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Archive for the ‘Destinations’ Category

Oulanka National Park, FinlandSustainability and business performance are related, and they both have a positive impact on each other, according to this survey of nearly 900 tourism and hospitality businesses from 59 European protected areas, conducted on behalf of the EUROPARC Federation with funding from DG Enterprise. The report is now available in English and Spanish

The green lifestyle group of businesses is dominant- for most businesses, sustainability actions are taken for altruistic reasons as part of lifestyle choices. The green entrepreneur group is smaller, with less than 20% of businesses having a profile of reasons and actions that suggest sustainability is seen as a business asset or a vehicle for competitive advantage.

We find primarily small and vulnerable businesses in European protected areas, that  claim to be sustainable in general terms but find it harder to show concrete examples. Larger businesses report more sustainability practices, and regardless of size, sustainability and financial health are related. However the lifestyle approach to sustainability means there is limited use for commercial advantages, as shown in the limited use for marketing and communications.

The implications for protected area managers are:

  1. Promoting the business case of sustainability to businesses is not likely to work as much as focusing on the altruistic reasons.
  2. If many of the businesses undertaking sustainability actions do it for lifestyle reasons, it will be difficult to promote any change of behaviour specially more formalised sustainability management (even if it increases profits).
  3. Savings from energy, water and waste management should be promoted first, to help these businesses make savings. Help them identify the savings to then use these as a budget for other sustainability actions that will inevitably increase costs.
  4. All businesses need help to understand which sustainability actions can be presented as part of quality, and to learn how and when to communicate these.

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I’ve been working with Fáilte Ireland now for nine months to prepare their Green Marketing toolkit, which I am proud to see come out today.  The main text already existed for the VisitEngland original document (who has licensed Fáilte Ireland  and VisitWales to have their own versions created).  The Wales version willl come out shortly.

The main effort in Ireland has been identifying case studies. You might think this would be an easy task. Oh, no. Companies in England were shy to talk about their sustainability credentials, and in most cases we found poor examples of management speak in their websites. But finding companies in Ireland was much harder. For a start, our remit was to work with primarily environmentally certified firms- Green Tourism Business Scheme, Green Hospitality Awards, EU Flower, Greenbox primarily. What we found is that most certification programmes pretty much ignore the green communication requirements, focusing almost exclusively on ecosavings management. These should be the firms that can confidently communicate their credentials, but weren’t.

The work for Fáilte Ireland has included face to face group training, writing over 50 individual reviews of accommodation businesses websites on their sustainability communications, and the interviews with businesses that led to this last report. To select the 30 case studies in this document, more than 60 interviews took place, trying to find an angle on how those businesses did something relatively easy for others to learn from and copy, with a small budget.

View the interactive pdf online or Download the pdf.

I am now now completing the VisitWales version of this same document, these two new versions (Ireland and Wales) are licensed by VisitEngland.

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The fragmentation of supply adds to the marketing costs of each individual supplier. Destination partnerships to jointly market attractions the most common- and necessary. The Mekong Private Sector Development Facility, part of the International Finance Corporation- World Bank Group  has produced a campaign to encourage longer stay in the typical touring destinations in the Mekong which to date has proven very successful (more…)

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