The partnership is currently studying the application of “bottom up” initiatives for sustainable tourism in Mediterranean regions. Why are we interested in these initiatives?
A “bottom-up” approach to sustainable tourism refers to the concept of participatory tourism planning, which is initially developed from the grassroots (stakeholder driven or community based), concentrates usually on a certain tourism segment or region and dynamically scale out to obtain stakeholders’ support, gaining recognition and ideally policy legitimation.
In general, a bottom-up approach is a collective process developed, implemented, and managed primarily by community stakeholders in collaboration with public authorities, for the realisation of a project/initiative. It is characterised by an active involvement of local communities throughout all the phases of a project and with different degrees of partecipation (from collective decision making to information).
”Bottom-up” initiatives for sustainable tourism have the potential to expand in a spatial scale (national or international level), addressing similar territorial needs in other areas and regions. “Bottom up” measures are not “imposed” by a higher decision-making body (these are the “top-down” measures) so, in some cases and under specific circumstances, the “bottom-up” approach can work better in protecting the natural heritage.
Here are two examples of bottom-up initiatives:
Ecolabel for hiker-friendly tourism facilities in Greece
“Hikers’ Friendly” is a bottom-up, stakeholder-driven initiative for the development and promotion of hiking trail destinations in Greece, launched and managed by the social cooperative “Paths of Greece” in partnership with “Green evolution” (a company that provides integrated environmental services). “Hikers’ Friendly” is a certification programme for services related to hiking activities. It is currently in pilot stage and available only for hotels, but it will soon expand to cover other tourism services providers such as tour operators, travel agents, and agrotourism companies, as well as hiking destinations themselves. Its overriding objective is to develop a network of certified tourism operators that will enhance the hiking experience by upgrading the services offered to the hikers and by developing tailored hiking routes that showcase some of the finest scenery, food and culture in the country.
Tour Operators' Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development
TOI, the Tour Operators’ Initiative for Sustainable Tourism Development, was founded in 2000 by tour operators in response to a growing awareness that their longterm success depends on sustainable tourism, and that joint and more widespread action is needed to successfully tackle the challenges of sustainable tourism development. The TOI’s mission is to improve the sustainability of the tourism industry, and to encourage tour operators to make a voluntary yet firm corporate commitment to sustainable development. Its members have committed to integrating environmental, social and economic principles into their business operations, and to join forces in areas that would benefit from the input of all members and can be best addressed with a common voice. TOI is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
DO YOU KNOW OF ANY BOTTOM-UP MEASURE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN YOUR COUNTRY? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH US?
WRITE TO THE PROJECT PARTNER IN YOUR COUNTRY OR CONTACT US.