A snapshot of the “Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners: The Essential Toolbox”

By Dr Anna Spenceley (Editor)

Why was it written?

cover-handbook-eeThe Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners emerged from the sustainable tourism research and consulting work I’ve undertaken over the past 20 years, across more than 30 countries. During this time, I have had the good fortune to collaborate with many highly skilled consultants and foresighted clients.  This period has taught me a great deal about approaches that work, those that do not, and a daunting array of potential ‘landmines’ to be avoided along the way.

Work on sustainable tourism is demanding whether you’re the one doing the work, or the one asking for it to be done.There are ambitious and complex tasks, where clients and destination stakeholders have high expectations that practitioners can respond to a wide range of multifaceted challenges. However, there is often limited time which to undertake assignments and deliver meaningful answers; and also budgets that are not always expandable if the task changes during the process.  Clients and destinations expect – and should get – value for money and high-quality deliverables.

What would have been helpful for me – particularly in the early years of my work – would have been access to a suite of good practices that address different approaches and techniques in sustainable tourism.  And I realized that this type of resource was not only needed by consultants – but also needed by the governments, destinations, and tourism companies that needed information – and also by agencies commissioning sustainable tourism assignments – so as to develop a common understanding of what good work should look like during the process, and what should be delivered at the end.  To me it seemed there was a gap in the information available to everyone involved.

Hence, the idea for the Handbook was born, and Edward Elgar generously agreed to publish the work.

Who’s it for?

I believe that the Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners will be valuable for all those working on sustainable tourism, whether practitioner consultant, researcher, government, tourism destination, company or financing agency.  All of these players need to know what to ask for – what is entailed in the process – and what a good output looks like.

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What’s in the Handbook?

The Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners is divided into four main parts that address different elements of sustainable tourism planning, operation and evaluation.  It combines practical advice from 50 leading international practitioners, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the past, and all of whom I respect immensely.

The toolbox contains 27 chapters providing insightful detail into key sustainable tourism issues, and with a forward by Professor Xavier Font.  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.

Notably the authors have developed and finalized their papers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.   I don’t take their efforts lightly – the past year has been incredibly challenging for people across the word – so that the authors were able to complete their contributions in this unique period of our lives – is a testament to their resolve and professionalism.

Furthermore, the volume was peer reviewed by Professor Marina Novelli, Dr Susan Snyman and Dr Louise Twining-Ward, who I thank immensely.

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Can I take a closer look?


Watch the two launch events on YouTube, with presentations by lead authors and discussion of how the tools can be used to build-back-better from COVID-19 here.

Get a snapshot of each chapter, and read the first chapter and foreword free here.

How do I get the Handbook?

The Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners is currently available in Hardback, and e-book versions, via the Edward Elgar website: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-for-sustainable-tourism-practitioners-9781839100888.html

35% hardback discounts are available for:

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Virtual book launch recordings: The Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners

cover-handbook-eeOn 21 and 22 April 2021 two virtual launches were held for The Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners:  The Essential Toolbox.  Using the links below, you can listen to lead authors provide snapshots of their chapters, and the insightful discussion with participants on using sustainable tourism practices as we build-back-better from COVID-19.

Written by world experts in their fields, it fills a gap in the market for sustainable tourism research that is helpful and practical. It is gratifying to read all these chapters from consultants and practice-oriented academics that I have admired for years, which allow us an insight into the experience they have gained over decades of working for some of the most influential international organisations, overseas development agencies, governments and protected areas.’ – From the foreword by Professor Xavier Font

Event 1: Listen to the recording here
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Event 2: Access the recording here
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Get the book here:
The Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners:  The Essential Toolbox in hardback or ebook editions.

Preview the book: Read the introduction by Dr Anna Spenceley, and foreword by Professor Xavier Font here

50% early bird discount: There is a 50% discount on the hardback until the end of April 2021: Use the discount code SPEN50 at checkout to redeem it on the Edgar Elgar website

Virtual Book Launch events: Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners: The Essential Toolbox – 21 and 22 April 2021

cover-handbook-eeThe new ‘Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners: The Essential Toolbox’ has been published by Edward Elgar in hardback and e-book versions.

