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Sustainable Tourism Development

Awareness and Initiation

Educational Institute: Aalborg University

Programme: Tourism MA
Module: Developing Tourism
Supervisor: Peter Kvistgaard
Student: Panagiotis Spanoudakis
Date of Submission: 29/5/2008
Characters excluding bibliography
and annexes: 57283
Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

Cover page image from University of Manitoba.

INTERVIEW METHOD.......................................................................................................6
THE CYCLE OF INFLUENCES..............................................................................................7
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS..............................................9
TOURISM CARRYING CAPACITY ASSESSMENT..........................................................13
INTERVIEW FROM BO IMMERSEN OF VISIT NORDJYLLAND...................................19
INTERVIEW ANALYSIS...................................................................................................19
ANNEX 1.................................................................................................................................37

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation


The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED)

which is known also as the Brundtland Commission named after its, then chairman Gro
Harlem Brundtland with the publication of the report about development and international
economic co-operation on August 4 1987 Our Common Future introduced the term
Sustainability and defined sustainable development by the statement that Humanity has the
ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (WCED
1987: 24). The Sustainable Tourism concept derives from the concept of sustainable
Development applied to the tourism sector (European Communities 2006: 31). Moreover
according to the European Communities (2006: 31):

Sustainable development, thus, implies a balanced relationship among human beings,

economic development and environment. It means to integrate the economic, social
and environmental dimension at the same level of consideration. The implementation
of this concept implies thinking about the future of humankind; it is about creating a

Many development patterns applied on modern economies aim on the coverage of

economical needs that provide the conditions, services and products demanded for not only
the preservation of life but also the way of life that is dictated from our societies. Until now
human development causes major changes that degrade our physical environment. According
to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007: 2) which is a scientific
intergovernmental body set up by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and
the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have
increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-
industrial values determined from ice cores spanning many thousands of years ()
The global increases in carbon dioxide concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel
use and land use change, while those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due
to agriculture.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

However there are industries within our economies that their existence is greatly related
and depended on the preservation of our environment, such an example is the tourism
industry that in many of its various forms the actual product is the environmental quality and
unique characteristics of a destination. Moreover it is considered as a very profitable one
also! According to Eurostat (2007):

tourism accounts for 4% of the Communitys GDP, with about 2 million enterprises
employing some 4% of the total labor force (representing approximately 8 million
jobs).when the connections with other sectors are taken into account, tourism's
contribution to GDP is estimated to be around 11% and it provides employment for
more than 12% of the labor force (24 million jobs)

Still, in the context of tourism which is an industry heavily motivated to advance

environmental equilibrium and at the same time economically sustainable enough to attract
entrepreneurial attention, development and planning tends to show characteristics
demonstrated by unsustainable sectors of human development. Since the IPCC has proved
that human development is evolving through planning (or through chaos) that it is
unsustainable, then, what happened? Somebody failed to reach short term objectives and was
simply allowed to continue or somebody failed to place the right long term objectives and
simply got lost somewhere in the way? Or maybe there is an issue about awareness on
sustainable development?

Explicit example of tourism development and planning that lacks awareness is the trend
of boosterism which has long been the dominant tradition towards tourism development and
planning since mass tourism began (Hall 2000: 21). Boosterism demonstrates no
consideration at all to the limit of a destinations carrying capacity given that the necessary
consideration to the management of resources and experience quality is not implemented
resulting in the establishment of the provocative slogan that Bigger is better.

Plans about sustainable development that lack awareness, could easily be regarded as
utopia and even of ritualistic nature. The pitfall is serving what everybody acknowledges and
nobody can follow. In order to follow a journey towards sustainability (Kernel 2004) there
is a need for awareness in order to influence also those involved.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

How can we become more aware of our quest as explorers in the journey towards
sustainable tourism development in order to infuse influence to all others involved and finally
get them onboard this journey?


This study is developing existing scientifically documented knowledge which is retrieved
by research conducted to academically credible sources and literature in relevance with the
researched subjects that includes: academic research journals, articles and books, online
resources and second hand statistical research retrieved from credible statistical agencies.

The proposals developed through this study, proceed carefully in order to exclude biased
personal views on the subjects analyzed, and the relevant conclusions produced. The use of
scientifically inadequately supported sources and material has been avoided and a significant
effort has been made in order to ensure that all sources used for the development of this study
are properly acknowledged.

The literature review conducted for this study emphasized in topics about sustainability in
the context of tourism and in particular about sustainable development indicators, (an
approach that could be characterized as quantitative) awareness and influence.

The reason behind the establishment of indicators as a focal point at first, is that in the
vast literature about Sustainable tourism development, indicators stand out due to the specific
suggestions that they provide to a topic that despite that it is exhaustively researched, the
interest is kept vibrant because of the difficulties that sustainable development encounters to
the actual implementation, and this is also the reason that the interview research of this paper
establishes awareness and initiation on sustainable development as a focal point. Theory is
being deducted to the research area through an effort to understand rather than only to explain
the findings since there is a constant feedback between the phenomena that are to be
researched and social actors.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation


According to Biber et al. (2006: 119) In-depth interview uses individuals as the point of
departure for the research process and assumes that individuals have a unique and important
knowledge about the social world that is ascertainable through verbal communication. Biber
et al. (2006: 125-126) distinguishes three kinds of in-depth interview:

1. Structured interview means that the interviewer will ask each participant the
same series of questions.

2. Semi-structured interviews rely on a certain set of questions and try to guide

the conversation to remain, more loosely, on those questions.

3. In low-structure or even open-ended interviews this is taken even further.

While the researcher has a particular topic for the study, he or she allows the
conversation to go wherever the research participant takes it and each interview
becomes highly individual.

