In the age of climate change and overtourism, several organizations are coming together to equip the sector with the critical skills needed to manage tourism. The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) announced a new partnership with global charity The Travel Foundation, EplerWood International, and Cornell University’s Centre for Sustainable Global Enterprise, a year after the publication of their report Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism.
Through this collaboration, the partners aim to develop new tools and educational content for PATA’s destination members which can then be applied globally.
Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said: “It is imperative that our travel and tourism industry forges new methods to account for the full costs of our activities, to ensure the sustainable and responsible development of destinations for the future. The partnership is a welcome step forward for the Association and aligns with our 2020 theme, Partnerships for Tomorrow.”
Amongst its findings, The Invisible Burden report illustrated that destinations urgently require increased capacity and skills to manage the costs associated with tourism growth, to protect the world’s most treasured natural and cultural assets.
The partnership will build on its ground-breaking work with new research to better understand the skill gaps destinations face as they tackle critical management challenges. Practical training tools and resources will be developed, including:
- holistic accounting methods that measure the invisible burden of tourism;
- data management skills to manage tourism growth in destinations;
- better reporting systems and collaboration between local authorities and the private sector; and
- innovative financing mechanisms that enable tourism destinations to cover the costs of new solutions.
Announcing the next phase of the partnership, Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the Travel Foundation, said: “We see this joint effort to improve the capacity of the tourism sector as essential, given the growth of tourism and its impacts on invaluable social and natural capital. This partnership will support destinations to accelerate the protection of vital assets and infrastructure, and incorporate climate mitigation and adaptation into the larger goals of the tourism economy.”
Megan Epler Wood, Principal of EplerWood International and Managing Director, Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program at Cornell University, said, “In researching the Invisible Burden report, our most striking finding was the lack of expertise and resources in most destinations to manage escalating demand. Destinations need new skills to properly evaluate tourism’s impacts on local infrastructure and assets. We will tackle that issue head on.”
Professor Mark Milstein, Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise at Cornell University, said, “This partnership represents a further investment by our Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP) to ensure one of the world’s most important economic sector operates in a way that does not undermine its own commercial success in the future.”
The Invisible Burden report is available at www.invisibleburden.org.