A CANADIAN STUDY OF INDICATORS RELATING TO
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To alleviate the confusion between ecotourism and sustainable tourism. ... To identify key issues relevant to sustainable tourism and ecotourism ...

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A CANADIAN STUDY OF INDICATORS RELATING TO

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AND ECOTOURISM:THE CASE STUDY OF NORTHERN CAPE BRETON

Denisa Georgescu, Canadian Tourism Commission

and

Per Nilsen, Parks Canada

The 7th International Forum on Tourism Statistics

Stockholm, June 9-11, 2004


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Project Purpose: To alleviate the confusion between ecotourism and sustainable tourism.

Objectives:

To clarify the relationship between sustainable tourism and ecotourism using a case study built on an indicators development process;

To test the utility of a participatory process to develop indicators of sustainability.


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Partners and Stakeholders

  • Founders: the Canadian Tourism Commission and Parks Canada

  • Consultants: Consulting and

    Audit Canada

  • Stakeholders:

    - Local tourism operators

    - NGO’s

    - Cape Breton Highland National Park

    - Provincial Government

    - Regional/Municipal Organizations


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Project Methodology

Task One: Methodological Definition

Task Two: Destination Selection

Task Three: Pre-workshopSite Study

Task Four: Workshop Organization

Task Five: Workshop Facilitation

Task Six: Analysis

Task Seven: Conclusions and Recommendations


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Task One:Methodological Definition

What is the relationship between sustainable

tourism and ecotourism?

Sustainable Tourism: “development that meets the needs

of present tourists and hosts regions while protecting and

enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as

leading to management of all resources in such a way

that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled

while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological

processes, biological diversity and life support systems”

(World Tourism Organization).


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Task One:Methodological Definition – cont.

Ecotourism(first coined by Hector Caballos-Lascurian in 1983):

“tourism that consists in travelling to relatively

undisturbed or uncontaminated areas with the specific objective of

studying, admiring, and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and

animals as well as any existent cultural manifestations found in these

areas”.


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Task One:Methodological Definition – cont.

Ecotourism as a Sustainable Tourism Concept


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Task Two: Destination Selection

Criteria

  • Size & location

  • Mix and range of tourism

  • Proximity to stakeholders

  • Destination popularity

  • Parks Canada presence and support

  • Utility/contribution to ongoing work


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Task Three: Pre-workshop site study

  • Examination of current natural and cultural assets

  • No integrated planning organization

  • Opportunity for conducting workshops:

    - Identification of stakeholder values

    - Identification of sources of information for indicators

    - Identification of workshop participants


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Task Four: Workshop Organization

Date: October 8 and 9, 2003

Location: Ingonish, Cape Breton

Objectives:

  • To identify key issues relevant to sustainable tourism and ecotourism

  • To develop a short list of practical indicators to measure impact of tourism


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Task Five: Workshop Facilitation

  • Identification of main risks to values

  • Development of long list of potential indicators and responses

  • Management of collaborative process to determine priority indicators

  • Preliminary validation


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Threats to ecosystem

Protection of key assets from overuse/ abuse

Pollution

Perception of limited opportunities

Image as a summer

driving destination

Loss of access to traditional areas of use (National Park)

Infrastructure

Sustained vs. seasonal employment

Willingness to invest given location

Task Six: Analysis – Areas of Concern


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Strengths

Weaknesses

Physical beauty and varietyIntact natural systemsProximity to US market (northeast)Picturesque houses and boatsLow Canadian dollar valueCultural distinctnessFriendliness of communityPresence of formally protected land

Short summer season

Position at “end of line”

Lack of some infrastructure /services

Image as drive-by destination

High turnover rate/retention of staff

For ecotourism, lack of longer, more challenging, hiking trails

Lack of directed tourism management plans

Opportunities

Threats

Integrated marketing of sustainable product(s)

Better coordination of planning, marketing, product development

Lengthening of the season and length of stay of visitors

Coordinated protection of key assets to mutual benefit

Uncontrolled influx of more tourists or tourists seeking inappropriate experiences

Damage to ecosystem from misuse

Resentment from communities due to lack of benefits or due to impact on key community values

Deterioration of key infrastructure

SWOT Analysis


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SWOT Analysis – cont.

