Green Destinations (The Netherlands, Spain)
Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC) (The Netherlands, Spain, Lithuania).
QualityCoast International (The Netherlands).
Global Sustainable Tourism Network (GSTN).
Sustainable Energy Development and Sustainable Tourism Projects & Centre for Energy Technologies, Aarhus University (Herning, Denmark).
Objective & Description
The partnership aims to contribute to local economic development in Small Island Developing States by:
- Assessing tourism quality and sustainability of SIDS islands.
- Evaluating and improving their status as sustainable tourism destinations, including shared focus on energy, water and climate adaptation and mitigation.
- Strengthening local capacity to enhance sustainability performance, and to enhance destination quality.
- Creating a coordinated framework to continue, improve and structure the existing cooperation in the field of tourism destination sustainability, between the Green Destinations network and stakeholders in a number of SIDS destinations. This existing cooperation has already led to the inclusion of a substantial number of SIDS destinations in the Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR). GSTR-information on these SIDS destinations is used by various online tourism agencies, OTAs, including Booking.com affiliate BookDifferent.com. Unfortunately, the visibility of the existing SIDS destinations in the tourism sector is still relatively poor.
- Creating an improved ability to target a growing high value tourism market, whilst increasing marketing visibility of SIDS destinations in global tourism sector.
- Supporting the development of strategic economic development consistent with sustainable tourism development and of unique island brands for sustainable tourism destinations. In partnership with islands, this can include facilitating targeted external investments within and external to the tourism sector, including energy and water.
The partnership will be instrumental in realising Article 19 of the OUTCOME OF THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES (Zero Draft, 2014):
19. In particular, we note that sustainable tourism represents one important current and future driver of SIDS economic growth and job creation. As such, we agree to take the following actions:
a) Develop policies that foster responsive, resilient and inclusive tourism.
b) Support SIDS' promotion and development of sustainable eco- and cultural tourism.
c) Promote policies that allow the economy and communities to gain maximum benefits from tourism, and support the design and implementation of participatory measures to strengthen local
employment and engagement in the sector, including through partnerships and capacity development, especially in the area of statistics.
d) Protect the SIDS natural and cultural heritage, especially their ecosystems and biodiversity.
e) Take full advantage of the expertise of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Global Observatories on Sustainable Tourism and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism to provide direct and focused support to governments to this end.
f) Encourage establishment and maintenance of governance and management structures for tourism, which bring together tourism, environment, health, disaster management, culture, transport, security
and immigration, planning and development responsibilities and expertise, and enable a meaningful partnership approach between the public and private sector and local community.
Governance & Coordination Mechanisms
The Green Destinations team for this partnership is Drs Albert Salman (Green Destinations NL), Professor Magdalena A K Muir (Aarhus University, Denmark), and Suzanne van der Veeken (Green Destinations Spain).
Voluntary participation by island and local governments etc. with technical support by the Green Destinations team.
Green Destinations is able to facilitate and ensure efficient coordination of actions together with all participating SIDS destinations through a task force (the main governing body of the partnership), using online communication tools. Key actors in the partnership will be represented in the task force, ensuring adequate and well-informed discussions within the task force.
The Small Islands - Green Destination program will build capacity within small islands to become sustainable tourism destinations, through an official recognition as Green Destinations by the end of the programme. This Green Destination recognition will be the basis of the island brand, which then can be improved by the islands.
Initial aspect of capacity development and training targeting local government and business include: sharing Green Destinations assessment, interactive training seminars and webinars. These initial services can be provided at no costs to all islands.
In partnership with islands, further interactive steps include local implementation of criteria and indicators; continuous improvement of local knowledge, capacity, and policies; and working with local businesses in developing economic strategies and unique island sustainable tourism destination brands; and if suitable, facilitating targeted external sustainable investments.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR) that has been developed by Green Destinations is a Destination Sustainability Support System making the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations (GSTC-D) fully operational for any destination in the world, with the aim to help destinations in improving, measuring, my touring, and benchmarking on all relevant aspects of their tourism development strategy, including certification on the basis of the GSTC.
The partnership can start in either of the two following ways:
a) Every town or nature park within the SIDS, that is actually or potentially a tourism destination, will be invited to make a self-assessment through our GSTR Destination Assessment tools (GSTR-DA). On the basis of this, Green Destinations will provide each participating destination with a feedback summarising its strong and weak points in quality and sustainability policy. This provides each destination with a better understanding of where they are, also in relation to other destinations in the region, or globally, on the basis of globally agreed criteria (i.e. the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for Destinations (GSTC-D).
b) Interested destination managers and experts will be invited to participate in one or more online Green Destination Seminars that will be organised as from September 2014.
c) Further steps and stages will be determined in partnership with island and local governments and local businesses.
The aims of the partnership will be achieved by following the following six steps:
Step 1. Think globally, act locally:
A strategic approach based upon common local ambitions
We offer a global approach that focuses on the destination's local situation, on its challenges and ambitions. We will help the destination's key stakeholders to develop a strategy for improvement. We suggest that every step towards sustainability should also increase the destination's quality.
Step 2. The power of numbers:
A quantitative assessment of quality and sustainability:
We have developed a global approach to quantify destinations in all possible ways: the Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR). We have already done this for more than 1000 destinations. We enable destinations to apply this approach to make their ambitions realistic and their progress measurable, to develop an unique island brand, and to compare the destinations with their competitors.
Step 3. A strong local economy:
Synergy between local businesses and the local community
Strong destinations rely on local stakeholders and entrepreneurs, who are encouraged to invest in quality and sustainability, as a basis for a strong local economy. Local profits should enhance local investment and local employment.
Step 4. The power of benchmarking:
An agenda for visible improvement
Our quantitative approach will enable destinations to compete with other destinations in the same region in the world – we help destinations to choose the benchmarks. Destinations may only have to improve their performance a little, to be the winner. With our global tools we make the destinations' improvements visible for a global audience.
For small islands working together, we offer the opportunity for them to all succeed together by developing unique island sustainable tourism brand.
Step 5. Progress from year to year:
A low effort monitoring programme
We will enable destinations to measure their progress in an easy and affordable way, enabling the destination's policy makers to report progress from year to year, and to take additional measures where necessary. This programme will ensure that sustainability will survive political and governmental change.
Step 6. Competitive advantage:
Improved market visibility to consumers
We help creating Small Islands - Green Destinations to become global leaders in sustainability and quality. Our cooperation with important players in the tourism industry can provide destinations with competitive advantage over other destinations.
Arrangements for Capacity Building and Technology Transfer
Making use of the Green Destinations GSTR Destination Assessment tools, including self-assessment, it\'s possible at any time, online or on-site. Use will be free of charge for SIDS destinations.
Every six weeks a new Green Destinations Seminar will start in another language. During each seminar period of three months a number of places will be reserved for participants from this SIDS destinations, free of charge.
Green Destinations Webinars, both as part of the seminars and standalones, can be made accessible to participants from SIDS destinations.