Redefining Tradition: How Diamantina’s Carnival Embraced Change

Another winner 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 this year, we’ve selected two more stories, this time from Brazil and Kyrgyzstan, that showcase different reasons for engaging the local community. Synopses by Ailin Fei. Top 100 submission by Camila Guedes – Tourism Board / Municipal Secretary of Tourism / Diamantina City Hall.

Crowds flood the streets in Diamantina to join the party and dance to local samba band Bat Caverna. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

Embracing tradition and adapting to change

For decades, people have celebrated Diamantina’s carnival. However, in recent years, the carnival has evolved into a mass tourism event. Diamantina is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais with an estimated population of 47,825 people (2020 census). Diamantina’s carnival highlights cultural heritage with the potential to set an example for other cities, promoting tourism, local culture, income generation, and social inclusion.

About 10 years ago, the city of Diamantina noticed a decrease in visitors, so they “resurrected” the carnival through increasing cultural diversity prompted by a national initiative to change the carnival scene and embrace the traditional and historic values of Brazil, which altered the itineraries and tourist flows. Unfortunately, this reconfiguration led to an increased presence of low-budget tourists, intense overcrowding that provided no substantial financial benefits to the municipality, and structural issues such as disruption in water supply and pollution.

A new management strategy, Carnaval Radical, includes a focus on encouraging more local participation. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

By 2017, the carnival management acknowledged the need to adapt to the changing environment and engage in dialogues to make the carnival more beneficial for citizens, visitors, and the city’s development. This involved creating ‘University Space’ to confine the young, low-budget carnival-goers from the local population and revitalizing the street blocks included in the carnival perimeter by recognizing the oldest “caricato” (carnival) block as “a material Cultural Heritage of Diamantina.”

The carnival management launched the newest redesign of the carnival, entitled ‘Carnaval Radical,’ in 2020, which included curated space for adventure sports, increased gastronomy experiences, and raised awareness of attractions and traditional historical monuments, further diversifying the tourist profile, including family tourists. These strategies reduced mass tourism, included more locals in the carnival, alleviated pressure on urban services, and enriched the city’s culture, nature, and economic development.

Diamantina’s Carnival holds significant symbolic value and can serve as a model for Brazilian cities and any other city that faces challenges due to mass tourism and seeks to revitalize their own events in a sustainable manner.

Preserving the Personality of Place: The Importance of Cultural Heritage

Historic city centers often do well at preserving their structures but may falter when it comes to cultural preservation. Heritage expert Cheryl Hargrove reports from the Greek island of Rhodes and offers seven tips on how destinations can retain a cultural sense of place.

[Shortly after Ms. Hargove’s visit, Rhodes suffered catastrophic fires on parts of the island. The old town was not directly affected, but as she notes, “there will be impacts from resort loss, agricultural loss, and community devastation – [a] long tail of recovery.” This renders all the more important her points about preserving culture in the following story.]


Old Town Rhodes – Bones Alone Do Not Make a Living City

After my husband and I spent a day in Rhodes in 2021, we loved it, so we decided to come back for a month two years later. We had high hopes of learning more about Greek food and wine, traditions, and life and gaining a deeper understanding of the history and culture of this ancient island.

We loved our longer visit, too, but that’s when we discovered something disconcerting. While the historic character is being preserved, the cultural character is disappearing.

The medieval Marine Gate is the main entrance from the harbor to the town center, constructed in 1478. [Photo courtesy of Cheryl M. Hargrove]

Why Rhodes? Our first visit (via cruise ship in December 2021) included only a glimpse of the Medieval City’s vibrant historic and magnificent Gothic architecture. We were enthralled by the stories about the ancient Order of the Knights of St. John the Hospitaler, responsible for fortifying the city and protecting pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land for over two centuries. A brief walk along pebbled paths had us peering at public buildings and mosques dating back to the Ottoman period when Rhodes was under Turkish rule. We both wanted to learn more.

A highlight of our short visit was meeting a local artist who made leather belts, bags, and hats. When I purchased a beautiful satchel, she gave me a note about how she learned her craft and started her shop, along with instructions on how to care for my leather bag. Following this cultural exchange, we met other local shop owners willing to tell us about their wares. We took home several mementos to help us remember our visit to this incredible city, including locally woven scarves and melekouni (a traditional sweet made of sesame, honey, spices, and almonds). While we only spent a day touring the Medieval City, designated a World Heritage City in 1988, Old Town Rhodes left an indelible impression.

Inspired by our initial visit, we booked a 16th Century Airbnb for the month of June 2023 in the heart of Old Town and started exploring. We found that Rhodes’ architecture and archaeological excavations – its bones – have a strong foundation and are obviously under the watchful eyes of preservationists and government authorities protecting its historical integrity. The Greek Culture Ministry, which owns 365 properties within the Medieval City (50 located on the main street in the historic area), is in the process of implementing a plan to create three zones – the monumental, the residential, and the commercial – that will continue to preserve the city’s ancient structure while allowing sustainable development and growth.

“Tourism does not go to a city that has lost its soul”

All well and good, but we only experienced a limited amount of quality local or regional art and craft. Most merchants on Socrates, the main street in the Old City, now sell trinkets (notably the “blue eye” pendants) that are mass-produced elsewhere. Even shops displaying higher-end pottery and decorative arts carry the same design and styles. Only two galleries we visited could tell us about the artists and their work. We enjoyed our traditional coffee at Mevlana, the 14th Century Turkish Coffee House operated by the same family for 200 years, and daily Greek pastries from Fournariko Bakery, but only two restaurants in Old Town – Marco Polo and Pizanias (The Sea Star) – offer a quality Rhodian dining experience.

Shoppers browse the display outside of an olive store in Old Town Rhodes. [Photo Courtesy of Cheryl M. Hargrove]

During our month-long stay, it was almost impossible to find local artists working in galleries, participate in a cooking class, hear authentic Greek music at any of the restaurants/bars/nightclubs, or schedule other immersive cultural experiences that were not pre-arranged for groups – largely marked-up tours for cruise ship passengers – rather than for independent travelers.

