The Sustainable Tourism Community has published a paper in "Sustainability" an open access journal on "Conceptualising Tourism Sustainability and Operationalising Its Assessment: Evidence from a Mediterranean Community of Projects" by Spyros Niavis (Thessaly University), Theodora Papatheochari (Thessaly University),Yannis Psycharis , (Thessaly University) Josep Rodriguez (Barcelona Provincial Council), Xavier Font (Barcelona Provincial Council) and Anna Martinez Codina (Barcelona Provincial Council).
Sustainable tourism development is considered an essential challenge for improving resource management in coastal and maritime areas. In this context, various initiatives have been developed for facilitating the assessment and monitoring of tourism sustainability.
Nevertheless, the perception of sustainability varies across different tourism stakeholders, since they approach tourism development under different perspectives while the issue of data availability has been a great barrier in measuring sustainability.
The present paper examines the perceptions of sustainability observed over a Community of projects with the common aim of enhancing coastal and maritime tourism sustainability at the Mediterranean. Based on surveys, the Community of projects conceptualizes sustainability, reveals their own strategies in operationalizing sustainability assessment and evaluates the usefulness and the main gaps of various sustainability assessment toolkits.
The findings of the study signify that tourism sustainability is a broad concept allowing for different interpretations. The assessment of sustainability seems to be affected by the perception and weight attributed to the economic, social, environmental, and governance pillar of sustainability by each project.
Finally, the applicability of international assessment toolkits could be questioned as these do not reflect the objectives of the projects and tailored made approaches are considered as essential for operationalizing sustainability assessments.
The full paper is available here.