For the purpose of this study the knowledge of an individual with significance experience
on the matter researched is very important. A quantitative analysis is not necessary for this
study and consequently the interview doesnt have to be structured, however because there
are a lot of questions to be answered, the Biographic character of an open-ended interview is
not ideal either, even though that this interview doesnt need to retain a structure in order to
be quantified, making the character of the research qualitative and a semi structured design
under these circumstances is ideal.

The interview data analysis strategy proceeds through analytic induction that begins with
a rough definition of a research question, proceeds to a hypothetical explanation of that
problem, and then continues on to the collection of data (Bryman 2008: 539). The Interview
content analysis is progressing through coding which according to Bibber et al. (2006)
proceeds through the identification of segments on the interview text and assignment of a
label or code.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

The qualitative data after the initial preparation which, in this case is the creation of a
transcript out of the 44 minutes digitally recorded phone interview which took place in
22/4/2008 will be transferred word by word with minor reductions and the necessary
corrections and then organized on a table in order to be coded, meaning that assigning a code
will be the first step, followed by formation into concepts and finally categories.


Economic sustainability can be elaborated as the Human production activity of both

services and goods triggered by various resource exploiting entities and entrepreneurs in the
prospect of gaining more commodity, fiat, credit monetary units than the estimated equivalent
of the resources consumed by the production process and the partially reinvestment of the
produced profit with the prospect of advancing shorter either longer investment plans.

Social sustainability is the integration of the social factor into the economical
development and planning process by taking into account the various social parameters and
mostly those that receive the most impact from development processes. The social impact of
development if neglected by the actors that are being involved in the development process,
results in a solipsistic approach from the actors part to the process that will be proven weak
to stand up to the social challenges that will arise sooner or later since development takes
place more or less inside our societies.

Environmental equilibrium may be described as the striving to recreate the resources that
human activity consumes at least on the equal rate of their consumption before their depletion
occurs in order to make the impact of our activity a reversible intervention.

Hall (2000) refers to the three dimensions of sustainability (social, economic,

environmental) as prerequisites for the discussion of sustainability goals. Each dimension
represents challenges for the realization of sustainable development that have to be met
simultaneously. However the influences that exist between these dimensions are still obscure.
At an effort to identify these influences, the existence of three philosophies can be
hypothesized as depicted on figure 1 and elaborated below:

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

1. Collectivism in relevance to our case is the mentality of the whole into which
development has to aim and this is achieved through propensities to the social and
environmental goals often neglecting economical needs. This philosophy is easily
realized through the initial steps towards development due to the simple and not so
competitive character of the field, and the need to join forces in order to initiate

2. Solipsism in this context is the tendency to develop by taking for granted the stability
of the physical environment and pursuing development in terms of mostly economic
and social prosperity, thus establishing the perception of the sole self. This is a
philosophy that often develops until consequences appear.

3. Realism as a concept in that case emerges as a reaction to possible consequences

caused by preexisting development patterns and stresses the importance of
environmental and economical considerations in terms of development, and may
occur as an initial movement towards sustainability.

The hypothesis made is that there is an in-motion cycle of prevailing influences

(collectivism, solipsism, realism) that is set in-motion by impacts emerging from the
environmental, social and economical dimensions, that everyone involved is experiencing
and primary are responds to applied development patterns. This constant mobility is achieved
by mental shifts that in the same way that they become an influence, they can be influenced
as well.
A graphical representation of the above concept exists on figure 1 of the next page.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

Environment Economy


Collectivism Solipsism


Figure 1 Cycle of influences (after Hall 2000)


According to Eurostat (2006a) there are specific indicator sets developed from
organizations already active on the process of establishing tourism sustainable development
indicators, among them the European Environment Agency (EEA) the Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Tourism Organization
(WTO) as well as countries like Spain. Eurostat in cooperation with these organizations and
countries in order to cover the need for the creation of a core set of tourism sustainable
development indicators in an applicable way for European countries and to guide future
demands on specialized data in a greater regional and local level has proposed the DPSIR1

One tool to select relevant indicators to the core set is the integrated assessment
structure for analyses of data on human activities and the environment, the DPSIR
framework, advocated by the Environment Agency (based on the OECD Pressure
State Response (PSR) model). Using the DPSIR framework, principal interactions
between tourism and the environment can be identified e.g. different types of natural

1 DPSIR acronym stands for Driving forces, Pressure, State, Impact and Responses

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

resources (energy resources, biological resources, media/land resources etc). (Eurostat

2006a: 8)

Based on the DPSIR framework which is depicted on figure 2 Eurostat (2008a) produced
the core set of tourism sustainable development indicators. This is a set of 20 indicators that
measure aspects of the three major dimensions of tourism sustainable development namely
environmental, economical and social. A difficulty in the integration of the social dimension
on this framework is acknowledged by Eurostat with the suggestion of six more indicators
with social orientation that may be included in the future. The Core set of Sustainable
Development Indicators for Tourism is presented below:

Figure 2 Source: Eurostat 2006a


Driving Forces
1. Number of beds in hotels and similar establishments
2. Number of trips by means of transport
3. Tourism-related employment (% of total employment)
4. Household consumption expenditure on tourism
5. Tourism share of GDP

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

6. Number of tourist overnight stays in various types of accommodation
7. CO2-emissions from energy use in tourism facilities
8. Water use by tourists, per person and day in relation to use by residential population
9. Generation of municipal waste by tourists
10. Discharge of sewage water due to tourism

11. Areas used for specific leisure activities, e.g.: marinas, golf courses, ski areas etc., time
12. Areas covered by forest and other wooded land (%), time series
13. Protected land and water areas (% of land area in tourist regions), time series