With the decline of local – and high quality – retail, music, and food, I was reminded by the Arthur Frommer quote, “Tourism does not go to a city that has lost its soul.” Old Town Rhodes is in many aspects on the cusp of losing its cultural soul.

While the island’s sustainability plan, Rhodes Co-Lab (launched in January 2022 by the South Aegean Region Administration and the TUI Group/TUI Care Foundation), will focus on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and EU’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050, there is no mention of preserving and protecting the local cultural and intangible resources. The program cites that “the promotion of cultural heritage benefits the island’s society and tourism.”

But cultural resources need more than promotion.

They need policies that protect them from commodification, incentives to offset the proliferation of imports, provide access to the supply chain so artists can benefit more directly from tourism, and be recognized as an important contributor to the destination’s personality and brand.

“Handicrafts play a vital role in the economic development of a country as they are a prominent medium for foreign exchange revenue, require low capital investments, and offer employment opportunities. In addition, handicraft items are perceived as a symbol of status owing to their uniqueness, quality, usage of natural materials, and the essence of vibrant art and culture.” (Business Wire reporting for, February 2022)

UNESCO offers Cultural Tourism Policy Guidelines to help direct cultural tourism development and management in and around World Heritage sites. These policies are sound recommendations for any destination seeking to retain its cultural identity, integrity, and its unique personality of place.

Efforts must be made to preserve as well as promote its authentic cultural resources. Through my years of international work with place-centric destinations, I’ve observed several strategies that foster greater cultural resource stewardship – and promote opportunities for more authentic visitor engagement.

Seven Strategies for Cultural Resource Stewardship

  1. Recognize and value the role of artists and tradition bearers. Add a representative from the cultural community to your Destination/CVB board, invite them to strategic planning retreats, include them in visitor guides, and promote them on your website. The artistic voice often provides a different perspective to the more traditional tourism industry and business development deliberations.
  2. Conduct market research on retail purchases by visitors. If shopping is a visitor’s number one activity, shouldn’t we know more about the types of items they are inclined to buy and what they purchase? Doesn’t this information help identify the cultural assets to preserve and promote? Drilling down to the specific types of purchases unique to each destination validates the importance of cultural resources. For instance, sweetgrass baskets in Charleston and turquoise in New Mexico are signature souvenirs for these destinations; their purchase also helps support the local artists and the entire community. The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area tracks the impact of their Craft Trails in Western North Carolina. Sales can be directly attributed to the product and its promotion.
  3. Distinguish locally made items from imports. Presenting a certificate of authenticity when an original piece of art is purchased is another way to convey provenance. For instance, the Made in Alaska program certifies and recognizes the work of both native and non-Native craftspersons through a permitting process that awards the use of an official emblem. This recognition also serves as an opportunity to educate visitors on what is involved in the artistic process. Hence, they understand and value the time and talent required to create an original work.

    Old Town Rhodes, illuminated for shopping at night. [Photo courtesy of Cheryl M. Hargrove

  4. Offer different types of cultural experiences. Art helps tell your destination story. Murals, sculptures, and architecture are three ways residents and visitors visually capture the essence of a place. More interactive activities – artist demonstrations, guest lectures, language classes, instructional workshops, and special exhibitions at galleries – will draw visitors and residents at other times of the year and for various reasons. These activities offer artists additional opportunities to generate revenue and may extend visitors’ stay – or encourage them to visit the destination during low or shoulder seasons. The Golden Isles Convention & Visitors Bureau (on the coast of Georgia) partners with Glynn Visual Arts to display paintings from local artists in their visitors center. Along with branded merchandise, they also sell handmade jewelry, cards, pottery, and other items in their gift shop.
  5. Reduce barriers to purchase. Finding locally made and sustainable shopping options can be difficult.’s 2023 Sustainable Travel Report cites some challenges: “Despite good intentions, 44% of travelers don’t know where to find more sustainable options.” For example, 75% seek authentic experiences representative of the local culture. Yet, in stark contrast, 40% don’t know how or where to find these tours and activities that will ensure they give back to the local community.” There is also a “buy local” consensus among travelers, with 43% favoring small, independent stores. Shipping large items–such as artwork, rugs, or baskets– may be a deterrent to purchase, especially if the visitor travels by plane, on a group tour, or cruise. Promoting locally made items and arranging for shipping can help stimulate sales. For instance, Turkish rug merchants waive or include the cost of shipping and customs in the purchase price for the customer’s convenience.
  6. Recruit legacy owners to retain local businesses. Many long-time retail businesses close when owners decide to retire without a succession plan in place. As these retail businesses are often magnets for residents and repeat travelers, finding entrepreneurs or apprentices willing to continue operations is vital to the cultural legacy of a destination. Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates in Cleveland, Ohio, has been family-owned since 1939. When the second-generation Mitchell decided to retire in 2016 but had no heirs, local customers Jason & Emily Hallaman purchased the business to maintain the recipes and traditions of Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates for the enjoyment of future generations.
  7. Grow the cultural entrepreneurial ecosystem. Governments and economic development authorities often incentivize large corporations to relocate to the area and bring jobs. Perhaps a similar strategy should be extended to artists, craftspeople, and long-standing retail establishments to help retain local jobs and contribute to the destination’s brand. A Main Street America research study indicates that 70% of small businesses in commercial districts are launched by people who live in the local community. This validates the importance of investing in local capacity building to grow and sustain healthy small businesses, including artists, craftspeople, and retail shop owners.

Thinking Beyond Retail

Retail is just one aspect of a destination’s tourism product, but its sameness can lead to a decline in cultural identity. Applying these seven strategies to other local businesses, such as food establishments (favoring independently-owned restaurants and eateries over national chains) and music venues (promoting local musicians and other performing artists) can retain and stimulate other cultural engagement opportunities.

My Rhodes visit helped me understand how important creative and cultural resources are to the destination story and experience. When embarking on destination stewardship, be sure to engage all human and physical assets of the community – historical, cultural, and natural – and recognize the important contributions of each in defining the essence of the place.

Cheryl M. Hargrove is the author of Cultural Heritage Tourism: Five Steps for Success and Sustainability (Roman & Littlefield, 2017) and former director of heritage tourism for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She is a consultant to communities to help preserve, protect, and promote their cultural heritage as part of an asset-based economic and sustainable development strategy. Cheryl has tried her hand at pottery, fused glass, jewelry making, and mosaics but finds it easier to enjoy and buy local artists’ work. She currently lives on St. Simons Island with her husband, John, and five-year-old beagle, Tanner.


