The scope of activity study A3.3 is the identification of best practices for utilising environmental (e.g. increase in eco-friendly products), economic (e.g. increase in the number of visitor in specific sites) and social indicators (e.g. residents’understanding of the region’s unique resources). MRDDF, the lead partner for this activity, collected from the partners practices for measuring the negative impacts of mass tourism on natural heritage and for calculating to which degree the adoption of approaches such the INHERIT one reduces these impacts.
The results of the study “Best Practice Guide for Monitoring Methods of Tourism Impacts on Mediterranean Natural Heritage” analyses and presents the most effective monitoring practices used in INHERIT territories to measure the impact of tourism on natural heritage.
A total of 33 monitoring methods, covering almost all the Mediterranean coastal areas represented in the INHERIT project, were collected and assessed according to specific evaluation criteria. The analysis on the reported cases established certain common characteristics that will be used to assist INHERIT project partners in future efforts, when developing and implementing tourism monitoring practices:
- Stakeholders that are integrally involved in the development and implementation of the monitoring practice; the earlier they are involved in the selection and discussion of indicators, as well as its implementation, the more effective the practice is in its results, achieving good quality of data and analysis;
- Best monitoring practices include indicators on areas beyond the economic and environmental impact of tourism; usually they adopt an integrated approach to tourism planning, including indicators on issues such as community well-being, transport, and energy;
- Strong support from public authorities ensures that the practice will be realised and implemented by all the actors involved in the process;
- The development of monitoring practices within the framework of already validated approaches (e.g. Agenda 21, ETIS, UNWTO guidelines) secures a pool of resources and good practices from which authorities can draw from to improve the management and implementation aspects of monitoring; it also ensures that authorities can select the most appropriate indicators for their site/territory;
- Interregional projects boost the quality of monitoring by accelerating the knowledge process and establishing the transferability potential of the practice from the start;
- Monitoring practices are more effective when a monitoring plan is drafted and followed, with competent personnel and institutions to assist in its implementation;
- Data collection is more effective when considered together with the selection and/or development of indicators; authorities that consider the availability of data in the planning phase of the practice have more chances to succeed in their monitoring efforts.
The above criteria can of course be adopted by anyone when developing and implementing tourism monitoring practices.