain standards, preferably before a destination attracts large numbers of tourists, can maintain the natural beauty of an area before it’s too late. For example, businesses and organizations can work together to establish best practices for responsible seafood harvesting, responsible souvenir gathering, and responsible boating practices.

          1.3 Promote Sustainable Tourism Guidelines within Protected Areas

Promoting conservation efforts within protected areas requires significant interaction from a wide range of stakeholders, both public and private. Example guidelines to follow may include limiting camping to select areas within a park or limiting the number of fish to be taken from rivers or lakes each day. Once a plan has been formulated, effective promotion is imperative to the success of the plan.

  1. Increase Tourism Awareness and Constituencies:

This model moves beyond simple education about tourism impacts to emphasize the active role that both visitors and residents can play in conservation efforts. This model incorporates three principal strategies to augment conservation efforts:

      2.1 Increase Awareness and Conservation Support of Local Residents

It is important that conservation efforts begin with locals, as residents are as much of a conservation threat as tourists. Lack of awareness, lack of economic alternatives, and long-standing traditions are often reasons locals engage in damaging practices such as unsustainable extraction of resources. Ways to increase awareness and reverse damaging actions include teaching environmental education classes with local groups or organizing a local festival to celebrate the very resource being damaged. In Latin America, sea turtle educational classes and festivals have been organized to raise awareness about the importance of sea turtle conservation and the damaging effects of poaching their eggs.

       2.2 Increase Awareness and Conservation Support of Visitors

Guides are vital to informing visitors about threats to conservation and explaining to the visitors how they can help whether that be through a donation or “adoption” programs. Programs such as these can help visitors develop an attachment to an area, increasing the likelihood of a donation, and also to spread the word about the importance of conservation when they go home.

       2.3 Link Benefits of Sustainable Tourism to the Community as a Whole

As local residents see benefits from sustainable tourism increase, the likelihood of long-term sustainable practices increases, too. Direct beneficiaries include tour guides, hotel managers, and chefs while indirect beneficiaries include family members of direct beneficiaries as well as operators of ancillary services such as construction companies or grocery stores. Non-employment-based ways the tourism industry can benefit communities includes the organization of local clean-up events, improving sanitary services, or hosting volunteers.

  1. Increase Income Diversification

If local residents realize sustainable tourism presents a livelihood, they are more likely to behave according to sustainable tourism principles. Two main strategies for assisting conservation evolve according to this model:

      3.1 Target Resource Extractors with Sustainable Tourism Employment

It may seem counterintuitive, but poachers can become optimal tour guides. Poachers often know a lot about a particular animal and can share stories and knowledge on a unique level. “Reformed” poachers often provide a unique human interest story as tourists are very interested in how and why their behavior changed. Resource extractors are much more likely to change if tourism provides an increased wage through tips, salary, or a year-end profit sharing program.

      3.2 Developing Tourism Products that Directly Mitigate a Conservation Threat

An optimal situation occurs when new products, jobs, and revenues develop and directly support conservation efforts. Local residents can create arts and crafts out of old newspaper, cans, bottles or other upcycling methods and sell them to visitors, eliminating solid waste and creating revenue simultaneously. Artificial coral reef creation has been effective in attracting divers and photographers away from susceptible natural coral reefs, where damage from tourists is common.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council provides a framework for destinations seeking to develop a sustainable tourism strategy. Many of their guidelines apply to the conservation-related ideas discussed in this post.

This blog post is from   www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/A%20Business%20Approach%20to%20Conservation

Collaborative business modelsTourism trends

Sharing economy and tourism: seeing the elefant in the room

With the aim of monitoring the growth and influence of sharing economy in the wider field of travel services, many institutions such as the Institute for Tourism Planning and Development from Portugal in their ‘Tourism Trends Review‘ have highlighted the impact and evolution of this phenomena:
As a new style of peer-to-peer (P2P) commerce, sharing economy does not merely involve an unusually large number of options for transport, accommodation, and recreation activities. It has also provoked a shift in role of service user and provider. In this environment, contemporary consumers can openly express their individual interpretations of tourism product uniqueness and authenticity as well as indulge themselves in an imaginative manner while moving around well-known and emerging destinations.

This issue was also discussed in 2015 during the 1st Semi-Annual Meeting of the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association with ECTAA and HOTREC representatives and Ms. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission.

