2021-Kelsy Hejjas

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail: Towards an Evidence Informed Approach to Tourism Planning

Dr Kelsy Hejjas (PI), Edinburgh Napier University (UK), and Dr Kelly Maguire, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (IE) - Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail: Towards an Evidence Informed Approach to Tourism Planning

Project summary: As a significant industry in both Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, tourism plays a central role in the strategic plans of both countries. The industry is an economic and social powerhouse, driving employment, economic activity, and social benefits. However, the potential for tourism to cause negative, as well as positive, impacts is well documented (Gurso and Nunkoo, 2019; Hall and Lew, 2009; Mason, 2003), with tourism seen to disrupt and destroy native ecosystems and heritage sites, and place pressure on local infrastructure (Archer et al., 2005). Therefore, while the concept of sustainable tourism has long been a topic of debate within the literature, it’s application in practice still leaves much to be desired. Indeed, this has been further exacerbated by Covid-19, with some proposing that crisis learning used to develop strategies to build a more resilient and sustainable industry (Vărzaru et al., 2021).

The development and implementation of sustainable tourism policies is recognised as an effective response to sustainable development challenges. However, while there are many studies on tourism policies, research on sustainable tourism policies is still emerging (Guo et al., 2019). Yet, with the continued growth of the industry, and its subsequent impacts, there is a critical need to measure and monitor tourism policies. This research therefore aims to examine the application of the European tourism indicator system (ETIS) as a potential tool to facilitate greater sustainability and accountability within the tourism industries of Scotland and Ireland, developing an evidence-informed approach to planning for sustainable tourism development.