Panama Tourism to Empower Local and Indigenous Communities

Inequity in distribution of tourism income is a  major problem in much of Latin America, especially for indigenous communities. Now Panama is taking tangible steps to fix that, beginning with ten pilot projects and a focus on nature and tradition. Iván Eskildsen, the nation’s Minister of Tourism, explains.

Our National Plan Intends To Preserve and Regenerate Ecosystems and Ancestral Traditions

As Panama aspires to become a world-class sustainable tourism destination, local communities need to be considered at the very center of the tourism phenomenon, or sustainability will not be achieved. This philosophy is at the heart of Panama’s Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

King of the Naso people, Reynaldo Alexis Santana, is said to be the last indigenous king in the Americas. [Photo courtesy of Panamá por Naturaleza]

Panama is a crossroads of extraordinary biological and cultural diversity, connecting the two American continents and two great oceans. Panama is also one of only three countries in the world that is “carbon negative,” absorbing more carbon than it emits. More than 30% of Panama’s land and marine territory is protected, and 7 indigenous, Afro-descendant and mestizo peoples protect the natural and cultural diversity of this international hub.

The Panama Sustainable Tourism Model has been launched by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) to establish tourism as a powerful tool to empower local and indigenous communities, so they can preserve and regenerate Panama’s rich and diverse ecosystems, as well as Panama’s cultural heritage, including ancestral practices at risk of disappearing. Local communities need to be the true guardians of the earth, and of their ancestral traditions.

The Panamanian Foundation for Sustainable Tourism (APTSO) and the ATP, have established the Panama Alliance for Community Tourism (PACT) to work alongside local communities to implement this philosophy.

PACT: a Collaborative Effort

The PACT project is reaching the end of its first phase, working with 10 pilot communities that reflect the cultural diversity of Panama in its main expressions: Indigenous, Afro and mestizo (Spanish heritage): Mata Oscura, Achiote, Bonllik, Santa Fe, Jurutungo, Soloy, Rio Caña, Bastimentos (Bahía Honda), Isla Cañas, and La Pintada.

These communities were selected based on a series of objective criteria that recognized their tourism potential, as well as a sufficient level of preparation that would allow them to reach a “market ready” status in the shortest possible time. With these communities, a diagnosis of their current degree of development was carried out by the PACT team; they participated in training sessions and workshops, and a catalog was prepared with information on the most attractive tourist experiences offered by the 10 communities.

The Soloy Community, one of the 10 pilot communities, is the gateway to the mystical Ngäbe-Buglé indigenous region. [Photo courtesy of Panamá por Naturaleza]

The diagnosis identified both terrestrial and aquatic trails as well as activities that would highlight the communities’ nature and biodiversity. It also recommended improvements and investments needed for  trails to join the ‘1000 km of Trails’ project, a national network of trails developed by the ATP to integrate local communities to tourism development.

Also, the diagnosis identified investments needed for the communities’ attractions to be better prepared for visitors. Some of these investments have already been made to improve the visitor experience; other community needs in infrastructure will be submitted to the government’s Social Cabinet. This includes needs for improvements in water systems, community lodging, energy efficiency, among other proposed improvements. These infrastructure needs will also be presented to NGOs and international organizations that have available funds focused on biodiversity protection, and empowerment of local communities, to achieve the outlined roadmap for the pilot communities.

Marketing Community Tourism

In parallel to the preparation of these local communities, marketing strategies are being worked with these local communities, especially through the integration of the communities’ experiences in the tourism catalogs of national and international tour operators.

To accelerate this integration process, a Community Tourism Experiences Innovation Contest was launched together with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), offering attractive prizes to the most innovative experiences in community tourism. As a part of the contest, we are facilitating alliances between community providers and tour operators, through different workshops and training sessions.

Panama Community leaders at ATTA’s AdventureNext Latin America 2022 Conference, hosted in Panama City. [Photo courtesy of Panamá por Naturaleza]

To position these community-based experiences in the international markets, Panama has been focusing in the adventure travel market. In February 2022, Panama hosted Adventure Next Latin America, with the theme: “Community-Climate-Connection”. In this event, the 10 representatives of the PACTO pilot communities held a leading role in promoting these community-based experiences directly to dozens of media representatives, international tour operators and businesses. Panama continues to engage with the Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA), bidding to host other international events as a strategic priority to market these community-based experiences, targeting to attract the adventure travel market (valued at $683 billion in global spending per year according to the ATTA).

The Panama Sustainable Tourism Model as an Open-Source Template

In Latin America and many other parts of the world we share a common reality: we have incredible wealth when it comes to biodiversity and cultural diversity, but at the same time we have a terrible distribution of income. We see the Panama Sustainable Tourism Model as a great opportunity to improve the quality of life of rural communities, through the sustainable development of their natural and cultural resources.

Even though the work with local communities is just finalizing its first phase, we are starting to see positive results from the initiatives described above. Some national and  international tour operators are integrating these community-based experiences to their catalogs, and are beginning to bring tourists to these communities. We are optimistic that these results will mature in time, and as this happens, we will be committed to share this Sustainable Tourism Model as an open-source template, which can be replicated in other countries committed to the development of local communities and the regeneration of the planet’s ethnic and biological diversity.


Livingstone, Zambia Creates a ‘Forest of Faces’

? Destination Stewardship Report – Vol. 3 No. 2 – Fall 2022 ?

Another winner 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 this year, we’ve selected two more stories, this time from Zambia and Greece, that showcase different reasons for engaging the local community. Synopses by Josie Burd.

Top 100 submission by Rosie Mercer, Business Development Manager at Destination Livingstone Initiative

Tapping Local Wood-Carving Talent Gives Livingstone a Competitive Step Up – and a Lesson in Stewardship 

Just 10km away from Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Livingstone relies on tourism for its main economic activity. However, the town of Victoria Falls across the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe was getting most of the tourism traffic. So how could Livingstone draw those people back in?

