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Summer 2022 July - September

Volume 3, Issue 1

Editor's Note – It's Our Third Year, Time To Evaluate

When Randy Durband and I decided to launch the Destination Stewardship Report in 2020 as a joint project between the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Destination Stewardship Center, I agreed to edit it for a year. That was two years ago. CREST, the Center for Responsible Travel, has joined us as a third partner. Almost a thousand practitioners now subscribe. A new DSReport archive page hot-links all 55 feature stories that we have published so far. Check them out!

Now I must step back as primary editor, staying on just in an executive advisory role. I still welcome your story ideas. CREST’s capable Alix Collins is handling much of my workload, as is indefatigable former DSC volunteer Tiffany Chan, now working for GSTC. DSC volunteers including Gabe Gerson (photos), Siobhán Daly (Bookshelf and Monitor) and many others help immeasurably.

Let us know what you think! This transition is a good time for you to tell us how we can make the DS Report better. Are we serving your needs? What can we improve, given a budget of, well, zero? Your guidance on this 3-minute survey will help. Thank you. — Jonathan Tourtellot

Click Here for Survey

A Malaysian District Collaborates Lest Tourism Run Wild

Why would a place with relatively manageable tourism create a sustainable travel destination coordination group? While many destinations around the world are reeling from the impacts of over-tourism, including environmental degradation, a few are heeding the warning and proactively putting a plan in place. One such is the Mersing District in the Malaysia state of Johor, just north of Singapore. Cher Chua-Lassalvy discusses what it took to rally the district’s numerous, varied stakeholders and create the collectively managed Sustainable Travel Mersing Destination Coordination Group.

Mersing? Where’s that?

I have a friend who goes by the name Mersing Guy on Facebook. He was born and bred in Mersing and runs the local recycling business in town. Mersing Guy (true to his name) loves showing his visiting friends the hidden gems in his beautiful home district. A few weeks ago, we stood in front of the gold-domed Masjid Jamek looking out across the charming coastal town and beyond to the coral-ringed islands that dot the emerald sea. Mersing Guy always says that he is truly lucky to call this place home. It is a sentiment I have heard echoed many times...

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Disaster Recovery in Evia, Greece

After disastrous wildfires in Northern Evia, Greece, the placemaking agency Toposophy assessed the damage to Evia’s tourism and researched lessons learned from various other disaster-struck destinations. Marta Mills of Toposophy explains what they have done to help Evia build a sustainable recovery and how other destinations can benefit.

Fire despoils a Greek island. Now what?

‘I will never forget the sound of the fire and the picture afterwards of the place where I grew up and live’, said Giorgos Maroudes, president of the Trade Association of Rovies, a seaside village on the island of Evia. In August 2021, Northern Evia – the northern part of Greece’s second largest island, Evia, and a place of unique biodiversity – suffered one of the worst natural disasters in the country’s history. “As expected, tourism, one of the most important revenue sources of our area, was one of the sectors most heavily impacted,” he reported....

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Cultivating Comprehensive Destination Stewardship with GSTC Criterion A4

Sustainability in tourism destinations requires not only the commitment of government and nonprofit organizations, but also the work of the private sector to maintain places in ways such that they can be enjoyed for years to come. DMOs need to encourage that. Randy Durband, CEO of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, explains how GSTC’s Destination Criterion A4 offers guidance. 

Criterion A4: Enterprise Engagement and Sustainability Standards

Destination Stewardship requires good public policy and strong private sector practices. The Destination Management Organization (DMO) has a role in both, not just the first.

The DMO needs to provide guidance and encouragement to the private sector to operate more sustainably. That is the focus here: the DMO encourages continuous improvement on the sustainability practices of the businesses...

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To Market Stewardship, Use Local Voices

We last visited Sedona, Arizona in our Spring 2021 (Vol. 1, No.4) issue, to report on their plan for getting a handle on overtourism. It's still a struggle. Here, Holly Prievo of GLP films describes how a strategic video campaign that enlists local support and participation can shift a DMO from destination promotion to marketing stewardship – for any destination.

