Destination Stewardship Planning

    We support Destination Management Organisations to answer some of the big questions about how tourism can best deliver both quality experiences for visitors and quality of life for residents, enabling them to create stronger, sustainable plans that address future risks and confront some of the industry’s biggest, most persistent challenges, such as inequality, seasonality, economic leakage, overcrowding and climate change.  

    We build capacity, supporting DMOs to move towards a stewardship approach and introducing skill sets such as risk profiling and stakeholder engagement.  We can also apply our Optimal Value Framework, which unlike other impact measurement tools, starts with the needs of the community.  The process enables DMOs to understand and enhance the value of tourism for their community, increasing benefits and minimizing negative impacts, prioritizing the impact areas that are most important for their community. From these priorities, we then identify outcomes, indicators and recommendations to feed into planning. We also support meaningful collaboration with tourism businesses and wider stakeholders in the destination and beyond. 

    Examples of our current Destination Stewardship Planning projects include:


    town of vail We are working with MMGY NextFactor and Better Destinations to create one of the USA’s first destination stewardship plans. The plan will be guided by the principles of sustainability and will put residents’ values and goals at its heart.  Vail is a popular resort in Colorado, USA and is hailed as North America’s pre-eminent snow destination.  The project team is working with the town to align Vail’s thriving tourism economy with community priorities, addressing challenges such as growing visitor numbers and climate change and maximising opportunities in a sustainable way.

    The project aims to provide a lasting framework for a thriving tourism economy that supports quality of life and place for residents and visitors alike.

    Our role is to identify current good practices in sustainable destination management and highlight relevant case studies, as well as examining tourism’s impacts and how to optimize its value through our Optimal Value Framework.


    Lake Tahoe

    We’re working with the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), Better Destinations, SMG Consulting, Civitas and local partners to develop a shared vision around how tourism is managed and improve its impact on the environment, local communities, businesses and visitors. Lake Tahoe’s communities and economy are rooted in recreation, but during COVID, visitor numbers surged causing many unprecedented issues, including an increase in plastic waste, overcrowding and pollution. A multi-sector coordinated response to COVID in the region demonstrated the power of collaboration and spurred the initiative to come together to manage the region sustainably.

    The project aims to reach a shared vision, enabling environment and an actionable roadmap through community engagement to improve destination stewardship outcomes in the region.

    Our role is to identify the strategic levers that increase the benefits of tourism and minimize the cost or negative impacts of tourism in the destination through our Optimal Value Framework.  We are also involved in all aspects of the project’s stakeholder engagement processes to steer the analysis.


    We are supporting the Californian coastal destination of Oceanside to create a Tourism Master Plan.  The aim of the plan is to ensure that tourism benefits the local economy whilst also nurturing the environment and community.  We will lead on the sustainability assessments for the plan, working with MMGY NextFactor, as project lead, and Hunden Strategies.

    Our role will be to provide an understanding of how Oceanside performs according to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) criteria, as well as a risk and opportunity analysis using our Optimal Value Framework.  The latter will look deeper to understand the value that tourism can provide to Oceanside.  The analysis will include stakeholder engagement through town halls, focus groups and interviews, as well as desk research and will identify the biggest opportunities to shift towards more positive contributions from tourism to the community and environment.  It will both highlight what positive impacts to prioritize for funding, as well as identifying where things are out of balance and what negative impacts to prioritize for mitigation and management.

    Peak District and Derbyshire

    In partnership with specialist consultancy, Tomorrow’s Tourism, we are supporting Marketing Peak District & Derbyshire (MPDD) alongside the Peak District National Park and the National Forest, to prepare a sustainable tourism action plan for the region.

    The aim is to enable local stakeholders to unite together behind a shared vision and to work collaboratively to deliver sustainable growth for the destination. This work will support the development of an inspirational destination management and planning framework for future collaborative efforts, to ensure the region remains a world-class attraction in which to live, work and visit.

    Our role in the project includes reviewing current supply and market potential, highlighting areas of risk and opportunity, policy and strategy analysis, stakeholder consultations, providing recommendations for planning, as well as good practice case studies and options for pilot projects.

    Sidmouth, East Devon, UK

    We’re working with Sidmouth, alongside four other towns in East Devon, UK to support the development of a sustainable tourism roadmap and carbon action plan for the region. The initiative is led by Sidmouth Town Council working with the towns of Budleigh Salterton, Honiton, Seaton and Ottery St Mary and is part of a wider project called ‘Coast Meets Country’ to demonstrate both connectivity and distinctiveness of the area as a visitor destination.  Funded by East Devon District Council’s Innovation and Resilience Fund, Sidmouth is piloting a collaborative approach to promote resilient and sustainable tourism and transform East Devon into a leader in green tourism.

    Our role involves leading resilience workshops for stakeholders, including an ‘Imaginarium’ to inspire innovation and share knowledge. Our support will enable destination businesses and communities to work towards net zero targets, enabling the region to strengthen resilience and ensure a sustainable tourism model is integrated with other areas such as housing, transport and employment.

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