We would like to invite you to a virtual launch of the book, where the editor and distinguished lead authors will share insights into tools that support sustainable tourism planning, operation, and evaluation.

Then please join us for a conversation about how these tools and sustainable tourism practices can be used to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Below are details of the 1-hour launch events and the lead authors of the chapters that will join each session.

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Find the best event for your timezone (you are warmly invited to join one or both events).Screenshot Timing links 2

Use the Zoom meeting ID and passwords above, or simply click here to Join Event 1 or Join Event 2.

Get The Handbook for Sustainable Practitioners in hardback or ebook HERE

75% LIMITED LAUNCH DISCOUNT: Edward Elgar are offering the hardback for £50 + postage in a launch special, valid until Friday 23 April 2021. Enter the discount code DISC50 at checkout to redeem the discount

Sustainable travel insights from Booking.com 2020 sustainability report

Booking.com has released its 2020 Sustainability Report, sharing market intelligence that 82% of travellers think sustainable travel is important, and 70% are more likely to choose an accommodation if it has implemented sustainable practices.

To download the full report visit https://www.bookingholdings.com/sustainability/

Call for papers: 10th International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas – 16-19 August 2021

The MMV conference provides a forum for presentations and other exchanges of ideas and experiences related to the monitoring and management of visitors in recreation and protected areas. The emphasis is on policies, problems, practices and innovative solutions, and is of relevance to academics as well as professionals in the field. 

The 10th International Conference on Monitoring and Management of Visitors in Recreational and Protected Areas (MMV10) will be held August 16-19, 2021, as a full-digital conference event, hosted from Norway. The program will be a combination of plenary presentations from keynote speakers from around the globe, paper and poster sessions, virtual excursions and informal networking events.

Call for papers – Researchers and other professionals are invited to submit abstracts for oral and poster presentations related to the themes of MMV10 (resources, markets and innovations), including accepted session proposals (see list below).

An extended abstract of maximum 1000 words should be submitted to the conference organizer using the online abstract formula.

Deadline for presentation abstracts: 31 March 2021

Accepted session proposals:

  1. Managing flows and ‘over-tourism’ in (world) natural and cultural heritage sites
  2. Protected area tourism: benefits and community resilience in the age of over-tourism
  3. Covid-19: Impacts on nature-based recreation and tourism
  4. Buses and Blazes – Operational Excellence in Park Management. Visitor Use Management and Management in Time of Crisis
  5. Visitor Monitoring and Management in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: Status Quo, Challenges and Perspectives
  6. Visitor Monitoring, Outdoor Recreation, and Education in Water-based Nature Settings
  7. Advancing the science of visitor monitoring and management related to natural sounds and night skies
  8. Mapping and documenting coastal-marine based recreation
  9. Combining social media and ubiquitous data with traditional recreation monitoring to address emerging questions in the Anthropocene
  10. Exploring the use of GPS tracking of tourism and recreation in natural parks
  11. New and emerging smart technologies for visitor monitoring – a critical review
  12. Future directions in recreation monitoring and research
  13. Managing sustainable experiences in nature-based tourism
  14. Recreation and tourism monitoring under increased pressure: practical tools and approaches for sustainable management
  15. Economics of Protected Areas (PA) Tourism
  16. Nature-based integration in multicultural societies
  17. Visitor strategy and local community development
  18. The Sharing Economy – Supply, demand and consequences
  19. Inclusive and accessible outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism?
  20. Using hybrid choice modeling to understand visitor, land manager, and general public preferences
  21. Nature as a Protagonist in Sports and Cultural Events
  22. Recreation, tourism and wildlife disturbance: a human perspective
  23. BioTour – From place-based resources to value-added experiences: Nature-based tourism in the future

Useful links:

State of the Wildlife Economy in Africa – African Leadership University report

The wildlife economy offers a key growth opportunity for Africa given the comparative advantage of the wildlife economy in the African context as local livelihoods and macro-economies are heavily tied to, and reliant on, wildlife and other natural resources.  Given the importance of the wildlife economy to future sustainable growth and development in Africa, this is a topic that African policymakers, conservationists, communities and private investors alike should all be interested in.

