“Destination Stewardship” Is on the Rise for 2024

2024: What’s Happening at the Destination Stewardship Center and Beyond

As we transition to a new year, it’s with mixture of delight and apprehension that I see the term “destination stewardship” gaining popularity, especially here in North America – delight to see its increasing use in tourism related circles, and some apprehension as to whether it’s being used meaningfully.

Our own definition has its roots in work that began at National Geographic over two decades ago. You can read that a detailed definition on our “Mission” page. Put simply, though, “destination stewardship” means care for places where tourism is involved.

Emphasis on care for places – places being the ultimate tourism product.

My concern is whether destination marketing/management organizations understand that good destination stewardship must extend beyond the silo of the tourism industry to be effective. That other branches of government, portions of civil society, and even nontourism businesses may have roles to play.

We’ll have more about this as the new year progresses.

The Newest Destination Stewardship Report

The most recent D.S.Report was emailed in November. Here’s what should have shown up in your email box if you are a subscriber – the September-December issue – and if not, well, note that subscriptions are free. You can also see articles from all previous issues on our Archive page and an index to all pages here.

Every article in the Report, such as the one on DEI from Lakes Charles, Louisiana, USA (above), is intended to help practitioners and citizens around the world discover new ways to go about taking care of their destinations and avoiding pitfalls. Just subscribe right here to get the next issue, due out this spring.

Georgian Bay and the Nature of Geoparks

Late last summer, my wife Sally and I were able to take a whirlwind driving tour around Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada, including an overnight visit to the one-house island belonging to my friend and colleague Mike Robbins. Mike is one of a team sprearheading  a move to make all of that enormous bay, its coasts, its islands, and much of its watershed a UNESCO-endorsed geopark. That is more of a geographical designation than an actual park, but it does require some measure of protection, especially for its geological features (hence “geopark”). I accepted an invitation to return in October to the northern village of Killarney to give a presentation on destination stewardship for one of the community meetings focused on the geopark proposal.

Swimmers enjoy a hot-spring warmed ocean inlet amid cooled lava in the Azores Geopark. Photo: Jonathan Tourtellot

I pointed out that UNESCO calls for a thoroughly holistic approach to destination stewardship in any geopark, such as in the well-regarded Azores (above).

In the current Destination Stewardship Report you can read more about Georgian Bay,  geoparks, and the indigenous legend of the furious giant who created that bay.

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