Today we are pleased to share with you the foreword of our PM4SD manual written by professor Harold Goodwin, from Leeds Metropolitan University, and International Centre for Responsible Tourism. Professor Goodwin will be also one of the high-level speakers of our upcoming Summer School on project management. Due to his wide experience in such a topic we will be glad to hear him explaining “Why sustainable tourism projects fail or succeed?”
Responsible Tourism is about taking responsibility for making tourism more sustainable. It is about identifying and agreeing with local stakeholders the sustainability issues which matter to them – economic, social and environmental. Not necessarily the issues which matter to the tourism industry, but rather the sustainability issues causing concern to local people in their particular place. The aspiration of Responsible Tourism is to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit; in that order. This means addressing the issues of local concern and the negative impacts which tourism has on the local environment.
The proposals put to donors often claim that the interventions will produce dramatic results in outcomes and impacts, but there is no monitoring or reporting. It often seems that the only thing that matters is that the money is spent according to the budget in a timely manner – no matter whether it has any useful impact. Indeed often the objectives are so vague that it is not possible to determine whether anything is achieved, other than the spending of the money. All too often the main beneficiaries of sustainable tourism initiatives have been the people employed to implement the projects. Donors and implementers need to improve their practice.
This PM4SD new training manual and course are long overdue. For many years donors and government agencies have funded tourism projects with the intention of making tourism more sustainable. However the objectives of the projects have often been imprecisely defined, sometimes very vague. Projects funded to address poverty through tourism drift into addressing sustainability in general. This manual provides a disciplined approach to implementing sustainable tourism projects, one which will enable donors and government agencies to hold the implementers to account for the spending of public money and for delivering the impacts intended.
The success of this more professional approach to project management will enable funders to assess the outcomes and impacts of the projects they fund and to determine effectiveness and efficiency. At the heart of the challenge of demonstrating that we know how to make tourism more sustainable, and that we can intervene effectively, is the setting of clear benefits and objectives against which delivery can be monitored and reported. Unless we are able to do this we will be less successful in securing funding to use tourism for sustainable development. Donors and government agencies also need also to improve their performance in setting objectives and deciding which to fund based on the record of those proposing projects in delivering outcomes and impacts, not just the outputs.