Sustainable Tourism Session 1
Three great presentations demonstrating different aspects of tourism development were provided in session 1
The first Rural tourism initiatives in Northeastern Portugal: 2007-2013 regional incentives promoting tourism presented by Silvia Nobre gave a good introduction into the development of tourism initiatives to promote the rural economy and job diversification particular attention to those promoting rural tourism (RT) and focused on actively participating in a rural lifestyle. The activities that were funded under the Rural Development Programme (PRODER) were provided. In the assessment of the program whilst the number of the local accommodation projects increased, the activities are still insufficient and not networked, thus limiting the tourism potential. A major issue is the lack of any strategic/targeted promotion (marketing plan/communication) emphasising the diversity of touristic opportunities especially to overcome the problem of seasonality
The second from Mary Benjamin provided insight into her study on the Mountaineering Experience. The objective of this study was to determine the Critical Factors influencing the mountaineering experience and Assessing Management Practices in three selected areas. An outcome of the research was the development of the 7C’s of the mountaineering experience. The second phase of the research looked into the current management and management actions of the three areas and provided findings on the mountaineer’s perceptions of the management practices of the three areas. Mary’s presentation gave an interesting insight into the motivations of those undertaking mountaineering activities through the & C’s and how these can assist in better management of these sites.
The third presentation gave an overview of the initial phase of the development of a tourism destination development plan for a small part of the eastern Himalayas in the Tibetan Autonomous zone. The report presented an overview of the process so far followed and looked at the requirements of the next phase, required in order to make the plan a feasible one to meet the overall objectives. The value of tourism to the local (and the Chinese economy) was provided and the suggested pathway to achieve the community goals was introduced. On of the objectives is to develop a world heritage status for the Parkhang Monastery (Print House) and the age and significance of this was surprising to the conference attendees. It was emphasised that sustainable tourism principles, community involvement, and adequate planning to minimize any negative impacts upon the environment, culture and local economy. The current remoteness and access difficulty of this region was highlighted, however with the soon to open new highways, tunnels and trains that will open, the type and quantity of visitors will significantly change.
A lively discussion on the need for strong community involvement rather than imposition of planning and the need for appropriate research that recognises the changing tourism landscape that can keep ahead of the current surge in tourism worldwide. Whilst opportunities for this research and planning exist worldwide, a lengthy discussion was undertaken on the opportunities and frustrations and value of working in places like China and other emerging countries. However the current attempt to research/plan before any development action was undertaken was very well received. Additional discussion ensued on the future need to introduce the research on the business side of the tourism development to complete the loop.
Unfortunately two reports were unable to be presented which would have added additional dimensions to the development of sustainable tourism.