Strengths

  • Physical beauty and variety

  • Intact natural systems

  • Proximity to US market (northeast)

  • Picturesque houses and boats

  • Low Canadian dollar value

  • Cultural distinctness

  • Friendliness of communityPresence of formally protected land


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SWOT Analysis – cont.

Weaknesses

  • Short summer season

  • Position at “end of line”

  • Lack of some infrastructure /services

  • Image as drive-by destination

  • High turnover rate/retention of staff

  • For ecotourism, lack of longer, more challenging, hiking trails

  • Lack of directed tourism management plans


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SWOT Analysis – cont.

Opportunities

  • Integrated marketing of sustainable product(s);

  • Better coordination of planning, marketing, product development;

  • Lengthening of the season and length of stay of visitors;

  • Coordinated protection of key assets to mutual benefit


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SWOT Analysis – cont.

Threats

  • Uncontrolled influx of more tourists or tourists seeking inappropriate experiences

  • Damage to ecosystem from misuse

  • Resentment from communities due to lack of benefits or due to impact on key community values

  • Deterioration of key infrastructure


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Key Issues and Indicators for North Cape Breton (NCB)

A) Control of Environmental Impacts:

  • Perception of level of cleanliness of areas frequented by tourists (measure: survey of tourists and locals’ perception of beach contamination);

  • Clean image of the region (measure: exit questionnaires)

  • Water quality in beach/river/stream areas (measure: laboratory analysis by sampling);

  • Environmental practices and attitudes of tourists (measure: entrance or exit surveys).


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Key Issues and Indicators for North Cape Breton (NCB)

B) Economic Benefits to the Region:

  • Employment Statistics (measure: total number and the % from census and EI sources);

  • Amount spent per day per tourist (by season as well) (measure: exit questionnaires).

    C) Marketing the Region:

  • Opinion of quality/value (measure: survey of tourists re:quality of accommodation);

  • Price of accommodation (measure: average cost/night);

  • Repeat visits to same accommodation (measure: numbers and %)


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Key Issues and Indicators for North Cape Breton (NCB)

D) Community Impacts:

  • Local attitudes and perception on tourism benefits or non-benefits) (measure: survey of residents-specific questions re: attitude towards tourists);

    E) Infrastructure:

  • Road condition;

  • Percentage of pull-offs per km of highway;

  • Length of maintained trail system


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Effectiveness of Indicators Selection Process

Partially successful

  • Did not succeed in focusing on clarifying the difference between ecotourism and sustainable tourism

  • No focus on indicators of environmental awareness or education

  • Indicators linked to priority regional issue areas

  • Focused on ecological and economic aspects

  • Need locally-based, specific management objectives to guide indicator selection process


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Success of Pilot

  • Pre-workshop meetings

  • Combination of plenary plus small working group sessions

  • Expertise & experience of third party consultants

  • Location/participation of stakeholders

  • Discovery of common objectives by disparate groups

  • Provides a basis for park management plan update and tourism regional strategic plan


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Task Seven: Recommendations

Agreement on 7 Keys Issue Areas:

  • Control of environmental impact

  • Economic benefits to region

  • Marketing the region

  • Stability and Seasonality

  • Community Impacts

  • Planning and Control

  • Infrastructure


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Task Seven: Recommendations – cont.

  • Coordinating body representing stakeholders from Northern Cape Breton required that could lead to:

    - tourism strategy development

    - improved interagency coordination and cooperation

    - integrated management

    - reconciling of conflicting resource issues

    ( UNEP Principles for Sustainable Tourism)


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Task Seven: Conclusion

  • The relationship between ecotourism and sustainable tourism is difficult to define;

  • There is little agreement on the exact definitions and applications of these terms.

  • The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) argues that all forms of tourism and related activities should incorporate the principles of sustainable development (economic, environmental and social)


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Thank you!georgescu.denisa@ctc-cct.ca

Business to Business site:

www.canadatourism.com

Consumer site:

www.travelcanada.ca