Category: Third sector and social sustainability

Visions and case studies about third sector issues

Environmental sustainabilityStrategySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Typical challenges in mature destinations (I)

Conviviality between locals and tourists. The most tourist crowded areas are sometimes also residential, and so there are usually many issues related to difficult conviviality between the local residents and the visitors, such as nightlife noise, tourists’ inappropriate behavior, or just a certain invasion of the public spaces and facilities, which are designed for the residents’ use only.

This may be solved with the development of other clusters to spread the tourism flows, and more specifically by regulating nightlife schedules in a way that from a certain time on nightlife entertainment is only allowed in specific areas with no residents, fully dedicated to leisure and entertainment. Further these and other rules concerning the tourists’ behavior should be well communicated through the tourist establishments and agents, and also enforced by local policemen controlling the problematic areas.

Finally, it is essential to control the concentration of accommodation facilities in the most demanded areas, not only by limiting the licenses for hotels and hostels, but also by limiting the allowance of Airbnb offers to a minimum, like 1 room per apartment and 1 apartment by owner, avoiding the proliferation of tourist apartments in the residential buildings. In accordance with the new clusters’ development, the demand for accommodation should be directed to the new clusters, also to help them grow and create demand for their businesses.

Congestion issues in popular areas. Closely related to the previous point, congestion issues are not only affecting the resident’s life, but also the tourists’ experience. Solving the issue for the tourist entails spreading the tourist interest hot spots and constraining visitors’ flows according to carrying capacity and bottle necks’ capacity.

First, the cluster development strategy should create new attractions in clusters other than the most crowded, even changing the location of some attractions from the crowded areas to the new cluster, as long as it is possible. This may be the case of museums or other cultural entertainment facilities. This may be done either through new cluster development or through reconverting existing clusters. Also the new accommodation facilities should be concentrated in the new tourism clusters, both to give them life and discharge the most popular areas from some of the tourism flows.

This new cluster development or reconversion should be complemented with the creation of tourism itineraries encouraging visitors to discover the destination off the beaten track, and the creation of charming transportation systems to move visitors from one place to another, encouraging them somehow to visit the new tourism clusters.

Excessive dominance of tourism businesses in the residential areas. Some residential areas popular among tourists have seen an increase in the percentage of tourism related businesses over the commercial mix, up to an extent that they lack some of the services they used to have close to their homes and many traditional businesses have had to close.

Being more profitable, some tourism businesses take the premises traditionally dedicated to services or products for the residents, up to the point where they barely exist or are too scarce according to the residents demand. The tourism business profitability allows them to pay higher rents than many residents’ oriented businesses and therefore it’s hard for these ones to keep their location. Such kind of business cannibalism obviously goes against the residents’ interest and so it is likely to put those residents against the tourism development.

Many solutions may be implemented to tackle this issue. A special tax for the tourism businesses could be fixed, so as to diminish their profitability after taxes and eventually lower the premises rental prices. The revenues from these taxes should be invested in helping the affected businesses to reconvert or start-up in another location. Another solution, combined with this one, could be the creation of micro-clusters for tourism businesses, allowing them to settle down in certain areas, but preventing them to settle in other areas reserved for the residents’ oriented businesses.

What other challenges are usual in mature destinations?

Environmental sustainabilitySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Monitoring sustainability issues

Beyond the indicators related to the Competitiveness programs and mission related goals –poverty alleviation & environment protection-, it is also recommendable to carry out a comprehensive assessment of sustainability issues through the elaboration of a set of Sustainable Tourism Indicators (STI).

First of all, tourism sustainable development has to be based upon three main principles:

  • Equitability: the generation of wealth out of the tourism activity should be fairly distributed among all the destination stakeholders.
  • Livability: the tourism activity should allow the destination’s inhabitants to cover their present and future needs, ensuring a long-lasting quality of life.
  • Viability: development has to respect the carrying capacities of the destination ecosystems without using non-renewable resources

The indicators have to play the role of analyzing all types of factors affecting the structure of the tourism industry, assessing the benefits and impacts of the tourism activity, identifying critical issues that need to be addressed, measuring the achievement of the Plan’s objectives and orientating in the need for strategy shift in line with the objectives achievement.