Video Storytelling Features Local People in Bid to Help Save Overrun Sedona

How can we widely communicate the need to preserve a remarkable destination suffering from overtourism without drawing more people to it?

In our 2021 work with Sedona, Arizona, that was exactly the question. GLP Films works with destinations to strategize and work toward sustainability goals using storytelling. Sedona, its community rife with resentment and its fragile ecosystem threatened by the feet of millions, was hoping to raise awareness about the consequences ...

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Two Winners from the Top 100
Every year, Green Destinations organizes the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories competition, which invites submissions from around the world – a vetted collection of stories spotlighting local and regional destinations that are making progress toward sustainable management of tourism and its impacts. From the winners announced last year, we’ve selected two more stories, this time from Brazil and the United States, that showcase different reasons for engaging the local community. Synopses by Supriya A N.
Brazil's Bombinhas Learns About Itself

Top 100 submission by Keli Regina Benvegnú, Discovering Bombinhas.

Boosting the Identity of Bombinhas Through Active Community Participation

Brazil’s coastal city of Bombinhas is a rising tourism destination, attracting close to 1.5 million visitors during its peak season of November to April. The continuous influx of seasonal employees, entrepreneurs, and new residents has led to a blurred understanding of the city’s history, culture, natural attractions, customs, and traditions. The absence of an authentic source of information and the lack of knowledge-sharing has resulted in …

Enhancing Sustainability in Transylvania County, NC, USA

Top 100 submission by Lee McMinn, Transylvania Always.

In the Wake of Overcrowding, Eco-sensitive Transylvania County Mobilizes Stakeholders

The love of nature and desire to spend quality time outdoors has resulted in a spike in visitor numbers beyond the carrying capacity in Transylvania County, North Carolina. Not surprisingly, this was causing long-term damage to park resources with overcrowded trails, worsening water quality, increased litter, and even death and injury. The inconvenience caused by overcrowding led residents to question the positive effects of tourism as a vital contributor to the local economy...

Upcoming Events
August 30 - September 1, 2022 | International Workshop on Agritourism | Burlington, Vermont, USA. Educational sessions, presentations, and exhibits on the topic of agritourism, plus hands-on workshops and farm tours. Some sessions available virtually.

September 15 - 17, 2022 | GSTC 2022 Asia-Pacific Conference | Gunsan, Jeonbuk, Korea. The GSTC conferences are back! The 2022 GSTC Asia-Pacific Conference will bring together Korean and international tourism stakeholders involved in developing and promoting sustainable travel & tourism; including the public sector, hotels, tour operators, corporates, OTAs, academia, and development agencies, NGOs, consultants, and more. Key themes include destination stewardship and heritage. 

September 26, 2022 begins a week of sustainable tourism events, starting with World Tourism Day, Sept. 27 (details subject to change):

Sept. 26 - Oct. 1, 2022 | Green Destinations 2022 | Virtual & Athens, Greece. World Tourism Day conferences; Winners of Sustainable Top-100 Stories for 2022 announced, and more.
Sept. 27, 2022 | CREST World Tourism Day Forum | Virtual. The Center for Responsible Travel‘s annual forum will focus on destination stewardship this year. These forums are heavily solutions-oriented, inviting practitioners to discuss the successes and obstacles they have faced in implementing solutions.
Sept. 28 - 30, 2022 | Tourism Cares Meaningful Travel Summit | Victoria, BC, Canada
Sept. 29, 2022 | Future of Tourism Summit | Virtual & Athens, Greece. Plenary and breakout sessions focus on climate change. Watch website for upcoming details.

December 12 - 15, 2022 | GSTC 2022 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference | Sevilla, Spain. The Conference is for tourism stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism, with a mixture of panel discussions and interactive workshops with international and national experts. The themes include destination stewardship, mainstreaming sustainability standards, tourism adaptation to climate change, and Green Mobility & Accessibility.

