Destination Stewardship Report

Autumn 2023 September-December (Volume 4, Issue 2)

The Destination Stewardship Report is a collaboration between the Destination Stewardship Center, Center for Responsible Travel, and Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Our goal is to provide practical information and insights useful to anyone whose work or interests involve improving destination stewardship in a post-pandemic world. Subscribe HERE.

For Visit Lake Charles, DEI is about Building Stronger Communities

Why does diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) matter for destinations and what can DMOs do to better integrate DEI principles into its work? A Southeast United States destination shares its story – Chi Lo, Travel Unity’s Resources Director interviews Visit Lake Charles’ Chief Marketing Officer, Timothy Bush about employee and community engagement and how building an inclusive culture is contributing to destination stewardship.

A welcome destination for all

Amidst a backdrop of civil unrest and global change, the summer of 2020 catalyzed Visit Lake Charles’ foray into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work. As the nation delved deep into discussions on race, identity, diversity… READ MORE →

Architectural Tactics for Dispersing Tourism: Lessons from Australia’s Great Ocean Road

In the idyllic landscapes along Australia’s famed Great Ocean Road, the economic and social impact of architectural interventions have become a focal point, addressing the dearth of accommodations in the inland regions. The challenge of attracting tourists to these areas while strengthening the local communities unveils compelling success stories in three distinct domains: the towns, the hinterlands, and a thematic trail. Amidst this exploration lies a crucial lesson: the renovation of small town centers and innovative repurposing of buildings can revitalize these regions, preserving their heritage and bolstering local economies. Clara Copiglia tells us more.

Inspiration along the Great Ocean Road

Back in September 2018, I embarked on a weekend trip to the renowned Great Ocean Road, a scenic drive along the south coast of Victoria, Australia. Due to our modest budget, my partner and I opted for an overnight stay… READ MORE →

Tourism and Natural Disaster Recovery: Keys to Success

What is the impact of natural disasters on tourism and how can the tourism industry itself promote recovery for the destination? Examining Nepal’s recovery following the Gorkha Earthquake in 2015, Jacqueline Harper shares insights into the role of tourism in disaster recovery, emphasizing the significance of swift recovery, effective destination marketing, strategic partnerships, and the opportunity to build back better through sustainable and community-focused approaches.

How tourism can help a tourist destination recover after a natural disaster 

In the wake of the Maui fires, earthquakes in Morocco, a new 2023 quake in remote western Nepal, and other recent natural and manmade disasters, tourism officials have been contemplating when to resume their tourism operations. This dilemma is not uncommon. Re-opening too soon can endanger tourists’ safety; add pressure to already taxed infrastructure, accommodations… READ MORE →

The Surprising Value of Geoparks

All around Canada’s northern Georgian Bay, an intriguing proposal is stirring both local and international interest. Tony Pigott, a retired J. Walter Thompson executive, is leading an effort called then “Aspiring Georgian Bay Geopark,” aiming for the coveted UNESCO geopark designation. But what is a geopark and how can it promote destination stewardship? Jonathan Tourtellot, CEO of the Destination Stewardship Center, explains.

The prestigious UNESCO designation is not what you think

“ ‘Grand Dad, will you tell us again about the Giant’s Tomb?’ ” So recounted Tony Pigott to show how geological formations can hold important stories, and how those stories can engage tourists in what might otherwise seem… READ MORE →

Introducing the GSTC Destination Stewardship Starter Kit

How can a destination get started with the destination stewardship process? Tiffany Chan, GSTC Destinations Coordinator, shares best practices outlined in the new GSTC Destination Stewardship Starter Kit, developed by GSTC’s Destination Stewardship Working Group.

