What is in the “Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners: The Essential Toolbox”?

The Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners is divided into four main parts that address different elements of sustainable tourism planning, operation and evaluation.  It contains 27 chapters providing insightful detail into key sustainable tourism issues.  The authors share step-by-step approaches to practical problems – such as how to write bankable financial proposals – how to consult with stakeholders – and how to manage visitors.  The book transfers knowledge from the academic realm, and from extensive practitioner experience, into one essential 550 page volume. 

Want to know how to develop a Theory of Change?  Louise Twining-Ward, Hannah R. Messerli, Jose Miguel Villascusa and Amit Sharma explain the principles of Theory of Change and then describe a simple five-step process to prepare one. Examples from World Bank projects are used to illustrate how to establish a clear connection between development challenges and desired impacts.

Need to know how to develop a sustainable tourism policy?  Mike Fabricius sets out guidelines for tourism policy formulation in developing countries. He addresses the importance of sound governmental tourism policies and strategies as foundations of sustainable tourism development. It explains differences in objectives, formats, ownership and timeframes of tourism policy, strategy, operational planning, master planning and other tourism planning instruments that are used in sustainable tourism management. A framework for tourism policy and strategy development and typical policy topics are provided and contentious issues in policy development are highlighted. Consultative processes for policy and strategy development are also briefly described in the Handbook chapter. In addition, techniques employed in destination competitive strategy development are explained addressing aspects such as competitive positioning.

Want to know how to develop a sustainable tourism masterplan?  Roger Goodacre describes the process of tourism master planning, including drafting the plan, starting with desk and field research, interviewing stakeholders, organising consultation workshops, and ending with the drafting and revision of the final report, and presentation of the final draft to government officials and stakeholder committees. Roger’s Handbook chapter identifies the keys to ensuring adoption of the master plan in a destination, and notably the crucial importance of consultation and achieving consensus among a wide range of stakeholders. Finally, Roger lists some of the principal sources of funding and expertise for tourism master plans, including international organisations, banks, development agencies and professional associations.

Want to understand outsourcing & commercialisation strategies for tourism in parks and protected areas?  Paul Eagles explains what is required for protected area authorities to establish commercialization strategies, and to help decide whether to insource or outsource tourism services. With a series of real-world illustrations, Paul describes how outsourcing can take place with for-profit companies, non-profit and community organizations, government departments and joint ventures. This chapter on commercialisation strategies outlines elements that should be included in procurement prospectuses used in competitive bidding processes, and characteristics of success and guidance to help managers make decisions on the range of partnership types. Given Paul’s extensive practical experience on concessions systems in Canada and else- where in the world, this is a chapter based in the practical realities encountered by protected area managers. 

The complexity of tourism services in Algonquin Provincial Park, explained in the chapter by Paul Eagles

Need to work out the feasibility of new tourism lodgings? PJ Massyn unpacks how to test proposed new lodging facilities for feasibility across various technical, legal, environmental, social and economic dimensions. PJ’s chapter on feasibility studies, business plans and predicting returns provides clear guidelines for practitioners to assess and answer each of these questions in turn and to evaluate project risks using a standardized risk assessment tool. This chapter provides instructions on the preparation of models that cover income statements, cash flows and balance sheets as well as key indicators of project bankability, together with examples and case studies. 

Financial modelling for new tourism lodgings, from the chapter by PJ Massyn

Need to know how to write a funding proposal for a tourism venture?  Michael Wright describes how to compile a funding proposal for a tourism venture. He explains that the nature of proposals differ depending on whether they are for new facilities, or existing businesses seeking support for expansion or refurbishment. Michael describes types of finance, sources, along with the advantages and disadvantages of different types of funder. Michael explains how to craft an enticing funding proposal and also how a funder will evaluate it. He also explains why sustainable tourism ventures are of particular interest to funders, particularly in relation to concerns about the sector and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Want to involve communities in tourism, and not sure how to do it?  Amran Hamzah explains how to plan for optimal local involvement in tourism and partnerships.  His Handbook chapter provides guidance on conceptualising, planning and delivering optional local involvement in tourism and partnership development. The chapter leads readers from the initial step of assessing whether a community is ready for tourism, through raising awareness, identifying champions, developing community organizations and partnerships, using integrated approaches, planning and design, marketing and promotion, through to monitoring its performance. He explains integrating participatory processes, consensus building, and conflict resolution with people both within and outside the communities. Amran highlights the challenges to local involvement and provides links to more detailed resources.

