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.
Destination Stewardship requires a clear mandate, measurement of standards, community buy-in, and stakeholder collaboration. Practicing destination stewardship is crucial in ensuring that a destination remains attractive, authentic, and sustainable.
The Destination Stewardship Starter Kit has been developed by GSTC to support destinations in their transition towards a stewardship approach. It is intended for destination managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders who are involved in tourism development and management, including public and private sectors, community members, and non-governmental organizations. It is particularly relevant for destinations where there is external pressure to better manage tourism impacts. The starter kit is also useful when a government or destination management organization recognizes that a shift to destination stewardship is needed, or when there is a need for resilience and recovery following a shock to the tourism system, such as a global pandemic or natural disaster.
The Destination Stewardship Starter Kit provides a practical roadmap to prioritizing governance and management strategy, creating a baseline for measurement, and setting achievable targets for sustainable tourism development. The steps offered serve as a guide and, therefore, it is not mandatory to follow them in a specific sequence. It is important to acknowledge that the process is distinctive to each destination. The recommended steps are:
Build a team and identify leaders
Identify key stakeholders
Define your goals and vision
Involve the local community and engage stakeholders
Develop a strategy and an action plan
Provide education and training
Communicate your progress
Monitor and measure your progress
Complete a self-assessment
Adhere to the GSTC Destination Criteria
The GSTC Destination Criteria (GSTC-D) have well proven their value as guides to good destination stewardship. Public sector tourism policy-makers and destination managers throughout the world turn to the GSTC Destination Criteria for guidance in developing policy, raising awareness and conducting training, and for use as a framework for national or localized sustainability standards. Application of the criteria will help a destination to contribute towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Download the Destination Stewardship Starter Kit here now to start the journey!