Mike Read Associates have been asked by ISEAL to help ISEAL's members evaluate the effectiveness of their sustainability standards. MRA will be working with colleagues over the next four-five months to assess ISEAL members' needs and suggest the best sampling and statistical approaches they can use to measure their impacts. ISEAL members include GSTC, FSC, MSC and Fair Trade International.
Mike Read Associates have been invited to give a presentation on their newly-developed prototype tool that provides a cost-benefit assessment of any holiday package. The presentation at Bournemouth University's international Tourism, Climate Change and Sustainability conference (September 13-14, 2012) describes and demonstrates the prototype, which should help tour operators with 'choice editing' the products they sell.
Mike Read will be giving the keynote speech in Dublin on October 4, 2012 at Ecotourism Ireland’s launch of their new tourism standard, one of the very first to be recognised by GSTC, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Ensuring that tourism has a positive impact on local livelihoods is perhaps the most challenging aspect of delivering sustainable tourism. Mike Read Associates have been contracted by The Travel Foundation to develop a set of key ingredients for successful tourism-related local livelihoods projects. In the process we will examine, analyse and present a number of case studies, and in so doing will provide models for replication.
Sustainable success can be extremely challenging in the face of political and economic instability (both locally and in terms of funding sources), cultural constraints, local and international market conditions and local capacity to supply tourist industry needs. Initiatives designed with laudable objectives may easily be diverted, fail to meet their objectives, or have unwelcome consequences as a result of unexpected factors that crop up at a local level, especially in less-developed economies.
Moreover, long-term sustainability often requires an element of local capacity building. Yet striking the right balance between such capacity building and ensuring funders’ needs are met can be daunting, not just in project delivery but in reporting, monitoring and evaluation of outcomes, particularly in gathering economic data.
Hence there is a need to take a step back and learn from both mistakes and successes, not only from within tourism-related initiatives but also the much broader field of development. A great deal has been learned about delivery of improved and sustainable livelihoods by the development community in the last 10-15 years, and Mike Read Associates will now bring that learning to bear within sustainable tourism initiatives.
The benefits of a set of key ingredients should be improved planning, more cost-effective feasibility studies, better project selection, and critically better project outcomes delivering success stories.
This work is being carried out by Mike Read with Associates Jen Bobbin and Fran Hughes.