ACHIEVing Sustainable Tourism Management: Putting the DIT-ACHIEV Model into Practice

Ensuring a Sustainable Future for Irish Tourism

The DIT-ACHIEV Model of Sustainable Tourism Management, with the participation of local stakeholders, will develop and apply the processes and procedures which will increase stakeholder engagement and involvement in tourism planning and development. Arising from this work, the team will further refine a practical methodology / process for truly engaging businesses in sustainable tourism procedures at a local level.

Recent EU directives rightly place sustainability at the heart of tourism planning going forward, but recent experience by DIT researchers when engaging industry at a local level suggests that many practitioners are entirely confused. They claim to ‘not get’ eco labels / sustainability / corporate social responsibility and other such ‘jargonistic’ terminology, and because they do not see the relevance of these concepts, are apathetic when it comes to their implementation. This lack of engagement is evident in similar research across Europe, however, development of appropriate tools in this regard is lacking, and thus this project would place Ireland to the forefront of industry involvement in Sustainable Tourism Development.

The purpose of piloting this DIT- ACHIEV model is to test its use with the objective to refine and adjust its methodology, so that it can be applied in any Irish tourism destination. The indicators were designed to facilitate government agencies and tourism business managers in making more informed decisions about the future development of tourism in a particular destination. Based on internationally recognised definitions of indicators, the project developed in a set of sustainable tourism indicators known as 'the DIT-ACHIEV Model of Sustainable Tourism Management'.

This model focuses on six 'fields of interests':

  • Administration,
  • Community,
  • Heritage,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Enterprise,
  • Visitor.

Each field of interest encompasses the three pillars of sustainability (environment, economy and society). In addition to data such as environmental measurements, information on water, waste, energy, transport, examination of local cultural, environmental and employment statistics, the model requires the undertaking of three dedicated surveys: A Resident Survey, A Business Survey and A Visitor Survey.

It is anticipated that the use of this model for the examination and future planning of tourism will result in a more viable tourism product in both the immediate and long term, and thereby ensure that a broad range of sustainable principles are adhered to in the management of this important industry.

Aims of the project:

The main aim of this research is to develop and test methodologies / processes for stakeholder engagement and empowerment in local tourism development. The vehicle whereby this research will be undertaken will be the promotion of sustainable tourism management in Temple Bar using the DIT-ACHIEV Model.

Objectives of the project:

  1. Develop structures for stakeholder engagement in the overall Management of a tourism destination i.e. the Steering Committee
  2.  Test the guideline documentation / manuals developed to accompany the DIT-ACHIEV Model, and ensure they communicate sufficient guidance in the implementation of such a comprehensive project.
  3. Explore, reflect and evaluate various levels of stakeholder engagement, identifying barriers to knowledge transfer while also providing tools which facilitate involvement.

International interest in this project, and requests for papers, implies the Dublin Institute of Technology is being recognised as a major contributor to this important research world-wide.

 

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