Effective Project Management for Sustainable Tourism Destinations
The Travel Foundation works with destinations around the world to develop and deliver sustainable tourism projects, including:
- Cape Verde: The project brought local authorities, private businesses and NGOs together to form a Destination Council, creating a culture of shared ownership and management.
- Measuring Tourism's Impact: A pilot study in Cyprus conducted using the Total Impact Measurement and Management (TIMM) framework developed by PwC to measure and analyse tourism's impact impacts on society, the economy and the environment.
Salli Felton of The Travel Foundation shares insights into effective project management approaches in the field of sustainable tourism, focused on the following topics:
- Scoping: Identifying and Selecting Project Ideas with Sustainability in Mind
- Situational Analysis: Understanding the Stakeholder Needs
- Financial Buy-In at the Destination Level
- Exit Strategy: Ensuring Long-Term Benefits of Your Project
1 - Scoping: Identifying and Selecting Project Ideas with Sustainability in Mind
How do project ideas usually come to the Travel Foundation team? Are you proactively seeking ideas that can turn into sustained projects, or do partners and stakeholders suggest project ideas?
Many ideas also come from destination assessments that we conduct if we are looking to develop projects in a new destination or if we are asked to do an assessment by a destination. In these instances we generally will identify projects that tackle the most material impacts.
In addition, project ideas can also come from a variety of other sources, including:
- Partners: Our long term funding partners usually have areas of focus that they want to address mostly based on issues/challenges that they are encountering at an operational level. In these instances we then look to scope projects around these issues in a way that will address the tourism impact in the most positive way.
- Donors: When we apply for grant funds we have to work in with the criteria set by donors but usually only apply for grants where there is a match between their criteria and existing project ideas we have been scoping. More often than not, we identify grant funding opportunities that suit our style and then scoping projects to fit.
- Internal: We use a small amount of our unrestricted funds to scope and develop or own projects but this is a very small part of our project portfolio.
2 - Situational Analysis: Understanding the Stakeholder Needs
You discussed the importance of situation analysis during the Scoping phase, before a project idea is accepted. Do you sometimes also have project ideas that are rejected, and if so, why are those ideas considered not viable?
3 - Financial Buy-In at the Destination Level
You mentioned that one of the key aspects of ensuring the “sense of ownership” among local stakeholders is to have them also financially invest in the project (rather than simply handing out money). How and from whom do you seek such financial commitment?
4 - Exit Strategy: Ensuring Long-Term Benefits of Your Project
You also discussed the importance of the hand-over or exist strategy in the project closure phase to ensure lasting impacts. Do you consider the eventual handover of the project before it starts, and what can be done during the project to help make the handover smooth?
*The Theory of Change (TOC) model is a useful management and planning technique that creates a comprehensive description and illustration of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. TOC starts from a vision of a desired future, and working backwards to identify what needs to be done to achieve that future (Source: Center for Theory of Change).
About The Travel Foundation
The Travel Foundation is an independent charity that works with tourism businesses and destination stakeholders to create partnerships that unlock the positive potential of tourism.
The Travel Foundation's mission is to bring together stakeholders to develop practical solutions which maximise the benefits and minimise the negative impacts of tourism in destinations. To this end, the Travel Foundation helps tourism stakeholders to:
- identify, measure and manage the impacts of their tourism activities.
- embed sustainability into core policies, supporting frameworks and operational practices.
- share the results of their work with their peers and competitors, inspiring change in others.