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Governance for Sustainable Tourism

Managing sustainable tourism at destination level

The concept of governance is a frequently used, but often also misinterpreted concept.  In tourism there is no clear definition and one can find as many descriptions about governance as you find about sustainability. UNWTO defines tourism governance as “the process of managing tourist destinations through synergistic and coordinated efforts by government, at different levels and in different capacities; civil societies living in the inbound tourism communities and the business sector connected with the operation of the tourism system.”[1]. However the complexities of tourism make the implementation of governance structures complex: it is multisectoral; involves all levels of government; it involves direct stakeholders from the tourism industry, but also other industries such as fisheries, agriculture, health, construction, etc.

This project is part of the Sustainable Destination Alliance for the Americas (SDAA), a private-public partnership to improve destination sustainability in the Americas.   The objective of this project is to guide destinations to recommend appropriate sustainable tourism governance structures that will enable effective destination management. Planet 4 People conducted the analysis in 3 destinations: Utila, Honduras;  Ometepe, Nicaragua; and Falmouth, Jamaica.


  • Understand how tourism is being planned for and managed in selected destinations.
  • Evaluate the support systems that enable destination stewardship.
  • Recommendations on governance structures appropriate for the selected destinations.
Sustainable Travel International, Organization of American States
Country of Project
Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica
Expected Outcome
  • Situation and Stakeholder analysis
  • Existing governance structure review, current capacities and gaps.
  • Recommendations for mechanisms to enhance effective destination level management.

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