Based on the 20 main sustainability issues identified in the WTO’s “Indicators of sustainable development for tourism destinations: a Guidebook”, Tangenay, Rajaonson and Therrien developed a list of 20 STI as the main indicators to monitor the key sustainability issues within a destination. These are exposed in the following table.

Sustainability issue Indicator
Ecosystem Area of natural protected space
Water Water consumption (tourism sector)
Atmosphere Air pollution (tourism sector)
Energy Energy consumption (tourism sector)
Waste Volume of waste recycled or treated/total volume generated
Well-being Level of satisfaction of the local population
Resilience and risk Environmental vulnerability
Security and safety Ratio of tourists to local population at cultural events
Health Quality of bodies of water (lakes, rivers and sea)
Satisfaction Level of tourist satisfaction
Public participation Level of public participation in election
Culture Level of maintenance of heritage sites
Accessibility Frequency, capacity of services, or level of use by existing transport modes to the destination
Investments Percentage of new real estate developments intended for tourism
Ecotourism promotion Number and % of businesses that acquired an eco-responsible label
Economic vitality Percentage of income generated by tourism in the community
Employment % of new jobs in the tourism sector occupied by local residents
Marketing Percentage of return visits
Distinction Number of visits to heritage sites
Traffic Volume of tourists

Whenever data is not available, other indicators for the same issue should be found according to the available data related to this issue in the destination. Further, in relation to the previous section about monitoring the implementation of the Plan, the STI scorecard has to include indicators directly related to the destinations policy on sustainability.

In this regard, the KPIs related to environmental impacts should be designed by specialized consultants specifically for every destination –depending on the type of environment and issues to tackle-, whereas some of the KPIs to track the evolution of poverty alleviation could be:

  • Newly created tourism businesses in the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased disposable income in the poorer layers of the community
  • Newly created “non-tourism” businesses serving the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased turnover of old businesses serving the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased number of households with access to Internet and computer literacy
  • Increased access to primary & secondary education in the poorer layers of the community

Concerning the value for money, service quality could be measured in two ways other than the tourists’ satisfaction:

  • Mystery tourist system, consisting of periodical service evaluation by outsourced professionals pretending to be casual tourists.
  • Tracking of congestion and “early sold out” services through systematic observation, to identify bottlenecks and unsatisfied demand for critical services.

Would you consider other indicators?

Environmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0Strategy planning & executionSustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

The principles and goals of a destination model: sustainability

Sustainability means qualitative and balanced growth preserving both socio cultural and environmental value. Sustainable development is defined as “the satisfaction of the present moment without compromising the capacity of the future generations to satisfy their needs”. In the tourism industry there are several forces favoring a tourism sustainable development:

  • The consumer pressure: greater consciousness about environmental issues, increase of alternative tourism concepts such as ecotourism, agrotourism, etc. and better preservation of the destination’s environmental and cultural resources.
  • The public authorities: through new regulations incentivizing conservation and recuperation of the environment.
  • The civil society: increasingly concerned about the environment, demanding measures for the conservation of the cultural, social and natural heritage.

There are however some forces against the sustainable development, namely the economic growth, which has to be countered with development planning measures and policies. Businesses want to increase revenue and financial value, the society is demanding employment, and the public administration needs their taxes to provide public services.

According to Professor Muller from the University of Bern, there are five conditions that a destination should comply with to be sustainable, all ingrained in the public policies:

  • Economic development, intending to develop tourism as an alternative economic sector.
  • Environmental conditions, intending to develop environmental consciousness and preserving the natural heritage.
  • Cultural identity, fostering traditions and local cultural heritage.
  • Social base, improving the life quality of the destination inhabitants.
  • Tourism attractiveness, improving the visitor satisfaction by leveraging the local heritage.

The public administration has to consider the needs of this development in the regulations, and ensure the participation of the local stakeholders through a campaign to arouse consciousness and concern about these issues.

Do you think of other conditions to make a destination sustainable?

