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Guiding Principle #1:

See the Whole Picture

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Recognize that most tourism by its nature involves the destination as a whole, not only industry businesses, but also its ecosystems, natural resources, cultural assets and traditions, communities, aesthetics, and built infrastructure.

Most tourism is about the place and its people. To varying extents, tourism businesses rely on the character, appeal, and resources of the destination as a whole. Sometimes it may be one particular attractor – wildlife, a beach, a historic district. But more often, it’s the interwoven combination of all of these elements that together constitutes a sense of place. That is why we travel.

Planning for the future of tourism requires thinking beyond business success and building a solid, holistic foundation. Securing the future of tourism requires investing in the long-term health and vitality of all of the different elements that comprise the destination as a whole.

Real life examples:

  1. Here’s a recent example from Amsterdam of a destination undertaking some big picture thinking.

  2. The Travel Corporation has recently launched their “Make Travel Matter” (MTM) Experiences, which assess the impact of tours and excursions using the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework. Learn more about the MTM Experiences here.

  3. The Seychelles built a roadmap for low-impact, high-value tourism that preserves the beauty and ecosystems of Seychelles while developing sustainable infrastructure and boosting the economy.

  4. In the Pennsylvania Wilds, tourism and sustainability go hand in hand and is demonstrated in its actions. 

  5. The Central Coast region of New South Wales’ journey to action a sustainable tourism strategy to effectively promote and protect the region’s greatest assets and to become an Australia ECO destination.

The questions we should ask to further achieve this principle:

  • Where does money from tourism end up?

  • What kind of tourists are arriving?

  • What are the hidden costs to the local communities and the natural habitats? (See Principle #6.)

  • Who makes decisions within that destination and ultimately defines 'success'

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