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Understanding the Host Community

The support of the host community is important in achieving sustainable tourism.  This is just one of the many reasons why successful destination planning begins with an understanding of the needs and aspirations of the host community.  This understanding needs to go beyond descriptions of demographics and population trends to explore:

  • The community’s perceptions and attitudes towards tourism;
  • Aspirations and challenges of the community for tourism
  • The history of tourism development in the destination;
  • Natural, built and socio-cultural features and icons that are valued by the community;
  • The type and style of development the community desire or have fought against in the past; and
  • The stories and experiences that bring the community together.

As described in the Sustainable Regional Tourism Destinations report developed by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, a sustainable tourism destination is reached when environmental, community and economic values are balanced. Incorporating social and community values is achieved through collaboration and compromise to reach a level and style of tourism that:

  • Is consistent with community values and aspirations both now and over the long term, and contributes to community development and well-being;
  • Increases the contribution of tourism to the economy of regional destinations and promotes
    long-term industry viability.


Destination Management Tip

Understanding the history of tourism in a destination and its impact on the host community provides a good indication of the community’s needs and aspirations and the style of tourism that is desired.


Browse case studies:

Development of a Scale to Assess the Social Impact of Tourism within Communities

This study presents a framework for the development of social indicators to measure the impact of tourism on communities. It is a research project which emanated from the Green Globe 21 Standard that incorporates  indicators for the environmental impact of tourism and seeks to develop other indicators. The report provides the theoretical background to the concept of sustainable tourism and examines the preliminary findings of the key themes from some exploratory research.

by Liz Fredline, Margaret Deery and Leo Jago

Public/Private Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism

The objective of this report is to provide a framework for the sustainable development of the travel and tourism industry in the APEC region, through public/private partnerships, and to deliver a sustainability strategy for tourism destinations.

by Terry De Lacy, Marion Battig, Stewart Moore and Steve Noakes