Culture changeMarketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesSustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

The transformational power of storytelling: raising social consciousness

Similar to what happens with the self-awareness to know ourselves better, storytelling training also manages to shift our mindset and arouse a higher sense of social consciousness and connect with the values of our human spirit. In this process of gaining awareness and maturity, we frequently discover our wish to contribute to social causes and when we drive this will to action, we find out the fulfilling power of creating positive impacts in our community. Then it is when we are again on the way to becoming a better version of ourselves. There have been identified three main types of social transformation:

  • Cultural transformation. Listening to personal stories about unknown realities about which we often have many misconceptions works like an eye opener and eventually also as a mind shifter. When we listen to stories about stigmatized issues or taboo topics we are likely to discover many hidden aspects of that reality which may change our opinion, and therefore our attitude towards people related to that social group changes, and social value change begins.
  • Community building. Sharing community based stories may serve as a basis for discussion on community challenges and concerns affecting a significant proportion of its members. Such discussions may be the starting point for mapping out strategic guidelines to take action and address these issues. In this case, storytelling workshops help build solidarity among community members and join efforts, thus creating a deeper sense of community belonging.
  • Call for the need of policy enforcement. In line with the aforementioned community or social problems, stories told by people suffering these problems raise awareness about the need for more effective policies to tackle such challenges or just call for the need for further enforcement in the application of the current policies. Storytelling helps by giving a voice to the often overlooked minorities or discriminated groups that need further care and protection.

All these exposed life-changing effects are at the core of the value proposition of destinations approaching the Vision of Tourism 3.0, as a vital part of the mission and also as strategic experiences that empower and move people to join in the efforts in the mission pursuit. Such social motivations could be the ones to motivate the local community to learn the art of storytelling, which then could be used for destination marketing purposes.

Do you think of other ways through which storytelling may foster social consciousness?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsThird sector and social sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Development strategies (I)

Once designed the architecture of the model, it’s time to design the strategies to develop it to the utmost of its potential. The development strategies are likely to be quite different depending on the initial scenario, whether it is a resort, a decentralized destination or a group of resources to be exploited for the tourism business. Hereby are described the four key development strategies that are to determine the success of the destination model 3.0 in most of the cases.

Human resources development

One of the key factors that makes destination models 3.0 deliver a superior value proposition to other destinations is the better human development of its service suppliers, along with the service quality control and incentive system. The human resources development strategy intends to unlock and leverage all the human potential of destination stakeholders, by stimulating their creativity and empowering them to develop and bring in all their talents in benefit of the destination, giving them incentives and recognition for their contributions. There could be many kinds of training programs:

  • Empowering locals to become micro-entrepreneurs, coaching them on how to develop their idea.
  • Training employees and service suppliers on how to deliver a memorable customer experience.
  • Language training in the main languages of the target outbound markets.
  • “Storytelling training” for all local stakeholders on how to create and tell stories, developing their communication skills, and eventually giving them the chance of participating in rewarding contests and publishing their stories.
  • Training to develop artistic skills such as photography or graphic design, to be used in the creation of marketing contents.
  • Educating on business model innovation in order to both help entrepreneurs reinvent their own business and to participate in the open innovation system discussions about revamping the destination platform business model.

Some of these programs like the storytelling training and artistic skills development, should also be offered as life-changing experiences to the tourists, who eventually may generate ideas and contents for the destination.

Would you consider other skills development goals?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureSustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Integrating partners (IV)

Selling the vision to community stakeholders

The challenge of integrating all the community of stakeholders requires its own marketing plan, usually known as internal marketing plan. This plan should encompass the target stakeholders to attract in every phase, the integration formulas, and the communication strategies and actions to achieve these goals. Since the beginning when presenting the first model prototypes to pre-test and design the integration formulas and when eventually marketing the destination model to engage the community stakeholders, it will be necessary to explain them the model vision in a compelling way that connects first with their emotions and human spirit, and ultimately opening their want for a deeper understanding of the destination model rationale.

Stories are the best way to help people imagine how the new model is likely to improve their current status quo, how it creates value and therefore improves the community’s life quality. Stories convey the new model ideas to the people’s minds describing them in a way that overcomes resistance, the most likely reaction to new model propositions challenging the status quo. By capturing people’s attention and curiosity, compelling stories are to pave the way for an in-depth presentation and further discussion about the new destination model, to eventually make the potential stakeholders understand the implications that the new model would have for them: costs, obligations, efforts, and benefits for the individuals and the destination as a whole.