14. Tourists exposed to noise in hotel and similar establishments
15. Bathing Water Quality, time series

16. Sewage water treatment plants -volumes of water treated- time series
17. Percent of tourist business establishments participating in recognized environmental
18. Expenditure to maintain/restore cultural and historical heritage
19. Eco-labeled tourism facilities (as % of total)
20. Existence of land use or development planning processes, specifically referring to tourism
Source: Eurostat 2006b: 4

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

However still, this core set of indicators according to Eurostat (2006a) is lacking towards
its social dimension and it could be enhanced with the following indicators in the future:
Crime rate during high season in relation to crime rate during off season.
Social Assistance Demand (see Calvia Local Agenda 21 indicators in Mr Anthony
Ellulls (Turkey) article Impact of tourism on the regions and the population; social,
economic and environmental indicators)
Frequency of water-borne diseases: number of visitors reporting water-borne illnesses
during their stay (WTO)
The residents health in the tourist regions
The share of poor people living in tourist regions
Accessibility for disabled people in tourist regions
Source of indicators: Eurostat 2006a

Eurostat (2006a: 10) explains that Data on sustainable tourism is seldom available for a
whole country and only a few countries and organizations have built up sustainable tourism
indicators and later on identifies existing indicator sets for sustainable tourism in Spain,
Austria, Germany, UK, OECD, IF SIP, EEA and WTO. However these data collections are
not available through the online databases of Eurostat and the national agencies of the
countries and organizations mentioned.

According to Eurostat (2008) The Council of the European Union adopted a Directive on
the collection of statistical information in the field of tourism (Council Directive 95/57/EC)
on November of 1995 that received amendments in 2004, 2006 requiring the national
governments of the EU Member States to provide a regular set of specific tourism statistics
which later are grouped under the available data collections for tourism statistics section of
the Eurostat portal which main categories are:

Capacity of collective tourist accommodation: establishments, bedrooms and

Occupancy of collective tourist accommodation: domestic and inbound tourism
Tourism demand: domestic and outbound tourism (excluding day-trips)
Employment in the tourism sector

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

These are also the statistical data that Eurostat offers for the tourism activity in the
European Union. The most probable reason that the data required for the Core set of
Sustainable Development Indicators for Tourism are not available is due to the fact that most
countries provide the mandatory data required from the council directive on the field of
tourism from the European Union. Currently data available from most countries are of
economical orientation to statistical standards such as the tourism satellite account of WTO.

The four categories that Eurostat provides that also have an economical orientation with
only exception the category of employment that has both an economic and a social character.
According to Weaver & Lawton (2006) sustainable tourism indicators face the following
The holistic nature of tourism development which is making it hard to distinguish
from civil activities.
The continuously evolving social and political conditions that might derail long term
schedules used by indicators.
Weakness to calculate small changes that gain magnitude through multiple chaotic
meta influences (butterfly effect).
Difficulties to define carrying capacity limits.
Incompatibility between the three dimensions of sustainability for certain cases.


The tourism carrying capacity assessment (TCCA) is the practical implementation of

Sustainable Tourism Development Indicators (STDI) that provides valuable awareness on
destination development and management.

According to PAP/RAC (2003) TCCA as a procedure until now has been applied mostly
to tourism destinations that due to high tourism demand (Majorca, Rhodes, Rimini, Elba,
Maltese Irelands) have developed a capacity to accept visitors that resulted to environmental
deterioration followed by reactive social propensities and negative economic impacts.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

The awareness about sustainable development in the context of tourism goes even further
by the assessment of the actual capacity of a destination to accept tourists and draw
development patterns. Moreover Coccossis et al. (2002: 29) explains that:

Sustainable development provides the general policy framework for tourist

development. Applying the concept of sustainable development to sustainable tourism
we find that the idea of carrying capacity or else the desirable, feasible and allowed,
level of tourist development are deeply embedded in both concepts. Carrying capacity
could be considered as a measure of sustainability.

Criticism about the idea to actually measure the carrying capacity of a destination by
providing a maximum number of visiting tourists by the argument that this is a fragile
hypothesis on a dynamic process that is evolving continuously can be avoided if it is made
clear that TCCA should be a guiding tool for implementing the strategy of sustainable
tourism development only, while the quantifications should be made whenever possible
(Trumbic 2005: 4). Coccossis et al. (2002: xii) makes clear that:

Overall measuring Tourism Carrying Capacity does not have to lead to a single
number (threshold), like the number of visitors. Even when this is achieved, this limit
does not necessarily obey to objectively, unchangeable, everlasting criteria. An upper
and a lower limit of TCC can be of more use than a fixed value. TCC assessment
should provide not only the maximum but also the minimum level of development,
which is the lowest level necessary for sustaining local communities.

Defining limitations on complex issues is something that can be difficult and

unsuccessful, still development beyond limitations seems to be the problem on destinations
that TCCA has taken place, in an effort to establish sustainability.

Moving towards sustainability is neither about staying passively within objectively

defined limits nor is it about doing what the markets dictate; it is about a dynamic,
integrated and, most importantly, democratic and participatory process of managing
socio-environmental change. This provides a new perspective on the concept and
application of tourism carrying capacity. (Coccossis & Mexa 2004)

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

Trumbic (2005) when he refers to a workable definition of the TCCA cites that:

The World Tourism Organization (WTO) was the first to propose a workable
definition of TCCA, which has been adopted by many, including the Priority Actions
Programme (PAP/RAC) of UNEP/MAP. It states that TCCA is "...the maximum
number of people that may visit a tourist destination at the same time, without causing
destruction of the physical, economic and socio-cultural environment and an
unacceptable decrease in the quality of visitors' satisfaction"

The definition from the WTO explicitly refers to the upper limitation and implicitly to the
lower limit by implying to the economic viability of the destination and draws upon the three
dimensions of sustainability (Social, Environmental, Economical) that shape the practice of


The procedure of defining TCC based on the framework of Shelby and Heberlein as
described by Coccossis et al. (2002) is divided in two parts presented below.