In the European Cities Marketing Annual meeting of CEOs of Capital and Major Cities 2015, was an occasion to examine latest destination trends at an influential policy level and focus on the respective impact of sharing economy stakeholders. In two sessions, brainstorming between ECM members and a vivid debate with Airbnb also shed light on what it takes for destination authorities and P2P platforms to work together and deal with issues of common interest over the provision and consumption of travel services. Particular emphasis was also given in exchanging views with representatives from Barcelona and Amsterdam, two cities which have already developed approaches to sharing economy and monitor their results.
It is a fact, however, that both these influential events were only the tip of the iceberg during a busy 2015 including relevant speaker engagements in countries such as Israel, Montenegro, Belgium, Estonia, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, and the UK. In all these cases there were moments of great empirical value, especially when we were given the opportunity:

– To realize how market dynamics together with latest statements of UNWTO/EC officials put sharing economy on the spot in this year’s World Travel Market, while only on the sidelines last year.

– To take a look at the actual results of Tel Aviv’s recent partnership with Airbnb to promote the city in joint manner and exchange views with representatives from Barcelona and Amsterdam, two cities which have already developed approaches to sharing economy and monitor their results.

– To learn under what conditions sharing-economy friendly legislation has been in place for decades in Croatia and how hotels team up with BnB apartments and offer them concierge services.

To concentrate for the purpose of this blog post on HOTREC project, the key objectives of the policy paper were to understand the various issues that arise due to the fast growth Short-Term Private Accommodation Rentals (STR) and contribute to the development of a suitable regulatory environment to level the playing field.

When traveling for business or leisure, booking a private house or apartment to stay in via a P2P platform is seen as a trendy and affordable choice: booking, arriving, collecting the key and making oneself, quite literally ‘at home’. More importantly, a simple fact is already common knowledge.

Although the Global Economic Crisis reinforced an interest towards the more effective use of existing resources and the development of new sources of income, advances in technology such as social media and mobile devices accounted for the strongest driver of the sharing and trading of private assets particularly in the case of travel and tourism services.

To examine how the STR have evolved in recent years and transformed the ‘playing field’ for all those involved in offering visitor accommodation, HOTREC policy paper takes into account the following perspectives and international trends.

Business growth: From 2010 to 2015 venture capital firms have invested billions in the “sharing” economy start-ups, with the sectors of transportation and accommodation receiving the biggest shares of funds. Major companies such as Facebook and Amazon are also included lately among potential entrants to the “sharing” economy through the development of peer-to-peer services and partnership-building with existing start-ups.

Consumption patterns: Younger generations (Millennials are commonly identified as those born between 1980 and 1999, and who entered their teenage years as from the year 2000, putting them currently in the 18-35 age group) appreciate a lot customization in customer service at a global level as enabled by technological advancements. P2P Platforms have been effective in using global tools to enhance interaction between service providers and users at local level as well as in providing affordable options for value-seeking Millennials.

–  Entrepreneurial mobility: P2P platforms are  also providing a range of products and services for a new type of footloose global entrepreneur, often freelancing or part of a SME (of which there are now many more, in the wake of technological developments and the global economic crisis). “The way we think about long-term residents versus an emergent and more globalized and mobile population” is actually changing due to the growing appeal of P2P services in transportation, accommodation, and all sectors defining the business travel experience.

–  Forms of employment: P2P platforms provide alternative sources of income to individual service providers, who opt to work as micro-entrepreneurs of the freelance economy. A gradual transition from contractor to employee relationships is however less likely to happen in the accommodation sector, where properties are managed by their owners or tenants. The issue lies in that the sum of individual and commercial activity undercuts hotels on price. When there is also a negative effect on hotel revenues and jobs, it might be another case where technological progress has not yet proved to be a driver for jobs creation.

–  High-level policy making: The activity of the “sharing” economy start-ups has also drawn the attention of national governments and supra-national agencies. Elements of innovation are not rejected in principle, yet political parties in countries such the UK and Canada already participate in a vivid exchange of both positive and negative views on the “sharing” economy.

As these perspectives frame the discussion of various issues including terminology and scales of activity together with suggestions for legislative work, you can a have a look at the HOTREC Policy Paper if you’d like up-to-date knowledge on the agenda of Short-Term Private Accommodation Rentals or even share your thoughts with us.

This blogpost is from  http://www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=418