April 26, 2004

A Model for Destination Management

There are many definitions of destination management. The UN document Agenda 21 is a formative document if the approach is to be credibly eco-sensitive. Inclusion of persons with disabilities as stakeholders and participants is essential if it is to be sustainable and not subject to retrofit.

Here is a model for destination development used by Gordon Sillence President of the Instituto Portugues de Ecologia (INPECO).

A Framework for Action

At a destination level, I wish to finally develop a model in which each individual business from the private sector can see its location in the totality of the destination. This model was developed in our Bio-park Network Project in the Algarve, southern Portugal. It approaches destination management from the perspective of Agenda 21, taking both a local and European framework into account. The model involves a network layering strategy, which re-defines a local economy for the purpose of sustainability planning. The network layers include:

A stakeholder network
A natural space network
A network of pathways
A network of interest points
A commercial network
A monitoring network

These networks enable stakeholders to grasp the infrastructure of any given destination, visualise what is a common desirable landscape, and then design and implement that vision in partnership. It is clear that this approach brings local people and businesses to the forefront of activity, and then prioritises the natural assets of the destination. On these foundations stakeholders can build an ecologically robust destination which nourishes the local economy. In this way the tourist industry develops a stable product whose quality increases rather than diminishes over time. The main obstacle is the question of short term application of profits towards infra-structural improvements, but this is really an opportunity rather than an obstacle at the moment, as the structural funds of the EC are able to considerably enhance private sector investment. A well organised network of private businesses can co-operate with government and community representatives to realise these aims, hopefully before the local landscape has suffered irreversible decline.

Posted by rollingrains at April 26, 2004 05:50 AM | TrackBack