DESCRIPTIVE PART: describes the state of the destination in the context of tourism mostly
in terms of social, economical and environmental dimensions with an emphasis on the
identifications of:
a) Constraining factors that cannot be easily manipulated trough management and
planning e.g. land use, drinking water scarcity
b) Bottlenecks, referring to limitations that can be manipulated through management
such as density of tourists in space and time.
c) Impacts on the destination caused by tourism deployment that later on will
determine the type of carrying capacity e.g. Social, environmental, economical.

EVALUATIVE PART: evaluates the appropriate management approach for the destination
by taking into account the impact tolerance from the deployment of tourism. The tourism
development policy has to be established at this level in order to proceed to the TCC
assessment. At this point it is vital the identification of
a) Goals and objectives for the tourism deployment e.g. type of tourism and provided

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

b) Evaluative criteria for the assessment of acceptable levels of change caused by


A set of Indicators is being established in order to guide the TCC implementation and
adaptation when necessary to the evolving circumstances. Coccossis and Mexa (2004)
present three main categories of TCCA possible indicators (Physical ecological, Socio-
cultural, Political economic) presented in table 1 below that can be used for TCC assessment


Area of key ecosystems (wetland, forest, etc)/total area
Number of tourists per
Natural environment and km of (accessible) coastline
biodiversity sq m of (accessible) coast
sq. km of natural site
Number of tourists/ protected key ecosystems surface
Tourist infrastructure Tourist beds/ permanent population
Average number of days during tourist season in which
Air quality
pollution standards are exceeded per year
Average number of days during tourist season where
Noise pollution
noise pollution standards are exceeded
Energy consumption of tourism related activities/local
capacity for energy supply
Water consumption of tourism related activities/total
Water Water consumption of tourism in respect to total
available resources
Percentage of coastal water quality samples, which
conform with bathing quality standards per year
Daily average solid waste production in peak period/
daily annual average solid waste production
Daily average liquid waste production in peak period/
daily annual average liquid waste production
Daily solid waste production during peak season/ Daily
Waste solid waste collection capacity or capacity of the
disposal systems
Daily liquid waste production during peak season/
Daily liquid waste treatment capacity
Share of tourist beds in TU served by waste water
treatment plants
Land Urbanized land for tourism (second houses, hotels,
recreation centers, etc)/ total urbanized land

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

Density of tourism development (No. of beds/ tourism

urbanized land)
Rate of coastal erosion
Average travel distance and time per tourist to
reach the destination
Transport and mobility Waiting time to use facilities (i.e. waiting time
at ski lifts, museums entrance, etc)
Number of parking places/ average number of cars per
day, coaches etc in critical areas (i.e. along a beach,
historic centre, etc)
Max value (peak period)
Min-Average value
Number of beds places per 100 inhabitants
Tourist flow Number of over-nights per 100 inhabitants
Number of arrivals per 100 inhabitants
Number of tourists per square meter of site/ key area
(i.e. beach, square, museum, natural/cultural
Site, etc.):
Max value (peak period)
Min-Average value
Tourist flow Tourists/ density area:
Max value (peak period)
Min-Average value
Tourists/ month (distribution during the year)
Tourist bed places/ local people employed
Employment Migrant labor/ local population
Comparison with national average
Number of tourists' complaints
Number of residents' complaints (i.e. from noise)
Rate of residents which benefit from tourism (local
Psychological issues
employers + local employees /total population)
Displacement of members of local population due to
tourism development
Tourism earnings and investments Average per capita income in catering and tourism
Percentage of seasonal labor force in the total number
of workers employed in tourism
Table 1 Source: Coccossis & Mexa 2004: 79-90

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation


According to MIO- ECSDE (2008) The Coastal Area Management Programme (CAMP)
approach, on the concept of Carrying Capacity Assessment which completed in 1993 used a
number of factors among them:

Water (construction of waterworks or a desalination plant or some other type of

Labor force (immigration, education)
Categories and type of tourists (increase or decrease of the quality level of tourist

The Rhodes Carrying Capacity Assessment (CCA) according to MIO-ECSDE (2008)

estimated the maximum number of people that can simultaneously visit the central-eastern
zone of the island. Examples of spatial standards applied by the CAMP CCA in Rhodes were:

Tourist density
50 guests per 1 ha in high-category hotels and similar establishments,
90 guests per 1 ha in medium-category hotels and similar establishments

Density of users on sandy beaches

6 m2 per bather for medium-category hotels and similar establishments,
8 m2 per bather for high category hotels and similar establishments

The scenarios and final results of the CAMP TCCA for the Central-Eastern Zone of the
island of Rhodes are summarized in table 2

Table 2 A framework of tourism development on the overall carrying capacity of the Central-
Eastern Zone of the island of Rhodes (according to CAMP 1996)
CONSTRAINTS 1992 2000 2010
Population 20000 25000 33400
Local labor 6800 9200 11700
Migrant labor (i) Unavailable 1300 500
Migrant labor (ii) Unavailable 3300 6300
SCENARIO I 1992 2000 2010
Number of beds 13500 21000 25000

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

Number of bed nights (in '000) 3600 6020 7300

Number of arrivals (in '000) 400 670 811
Tourism receipts (in million US$) 144 391 584
Tourist/Local population 0.67 0.82 0.95
Average daily tourist expenditure (US$) 50 65 80
SCENARIO II 1992 2000 2010
Number of beds 13500 25000 36000
Number of bed nights (in '000) 3600 6844 10250
Number of arrivals (in '000) 400 760 1138
Tourism receipts (in million US$) 144 410 717
Tourist/Local population 0.67 0.97 1.08
Average daily tourist expenditure (US$) 50 60 70
Source: MIO-ECSDE 2008

According to PAP/RAC (2003) The CCA was presented to the decision-makers in two
alternative scenarios, with a then, present estimation of 1992, an intermediate estimation for
2000 and a target year of 2010:

a) With a maximum of 25,000 beds oriented towards middle-class tourists.

b) With a maximum of 36,000 beds, targeted at lower to middle-class tourists.


