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Sustainable Tourism Plan

Planning Overview

The Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau is currently developing a Sustainable Tourism Plan for Park City and Summit County. This process has a number of steps:  

  1. A Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Assessment to evaluate our destination on a standardized set of NUMBER objectives. 
  2. Stakeholder engagement surveys and interviews to collect public sentiment on tourism. 
  3. A Stewardship Council to develop the Sustainable Tourism Plan based on earlier work. 

GSTC Assessment

In the first phase, a GSTC Destination Assessment was commissioned to assess Summit County’s current state of sustainable tourism development and management. Using the GSTC Criteria for Destinations (Version 2, 2019), the GSTC Assessment builds on the county’s foundation of initiatives to assess and improve the sustainability of the tourism sector. 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 identified high-priority risks to sustainability?

Review the results of the Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Assessment here. Learn more about the results of the GSTC assessment at a recorded webinar presented by Dr. Kelly Bricker on our Facebook page or review the GSTC assessment Presentation Document

Note: The GSTC Destination Assessment is not a certification program. Rather, it’s widely recognized as a critical tool for helping destinations improve their management practices and prepare them for future certification by a GSTC accredited destination certification program.

Stakeholder Surveys & Situation Assessment

As a next step, The Coraggio Group conducted a comprehensive survey of Park City residents, business owners, workers, and visitors. They used these 2,600+ survey responses, in addition to focus groups and individual interviews with local leaders, to create the Situation Assessment for Park City and Summit County. This assessment identified 7 key themes to help inform the Sustainable Tourism planning process: 

  • Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau staff and Board are engaged and prepared to take on the challenges ahead. 
  • Degradation of Summit County’s key natural assets is a real and looming threat. 
  • Park City’s residents are approaching a breaking point from overtourism. 
  • The community of Park City is about to lose itself to the destination of Park City. 
  • The destination needs more stewardship, not more promotion. 
  • Current and future tourism levels, on top of community population growth, are testing the capacity of Park City’s infrastructure. 
  • There is a shared vision and desire to achieve a more sustainable tomorrow.

Stewardship Council & Plan Development

The Destination Stewardship Council was formed to develop the Sustainable Tourism Plan for Park City and Summit County. The council contains members from diverse perspectives, including government representatives, large and small local businesses, nonprofits, and residents at large. Over the course of 6 meetings, the council will use the GSTC Assessment and Situation Assessment to create a vision and action plan for the future of sustainable tourism in Park City and Summit County. The Sustainable Tourism Plan is expected to be finalized in summer 2022.

Public Meeting Recaps

During two public sessions, the Coraggio Group presented key takeaways from the Situation Assessment, shared progress the Stewardship Council has undertaken towards the creation of the Sustainable Tourism Plan and provided a forum for community sentiments on tourism and feedback on draft Sustainable Tourism documents. If you'd like to catch up on what we discussed during these sessions, take a look at the recordings and documents linked below.

April 21 Virtual Session

Facebook Live Video

Presentation Slides 

Park City Summit County Vision Statement

April 27 Live Session

For more information and any questions, please get in touch with Morgan Mingle, Director of Sustainable Tourism, at MorganMingle@VisitParkCity.com

What is the Global Sustainable Tourism Council?

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) manages the GSTC Destination Criteria, and global standards for sustainable travel and tourism and provides international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies.

What are the GSTC criteria for sustainability in travel and tourism?

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 

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 Destination 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. 

What is the stakeholder engagement process for Summit County?

The tourism industry is comprised of 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 concerns and goals of all tourism stakeholders are 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 as 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 a memorandum of understanding.  
  • Identifies the governance structure for destination management as an important framework that clearly outlines communication, reporting, and decision-making processes 
Who do tourism stakeholder groups 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