Sustainable Tourism Destinations

This paper (“Sustainable Tourism Destinations: A Pathway for Tour Operators”) examines the relationship between tour operators and their existing tourism destinations. The intent is to help the tour operators plan strategically for building the sustainability of their destinations. A Framework for Strategic Sustainability Development, based on scientific consensus, was used to structure this work. Interviews with tour operators and tourism experts gave practical insight complementing the literature review and case studies analysed during the research. The key findings were the need for tour operators to: consider a whole-systems perspective; cooperate with the tourism destination to build a common vision of success and a clear understanding of sustainability; and to prioritise their actions based on achieving the vision. From this the authors proposed guidance notes to assist tour operators in addressing these barriers.The paper concludes that tour operators can play a major role in building a sustainable society while perpetuating the tourism industry. In order to do so their actions must be chosen and managed correctly. This involves cooperation with the destinations throughout the strategic planning process and for all involved to be on the same page in terms of the end goal, a sustainable society.


1 Introduction
1.1 An Overview of Tourism
1.2 Tourism and a Sustainability Society
1.2.1 Existing platforms for sustainability
1.3 Tour Operator as leverage
1.4 Tour Operator‘s Interest in the Sustainability of the Destination
1.4.1 Destination competitiveness
1.4.2 The business case
1.4.3 Tour Operators Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development
1.5 Research Scope and Limitations
1.6 Research Questions
2 Conceptual Framework
2.1 Generic Five Level Framework
2.2 Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development
2.3 The ABCD Process
3 Methods
3.1 Research approach
3.2 Phase 1: Background research
3.2.1 Literature review
3.2.2 Interviews
3.2.3 Case studies
3.3 Phase 2: Data analysis
3.3.1 Vision of a Sustainable Destination
3.3.2 The gap in the tour operators‘ planning
3.4 Phase 3: Strategic Guidance
3.4.1 Proposed guidance to tour operators
3.4.2 Expert feedback
4 Results
4.1 Vision of a Sustainable Tourism Destination
4.2 The Current Planning Framework
4.2.1 System
4.2.2 Success
4.2.3 Strategic Guidelines
4.2.4 Actions
4.2.5 Tools
4.3 Enhancing Tour Operator Planning
4.4 Guidance Notes
4.4.1 Core areas of the guidance notes
4.4.2 Sections within the three core areas
4.5 Expert Feedback
5 Discussion
5.1 Key Findings Discussed
5.1.1 A whole-systems perspective
5.1.2 Defining and envisioning sustainability
5.1.3 Backcasting from the vision
5.1.4 Actions and tools
5.2 Guidance Notes as a Response
5.2.1 Review of the guidance notes
6 Conclusion
6.1 Tour Operators Perspective
Additional References
Appendix 1: Conceptual Framework of Tourism
Appendix 2: Phase One – Interview questions
Appendix 3: Phase One – Interviews
Appendix 4: Phase One – Case studies
Appendix 5: Phase Two – TOI Planning Framework
Appendix 6: Phase Two – Systematic violations of sustainability principles
Appendix 7: Phase Three – Expert Feedback
Appendix 8: Proposed Original Guidance Notes

Author: Liane Fredericks, Roman Garstea, Sergio Monforte

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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