According to PAP/RAC (2003) from 1993 until 2003 all available information show that
the TCCA was not implemented in the area and on the contrary the area was subjected to a
cement onslaught.


In order to research how influences towards sustainable tourism development are initiated
a research based on an in-depth interview with someone who has significant experience on
the matter can be very valuable. Bo Immersen is a project coordinator in visit Nordjylland
organization with educational background as service economist that participated in a project
that aimed on creating and implementing a model for sustainable development in tourism
enterprises. That project was implemented in mid and northern Jutland of Denmark and it
was based on influence towards small and medium companies to integrate economical,
social and environmental issues in tourism planning (Kernel 2004)

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation


Interview Text Interview Analysis

Q# = Question number
BI = Bo Immersen Code Concept Category
PS= Panagiotis Spanoudakis

Q1: How do, influences towards Influence

sustainable tourism development are initiation

BI: The last six years we have some

money from the Danish government,
from the EU system to help EU Money
companies become more sustainable,
to save energy and [reduce] water

PS: So it is mostly economical

incentives that are being used?

BI: Yes, the initiative started before Business

my time here at visit Nordjylland and opportunity:
the exact reasons we saw an More tourists Opportunity
opportunity, a business opportunity in prefer eco
the future because we thought that label
more and more tourists select the
hotels which have an eco label. So we
started this initiative with got the
money from the EU, the Danish
government to help these companies
be more sustainable.

PS: So it was mostly the economical

incentives that you had, and the
measurements that tourists are going
to prefer eco labeled businesses?

BI: Yes... we didnt have any analysis.

It was a hunch mostly and after we
started there were a few analyses to First hunch.
show that about five percent of the After 5%
tourists chose a hotel because they choose eco
had an eco label. So, partly because label hotel
we had the opportunity to do it and
because, it was a business opportunity
and advantage for the future.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

Q2: How and by which priority do the Ranking of

social economical and environmental influential
dimensions influence a Companys dimensions
decision to become more sustainable?

BI: It was mostly economical. Many Save money

of the companies liked the fact that from
they could save some money on their consumption.
water and energy consumption. Most
of them also had the heart on the right Heart on the 1
place and they wanted to do right place Economy
something for the environment. But 2
mostly it was economical reasons. Social
PS: So, on the first place there was the 1 Environment
economical incentive, then Economical
environmental considerations and on 2
the third place social incentives like Environment
enhancing their image on the market 3
maybe? Social

BI: Yes

Q3: How do problems emerge when Influence

influences towards sustainable problems
development are exercised?

BI: Mostly because we used the

official eco label, the EU flower, there
is a lot of paperwork involved and this
is a big disadvantage because they Paperwork
have to spend a lot of time to fill out
the forms and papers. And thats
where I come in; I help them with all
the paperwork and of course
implementing the environmental
management system. So, first of all
the paperwork is a big problem and
second, to fulfill the criteria
sometimes they had to make
investments and most of the
companies thought it was ok to make
small investments but if there were Small invest
big investments they didnt want the
eco label Easy short
term small
PS: So they had to proceed to big investment is
investments in order to receive the eco ideal

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

BI: A few of them had to make big

investments, so they didnt want to Big Invest
proceed. Only small investments were

PS: This is very interesting because

this certification is very important and
they didnt want to spent more than,
what we could call the average
investment? SMEs are
BI: Yes I think so; it is also interesting
that most of the companies that
wanted to get the eco label were small Small
companies, none of the big companies companies
that participated in this project. Thats were
partly because few of the big interested
companies that wanted to proceed
with sustainable development had
their own expertise and they didnt Small
want our help so, it was mostly small companies
companies that needed our help needed help

PS: So, bigger companies were

depended on their own?
Big companies
BI: The bigger companies yes. The dont need
biggest company that we helped was a help
hotel with about fifty rooms.

Q4: Which part made the first move, In Initiation

the case of these companies that you

BI: We made the first step. We

contacted them and asked them: do Public
you want to have an eco label, we can initiation
help you with this, lets make a

SP: It was an initiation from the

regional authority then?
BI: Yes it was the former Vyborg and made the first
Nordjylland counties. step

Q5: What makes stakeholders realize that Realism

they have to develop sustainability if they
do realize this at all?

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

BI: I dont think that many of them Dont realize

realized that they have to do this. It sustainability
was mostly a business opportunity for
them. They had this opportunity to be
different from their neighbor, so they Be different
took it but as Ive said earlier most of from your
them had the heart on the right place, neighbor
they wanted to be more environmental Low ability to
friendly but it was not ok if it was too realize and
expensive and this is because they are evaluate
not professional in the way they were
controlling the company.
SP: So they didnt have any tools to companies
evaluate their investments? have
difficulties to
BI: No, They havent just with their evaluate
own hands maybe. investment

Q6: What benefit do they see in Benefits in

sustainable development? sustainability

BI: they saw the opportunity in the

future to get more guests also Eco
some of them wanted to lower label=more
their cost on energy, water supply, guests
garbage and so on. They wanted
to have the working process in the

PS: Were there any environmental

impacts they possibly felt that
made them more open to the idea
about sustainable development?

BI: I dont think so. It was mostly They feel no

a business initiation. It was just a environmental
few of them, perhaps two of them impacts
that really wanted the No
environmental change in the first Few of them environmental
place and then the social and place impacts
economical advantages environment experienced
Q7: Is there mostly long-term or short- Long term or
term benefit that attracts their attention? short term
Short-term benefit
BI: Mostly short-term benefit profit

Q8: What is the role of innovation in the Innovation

process towards sustainability?