In 2019, their community created a Destination Management Plan (DMP) to brainstorm opportunities to improve the situation. They also formed a new multi-stakeholder destination management organization called Destination Livingstone. With the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic drastically increasing their problem, decisive action was needed.

A traditional carved wooden sculpture featured in the ‘Forest of Faces’ art installation. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

Peter Anderson, international designer and creative director of the DMP, with the help of Acorn Tourism Consulting, came up with a plan that would celebrate the talent of local sculptors and create an attraction to draw tourists into Livingstone. Their idea was to commission the first public art installation titled ‘Forest of Faces’ that would feature wooden sculptures celebrating the cultural heritage of the city.

Here are some of the steps taken:

  • Consulting meetings with the Visual Arts Council, the Livingstone Museum, the Livingstone City Council, Chief Mukuni, and the arts and crafts markets, committees produced a working group that would focus on how to execute the project, prepare the competition rules, and communicate with the artisans.
  • An open competition commenced that required artisans to submit a drawing of their intended sculpture, the narrative behind the sculpture, what kind of wood they preferred to use, the expected height of the sculpture, the anticipated cost, and a small sample of their work.
  • The working group selected and commissioned 21 sculptures from the submissions.
  • The artisans found tree trunks suitable for their sculptures and spent the next 6-10 weeks using basic hand tools to complete their projects.
  • The final sculptures were erected over a two-week period and opened to the public on March 23, 2021, with information boards detailing the artist and story behind each sculpture.
  • In May 2021 the Livingstone community hosted a family event to allow the artists to show off their work to loved ones.
Artists and their families at the Livingstone family event. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]


As it was free and open to the public, the sculpture park quickly became an attraction that drew both domestic and international travelers into Livingstone.

The project itself created a platform to discuss deforestation and the importance of harvesting trees sustainably. Artisans who usually worked with teak and ebony tree varieties, which were scarce in the nearby areas, were encouraged to use wood from dead trees in the local vicinity that had similar qualities. Replanting was also an emphasis that taught artists and community members the importance of maintaining biodiversity. In honor of the project and of World Forestry Day, celebrated on March 21, artists and dignitaries were given trees to plant in their home villages.

Architecture & Placemaking

[The Teshima Art Museum (above) in Naoshima, Japan brought economic prosperity to a small island in decline. Photo from]

Editor for this page: Clara Copiglia

Illustrations of Relationships Between Architecture and Tourism.
This page collects lessons about the impact of architectural projects on place-making, restoration, or recovery. These projects range from small installations to larger strategies that impact the surrounding territory – territory is defined here as the context of the project, its environment, community, culture, and economy.

We invite you to help expand its content.

Larger themes – depopulation, nature appeal, indigenous communities, ruins care, and overtourism  – frame the various case studies below. An example illustrates each category. You can find an extensive collection of such examples here.

Architecture can become a tool against depopulation. Renovations or new construction projects can revive rural or urban destinations in decline when they integrate the local community, landscape, and an understanding of local history.

Rural Example – Naoshima Island, Japan

Photo from

Naoshima, a small island in the Seto Inland Sea, experienced drastic population loss in the 1960s. At the same time, a wealthy businessman was looking for a home for his art collection. He hired Tadao Ando, a world-famous architect, to build a museum on Naoshima. Today, Naoshima Island is a major art destination, where visitors cruise on electric bikes and local life has return. The island now has multiple new museums and art installations. Renovated traditional buildings house a bathhouse, restaurants, accommodations, and art. But Naoshima was only the beginning of the Seto sea island’s transformation. Other Islands, such as Teshima and Inujima, followed Naoshima’s path.

Urban Example MassMoca, United States

Photo from

Once a thriving manufacturing town with an increasing population, the mill town of North Adams, Massachusetts, faced financial trouble in 1984 with the shutdown of local companies. Thomas Krens, the director of Williams College Museum of Art (who later became Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), was looking for a space to exhibit large contemporary art pieces. North Adam’s mayor proposed an empty factory in the town, and in 1999, the world’s largest contemporary art museum was born. Today, North Adams revolves around art, and MassMoca (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) brought economic prosperity and tourism.

Nature Appeal
Architectural projects can invite visitors to step into nature by creating new attractions. The project can create a new path in nature or sit along an existing path, reviving it.

Example Festival des Cabanes, France

Photo from

The Festival des Cabanes – Small Pavilions Festival– is an annual architecture event near Annecy, France. Every year, architecture students and young architects participate in a competition to construct 12 wooden pavilions spread out in the area south of Lake Annecy. Each pavilion stays from Spring to Autumn and is dismantled at the end of the exhibition. The festival invites visitors to this natural region instead of limiting tourism to the popular lakeshore. Equipped with a map, the visitors walk in nature to reach the pavilions constructed by the competition’s participants. This festival gives a unique opportunity for young architects and brings tourists to rural areas.

Indigenous Communities
Some projects can create a meeting place between indigenous communities and visitors, where tourists can learn about local traditions and history. The indigenous community should set the intentions of the project.

Example Krakani Lumi, Australia

Photo from

Krakani Lumi – Place of Rest – is a series of pavilions on a guided walk in Tasmania. The palawa community owns the land and operates the 4-day/3-night journey called the ‘wukalina walk’. The architects collaborated with the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania to create unique campsites where visitors can rest and learn about traditions. The tectonic and materiality of the project pay homage to the First Tasmanians and their land. The exterior of the pavilions is made of charred Tasmanian timber to blend with their surroundings. The architects had the buildings prefabricated off-site to minimize impact on the land.

Ruins Care
Due to financial and political constraints, many ruins are difficult to maintain and renovate. Adaptive reuse projects or participatory tourism provide sustainable strategies to care for ruins.

Example Canova Association, Italy

Photo from

The Canova Association is a nonprofit founded in 2022. Its goal is to bring awareness to stone architecture in Nava, Italy. In collaboration with the municipality, the association facilitates acquiring and restoring the small medieval village’s stone buildings. The non-profit organizes guided tours for tourists to discover the village, events for its members, and workshops dedicated to architectural restoration.

Overtourism Mitigation
Overtourism is the opposite of sustainable tourism. Various policies help resist this scourge, and architectural or territorial interventions can also be part of the solution by creating alternative paths and attractions.

