“Managing Natural and Cultural Attractions with a Sustainable Agenda”

From the European Development Days 2016 to the Leadership and Governance for Sustainable Tourism Summer School in October, Jlag and Fest with key international partners support the 2017 as he International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. IMG_3908

FEST organised the lab session “Managing Natural and Cultural Attractions with a Sustainable Agenda” together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Fair Trade Tourism (FTT), The Intasave-Caribsave Partnership, the Rwandan Embassy in Brussels, the Rwandan Development Board and Cardiff Metropolitan University.

This event is a part of a series of events FEST is organising throughout the year in preparation for the UN 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. The next landmark event of FEST is its PM4SD Summer School in Leadership and Governance for Sustainable Tourism from 5-9th of October 16 in Akureyri, Iceland.

The event during the EDD16 was packed with examples from practitioners in Africa and beyond and was corresponding to some of the overarching themes of the European Development Days, which focused on effectiveness, transparency and delivering measureable and real benefits.

In contrast to these aspects stand the current trends of virtual global networks, global partnerships across sectors incl. Public-Private-Partnerships and Knowledge Networks all aspiring to embrace inclusive growth. How is it possible to follow a sustainable agenda when the working realities of global partnerships differ and how can they actually create real benefits for locals? This was the key question for our event and each speaker gave inspiring answers and presentations on this topic.

Sylvia2Silvia Barbone, Director of Jlag and founder of FEST explained how Project Management for Sustainable Development (PM4SD) is focusing on establishing a joint project management methodology tailored to suit dynamic project environments with several stakeholders commonly found in tourism and heritage management and enabling each stakeholder in a partnership (global, regional, local) to take the next step towards Sustainable Development. PM4SD focuses very much on establishing a Benefits Realization Plan, which helps to envision from the beginning of a project, how and with whom to plan and implement actions needed in order to deliver real benefits.

IMG_0973Belise Kariza, Senior Tourism Policy Officer, Rwanda Development Board (RDB) showcased how the close work with local communities has contributed to develop “Remarkable Rwanda” a brand that goes beyond the visit of the “Gorilla” to enjoy many different tourism products and services that are “Made in Rwanda”. This is especially important to the RDB in light of the current large investments in the MICE market. Their plan is to integrate “Made in Rwanda” in their partnerships with new and upcoming hotel companies in order to ensure benefits for local communities.

IMG_0960The aspect of enabling local communities to share in the economic gains from tourism is also the main objective for Fair Trade Tourism presented by Manuel Bollmann. He pointed towards the long-standing conflict between conservation and economic activities of any size in South African National Parks. Whilst sometimes hurdles can simply be overcome by inviting local souvenir producers to join the tourism hotspots and therefore increase their visibility and sales possibilities it is a different task if faced with illegally sourced souvenirs and poachers. Here the PM4SD principle, to get both users and suppliers of tourism services into one boat, is needed in order to work towards sustainable practices that deliver benefits for all of the different stakeholders.

IMG_0977Dr Sheena Carlisle demonstrated the relevance of the PM4SD principles in the context of successful community initiatives in the Gambia. Pooling of resources and development of a shared vision is a role that can only be achieved if you involve the knowledge community in that specific sector. In the case of Gambia’s Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) craft market vendors, tourist taxi drivers, official tourist guides, juice pressers and fruit sellers as well as a number of small hotels, guest houses and ground tour operators came together to develop a shared vision.

Amb-Rwanda2The Honourable Ambassador of Rwanda in Brussels, Olivier Nduhungirehe kindly summarized the speakers input by highlighting that the shared vision for Rwanda and in fact for all of us should focus on 5 P’s – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. This focus has brought about the economic success currently visible in Rwanda and is an indication for what can be achieved with the Agenda 2030.

Summarizing the outcome of the event, we developed the “Call for Action on Sustainable Project Management of Natural and Cultural Attractions”. You will find the Call as well as the inspiring presentations of our speakers under the following link:




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