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

BI: It is important that the Short term

companies feel that they are riding
on a new wave; they feel that they
are in the font of this
development. So innovation is
important because companies feel
important its not the technical
innovation that it is important, it is Being part of New and
the feeling of being part of something attractive
something new. new

Q9: What problems do you see in the Problems for

process of generating innovation? innovation

BI: Well the main problem was

that not enough companies wanted
to be a part of this project. I cant
recall any problems between the
companies. Inside the companies,
the employees, I could see that Employees are
there was a big difference in the scared of the New and scary
way they approached the problems change
and the changes. There were a few
companies that involved all of
their employees and this is where
we had the best results and this
very important and there were a Involve Change
few companies that didnt change employees
Just the leader, the director was
involved in all the changes so the Not only the
employees didnt feel like a part leader
of the project so there were just a
few environmental differences and Holistic
I saw that there was a big participation
difference when all the employees
were involved.

Q10: What problems mostly come up Problems for

during the change process in the change

BI: there were quite a few

problems with investments in
some of the necessary hardware, Hardware
thats one problem. Implementing
the system, the changes in the
organization, of course there were
problems in the companies by the

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

employees to agree with the Employees Information

changes, and it was mostly must be diffusion
because they didnt get enough informed
information when they were when involved
involved. Thats the two main to accept
problems with the changes. change

PS: Do you think that the

employees would have reacted
differently if that change wasnt
stated as a change but rather as a
need to evolve and adopt?
IB: it would be much easier to get change with
the employees to understand that adaptation
we have to do this because there Easier if
are consequences but in this case understand
there werent any consequences. consequences
There was not so much focus on
CO2 and climate change just
three-four years ago. So it wasnt Social
seen as something that we have to awareness
do, it was seen as a choice,
something we can do in order to
get more customers. I agree with
you that there is a big difference Not a change
between something you like to do an adaptation
and something you have to do.

Q11: How does collaboration influencing Collectivism

the development process towards

BI: I think it is very important to

collaborate for innovation and
PS: Do you thing that they are journey
doing better when they are
working all together?

BI: Yes. These are changes and

innovations that companies cannot
handle on their own, so they have Share
to share the problems with other problems and
companies to get the best resources

PS: So they share resources in a

way and they help each other Collective

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

maybe? meetings

BI: Yes. This is partly the way we

do it. We gather the companies Meet them in
together in small groups and we groups
give them all the information
together. We also had a few
companies that I helped face to
face and I can see now that this
was not the best solution. It
worked better when there were a
few companies together so they
shared the same goal so it was
easier to talk to them.

PS: So it was more complicated

when you tried to approach each
one of them?

BI: Yeah yes and no. It was

harder to motivate the whole
company but it was easier to make
them fulfill the criteria because I
had only one company to
concentrate on. So the face to face Face to face
communication about fulfilling for the criteria
the criteria was better but the
motivation aspect was harder
because it was easier for a single
company to let me do the work for Motivation all
them, if I can say that. companies

PS: So there was a kind of Motivation Synergies

synergy they realized when you enhancement
approached them altogether?
BI: Yes, you can say that they create
shared the same goal. synergies

Q12: Is sustainability a matter of

collective initiation?

BI: Yes, I think so.

Q13: What are the common interests that

stakeholders realize mostly?

BI: It was easier for them to fulfill

the goals because the neighbor
company or the person next to Motivate each

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

them also pursuit the same goals, other

so if he did it, I must do it as well,
they thought so. Also when it is a
new thing its just very few
companies had done this when we
started. As I said earlier its that Leader
feeling of being part of something to show the
new that drove them, so if we can way to the
get the companies to work others
together in these innovations, in
pursuing sustainable development
it is easier to reach the goal.

PS: Do you thing that influence by

certain stakeholders is important

BI: It is always important that the Leader to

leader is showing his or hers show
enthusiasm about the project. If enthusiasm
the top leader is not excited and
involved its bound to be a bad

Q14: Were there efforts by single Solipsism

stakeholders to exercise influence over
the other companies?

BI: Yes. I had a few top leaders

which tried to get other companies They tried to
to participate in this project. get associates
So, sometimes it was successful onboard
sometimes it wasnt

PS: So, actually they tried to get

more people onboard and not to
influence all others involved?

BI: There wasnt so much

cheering between the companies
in the project, it was mostly trying
to get more companies into the

Q15: Do stakeholders have considerations Seasonality

about seasonality when they are asked to
make investments? Investments
BI: No From

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

SP: Do they consider seasonality a

constant state that it is not a matter
to be discussed when talking
about investments?
Seasonality is
BI: Yes a constant
Q16: What problems, does seasonality Relocation

BI: The main problem is that the Seasonality

employees are fired when the leads to
season is over, so we have just a unemployment
few of the employees who can leads to
stay there all year round. relocation

Q17: How does networking help Networking

stakeholders achieve Sustainable

BI: I think that it is important that

they can help each other. There
are two groups of companies.
There are the small companies Small
that can get a lot of help from each companies
other by meeting in these need networks
networks and there are the bigger
companies who have the
competence inside them to do Networks
these changes because they have For SMEs
to do a lot of changes and they are
on ongoing changes, so they have
this kind of competence inside Big companies
them. So, if we talk about smaller on their own
companies, the networks are
important. The networks are not
so important when we have bigger

Q18: What is the role of trust in the Trust

collaboration process between you, them
and among them?