Example Alternative Moray, Peru

Photo from  This photo shows one of the small installations on the alternative path. The students traced circles to materialize a place for storytelling about the site, narrated by local inhabitants.

The AA Nanotourism Visiting School is a teaching program developed by the Architectural Association, School of Architecture, London, UK. Each year, they organize workshops with architecture students and young architects about sustainable tourism. In 2019, the workshop took place in Moray, one of Peru’s most popular Inca sites. The students collected the community’s history and proposed an alternative path for visiting Moray. Small installations invite visitors to get away from the touristic route to learn about the local community and participate in activities.


By Their Bootstraps: Homemade Heritage Tourism in Peru

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 100 winners announced in October 2021, this story, from the Colca Cañon of Perú, shows how an impoverished community with pride in its culture and traditional architecture can turn itself into a heritage adventure destination: Sibayo.

Villagers look to the sun as it rises over the Andes Mountains. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

Submitted by Jeniffer Stephanie Diaz Santivañez, Promotor Touristico.

From Alpacas to Tourists: How the Village of Sibayo Grew a Business

The rural, pre-Hispanic town of Sibayo, nestled in the province of Caylloma, Peru, has met the test of time. Its traditional stone architecture and its living Collagua culture have survived to this day. However, in its recent history, Sibayo was all but forgotten to those outside the Colca Valley. Facing high poverty levels, malnourishment, and inequities that resulted in a period of high migration, the municipality looked towards solutions to better the lives of their community while simultaneously preserving its unique heritage. Thus, the small town began its push from a livestock production economy to a community-based tourism economy.

In 2001, the town set out an objective to diversify its economic activities and open up the rural community to tourism, using a framework that bridges the private sector, local authorities, and civil society.

A Sibayo man leads a group of alpacas down a stone pathway to meet visitors. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

Faced with initial skepticism and resistance to this tourism-based approach, local management worked alongside the population to promote the rural community and dispel any concerns associated with tourist activities. Only after villagers felt supported and that they could trust tourism did the real planning begin – nearly four years later. Experiential tourism was developed, centered around rehabilitating the town’s old stone houses, where food and lodging could be offered, meshed with agritourism concepts, in which tourists could participate in planting, handicraft making, firewood collecting, and walks with the local farmers.

Outdoor adventure activities such as rafting have become increasingly popular for visitors of Colca Canyon. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]



As Sibayo began to gain attraction, the community evolved and new experiences sprung up, such as hiking to archeological remains, canoeing, cycling, and living the local culture. Women also began to have a leading role in tourism efforts, establishing 12 women-run microenterprises, which has resulted in improved gender equality and women’s empowerment in the region. By implementing community-based tourism, Sibayo’s economy has become dynamic, and tourism has positively affected the economy. The success of the community-based tourism framework has depended on connections between governments, the local people, and private organizations. Thanks to this tourism framework, the locals have been able to access housing sanitation services, improving the living conditions of the community.

Introducing visitors to traditional cuisine has proven to be an excellent way to foster a connection with local culture. [Photo courtesy of Green Destinations]

To read more about the ingredients that went into these successes, along with how the town is combatting their new test of COVID-related challenges, check out the Green Destinations’s Top 100 story here. 

Rural Tunisians Join to Initiate Restorative Tourism

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. This entry, submitted in 2021 from Tunisia, shows how communities joined to stem the tide of rural outmigration with an inspiring approach to culturally authentic tourism development.

Cave dwellings of Dafar, Tunisia, [Photo courtesy of FTADD]

Submitted by Mohamed Hedi Kallali, Executive Director of The Authentic Tourism Federation Destination Dahar (FTADD)

In Dahar, Tunisia, Communities Collaborate to Revitalise a Dying Region

Tourism in Tunisia is usually concentrated on the coasts and Northern regions and is generally characterized as mass tourism. But not in the mountainous Dahar region of southeastern Tunisia— one of the most remote and untouched regions of the country, as well as one of the least developed and populated. 

“Dahar counts 3000 years of human history of the Amazigh Berber Tribes, which is seen in the many ancient Amazigh villages scattered around the region. The proud local Tamazight communities are still practising their traditions, such as the art of weaving the colourful carpets or managing authentic oil mills, and lifestyle that was dictated to their ancestors by the arid climate of the region – to this day locals live in houses dug in caves, known as troglodytes, and use ancient techniques for water preservation.”– Mohamed Hedi Kallali, Executive Director of The Authentic Tourism Federation Destination Dahar (FTADD)

Over the past three decades, Dahar experienced a dramatic decline in its population levels. Matmata lost close to 99% of its population between 1970 and 2021, and villages such as Guermassa and Douiret are now abandoned, despite having the highest number of inhabitants in the 1950s. 

Jazia running a weaving workshop. [Photo courtesy of FTADD]

The Dahar region and stakeholders from local communities decided to focus on sustainable tourism development to revitalize the region, create quality jobs and, at the same time, to preserve and promote local heritage and the natural and cultural landscapes.

One of the key challenges was collaboration in the local community – the region covers 9,312 km2 and is composed of three governorates and eight municipalities, each thinking about their own tourism goals and objectives. 

Form a Federation and Agree on Principles 

Despite these challenges, in 2018, the community created a Destination Management Organization (DMO) called the Fédération Tourisme Authentique Destination Dahar (FTADD). The FTADD is composed of 38 members — including local authorities — but mostly consists of small local enterprises, museums, and other attractions. Organizing this DMO involved more than 15 meetings and discussions with locals across the villages. But this extra effort proved to be essential —the communities put their faith in the DMO to support them, improve their skills or to assist as they set up tourist facilities. 

Local artisan practicing wickerwork. [Photo courtesy of FTADD]

The FTADD established 10 guiding principles for the destination, including promoting authentic tourism, preserving local resources, valuing tangible and intangible heritage, craft, and original products, and respecting the local culture and visitors. In June 2021, the Sustainable Tourism Charter for Destination Dahar was adopted by all key community stakeholders, the municipalities, and the governorates. 