Community tourism model, from the chapter by Amran Hamzah

Want to develop sustainable tourism indicators for a destination? Ted Manning explains that destination management is a complex challenge involving knowledge of social economic and environmental attributes and changes which can affect the sustainability of an entire destination and its components. This Handbook chapter outlines the approaches and activities to establish a system of indicators for general use by tourism managers and some of the results of this initiative worldwide. Ted reviews the UNWTO approaches, the development of observatories of sustainable tourism and the relationship between analysis, standards and certification at the destination level. Best procedures to develop indicators and some success stories in application are also reviewed.

Explaining different approaches, from the chapter by Ted Manning

Want to develop sustainable supply chains in travel and tourism?  Jos van der Sterren looks at tourism supply chain management through the lens of sustainable development. His Handbook chapter proposes a method that allows researchers to understand inefficiencies and spillovers in tourism supply chains and propose solutions through a circular economy approach. His approach helps to establish supply chains incorporating options to reduce waste, re-use resources and recycle valuable materials. Notably, Jos stresses, that the success of a circular approach requires effective collaboration between organisations across the supply chain.

Supply chain modelling, from the chapter by Jos van Sterren

Want to understand how to do a value chain analysis for sustainable tourism?  Pro-poor value chain analysis can be used as an approach to measure, and improve, the economic impact of tourism on local communities in developing countries.  Jonathan Mitchell examines how value chain analysis (VCA) can be used to map and quantify the benefits that accrue to local communities from tourism in destinations. Jon’s Handbook chapter demystifies the process of undertaking a VCA, and shares a practical process that can be undertaken within 10–20 days of fieldwork. Drawing on his extensive global experience, Jon shares examples, practical hints and guidance, and explains the implications of VCA results for economic development and tourism practitioners.

Need to understand tourism sustainability standards and certification processes?  In his chapter on establishing sustainability standards in tourism, Randy Durband explains the importance of sustain- ability standards, their role, and how they are established and applied. Using two Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standards to illustrate, namely the GSTC Industry and Destination criteria, Randy explains how they are used and by whom, and how they are developed and maintained over time.   Then Monica Mic provides an evaluation of some of the most popular tourism certification audits and investigates successful cases and best practice but also identifies failures. Her chapter on tourism certification audits looks at the specific steps in the audit process, the different tools and approaches available to auditors, and compliance challenges among auditing participants in ensuring a good level of effectiveness and efficiency from audit activities. 

Levels of assurance explained, in Randy Durband’s chapter

Need to develop sustainable wildlife viewing practices?  Wildlife viewing tourism has grown substantially over the past few decades but some wildlife viewing practices threaten the sustainability of both business and conservation initiatives. Jeff Muntifering and Wayne Linklater demonstrate how a statistical modelling approach can help: 1) identify the characteristics of human-wildlife encounters that cause disturbance and displacement; and 2) design encounter guidelines that improve sustainability. Drawing from a real-world case in north-west Namibia, where paying tourists have an opportunity to encounter the critically-endangered black rhinoceros on foot, Jeff and Wayne illustrate how this integrated approach helped to reduce encounter displacements by 80% while maintaining a 95% positive feedback rating from guests. They also suggest some key issues to consider when applying to other species and contexts.

Want to understand how to do consultation for sustainable tourism? Carolin Lusby describes consultation approaches for sustainable tourism. She summarizes the main approaches that practitioners can use, giving special attention to the applicability of each approach to specific projects and circumstances. Providing guidance on the steps that each technique requires, Carolin also introduces a number of examples and case studies to illustrate. 

Consultation variations, explained in Carolin Lusby’s chapter

Need to develop a sustainable tourism research strategy or program? In his research strategy chapter, Steve McCool outlines a research strategy of acceptable biophysical and social conditions for sustainable tourism. He highlights challenges that protected area and destination managers have, and proposes a holistic research strategy to develop the knowledge and understanding at the foundation of more effective and equitable destination management. This is a thought-provoking chapter is underpinned by many years of experience on these complex ‘wicked problems’, using a systems approach. Then Liandi Slabbert describes how to establish and manage research programs in tourism destinations. Liandi provides an overview of the practices and protocols put in place by South African National Parks in designing and implementing its tourism research program, and how its research agenda was formulated in alignment with management priorities and kept relevant over time. She outlines the channels through which research is produced, discusses some of the challenges experienced and how these were overcome, with practical examples of research that have informed management decision making. 

