Conference Paper

Achieving Sustainable Tourism through Regional Collaboration: Evidence from the TransTourism Project

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Whilst it is commonly accepted that tourism can provide substantial economic opportunities to destination regions, there has been increasing research on the environmental impact of tourism, particularly among isolated or rural regions where seasonality has a significant impact on visitor numbers. Actions need to be taken to prevent environmental damage caused by tourism. Despite this, various barriers have led to difficulties in implementing policy changes, leading to less progress than desired. The barriers are intensified in areas of natural outstanding beauty, whereby footfall and tourism infrastructure can damage the aesthetics, atmosphere and surrounding environment, if not carefully managed. The Northern Periphery Programme was an EU initiative to help peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe develop their economic, social and environmental potential. The programme funded several transnational research projects. One such project was TransTourism (TT), led by Trafikverket (Swedish Transport Administration), involving five Northern Peripheral regions of Europe. The aim of TT was to develop new transportation solutions and optimise existing services through intelligent technologies, effectively increasing footfall in peripheral tourism destinations whilst mitigating the environmental damage caused by increased visitor numbers. The mantra of sustainability has historically been strong in the Balearic Islands, often presented as a best practise example of sustainable mass tourism. Having seen visitors to the island increase continually since the 1970s, Majorca’s economy is almost entirely based on tourism. Subsequently the Balearics has implemented a series of policy changes to promote sustainable tourism, including: an eco-tax, with monies collected reinvested in the countries natural and built environment; quotas on the number of new hotel beds; and legislation to ensure the creation of new green space on the opening of each new hotel bed. These last few years, the fiscal crisis has deepened the need for increased tourist numbers, and consequently some argue that “the sustainability-led agenda of the 1980s and 1990s aimed at containing growth is abandoned in favour of a boosterist approach that prioritises short-term gains” (Obrador 2017). Whilst participating regions in the TT project have minimal climatic similarities with the Balearics, the destinations often share situational parallels such as coastal access, scenic landscapes and rural attractions. In addition, both the Balearics and the NPP (now renamed NPA) share fiscal pressures to generate more revenue from tourism. The Balearics also have a revered status as a champion of sustainable tourism, whilst the fiscal pressures are seemingly placing that status under pressure. It is with these commonalities in mind that the Balearics and Northern Peripheral regions of Europe could share experiences, best practise examples, and potentially benefit from cross national knowledge transfer and research.This main paper highlights the findings of the TT project and outlines the barriers to achieving sustainable tourism. Given its current stance on sustainable tourism, potential implications for the Balearic Islands will be provided. In addition, the paper also illustrates learning experiences from Majorca’s sustainable tourism policies for consideration by Northern Periphery regional stakeholders.

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This editorial reviews sustainable tourism research as reflected in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism over the past twenty-five years, followed by specific consideration of more recent trends. It looks back in order to consider how sustainable tourism research, and its coverage in the Journal, has changed and developed, and is continuing to do so. It also uses the review to suggest ways in which the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, and research in this field, might usefully continue to move forward in the future to further increase its relevance, innovation and impact.
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Sustainability is often presented as the Holy Grail for mass tourism. There is a wide consensus linking the environmental upgrade of tired resorts with the competitiveness of mass tourism (Bramwell, 2003). The mantra of sustainability is particularly strong in the Balearic Islands, which is often presented as an example of sustainable mass tourism (Bardolet, 2001; Batle, 2000; Buswell, 2011). However, there are many doubts about how serious mass tourism is about sustainability (Buckley, 2007) and the lack of theoretically informed critical assessment (Bramwell & Lane, 2014). The academic consensus on sustainability is not always reflected on the ground, where contradictory logics coexist. The objective of ‘sustainability’ is particularly fragile at times of economic recession. This paper looks at the changing politics of mass tourism in the Balearic Islands. Specifically, it questions whether during the last period of recession there has been a shift away from a sustainable vision of mass tourism in favour of a more aggressive growth-orientated model. The paper addresses this question by examining a new tourism act adopted by the regional parliament in 2012 and subsequently modified in 2013 and 2014. The act was promoted by a conservative government to promote tourism growth in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. The paper follows a discursive approach to policy analysis as articulated by Hajer (1995), which emphasises the constitutive role of discourse in political practice. Central to this approach is the notion of story line, the narrative on social reality that provides the basis for a common understanding of the problem, which then underpins policy interventions. By looking at the 2012 Tourism Act as a discursive intervention, the paper shows the extent to which ideas of tourism, its challenges and opportunities are at stake in mature destinations.
Sustainable tourism is a growing segment of tourism worldwide. If such ventures are to thrive in society, we have to learn more about how they are created and sustained. Specifically, one has to explore, not only the attributes of the founders, but the actions that they deploy in creating such ventures. This paper investigated how a principal actor created a sustainable tourism business in the Amazon forest. The analysis showed that the actor deployed the phases that were proposed by actor-network theory (ANT) framework. Interestingly, the study found that the actor created her network by using what we called an orchestration modus instead of the unification approach that is widely known in ANT literature. Finally, the analysis showed that the ability of the principal actor to learn new things, to adapt to change and her acts of creating spaces for global experts played a significant role in her success.
The objective of this research is to provide a scientifically sound, applicable method for studying tourism sustainability at the local level. This is done by developing an indicator system based on an initial literature search that serves to compile a preliminary list of indicators, which are then verified and scientifically validated by conducting a Delphi survey. This process is used to develop a consensual indicator system that is adapted to the tourism sector and includes 26 indicators of social, economic and environmental sustainability. To ensure the applicability of the system, indicator values are then calculated for 20 tourism municipalities in Catalonia (Spain). The results confirm the proposed system is an effective tool for planning and managing tourism at municipal level.
ABSTRACT The development of tourism in Mallorca has led to the island's economy being based, almost exclusively, on this sector. Since 1955 mass tourism has affected the economic and social structures of Mallorca. The development was based on a rapid growth of tourist demand and on a chaotic development of tourist facilities. This has had severe consequences for the island: insufficiently controlled urban planning, overcrowded beaches, and erosion of the beach-dune system caused by massive construction on the coastal zone. Many beaches have been transformed into urban beaches and their coastline has retreated. Solutions like sand renourishment have not stopped the erosion process. The increasing number of residents and visitors exerts a strong pressure over water resources producing overextraction and a lowering of the groundwater table in aquifers. A strong seasonal concentration of visitors in coastal summer resorts represents a high peak demand during the dry season. The exhaustion of groundwater resources and the higher water demand are managed with environmentally and economically expensive resources such as seawater desalination. The results show that the dwelling capacity of the island has been exceeded and the present levels of water demand and beach degradation are not sustainable. This indicates that tourism in Mallorca is becoming unsustainable and a water and coastal management policy is urgently required if sustainability is to be achieved.
In 2000, almost 700 million international tourist arrivals were counted worldwide. Even though a global activity of this scale can be assumed to have a substantial impact on the environment, its consequences have never been assessed and quantified. In this contribution, five major aspects of the leisure-related alteration of the environment are investigated: (1) the change of land cover and land use, (2) the use of energy and its associated impacts, (3) the exchange of biota over geographical barriers and the extinction of wild species, (4) the exchange and dispersion of diseases, and (5), a psychological consequence of travel, the changes in the perception and the understanding of the environment initiated by travel.
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