Contact us to submit your notice.
Destination Monitor
Notable News on Stewardship Developments Around the World

Wealthy Are Buying Up English Seasides | WSJ

Two Greek Cruise Ports Assess Sustainability | GTP CLIA funds GSTC look at Heraklion and Corfu.

Komodo Fee Hike Intended to Cap Tourism | Antara News Higher cost to see Indonesia's dragons sparks protest.

Hawaii Wrestles with Tourism Management | Beat of Hawaii

Protests Grow Over Masaai Evictions | Skift Tanzania's move draws international ire.

Kyoto Tourism Now on Empty | Bloomberg

Greece Pitches Invitation to Fuel-starved Germans | Guardian

Philippines' Masungi: From Rock to Park | Rappler Good example of geology-inspired conservation.

Wales to Cap 2nd Homes | Wales Online

Key West Fights Big Cruise Ships | Outside Cruise industry and Florida governor fight back.

Bhutan Raises Its Steep Visitor Fees | NY Times

Natural Sites in France Fight Overtourism | France 24

Latest Taj Mahal Threat? It's Politics | Skift

Scottish Island Tames Campervan Crunch | Guardian Tiree’s Croft Camping scheme does the trick.

UAE’s Ras al Khaima Loses Sustainability Credential | Skift

DSC's Destination Monitor and Travindy offer continuing selections of news stories.
Note: Descriptions are publisher blurbs.

Bruntz, C. and Schedneck, B. (2020). Buddhist Tourism In Asia. University of Hawaii Press. Explores how Buddhists, government organizations, business corporations, and individuals in Asia participate in re-imaginings of Buddhism through tourism.

Croes, R. (2022). Small Island and Small Destination Tourism. Routledge. Considers the tourism specialization, economic growth, and tourism competitiveness of a very specific type of tourism: small islands practicing warm water island tourism.

Korstanje, M.E. and George, B. (2022). The Nature and Future of Tourism: A Post-COVID-19 Context. Apple Academic Press. Focuses on the tourism industry in conjunction with the impact of COVID-19 from the perspective that it is both negatively impacting the industry while also offering an opportunity to rise from the ashes.

Neri, M. (2022). Evaluating the Local Impacts of the Rio Olympics. Routledge. Evaluates the local impacts and legacies of the Olympics in Rio by comparing Rio2016 with other Olympic experiences. [Due for release in August 2022].


Volunteer Opportunities
The Destination Stewardship Center seeks an experienced volunteer managing editor for this Report. We also need a tech-savvy gap-year graduate or apprentice (WordPress, Google Suite, social media), as well as sharp interns with good editorial skills. Contact us with a cv and writing samples.
Submission Requests
The Destination Stewardship Report relies entirely on submitted articles and notices, not to mention corrections and suggestions. All submissions must pertain to some aspect of destination stewardship, be shorter than 1,000 words, and avoid self-promotion. Photos welcome. What story can you tell that would help others? To contribute a story, contact us with your ideas. Your next issue is planned for October 2022.

The Destination Stewardship Report is an e-quarterly collaboration between the Destination Stewardship Center, Global Sustainable Tourism Council, and Center for Responsible Travel. It seeks to provide practical information and insights useful to anyone whose work or interests involve improving destination stewardship. Its success will depend on your interest, feedback, and content contributions. Join us, and help each other. Subscribe HERE.

Sponsored by:


Executive Editor – Jonathan B. Tourtellot
Associate Managing Editor – Alix Collins
Assistant Editor – Amber Smith
Illustrations Editor – Gabe Gerson
Scheduling, design & distribution – Tiffany Chan
Editorial assistance – Samantha Bray, Siobhán Daly, Cindy Linnell, Lucy Matthews, Martha Mulokoshi

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