FTADD is the first DMO in Tunisia and has become a beacon for sustainable tourism development in the country. WWF Tunisia presents Destination Dahar as a model of sustainable development. Inspired by the Dahar model and experience, other DMOs in Tunisia, such as one in Djerba, have been created. 

Find the complete Good Practice Story from Dahar here


Saving Cultural Heritage: The Singapore Hawkers Case

Drives for sustainability may sometimes overlook the endangered arts and traditions that make a place and a culture come to life. The World Tourism Association for Culture & Heritage (WTACH) aims to rectify that. In Singapore, Chris Flynn, WTACH’s CEO, discusses a particularly delicious case – one recently recognized by UNESCO.

The Amazing Hawkers of Singapore

The Singapore Hawkers and their food stalls are a culinary society of their own making. A community that’s taken shape over decades, if not centuries. The Hawkers hold a sacred place in Singapore history and in the hearts of its people. Now they have gained UNESCO recognition, even as their contribution to the culture of Singapore is threatened.

Can the right kind of tourism help?

Those of us familiar with Singapore and the splendour of Hawker Culture will know and appreciate that it’s more than just somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat. For many it’s a way of life. A rich part of their living culture. A gift handed down from generations past. Put simply, it’s in their DNA.

On December 16th 2020, 24-member UNESCO’s Inter-Governmental Committee decided to recognise Singapore’s Hawker Stalls by adding them to the ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’  – a process that took two years to reach its successful conclusion. UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list comprises unique cultural practices and intangible elements that promote the diversity of a place’s cultural heritage. The idea being that it’s not just the bricks and mortar of our world history that’s worth preserving, but those elements of a community who make their place in that history significant and unique.

Singapore’s Lau Pa Sat market, converted to a Hawker Centre in 1972. Photo: Galen Crout

Culture Worth Sustaining
In my opinion the Hawker Centres and their array of food stalls are Singapore’s equivalent of the great British Pub. A place to meet family and friends. To gather and chat or gossip about your day. Tell stories. Reminisce. It’s not about being one of the crowd. It’s about being part of something bigger than yourself.

Even for someone like me who only gets to inhale the magical smells and taste the skills of the Hawker’s art every once and a while, I know it goes deeper than that. It’s like a belief system. A place that offers sanctuary though food and good cheer. Somewhere you know you’ll be welcome and leave more content than when you arrived.

The Hawkers trade – providing quality nutritious food at affordable prices – is a resource traditionally viewed as a critically important, necessary part of Singaporean life. So the hawkers have as much right to be placed on the UNESCO list as any stone monument or indigenous people.

The Threat
Hidden in the shadows is a downside to this story. Whereas once Hawker vending was viewed as a respected profession or lineage for families to inherit and continue, the attraction of this worthy craft is wilting. If things don’t change, and change quickly, there’s a very real threat the Singapore Hawkers could soon become a thing of the past.

Today the increasing cost of fresh ingredients presents a challenge. So too does age. It appears that younger generations are foregoing the opportunity to follow in their ancestors’ footsteps, unwilling to accept the long hours needed to become a profitable Hawker vendor. With an average vendor age of 59, a tally that continues to grow in the wrong direction, we may very well be witnessing the last hurrah of the Hawkers skills.

Family dining at a Hawkers Centre. Photo: Galen Crout.

The Opportunity
So, now the question is whether this prestigious recognition bestowed by UNESCO could offer a new and very timely lifeline for the Hawkers. Or maybe the impetus needed to explore new ways of protecting, preserving, and re-shaping this culinary art form in ways the traditional practitioners could never have imagined. The simple answer is, yes!

As a first step the Singapore Government celebrated the UNESCO inscription with an 18 Day festival in celebration of the Hawkers’ art and position in local community. Billed as the SG HawkerFest and launched on 26 December 2020, the concept behind the festival was for Singaporeans to thank and show appreciation to all hawkers for their nearly century-long service to the community. A key element of the celebrations was the Hawkers Succession Scheme, a project for facilitating continuation of the Singapore Hawker trade. It featured official invitations to retired and veteran hawkers to pass down their stalls, recipes, culinary skills and practices to aspiring successors.

The only question I have regarding the SG HawkerFest is why this has been planned and executed as a one-off event? Why not expand this idea to become an annual festival to drive both local residents and visiting tourists to Hawker Centres all over Singapore, where they can watch, learn and participate in the culinary experience that is the essence of living, breathing culture?

Other destinations around the world, seeing declines in appreciation for their cultural heritage, are launching pro-active incentives to reignite interest in local history and traditions. In the Philippines, for instance, the government has given local residents of Manila free entry to all museums, art galleries, cultural centres, events, and festivals. In Egypt, a ‘Memory of the City’ initiative is designed to preserve the urban and social history of local neighbourhoods. Seen as a new vision for cultural heritage tourism, guided tours are conducted through the streets of these historic areas to give a deeper, richer appreciation of the significance these communities have played in the past. What’s more, the project drives revenues and income for residents.

By securing its rightful place on the UNESCO World Heritage stage, Singapore now has an opportunity to attract a new generation of visitors who seek more immersive, authentic and culturally rich experiences. People who are willing to pay a higher, more equitable price for these experiences. Who have a genuine desire to give back to local communities, recognising the true value they play in protecting and preserving local treasures. People who want to be travellers, not just tourists.

With celebrations of UNESCO recognition fading into the distance, it’s time for the real work to begin. It’s not good to sit back and hope that visitors will seek and out these extraordinary culinary pleasures for themselves. Or that these temples of Singaporean street food will continue to exist just because, well, they always have.

At times like this, opportunity and potential need a little push.

The UNESCO recognition is a conversation starter. Now is the time for planning, preparation, policy and people. A time to engage fully with the Hawker communities. To listen, learn and appreciate where they are, where they came from and where they can and should be in the future. It’s a time to hear their story. And to act on it.

At the World Tourism Association For Culture & Heritage, we recommend strategies lofted on evidence-based research. Trying to counter threats to cultural heritage without fully understanding the complexities would be premature. There’s no quick fix. Destinations need development based on research, advice, funding, and support.

