Sustainable tourism, ecotourism strategies, community development and participation in tourism

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Promoting sustainability in the tourism sector has been a key objective for more than 30 years since the first Earth Summit was held in Rio in 1992 organised by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). Inappropriate tourism development and the lack of tourism management or tourism policy damage the environment. Therefore, tourism must be planned in a manner that minimises the impacts of its activities and maximises the benefits that it can bring by promoting environmental protection and generating funds for protection, as well as by increasing environmental awareness at the local level. ITC-A introduces the concept of sustainability in all its development projects. The consultancy has participated in major environmental assignments such as contributing to the UNIDO-led COAST project, conducted in partnership with UNWTO and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which aims at reducing the harmful impacts of tourism practices to the coastal ecosystems of nine African countries. ITC-A assisted the Government of Cambodia in developing the ‘Tourism Clean City’ concept over a period of four years. This has now become an ASEAN-wide standard.

The socio-economic and socio-cultural impacts of tourism at a destination need to be managed so that local communities are able to prosper from the growth of the sector where they live. Policies and strategies are formulated to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are also spread to the local population and that cultural identities are protected and not diluted to fit stereotypes held by visitors. ITC-A has worked on poverty reduction projects, notably for the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation (Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty). ITC-A’s approach is to strengthen community participation and benefit sharing by building Destination Management Organisations (DMO) at the local level, conducting workshops and training programmes with local communities, providing small business development and planning advice and developing tourism products related to nature, community-based tourism and rural tourism. For example, ITC-A formulated an Ecotourism Strategy for the Government of Sikkim in India funded by the Japanese development agency, JICA, designed to develop and improve the sector for the benefit of fringe-forest local communities while ensuring environmental conservation. The consultancy established local DMOs in Korça, Southern Albania and in Ghana, West Coast to provide the local communities with a structure to manage their own tourism sector.

  • 2014, Cambodia: continuation of the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard; presentation of final indicators and criteria and training of master assessors/auditors (Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, Acting for Life)
  • 2013, Laos: ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard; ITC-A made the final presentation of the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard (ACTCS) carried out since 2011 for succesful approval by the ASEAN Ministers (Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, Acting for Life)
  • 2012, Cambodia: ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard; ITC-A defined and developed the criteria for the indicators and presented these to the member countries at a workshop organised in Phnom Penh (Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, Acting for Life)
  • 2011, Cambodia: ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard; ITC-A provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia to develop a methodology for the ACTCS based on an approach elaborated by the NGO Acting for Life and to select appropriate indicators (Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, Acting for Life)
  • 2011, Senegal and Cameroun: COAST project ‘Development and Implementation of Mechanisms for Sustainable Tourism Governance and Management in Coastal Areas’; ITC-A was commissioned to carry out the studies in the two French speaking countries of the nine in the project involving assessing current coastal governance and management systems in place to address damage caused by tourism and coastal erosion resulting from the impacts of climate change (UNIDO, UNWTO)
  • 2010, Island of Rodriguez, Mauritius: Sustainable Development Indicators; ITC-A was intrumental in presenting research on sustainable tourism indicators to monitor private sector tourism firms and projects on the Island of Rodrigues belonging to Mauritius (Acting for Life)
  • 2009, Sikkim, India: Preparatory Study on Integrated Project for Sustainable Development of Forest Resources in Sikkim;  ITCA provided the project identification and formulation of the ecotourism strategy component (JICA)
  • 2008, Qatar (conducted in UK): Ecopark in Qatar; ITC-A provided advice to the engineering firm MHW on the tourism component of an EcoPark development in Qatar (MHW)
  • 2008, Cambodia: Formulation of an Ecotourism Development Plan for the protected area Peam Krasop in Koh Kong Province; ITC-A formulated the plan (Government of Cambodia)
  • 2008, Mauritius: Sustainable Development Indicators; ITC-A with Acting for Life presented results of research carried out on sustainable tourism indicators to monitor private sector tourism firms and projects (Acting for Life)
  • 2005, Tulear, Madagascar: Sustainable Development Indicators; ITC-A lLed a team to elaborate sustainable tourism indicators to monitor private sector tourism firms and projects; seminar and workshop with government officials and Tuléar tourism professionals on the practical application of the indicators (Acting for Life)
  • 2003, Maputo, Mozambique: Sustainable Development Indicators; ITC-A led a team to elaborate sustainable tourism indicators to monitor private sector tourism firms and projects (Acting for Life)
Chute de la Lobé, Kribi, Cameroun
sustainable tourism
Sikkim, India
Community tourism: hands-on workshops at Ntonso village, Ghana

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