The head of the Travel Foundation has called for some funds spent on marketing destinations to be redirected to measuring tourism’s negative impacts.
Salli Felton, Travel Foundation chief executive, said: “There is clearly a cost to doing things differently and we need funding.
“Redirect some of the money poured into marketing destinations into maintaining destinations.”
Felton told the World Tourism Forum in Lucerne: “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
“We need ways to measure all the impacts of tourism, not just economic impacts, and we need to factor these into the process of tourism planning.
At the moment, she said: “There is little thought put into tourism planning.”
Felton argued the leakage of tourism revenue from destinations “remains unsolved”.
She told the forum: “While tourism holds the potential to provide economic benefits for destinations, it comes with costs.
“These are often hidden and not managed or controlled. There are often no measures to track the impacts.
“Research by Tourism Concern [a UK campaign group] in Zanzibar found luxury hotels regularly consumer over 3,000 litres of water per guest per night when the average local person in Zanzibar consumes 90 litres.
“Hotels are often prioritised over locals in water supply and people resort to drinking contaminated ground water.”
She said: “Tourists [on average] generate up to five times the amount of waste of a local person. If you ask hotel if they throw away their food, they say ‘Of course not’. But when you measure what they throw away they are flabbergasted.
“Destinations are common resources accessible to multiple parties. They need [tourism] plans with clear roles and responsibilities for all parties.”
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