How can we achieve sustainable tourism growth? Is “Wise Growth” possible?

sustainable manchester

The question of whether sustainable tourism growth is possible and what it will take is on the agenda in Manchester at the beginning of April at the upcoming RTD8 conference. VisitEngland’s Vision for WiseGrowth is to “grow tourism responsibly in a finite world, creating resilience and prosperity for all, balancing the growth aspirations of the Strategic Framework with the principles of sustainability.” In Manchester the conference will be reviewing case studies of WiseGrowth in Country Durham, Manchester the New Forest and Newquay. The discussion will be interesting.

The conference takes place in Manchester,a city that had placed a priority on becoming sustainable. Ontheplatform reveals how much is going on in Great Manchester to make the city region more sustainable through the arts, events and happenings, education, the low carbon hub, cycling, public transport and the Environmental Business Pledge.

manchester a certain future sustainable growth tourismManchester a Certain Future is an ambitious plan for a radically changed, low-carbon future where large-scale emissions of carbon dioxide have become a thing of the past. There are a significant number of hotels that are members of the Green Tourism Business Scheme or which have signed up to the Environmental Business Pledge. Manchester United achieved ISO 201221 in July 2012, and in January 2013, Manchester Central became one of the first major conference and events venues in the UK to achieve ISO 20121 Event Sustainability. Greater Manchester is also home to the Hotel Future project in Oldham, an exciting new training hotel being run as a business – Stephen Miles will be talking about it at RTD8.

Manchester has good rail connections and an excellent public transport network – Virgin and Transport for Greater Manchester will be speaking at the conference and exploring the city on foot is easy. One of the key challenges for sustainability in cities is to change the way businesses do their business and the behaviour of tourists. How to encourage them to arrive by public transport, to use public transport around the city and to enjoy walking in it.

In the South Downs, an area without the depth and penetration of public transport available in Greater Manchester, the SDNPA has just launched a sustainable tourism and travel campaign called Discover More of the South Downs for Less designed to encourage visitors to ditch the car and get out to enjoy the longer, lighter days, thirteen popular visitor attractions including National Trust and RSPB are working with the National Park Authority to offer 2-for-1 entrance fees for public transport users.

This is part of their “Discover Another Way” behaviour change campaign, being run jointly with the New Forest National Park Authority, encouraging visitors to swap the car in favour of other modes of transport in the National Park. Alongside improved public transport services and infrastructure development such as new cycle paths, by 2015 the campaigns aim to switch 370,000 car journeys to bus, train, cycling and walking instead, which equates to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

Imagine a campaign like that run in a city……


The Growth of Responsible Tourism Must Include As Many as Possible

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Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracted 4000 participants in 2020 and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Latin America. Harold works with industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists and undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is an Emeritus Professor, and Founder Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration which he drafted.

One comment

  1. Szczeblewska says:

    Hello there,
    I am currently preparing for my exams on tourism policy and planning and sustainable development. I enjoyed reading your article, Prof Goodwin. However, after reading the literature on sustainable tourism development from a substantial range of academic and non-academic sources, I would like to ask whether all these actions towards sustainability that you and others in your field propose, will reflect on the upcoming review of Manchester Destination Management Plan which is due to be reviewed in 2017? Because, as it appears sadly, the previous DMP document is hardly concerned with the issue of sustainable development and puts strong focus on economic growth targets… Where, after analysis of a wide range of resources, it seems that sustainable approach to tourism is a MUST at this stage and despite a substantial research in the field and exchange of knowledge between academics and business professionals, there is still a lot to do in the way of proactive solutions that will initiate the actual change.
    I am currently studying at MMU and I commute to Manchester and obviously am familiar with the city and I have to say that when reading your blog and several other articles, I was quite surprised that there are actions in the city that support sustainable tourism. This is because I think there is no sign of it around Manchester. Also, I believe, there is a poor level of participation among non-governmental organisations and informal citizen groups in this whole enterprise, which is a shame, because we even have charities in MCR like Action for Sustainable Living. I am most certain, they would love to participate in efforts towards sustainable development, whether in tourism or not, in the city. Furthermore, I read about a number of very interesting initiatives that are available for urban sustainable development, which i think would greatly benefit Manchester, e.g. CIVITAS, but sadly it is not a part of it. I appreciate the idea of encouraging tourists to use public transport and pedestrian areas around the city, but would like to point out that poor weather conditions in Manchester may discourage tourists and citizens from walking. Also, TfGM must invest in a more efficient public transport and most of all, environmentally friendly transport solutions, if it is to have an effect on carbon emissions. I know that Manchester Oxford Road is one of the busiest roads in Europe in terms of passing traffic, therefore the city would benefit greatly from any initiatives that would encourage the use of bicycles and e-cars. Cities, like Barcelona for this matter, organise events that encourage this sort of participation from the public in promoting eco-friendly mobility solutions. And, above all, we have our great universities! Why not include students in sustainable development projects? Why not use their talents and ideas to help us achieve sustainability goals?
    I am only writing this comment because I belong to the group of people, who deeply and genuinely support sustainability efforts and I would love to see some great changes around Manchester towards more sustainable living and visiting.
    Kindest regards

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