To better convey the idea about how the new model would operate for the local stakeholders, it is convenient to use one main character similar to the audience profiles (service suppliers) to be the protagonist. Such character should have similar problems, needs, concerns, fears and aspirations as most local potential stakeholders, so to make them feel identified with him and connect with the story. Then, the story shows the character finding out how the new model addresses all these needs and concerns, so to help the audience visualize the answers to their questions and fully understand the operation of the model.

Furthermore, it is convenient to provide potential stakeholders with an interactive tool where to “play” with the model simulating how it would be to become an integrated partner within the new platform. So long as the model system is complex, such tool is crucial to help potential partners understand and envision their possible fit. This should be complemented with workshops where platform representatives would attend community stakeholders’ queries.

Such destination’s vision is not only necessary to convince the community members to integrate, but also a guiding force that constantly aligns everyone’s efforts on their contribution to expand the destination mode to the utmost of its potential and to accomplish the mission.

In this stage, when defining the model to be deployed throughout the destination, one of the key points is to decide upon harmonizing the urban aesthetics style to be deployed throughout the destination. This should be quite flexible and should be voted by locals.

Would you consider other strategies when selling the vision to the community stakeholders?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsSustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Social benefits

As already introduced in previous sections, the mission of destination models 3.0 is to address social and environmental challenges that concern the stakeholders. In this section we explain the positive impacts that the tourism development intends to make according to its mission. The two main types of missions are most likely to be poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability, for which we need to define the role of the destination model in addressing these challenges, the goals and the metrics to measure its success.

When focusing on poverty alleviation, this is intended to be attained through fostering entrepreneurship in the base of the pyramid (BOP), favoring local businesses as suppliers, investing in infrastructure, and providing training, coaching and micro-funding to the poorest layers of the community, empowering them to become active players within the destination model. Ultimately, their participation brings along more human capital in the creation of experiences and stories, as well as a surplus of authenticity and variety that will positively impact in the visitor’s experience and the image of the destination.

Moreover, the raise of the bottom of the pyramid in terms of disposable income is likely to create multiple opportunities for the local economy, with all the new services and products that they may afford to buy. There could be many indicators to track the evolution of poverty alleviation:

  • Newly created tourism businesses in the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased disposable income in the poorer layers of the community
  • Newly created “non-tourism” businesses serving the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased turnover of old businesses serving the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased number of households with access to information technology and computer literacy
  • Increased access to primary and secondary education in the poorer layers of the community

Would you consider other relevant indicators?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainabilitySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Social & environmental costs

Even if destination models 3.0 intend to address social and environmental concerns by reducing the negative impacts that the tourism activity usually creates, it may not be possible to eliminate them completely, for it is necessary to foresee and monitor these impacts to obtain a holistic assessment on the mission accomplishment.

Furthermore, this section should also explain to what extent the destination model manages to reduce these kinds of costs in comparison to most conventional models. So long as the mission is not only to create positive impacts, but also to reduce negative impacts, it is necessary to gauge the negative impacts that the model manages to save in the social and environmental spheres.

There should be established a set of goals in relation to this intended impact reduction. For this purpose, a series of performance metrics are to be designed, along with those for measuring the positive social and environmental impacts. Once a year, a social and environmental audit should be carried out to assess the impact reduction in relation to previous years.

Some indicators on environmental negative impacts could be:

  • Air pollution
  • Acoustic pollution
  • Forest land reduction
  • River or sea water cleanliness
  • Survival status of endangered species

Some indicators on economic, social or cultural negative impacts could be:

  • Employment seasonality
  • Employment insecurity
  • Satisfaction of residents in tourist areas on the cohabitation with tourists
  • Rise of the real estate prices due to the tourism activity
  • Termination or offshoring of non-tourism local businesses replaced by tourism businesses

Would you consider other relevant indicators in either category?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeEnvironmental sustainability

Destination Marketing 3.0: Internal marketing strategy

It is necessary to market the vision, mission and values to employees and partners, as they have to become engaged to act as brand ambassadors in the social networks. This starts by executives performing an adequate leadership style according to the stated values. Only by delivering a value-driven leadership experience through everyday behavior will the executives manage to engage employees and partners in the mission and values they preach. The leader’s role here is rather to inspire and empower employees to develop their ideas towards the mission accomplishment.

