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Resource Capacity

Tourism growth, along with population growth, creates growing demand for the natural and cultural assets of a destination. Understanding the social and environmental ‘carrying capacity’ of a destination is part of sustainable destination management. Planning for sustainability has become an imperative for destinations, responsive to growing concern within industry, community and consumers regarding environmental degradation, resource constraints and more recently climate change. Read more
Tourism growth, along with population growth, creates growing demand for the natural and cultural assets of a destination. Understanding the social and environmental ‘carrying capacity’ of a destination is part of sustainable destination management. Planning for sustainability has become an imperative for destinations, responsive to growing concern within industry, community and consumers regarding environmental degradation, resource constraints and more recently climate change.

 

Developing a sustainable approach to resource management in a destination should:

 

  • Forecast visitor demand to predict the social and environmental demands and impacts of tourism developments and growth;
  • Assess a destination’s existing environmental footprint and identify the tourism impact on and use of scarce natural resources;
  • Engage stakeholders to actively participate in a more sustainable and resource efficient approach to tourism development and management; as demonstrated in the Great Ocean Road Sustainability Framework program that engaged industry stakeholders in identifying and implementing sustainability strategies and practices;
  • Destination Management Tip

    Environmental certification programs such as EarthCheck provide destinations and communities with an opportunity to measure and manage their environmental footprint against a set of indicators.

  • Assess the environmental legislation and policies that influence destination development and resource usage including carbon taxes and development controls;
  • Engage with government on developing appropriate land-use planning and development policies to ensure appropriate and sustainable design and development of tourism precincts and facilities, as demonstrated in the Byron Shire Council’s consideration of the destination’s image and values when developing land-use planning and development controls;
  • Identify strategies and actions for implementing sustainable practices in destination development, as demonstrated by Hong Kong in its development of an Environmentally Sustainable Development Strategy for Tourism focusing on environmental management, sustainability training, information development and land-use planning for tourism development;
  • Implement a performance monitoring program based on a defined set of sustainability indicators to review and monitor environmental impacts, as demonstrated in Queensland’s Sustainable Regions Program that assess four regions against a set of environmental indicators and the subsequent development of an environmental action plan;
  • Undertake environmental performance improvement through benchmarking performance against best practice; and
  • Reporting on environmental and sustainability performance to all stakeholders including consumers.

 

Leveraging approximately $260 million in research and the knowledge of more than 250 scientists from 16 leading universities, the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre developed the EarthCheck program, an environmental benchmarking and performance system based on the principles of Agenda 21. The Earthcheck program provides destinations and communities with an opportunity to measure and manage their environmental footprint against a comprehensive set of indicators, benchmark results against industry best practice, report and achieve certification for performance.


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