BI: they have to believe that my Initiator to be

company is a competent leader of trusted as a
the network. In that way they have competent
to trust me. But also sometimes leader
that we need to talk about some of
their economical data which are Trust the
confidential and in that case they leader

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

also have to trust me and I didnt

feel that this was a problem.

PS: Did you saw any problems

into working with trust?
BI: Few of the companies hesitate welcomed
about sharing their energy
consumption figures, but mostly
they didnt have any problems

Q19: What kind of knowledge do you Knowledge

provide, explicit, implicit?

BI: Paperwork and both ways to

save energy. We showed them Explicit
different ways to organize their implicit All types
work and fulfill these criteria. internal
PS: So both scientific knowledge knowledge
and simple know how on how to
do things and was important in
this process?

BI: We also when there issues

we didnt had the expertise; I took
in external experts on water
saving for example.

Q20: Are there any indicators that show, Indicators

who is sustainable and who is not

BI: Well, there are the official eco Eco labels

labels if you are only talking about
water consumption
Indicators can
PS: About the general image of be introduced
the company?

BI: We have an internal tool as Internal

well, a questionnaire with yes and questionnaire
no questions.

Q21: You mention on the beginning that Public

it was a hunch to influence companies involvement
into investing in an eco label. But how
difficult was it to involve the highest
levels of public authority in the process
with something that it is not documented

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

in numbers?

BI: well, we didnt have to

involve the government. In this
case they just ok, that we could
have this money from the EU to
develop this project. It was mainly We have to
the tourism companies that we had convince the
to convince that this is a good companies
The public
PS: So the government didnt bottom-up
have to pay anything for that initiator

BI: Yes, they didnt have to pay

anything. They just said ok that
we could Use those funds.

Q22: Do you thing that there is something
important about this process that I forgot of social
to ask you?
BI: Hmm I dont think so.
Maybe But I dont really know
what you need this for

SP: Mostly about how to influence

stakeholders to invest in
sustainability and to understand
which of the three dimensions of
sustainable development (social,
economical, environmental)
influences them the most, in
which you have answered that it is
mostly economical incentives then
social and then environmental. Social
influence is the
BI: Well I think there is a change key Need for
because there are some analyses Social
claiming that social factors influences
There are more and more quests rising statistics
that want to stay in an eco labeled
hotel. So I think that the social
factors are becoming more and
more important and thats one of
the areas that I need some more
information I need some facts on
how many guests will choose a

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

hotel because it has an eco label.

Thats some information that is Companies
really nice to have when you need need social
to convince the companies too to statistics to
be a part in a project like this. invest

PS: So it is very important, how

tourism demand is becoming more
and more sensitive towards the

BI: Yes. We need that information We need that

information Reaction to
PS: Does your organization gather
the needs
information like this?

BI: Not on this specific area. We

gather a lot of different
information, well I have two
years ago (2006) we made a little 2006 700
analysis, we asked seven hundred people 80%
people and eighty percent of them positive about
thought it was positive that a eco label on
tourism company has an eco label. hotels
But we didnt ask them if they
would choose a hotel because of Initiated, can
an eco label. They were only be amplified
positive about it and thats the
only information that I have.
There was an analysis from 2001 2001 5%
about the Danish label, the green chose hotel
key which showed that about five with green key
percent of the guests chose their
hotel because it had the green key.


The research indicates that influence diffusion towards sustainable forms of development
is much more effective when there are not so many bureaucratic difficulties and
The amount of the required investments is relatively quantified on a level that could be
commonly regarded as a small investment and the time span of the investment is relatively
low-termed. These factors of course depend on the majority of the companies that most
influence plans focus on which is small and medium, since bigger companies often have

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

relevant capabilities integrated within them and depend on their internal structures. This is
maybe why SMEs show more interest in relevant initiations, leading to the conclusion that
SMEs are very important for the development of plans based on influence.

The difficulties that SMEs however have, to evaluate the efficiency of their potential
investments and their internal processes play an important role on their decisions both
regarding the size of the possible investments and time span.


A bottom up organizational model triggered by public initiatives is ideal considering that
it will be easier to earn the trust of stakeholders and integrate the local actors inside an
organizational structure that understands their own needs and rises from within them,
providing the confidence that they are drawing their own pathways. The model of the public
bottom-up initiator could achieve positive results in many destinations in terms of influence.
A top to bottom organizational model would be an excessive intervention in a process that
already strives to diffuse influence.

The needs for turning into more sustainable forms of development is not easily realized
and the research indicates that there are no consequences experienced yet, from possible
environmental impacts that could initiate a considerable response capable of influencing
development patterns and that very few companies placed their environmental sensitivities
before economical and social considerations.. An important factor that makes companies
from the tourism sector to consider environmental certifications and eco labels is the prospect
of receiving more guests.

The role of innovation in a process that strives to create influences towards sustainable
forms of development seems to have strong roots on mental perceptions about being part of
something new and attractive. That very new and attractive state can also be scary for
employees that fear the change that innovation implies, employees must participate in the
change process in a holistic manner with the top management in order to ensure a transition
without turbulences and relieve the top management of the company from carrying the
weight alone.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

An effective way to get the employees onboard is to keep them well informed when
involved in order feel more secure about their role and accept the change. Moreover change
processes can be much more easily realized when employees understand that there are
consequences if the company doesnt change and become more sustainable, and this is one
more point that rising social awareness by time, can contribute.
Ultimately it would be better if a company realize that switching to more sustainable
patterns of development doesnt have to do so much about changing, meaning that maybe it is
necessary to change and maybe it is not necessary to change something that works anyway,
but mostly that this is a necessary adaptation.

Change =) Adaptation

Collaboration between companies plays a vital role to process towards adaptation to more
sustainable patterns of development since the sharing or problems and resources is being
realized making the process a collective journey.