Destination stewardship is a process by which local communities, governmental agencies, NGOs, and the tourism industry take a multi-stakeholder approach to maintaining the cultural, environmental, economic, and esthetic integrity of their country, region, or town. In other words, to ensure that the destination retains and enhances the distinctive attributes that appeal to both residents and tourists. It requires a clear mandate, measurement of standards, community buy-in, and stakeholder collaboration. Practicing destination stewardship is crucial… READ MORE →

Partnership with a Purpose: Takeaways from the Power of Partnership Summit

Last October’s Power of Partnership Summit wasn’t just an event; it was a collaborative accomplishment, dedicated to exploring the intersections among culture, climate, and community within the realm of travel and tourism. Held in Richmond, Virginia, the conference was a joint effort by the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc., Tourism Cares, The Travel Foundation, and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Marketing Council. The goal among the attending industry leaders, visionaries, and change-makers was to amplify multicultural experiences, leverage cultural assets, and propel accelerated climate action. Jonathan Tourtellot, CEO of the Destination Stewardship Center, and Alix Collins, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) share someREAD MORE →

Two Winners from the Top 100

Every year, Green Destinations organizes the Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories competition, which invites submissions from around the world – a vetted collection of stories spotlighting local and regional destinations that are making progress toward sustainable management of tourism and its impacts. From the winners announced this year, we’ve selected two stories from Thailand and South Africa that showcase the importance of engaging all stakeholder groups within a destination. Synopses by Ailin Fei.

Historic Thai City Finds Ways to Solve Tourist Waste

Top 100 submission by Camila Guedes – Mrs. Suparada Karndissayakul, Managing Director of DASTA 6.

Nan’s overtaxed historic center engages the elderly to clean up after visitors

Nan Old City is a part of Nan, the provincial administrative center of the Nan province, in northern Thailand. Nan Old City, with its rich history and cultural significance, faces overtourism issues, primarily at nights and weekends. To meet tourist demands at the old square of Nan Old City, the municipality opened weekend outdoor markets… READ MORE →

Bypassed by Visitors: How One Community Tackles Undertourism

Top 100 submission by Tom Vorster, Tourism Destination Coordinator, Kruger to Canyons Biosphere.

Engaging the Community in South Africa’s Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region

Communities in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region struggle to benefit from conservation efforts and are threatened by the diminishing promotion of cultural heritage and climate change, while remaining largely unseen by tourists. The Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region in South Africa spans 2.5 million hectares, combining popular attraction…READ MORE →


Ritchie, J.R.B., Crouch, G.I. (2022). The Competitive Destination: A Sustainable Tourism Perspective. Cabi Digital Library. Reprint of the 2003 landmark book. Presents a conceptual model of destination competitiveness. Strong theoretical background for managerial decision-making, giving destination managers a range of tools to analyze and increase the competitiveness of their areas.

Visit Faroe Islands, (2023). Heim: Tourism Strategy Towards 2030. Downloadable pdf. The archipelago’s striking destination stewardship and sustainable tourism plan. Heim means home – i.e., their top priority. Useful model for other destinations.

Bellato, L., Frantzeskaki, N., & Nygaard, CA. (2022) Regenerative tourism: a conceptual framework leveraging theory and practice. Tourism Geographies. Practical guidance for those seeking regenerative futures. The framework promotes collaborative research and practice, covering diverse applications, interdisciplinary methods, non-English, non-Western, and Indigenous perspectives, tourism geography, and connections with existing concepts.

Manning, E., Márquez, LE. (2023) Sustainable Tourism in the Americas. Cabi. Eight chapters explore sustainable tourism in the region. Documents successful policies and implementations in various American countries, examining sustainability in diverse cultural and ecological contexts, including indigenous sites and urban environments.

Sponsored by:

Executive Editor – Jonathan B. Tourtellot
Managing Editor – Alix Collins
Illustrations Editor – Gabe Gerson
Scheduling, design & distribution – Tiffany Chan
Editorial assistance – Martha Mulokoshi, Ailin Fei, Chi Lo,
Cindy Linnell, Devika McWalters, Ellen Estrada