With the world having been in lockdown due to the pandemic, there is a window for Singapore to take positive steps to re-grow the Hawker experience in new and exciting ways. To give back its dignity and rightful place in Singaporean hearts by offering it to a new and eager audience of travellers. With people keen to share their experience with other likeminded souls around the world, the delightful art of the Singapore Hawkers will flourish for generations to come.

And by doing so, visitors like me will still get to pass through once in a while to inhale the past, whilst celebrating its future.

The Nisga’a Offer an Indigenous Tourism Model

How to present an indigenous culture “written in the land” to tourists? Along with Laura Hope, communications manager at Coast FundsBert Mercer, economic development manager for Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government, describes the process of tying together a culturally sensitive tourism experience for visitors to the Nisga’a First Nation in British Columbia, Canada.

Nisga’a chiefs, elders, matriarchs, youth, and guests celebrate the raising of a Pts’aan (totem pole) in Gitwinksihlkw. Photo by Gary Fiegehen, courtesy of Nisga’a Lisims Government.

Written on the Land—Weaving Together a Cultural Tourism Story

The Nisg̲a’a Highway, running through the heart of our Nation’s lands in Canada’s rugged northwest coast, was given the numeric designation 113. The number was not chosen arbitrarily; between 1887, when Nisg̲a’a chiefs travelled to Victoria to demand recognition of Title, and 2000, when the Nisg̲a’a Treaty was ratified and the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government passed its first law, exactly 113 years had passed. Over the next five years, our government extended and upgraded the highway, connecting the four Nisg̱a’a villages and inviting the world to visit.

The lands and waters of my First Nation, encompassing 200,000 hectares from the K’alii Aksim Lisims (the Nass River) to the Hazelton Mountains is astounding in its beauty. It is a place of aquamarine waters, soaring snow-capped mountains, and an enormous lava field. The story of our people is written on the land, so visitors to our lands are offered more than breathtaking scenery—they are offered the opportunity to experience Nisg̱a’a culture.

The plentiful resources of the Nass Valley have supported Nisg̱a’a citizens for millennia. Photo: Gary Fiegehen, courtesy of Nisga’a Lisims Government.

Bringing Cultural Tourism to the Nass Valley
Visitors to the Nass Valley are greeted by Txeemsim, a super-natural being who brought light to the Nass River in a time when Nisg̲a’a lived in semi-darkness. His image is the centrepiece of the Nisg̱a’a cultural marketing and tourism initiative. The initiative was expanded and enhanced to develop an auto-tour route along the Nisg̲a’a Highway, in addition to a brochure to guide visitors along the route and a website devoted solely to tourism in Nisg̲a’a lands. The project and the partnerships that developed as a result have boosted tourism in the Nass Valley, raised the profile of entrepreneurs in the four Nisg̲a’a villages, and reinforced the sovereignty and culture of the Nisg̲a’a Nation.

Nisg̱a’a lands have been dramatically shaped by the volcanic eruption of Tseax Cone. The eruption 263 years ago – Canada’s most recent – irrevocably moulded the surrounding landscape and lives of the Nisg̱a’a people. The lava traveled into the nearby Tseax River, damming it and forming Sii T’ax (Lava Lake). It traveled 11 kilometres north to the Nass River filling the valley floor for a further 10 kilometres. Two villages were destroyed, and 2000 people perished.

The land, with its storied and scenic landscape, is a perfect fit for a tourism initiative. And tourism, with its many cultural and economic benefits, is an ideal undertaking to pursue.

As economic development manager for the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government, it has been my job to develop our tourism industry. According to a 2019 report, the Indigenous tourism sector is outpacing Canadian tourism activity overall. The direct economic benefits of the Indigenous tourism sector was valued at $1.7 billion in 2017, having grown 23% over the previous three years.

The whole idea of the cultural tourism initiative was to draw people into the Nass Valley. We had a number of tourism elements in place throughout the valley—a volcano tour, the Nisg̱a’a  Museum, our hot springs, and a unique and culturally rich landscape—we just had to package everything together.

The centrepiece of the initiative, an 18-stop auto-tour along 100 kilometres of the Nass Valley, takes visitors to culturally significant stops, all within an easy walk of the Nisg̱a’a Highway. The auto-tour signs create driver awareness by improving wayfinding, stimulating interest in our culture, and providing visitors with cultural, social, and geographic interpretations of our lands.

Bert Mercer, economic development manager for the Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government stands in front of the newly opened Vetter Falls Lodge. Photo by Laura Hope.

By tying all the attractions together in this way, we can welcome visitors to stay longer. We can point them to local accommodations—like Vetter Falls Lodge—and local places of significance. We want visitors to get to know, and fall in love with, Nisg̱a’a lands.

The Nisg̱a’a tourism and marketing initiative exemplifies Indigenous cultural tourism, the symbiotic relationship between visitors who want to have an authentic cultural experience and First Nations like ours, who want to share and strengthen our culture.

Lessons Learned

 Government Dynamics: I’m proud of the work I’ve done for our government in developing the cultural tourism initiative to bring visitors into the Nass Valley, but the project has faced its share of challenges along the way.

One of the more challenging aspects was working to ensure that the initiative reflected the vision of each of the four Nisg̱a’a villages. Though I work for our central Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government, early on I began working closely with the governments of the four villages to develop and approve the auto-tour and brochure.

Tourists outside of Bonnie Stanley’s U See Food U Eat it restaurant in Gingolx. The restaurant is gaining international recognition; visitors are starting to return each summer from Europe. Photo: Laura Hope

One of the keys to success has been developing a steering committee consisting of representatives from Nisg̱a’a Lisims Government and each of the four villages. We developed a terms of reference for the committee that clearly outlined its scope, what kind of recommendations it can provide to leadership, and what types of projects it can become involved in.

If I were starting this project over again, I’d put my steering committee in place right from the very beginning, even before planning with a consultant. They are the stakeholders and can help overcome the siloed nature of government structures.

Importance of Branding: In order to establish Nisg̱a’a Tourism as an international-quality product, I worked closely to follow the established brand guidelines of our government. The government designer, Jim Skipp, always reinforced that following brand guidelines is of the utmost importance and can really lend strength to a tourism initiative.

