Sustainable tourism design and development need to consider environmental, social, economic, cultural and experiential factors.
Recent research undertaken by the STCRC indicates that any development, at any scale, must be informed by the natural and cultural environment in which it is situated. A sustainable tourism facility, in terms of design, is therefore location and site specific. These site-specific considerations are inextricably linked to creating an authentic sense of place, in both the destination and product.
The sustainable design process generally follows a cyclical process of gathering knowledge, developing concepts and proposals and testing these proposals. This process accommodates the complex interactions between designers/architects, engineers, builders and managers.
Recent Australian publications (see Design Guidelines for Sustainable Tourism Development). These include meeting market demand, uniqueness of place, nature of the experience, access to financial resources, feasibility analysis, environmental responsibility, community support, cultural sensitivity, and control of construction and associated costs.
From a design perspective the three most important factors are:
The visitor – the concept must meet market demand. The more the target market is understood the more likely the product will meet customer needs;
The desired experience – supplying visitors with experiences they want. Visitors are looking for experiences that are different, authentic and compelling and that evoke an emotional response.
A sense of place – the unique characteristics of a setting or place that give it value and make it a place worth visiting.