Meetings between the process leader and the companies are more productive when the
companies are grouped and the procedure doesnt have to be face to face since this kind of
collective motivation creates synergies considering that companies share the same goal and
even motivate each other: If he did it I must do it as well! Moreover it is important that the
leader companies show enthusiasm about the initiation.

The research showed that companies that participated tried to get associate companies
onboard also, revealing that a good start may ignite further than expected. Networks between
the companies contribute to the collaboration advancements and especially between SMEs
that need them most. The initiator has to be trusted as a competent leader and relationships
that build on trust tend to be welcomed.

All types of knowledge are going to be needed to the companies that participate in such
processes from simple know how to scientific knowledge and even knowledge from relatively
external sources. The more that it is possible to be provided by the process initiator the better.

Seasonality didnt seem to be in the way, when companies were asked to make
investments and companies appear to perceive seasonality as a constant, and this is

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

interesting since according to statistical data from the national statistic agency of Denmark,
depicted in figure 3 below (Detailed table in Annex 1) there is a high rate of seasonality in the
region of Nord Jylland. However a possible result of high seasonality is unemployment that
may even lead to relocation.

The presence of sustainable tourism development indicators (STDI) and tourism carrying
capacity (TCCA) didnt seem to appear on a destination level (Region Nordjylland) beyond
the use of eco labels and an internal questionnaire about corporate environmental
management that Visit Nordjylland had prepared. The introduction of indicators could
enhance the awareness about the development of the destination both at SDTI and ideally as
TCCA. TCCA however tends to appear in tourism destinations that experience excessive
demand and develop beyond their carrying capacity. Such an example is the case of Rhodes
Ireland TCCA which was completed in 1993 and even 10 years after was not implemented
due to excessive demand that was not left unsatisfied.

A very efficient way to initiate propensities towards sustainable development is by

inducing funds as incentives for specific development purposes. However monetary funds are
often a limited kind of resource and by staying on the economical dimension, sustainability

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

can be addressed also as a business opportunity when customers swift their preferences to
more eco-friendly products and services.

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

The idea of saving money through the limitation of electricity, water etc consumption
simply by utilizing more efficient environmental management is welcomed also by
stakeholders. The idea of investing just for the sake of the environment even though that it
may be addressed to people with the heart on the right place cannot stand on its own but it
can be an important contribution. Initially most of the influential capacity seems to be found
on economical incentives, then to social considerations and at last to environmental
awareness as depicted below.

Injecting money into a system to make it more sustainable however doesnt seems to be
the way that systems are meant to be, developed at all. Systems develop their own balances
through their evolution and drastic interventions should be the last resort.

The interview with the project coordinator of Visit Nordjylland revealed that an empirical
measurement in 2001 which pointed out that 5% of those asked would prefer an eco labeled
hotel over another hotel, was a strong asset that prove to be very useful in convincing
companies to adopt to more sustainable development patterns.

This is actually how the cycle works without external money injections. Social awareness
changes consumer behavior and impacts directly to a companys economical prosperity
which will eventually realize that it has to adopt to more sustainable development patterns.
Concluding, cultivation of social awareness and empirical research to the consumers
preferences can result in a very valuable asset with great potential to enhance the natural flow
of influences on the system and help it adapt faster to the challenges of the future.

1=) Social Awareness 2=) Economical Impact 3=) Environmental Adaptation

Sustainable Tourism Development Awareness and Initiation

Bryman, A. (2008) Social Research Methods, 3rd ed., New York: Oxford University Press.
Coccossis, H., A. Mexa and A. Collovini (2002) Defining, Measuring And Evaluating
Carrying Capacity In European Tourism Destinations, University Of The Aegean:
Department Of Environmental Studies.
Coccossis, H., A. Mexa, (2004) The Challenge of Tourism Carrying Capacity Assessment,
United Kingdom: Ashgate Publications limited.
European Communities (2006) Sustainable Tourism as a Factor of Cohesion among
European Regions, Luxemburg: Office for official publications of the European
Eurostat (2006a) Methodological Work on Measuring the Sustainable Development of
Tourism part1, Luxemburg: Office for official publications of the European
Eurostat (2006b) Methodological Work on Measuring the Sustainable Development of
Tourism part 2, Luxemburg: Office for official publications of the European
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Eurostat (2008) Online content available at: <http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?
[Accessed 30 April 2008].
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IPCC, (2007) Summary for Policymakers, In Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science
Basis, Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt,
M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.), UK, USA: Cambridge University Press,
Kernel, P., (2004) Creating and implementing a model for sustainable development in
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ecsde.org/old/Publications/Other/Sudecir/5_Sudecir.htm> [Accessed: 5-May-2008]
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Statistics Denmark (2008) [Online database] Available from:
<http://www.statbank.dk/statbank5a/default.asp?w=1024> [Accessed 19 April 2008].

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Trumbic, I. (2005) Tourism Carrying Capacity Assessment in The Mediterranean Coastal

Tourist Destinations, UNEP/MAP/PAP/RAC.
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Weaver, D., L., Lawton, (2006) Tourism Management, Australia: John Wiley & Sons.


Overnight stays for all types of accommodation in region Nordjylland by period and time
from 2004 to 2008 Source: Statistics Denmark 2008
Notes: Holiday houses not geographical distributed before 2007 and not monthly distributed
before 2004. Youth Hostels first included in 1998

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

January 80277 84167 73815 90603 84776
February 150278 163698 146555 147131 147091
March 184359 252398 188117 207705 0
April 350105 312756 359365 354862 0
May 454953 432720 419169 484548 0
June 570205 556145 569737 591503 0
July 1610560 1535099 1579100 1486021 0
August 864450 895950 917178 910669 0
September 331382 347917 371326 365292 0
October 221097 236883 229552 233987 0
November 140494 134419 145978 154522 0
December 150395 155892 153912 162305 0