Cultural Sensitivities: I also worked closely with our elders to ensure the Nisg̱a’a  language was responsibly incorporated. Though the process took time, it was so important to include the language and cultural interpretations into the auto-tour. Providing wider access to culturally significant sites like the hot springs, and the lava bed memorial park  required careful thought and planning.

The hot springs are increasingly becoming a destination for outside visitors and we have to manage that impact with a desire to protect our cultural sites.

Allowing Room for Growth: The auto-tour and brochure were purposefully designed to allow for growth of tourism in the region. We knew we’d be opening Vetter Falls Lodge—owned and operated by the Nisg̱a’a  Lisims Government—and wanted to make sure we could add that to the printing of the auto-tour brochure.

The COVID-19 pandemic has paused tourism across the world. Here in the Nass Valley we are using this time to thoughtfully prepare for local tourism in the coming year when our Nation is ready again for visitors. We look forward to a time in the near future when we can once again welcome the world to our home.

Learn more about the Nisg̱a’a Cultural Tourism Initiative at

Once Overrun, Dubrovnik Plans for Sustainability

Dubrovnik, Croatia, a UNESCO World Heritage city, is known as the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic Sea’, its historic city center surrounded by original medieval stone walls – and until recently, thronged with cruise ship passengers. In 2017, that began to change. The following before-and-after story has been provided by the Mayor’s Office, City of Dubrovnik (with a closing note on the Covid hiatus).

View over the medieval historic core of Dubrovnik, ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’.

[All photos courtesy of the City of Dubrovnik]

‘Respect the City’ Program Includes Limits on Cruise-ship Crowds

Dubrovnik, a champion of Croatian tourism, is a city that is both a museum and a performance stage, a unique combination of history and modernity – a city with a capital C. Its rich cultural heritage, different architectural styles, various cultural events, film tourism (think Game of Thrones), Mediterranean flavors, and superior accommodations draw millions of tourists each year. The old city center, surrounded by original medieval walls, has been under UNESCO World Heritage inscription since 1979.

The coastal city is a popular stop-off for cruises. In 2013, for instance, there were more than one million cruise passengers in Dubrovnik, occasionally resulting in more than 10 thousand visitors in the historic core at one time.

Cruise ships pack the main Dubrovnik port in times before “Respect the City”.

By 2017 the city was facing negative publicity in global media due to overtourism and  uncontrolled tourism development. The city was falling victim to its own success, and its citizens were becoming more openly critical. Amidst such chaos, many visitors could not fully experience the city’s history and culture. Eventually, UNESCO warned that the overwhelming number of tourists could result in its World Heritage listing being revoked and advised that no more than 8,000 tourists be in the historic core at any one time.

Signs of 21st-century mass tourism hang on a medieval street.

Shortly after being elected in June 2017, mayor Mato Franković introduced the multidisciplinary project “Respect the City” (RTC), aiming for more sustainable development of Dubrovnik. He began tackling the difficult challenge to reduce overcrowding through different measures for relieving traffic congestion and implementing smart city solutions. In particular, he reduced the number of souvenir stands by 80 percent and cut the number of restaurant tables and chairs by 30 percent. As a result, the City has lost some revenue, at least 5 million kuna a year (around €660,000 or US$786,000 ). To illustrate, the highest rent for a small stand at that time was more than 400,000 kunas annually, achieved at public tender.

‘Some of the measures we implemented are unpopular, but such moves are necessary if we want to reach the sustainable tourism we seek’, said Mayor Franković about financial losses. ‘Our task is to put the needs of citizens first. Everything we have done and will do in the future will greatly contribute to creating a unique destination experience and increase the quality of the overall service for all visitors’.

Various strategies have been implemented in cruise tourism. The City approached the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and, in partnership with them, reorganized cruise schedules to stagger departure and arrival times. It is essential to emphasize that the cruise industry is an important segment of the economy in Dubrovnik. The city policy was that the number of people was never a problem; it was the flow. Better flow was achieved by organizing the ship-arrivals timetable more carefully, both daily and throughout the year. The maximum number of ships was set to two ships at once and the limit of visitors in the walled city coming from cruise ships at 4,000 – half the number suggested by UNESCO. Harmonization of arrival times has relieved pressure on the historic core in the summer seasons of 2018 and 2019 (pre-COVID years), compared to 2017 and earlier.

The 16th-century Pile Gate, main entrance to the old town, blocked by crowds in 2017 . . .

. . . and flowing freely in summer 2019.

CLIA´s repeated willingness to cooperate in order to resolve the existing problems in the spirit of partnership is precious to the City of Dubrovnik. As a part of that partnership and the “Respect the City” project, Dubrovnik in 2019 became one of the 30 world destinations for which the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has done a Destination Assessment and Action Plan. Development of the Plan represents the City’s firm commitment and unshakeable determination in moving tourism towards a sustainable future.

The City achieved 70% of excellence in the GSTC report, attesting to its focus on a sustainable future for tourism and the city. GSTC recognized numerous examples of good practices in the process, mainly regarding public safety, urban cleanliness, and a high degree of heritage conservation. These included the reconstructed Lazareti site, special measures for heritage protection, local festivals, products, and entrepreneurs, as well as protection of biodiversity, and monitoring the Respect the City project itself.

Sustainable Tourism for a Sustainable Future
‘This report represents a new beginning of the story of a sustainable Dubrovnik and a sustainable way of managing tourism as our main industry,’ said Mayor Franković. ‘Working on assessment in 2019, GSTC consulted with 70 stakeholders from national and local government, the private sector, NGOs and universities, and residents. All stakeholder inputs are very valuable to us, because we want our city to be a great place for anyone – residents and guests alike’, he concluded.

Evening in Dubrovnik, after many cruise passengers have left.

The conservation of cultural heritage, the quality of citizens’ daily lives, and the provision of the best possible experience of Dubrovnik as a destination – all those are motives for this shift in destination management. Respect the City attracted the attention of international media and the global tourism sector. Dubrovnik is increasingly becoming perceived as a city that has started managing its tourism in a sustainable way. As key factors in years to come, the City of Dubrovnik is planning to take over cruise ship shuttle services and gradually eliminate traffic around the gateway area.

In COVID-19 times Croatia was recognized as a safe destination due to its good epidemiological situation in 2020, and safety continues to be the focus in 2021.