Posts Tagged ‘destinations’

From Berlin to Barcelona: Welcome Goodbye

04/03/2012 1 comment

Once again city authorities in Barcelona (and Catalunya) are vying with those of Madrid.  This time it’s for the option to become a “Eurovegas destination”.  The tabling of this project is perhaps irresistible given the very high levels of unemployment in Spain.  But EuroVegas will be no gift.  There will be economic costs as well as a range of social, cultural and environmental impacts (as well as opportunities).  And then there are the opportunity costs–the money invested and the people and places given over to development might be better “spent” on other livelihood-supporting activities…  perhaps?

The big question for me, however, is what would be the dimensions and characteristics of tourism to Barcelona given both the presence of Eurovegas and predicted future tourism volumes.

And, incidentally, on what grounds does Eurovegas form part of the city’s sustainable tourism strategy?

Would Eurovegas serve to decant tourism from parts of the city where authorities have recognised that large visitor volumes challenge the balance of local life?  Or would Eurovegas add to the intensity of tourism numbers, thereby reducing the diversity of place uses and degrading the intrinsic qualities of the city’s places?

With these questions in mind it is little wonder that the Welcome Goodbye project has caught my interest (video in German with subtitles in English).  This filming project plans to ask questions about the potential outcomes for plans to grow, grow and… grow tourism to Berlin.  I suggest it gives cause for reflection for the city and people of Barcelona, with or without Eurovegas.



South Africa implements a Responsible Tourism Standard

It’s not an award, and nor is it a voluntary code of practice.  It’s not even another national certification scheme.  What it is is a national standard for responsible tourism, and a milestone in responsible tourism linked to governance and policy-making.

South Africa’s recently launched National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism is legally enforceable in that businesses claiming to practise responsible tourism will need to prove that their activities comply with its criteria.  This includes certification and accreditation by the South African National Accreditation System.

The standard

“establishes specific minimum requirements for the performance of organizations in the tourism sector in relation to sustainability, and enables an organization to formulate a policy and objectives, which take into account legal requirements and information pertaining to the impact of these requirements.”


“the minimum criteria apply to those aspects that can be controlled by the organization or on which it can exercise influence.”

South Africa has a relatively long history in responsible tourism terms.  It was one of the first countries to include “responsible tourism” in its national tourism policy, in its 1996 White Paper on the Development and Promotion of Tourism in South Africa. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) followed this up in 2002 by producing the National Responsible Tourism Guidelines which emphasised the need to address the triple bottom line of sustainable development (economic, environmental, and social sustainability).

The addition of the National Minimal Standard sees the government of South Africa take further responsibility to promote the positive as well as negate the potentially negative outcomes of tourism.  It is hoped that such policies will feed through to further raise awareness amongst both tourists and tourism organisations of the value of conserving South Africa’s natural and cultural resources so the viability of its tourism industry is ensured for years to come.

News sourced via Harold Goodwin’s blog.