The aim of this report is to illustrate the current and potential value of the wildlife economy to local and national economies and, through this, to encourage more public and private investments in natural landscapes to improve conservation outcomes and support economic development.  Following on from this report will be further country case studies and reports which will focus on different aspects of the wildlife economy, including a report on guidance for policymakers, drawing on the information in this report highlighting the policy and reforms that have successfully enabled the wildlife economy in various countries.

The full report can be found here: https://bit.ly/SOWC-AWER.

Please feel free to send any feedback to Dr Sue Snyman, Director of Research, School of Wildlife Conservation, African Leadership University: sowc-research@alueducation.com

“Research on the wildlife economy and tourism is incredibly important, because it helps us to better understand the economic effects of the tourism value chain for conservation areas, local communities and for nations as a whole. By appreciating how things were before the COVID-19 pandemic, what it has been reduced to, and pragmatic strategies for recovery, we can work out how to establish more resilient and sustainable systems in the future.”

Dr Anna Spenceley, Chair, IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group; Board member Global Sustainable Tourism Council; Advisory Panel member, Travalyst 


COVID-19 and tourism in developing countries: Needs, challenges & options

This presentation was made at the ITB Berlin Now on 12 March 2021, as part of the BMZ panel session Tourism for Sustainable Development. It covered he following issues:

  1. How has the tourism industry been affected by COVID-19?
  2. What does it mean for the tourism sector and vulnerable groups?
  3. What are the needs and challenges to build back better tourism?
  4. How can this be achieved?

To access the presentation – click here

To access a video recording of the presentation – click here

Building sustainable finance for resilient protected and conserved areas: Lessons from COVID-19 – PARKS

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Within the March 2021 Special Edition of PARKS on “COVID-19 and Protected and Conserved Areas” is a paper on sustainable finance for resilient protected and conserved areas.


There is widespread concern that funding for protected and conserved areas (PCAs) will decline substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic outcomes. This paper makes the case that the impacts of the global crisis do not in themselves introduce novel financial threats to PCAs; rather, they serve to magnify, intensify and exacerbate existing structural and systemic financial constraints and weaknesses. To respond appropriately, it is therefore important to understand the status of PCA finance before COVID-19, and to address the underlying barriers and constraints to PCA financial sustainability.

Based on known PCA finance challenges, and predicted effects from COVID-19, the authors present nine overarching recommendations for building a sustainable finance base for PCAs: diversify the funding base; improve spending effectiveness and efficiency; ensure domestic budgets continue to support PCAs; increase international development finance and philanthropy; strengthen revenue generation from tourism; support PCAs governed by Indigenous peoples, local communities and private actors; include local communities in PCA governance and benefits; engage the finance sector and attract private capital; and raise public support and interest in nature conservation and PCAs. Specific activities and tools are provided to support each of these recommendations, whilst respecting the current global context.

Key words: conservation finance, protected area finance, economic crisis, finance mechanisms, BIOFIN

Open access, and available at PARKSjournal.com, and the Special Edition page

DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.CH.2021.PARKS-27-SIRGK.en

Tourism in protected and conserved areas amid the COVID-19 Pandemic – PARKS

Within the March 2021 Special Edition of PARKS on “COVID-19 and Protected and Conserved Areas” is a paper written by several members of the IUCN WCPA Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist group on the impacts of the pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a global impact on the tourism sector. With tourism numbers dramatically reduced, millions of jobs could be lost, and progress made in equality and sustainable economic growth could be rolled back. Widespread reports of dramatic changes to protected and conserved area visitation have negative consequences for conservation finances, tourism businesses and the livelihoods of people who supply labour, goods and services to tourists and tourism businesses. This paper aims to share experiences from around the world on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on protected area tourism; and considers how to build resilience within protected area tourism as a regenerative conservation tool.

Key words: sustainable tourism, protected area, conserved areas, parks, COVID-19 pandemic, resilience, impacts, recovery

Open access, and available at PARKSjournal.com, and the Special Edition page.

DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.CH.2021.PARKS-27-SIAS.en

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