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Sustainability in Park City

The Park City Chamber/Bureau is working with Dr. Kelly Bricker, the Chair of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and a Professor, Sustainable Tourism, Ecotourism & Nature-based Recreation for the University of Utah. She is a founding member and current Vice Chairman of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and we are thrilled that she is based in Salt Lake City – so she knows us well.

Attached you’ll find more information about the GSTC. The GSTC standard covers the four main categories of destination sustainability:

  • Sustainable destination management and governance;
  • Economic benefits to the local host community;
  • Protection of cultural heritage, community, and visitor well-being;
  • Environmental protection and conservation.

The task force will meet 2-3 times over the 8 weeks starting in July 2021. The main purpose of the task force is to identify and provide documentation/proof of performance for the criteria ranging from:

  • Destination strategy, the DMO structure, and accountability, approach to seasonality, tourism inventory management, visitor satisfaction, economic monitoring.
  • Planning regulations, property acquisition, local community opinion, local access
  • Safety and security, crisis planning, and management.
  • Cultural, heritage, natural and wildlife resource management, protection, and interpretation.
  • Climate action planning, greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water quality and security, wastewater, and waste reduction, noise and light pollution, and access for all.

Stakeholder Representation and Engagement Park City Destination Assessment

To help advance Summit County’s strategic objective of pursuing balanced and sustainable tourism development, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Assessment was commissioned to assess the County’s stage of sustainable tourism development and management utilizing the GSTC Criteria for Destinations (Version 2, 2019). The GSTC Assessment will take place from June-July 2021 and builds on the County’s foundation of initiatives to assess and improve the sustainability of the tourism sector.

  • The objective of the GSTC Destination Assessment is to assess the destination’s current and future capacity to sustain tourism and its natural and cultural assets long term. The holistic and participatory GSTC process addresses questions such as:
  • How compliant is Summit County today with internationally recognized indicators for sustainable destination management?
  • What current good practices and key initiatives are improving Summit County’s environmental, social, and economic sustainability, and what high-priority destination risks are undermining sustainability?
  • What practical actions and initiatives can address the high-priority risks to sustainability identified?

Some of the uses of the GSTC Destination Criteria include the following:

  • Serve as the basis for certification for sustainability.
  • Serve as basic guidelines for destinations that wish to become more sustainable.
  • Help consumers identify sound sustainable tourism destinations.
  • Serve as a common denominator for information media to recognize destinations and inform the public regarding their sustainability.
  • Help certification and other voluntary destination level programs ensure that their standards meet a broadly accepted baseline.
  • Offer governmental, non-governmental, and private sector programs a starting point for developing sustainable tourism requirements.
  • Serve as basic guidelines for education and training bodies, such as tourism schools and universities.
  • Demonstrate leadership that inspires others to act.

The criteria indicate what should be done, not how to do it or whether the goal has been achieved. This role is fulfilled by performance indicators, associated educational materials, and access to tools for implementation, all of which are an indispensable complement to the GSTC Criteria. The GSTC Destination Assessment facilitates systematic analysis charting a roadmap to meet GSTC’s internationally recognized standard for sustainable destination management, the GSTC Destination Criteria, and Indicators.

The GSTC standard covers the four main categories of destination sustainability:

  • Sustainable destination management and governance;
  • Economic benefits to the local host community;
  • Protection of cultural heritage, community, and visitor well-being;
  • Environmental protection and conservation.

The GSTC Destination Assessment is not a certification program but is widely recognized as a critical tool for helping destinations improve their management practices—and prepare them, should they choose, to undertake certification by a GSTC accredited destination certification program.

The Assessment Process for Summit County, 2021
  1. Meeting to Introduce the GSTC and the Purpose of the Destination Assessment
  1. Stakeholder Selection

The tourism industry comprises a complex network of stakeholders and groups that have an interest in the development, management, and marketing of tourism for Summit County. The support, commitment, and cooperation of these stakeholders to tourism within the county is essential for the long-term stewardship of the industry. Identifying and understanding who the stakeholders in a destination are and what their interests are is important in developing an appropriate engagement process. Based on research, a stakeholder engagement process for a destination such as Summit County:

  • Recognizes the concerns and goals of all tourism stakeholders is important for planning, decision-making, and developing mutually beneficial strategies and actions;
  • Engages stakeholders based on their interest, skills, and expertise to ensure a comprehensive basis of knowledge for planning;
  • Understands and communicates the value of tourism, including economic, social, and environmental, to stakeholders is important to gain support and participation in destination planning and management;
  • Develops a shared understanding of tourism in a region, including the values and ideals of the destination is important for an agreed tourism focus;
  • Develops a shared agreed vision that provides a focus for future planning, development, and management of tourism in the destination;
  • Identifies clear roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders. This could be an informal process or through the development of partnership agreements or MoUs;
  • Identifies the governance structure for destination management as an important framework that clearly outlines communication, reporting, and decision-making processes.

Tourism stakeholder groups can typically include:

  • industry operators
  •  government departments and associations
  • visitors
  • the community (residents)
  • investors/developers
  • landowners
  • public health officials
  • industry associations
  • tourism-related organizations
  • community and environmental groups

The Park City Chamber/Bureau plans to communicate the specific set of standards to local businesses, residents, visitors, and meeting planners by April 22, 2022 (EarthDay.)