South African National Park’s research approach, from Liandi Slabbert’s chapter

Want to understand how to improve the quality of visitor experiences while protecting resources they’re based on? The Visitor Use Management Framework is a tool used by US national parks and other protected areas to do just this.  Bill Borrie and Elena Bigard explain how this tool is used to identify the social, biophysical, and managerial conditions desired, in addition to meaningful and measurable indicators related to management actions. Step by step, their chapter takes readers through four stages of (1) building foundations, (2) defining the framework’s direction, (3) identifying management strategies, and (4) implementing, monitoring, evaluating and adjustment.   

Need to set sustainable visitor targets in a tourism destination? Paul F. J. Eagles, Andjelko Novosel, Ognjen Škunca and Vesna Vukadin deal with the challenging issue of establishing reasonable visitor targets that support sustainability in their Handbook chapter. With practical case study illustrations, they unpick the challenges of the ‘carrying capacity’ concept, such as the difficulties for public institutions in establishing minimum and maximum use levels. 

Need to avoid overtourism in your destination?  Ante Mandic explains how to optimise tourism development in destinations and alleviate overtourism. His approach adapts a Driver–Pressure–State–Impact–Response (DPSIR) framework to analyse potential and currently applied responses aiming to optimize tourism development. The step-by-step approach is described based on its application within the Mediterranean region, and specifically describes DPSIR elements in Split, Croatia. 

Want to learn how to do visitor counting and surveys?  Joel Erkkonen and Liisa Kajala draw on their extensive work across Finland’s protected areas to provide guidance on visitor counting and surveys.  They explain the entire visitor monitoring process, including data collection and using the data in reporting. Joel and Liisa highlight how the combination of systematic visitor counts and surveys can be used to establish a diverse picture of protected area visitation, and explain the application of findings to decision-making and policy. 

Visitor monitoring explained, by Joel Erkkonen and Liisa Kajala

Need to know how to work out the economic effect of tourism in a destination?  In their Handbook chapter on economic effects assessment approaches, Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Lynne Koontz describe the data and methods used by the US National Park Service to estimate the economic impacts and contributions of park visitor spending to local and regional economies. They provide an overview of required data (visitor count data, spending profiles, and economic multipliers), a description of how these data are combined to estimate visitor spending and economic effects, a discussion of how results can be used, and an applied example from Yosemite National Park.  Then Thiago do Val Simardi Beraldo Souza, Alex Chidakel, Brian Child, Wen-Huei Chang, and Virginia Gorsevski explain how the Tourism Economic Model for Protected Areas (TEMPA) is used by managers of protected areas in developing countries. They share examples of economic assessment – using the TEMPA and other approaches – in Brazil’s protected areas, the Kruger National Park in South Africa, and the Luangwa National Park in Zambia. 

Economic effects of tourism in the US National Park system, from the chapter by Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Lynne Koontz

Want to understand and manage the effects of biodiversity on tourism?  Whether developed in an urban, suburban, or rural area, human-dominated or wild, tourism can have substantial benefits and drawbacks on habitats, wildlife, and natural systems.  Shane Feyers, Gretchen Stokes and Vanessa Hull describe Rapid Biological Assessments as standardized procedures that tourism operators can use to assess the baseline biological conditions of sites. They share cost efficient, easy to use, and replicable tools that tourism stakeholders can assess the baseline biological conditions of a site, establish objectives and priorities for the use of biodiversity, and monitor the resulting impacts. Their Handbook chapter also presents information that managers can reference to inform guidelines for operators and visitors that can minimize negative externalities and maximize benefits.

Steps of Rapid Biological Assessments explained, in the chapter led by Shane Feyers

Want to measure social and cultural impacts of tourism? Social and cultural impacts of tourism are distinct and measurable, but their identification and standardisation of tools for cultural and social impact assessment remains elusive if not highly technical. Jackie Karathi presents phases and steps used in the application of social and cultural impact assessment tools, and describes the complexities of cultural and social dimensions. 

Want to learn how to do sustainable tourism case studies? Regis Musavengane and Darlington Muzeza explain the steps that researchers can apply to develop case studies. Using the example of case study research in Somkhanda Game Reserve in South Africa, Regis and Darlington explain how to plan, design, prepare, collect data, analyse findings, and share the results. 

The Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners is currently available in Hardback, and e-book versions, via the Edward Elgar website.

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