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A methodology for effective stakeholder engagement in your sustainable tourism strategy

Published on 13 Jun 2024

Direct involvement of the local community is fundamental for an adequate sustainable tourism strategy. The Textour project has developed a methodology for the effective engagement of all stakeholders, essential for implementing a proper tourism promotion plan.

However, communities and stakeholders are often uninterested in taking part in the co-creation process. To help them understand the importance of their involvement in the local development processes, it is important to implement careful and comprehensive planning methodologies, a variety of tools and strategies, and a holistic approach.

A sustainable tourism development project like TExTOUR should consider not only stakeholders and interest groups but also the complex system of values and power they represent. As a result, organisers should continuously pay attention to the inclusion and empowerment of less powerful participants. Therefore, similarly, having various social groups represented in the process is a desired requirement, even though it may be a challenge.
Participatory and community building processes take much time. This means careful planning is needed. You should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of different engagement methods, otherwise stakeholders may not be incorporated into the decision-making process or planned activities may have to be left out. Also, consider that it may take longer to engage weaker stakeholders and vulnerable groups than it does for regular stakeholders.

Community involvement has a multitude of advantages: it supports identity building, gives local communities the chance to influence the development of their own territories and helps them capture economic benefits from tourism development, thus supporting local businesses. It forms part of evolving sustainable heritage management concepts which empower communities to influence/redefine their heritage, and actively participate in sharing and displaying it. In our experience, this has created a complex role for communities, with both economic opportunities and conflicts.

Read more: Infopack Participatory and co-creation process in developing sustainable tourism.

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