Furthermore, so long as these values are successfully embedded in the corporate culture, these employees and partners in turn will be brand ambassadors inspiring and engaging other people in a life-changing experience. Such values ultimately deliver several pay-offs, like an increased capacity to attract talented employees, boosting productivity, and eventually improving customer satisfaction and recommendation.

Talented professionals look for employers empowering them to be creative, enabling them to develop their human potential. Furthermore, they are to be far more productive if they sympathize and believe in the mission that the organization is striving for. Outside stakeholders assess the organization’s authenticity according to the experience they have with their employees and closest partners.

Such cultural change may require important sacrifice, as it is necessary to stand by these values even if it hurts the business. Only then, when witnessing the employer’s integrity, will the employees engage in full commitment. Furthermore, such cultural issues are to be regarded when recruiting new employees and selecting partners, to make sure that they are likely to integrate within such culture.

Among the values to be promoted internally, it is important to regard the importance of innovation and collaboration beyond the organization’s boundaries as the main values that make a difference in sustaining the competitiveness and marketing the destination to outperform competitors.

Internal marketing should go beyond employees and service partners, also encompassing other partners such as non-profit organizations with whom the destination may cooperate for the development of mission-driven volunteering programs. These are to become key agents in both the mission accomplishment and the delivery of stories, as they hold reputation among communities of volunteers who may become mission-driven activists and brand ambassadors at the same time. Other partners in this section could be educational institutions, which may nurture the destination with storytellers and content marketing providers, as the mission driven purpose may inspire some educational activities in this direction.

Internal marketing is to be especially critical when the shift towards Marketing 3.0 is promoted by the DMO, as they need the commitment of all the destination’s operators.

In the case of the resorts, a specific internal marketing program has to be prepared for shareholders, to convince them on the new marketing strategy focused on the mission accomplishment and the long term profits rather than short-term. As the new marketing approach entails reformulating the business model to some extent, it is necessary to gain their approval to do so.

What kind of challenges do you envision when deploying Internal Marketing by a DMO in cooperation with the destination’s operators?

Business model innovationEnvironmental sustainabilityStrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Key activities & management (IV)

Monitoring the evolution of the destination’s activities through a system of key performance metrics which are to indicate the need for reorienting efforts or strategy in case the results do not meet the strategic goals. There should be many KPI sections:

  • Indicators tracking the outcomes of the open innovation system, like mission-driven initiatives, business model innovation discussions, as well as marketing ones like written stories, shared contents and other social media metrics.
  • Indicators tracking the expansion of the business model, like number of innovation system members (considering various member categories), partners by category, overall tourism arrivals, overall revenue, revenue per geographical market, revenue per market segment, average revenue per tourist, average length of stay, merchandising sales, occupancy rates, satisfaction rates, etc.
  • Indicators to characterize the evolution of tourist demand, identifying the behavior patterns for every market segment, like average expenditure, average length of stay, type of accommodation, activities carried out, type/size of group, trip organization, marketing channels, etc. These are also to gain a better understanding of tourists’ needs, concerns, motivations and aspirations.
  • Other indicators tracking the evolution of the business model such as the kinds of integration formulas to which most partners adhere (indicating the confidence inspired by the model), profitability of the business units, number of direct and indirect employments created, training courses attended and successfully completed by employees and partners’ employees, etc.
  • Indicators tracking the accomplishment of social and environmental goals, further explained in the section 2.12.

Further, it is necessary to explain the performance standards the model should comply with, the key metrics to monitor them, and the key competences needed to comply with such standards.

This section should explain in detail the operational system of all critical activities nurturing and sustaining the competitive advantages of the destination model, as well as the platform management system, stating the performance standards and the metrics to monitor the model’s evolution.

Do you miss any key activity to ensure its proper functioning? Would you add any other type of KPI?