The communities where the research project was developed are located in the central region of Colombia, SA. The Government of Colombia was sponsoring rural development projects around the country through a program called PADEMER. This purpose of this program was to promote economic development and diversification options in the rural areas. At that time the rural areas in Colombia were characterized by communities with high levels of poverty and low levels of education and training.
The two communities I worked with were the Towns of Nimaima and Vergara. At the time I joined the consulting team (as a practicum student) that was developing an Agritourism project in these communities, the project was in its second phase. The project was focused on creating and enhancing the tourism plans offered in two small municipalities in Colombia, South America, through financial support, technical assistance, and the training and promotion of the local small businesses. These businesses offer tourism services such as lodging, tour guides, extreme sports, food, arts and crafts, and others.
At the time I joined the project I didn’t have a clear picture of my research goals; therefore I started my integration into the community as a participant observer of the day-to-day activities hoping to become familiarized with the status and better delimit the research project scope. In general terms, the problems I encounter were the inadequate systematization of experiences in the formulation and execution of rural tourism projects regarding their sustainability and the inadequacy of tools created in accordance with the sustainable tourism principles that were available for the execution of said projects. Thus, the ultimate objective of my research project was to establish some evaluation mechanisms in order to measure the accomplishment of objectives in rural tourism development projects within the frame of sustainable development. Objective: to analyze an experience from the perspective of compliance and integration of the sustainable tourism principles and to propose a methodology based on the work with the community. Justification Lack of systematization of experiences in the formulation and execution of rural tourism projects Need of evaluation mechanisms to measure the accomplishment of objectives in rural projects within the frame of sustainable tourism
This research project was developed following the case study methodology, which establishes a specific case (program, event, person, process, institution or social group) within its real context, prepared in advance, from which general conclusions can be drawn.
In addition, participatory workshops were conducted. These consisted of discussion groups that collectively consider the social circumstances that are the object of the study. This instrument not only seeks to collect information, but also to analyze and plan, so that it becomes immersed in the active and analytic identification of lines of action capable of transforming the situation being studied.
In order to analyze the project from the sustainable tourism perspective I designed the Sustainability Matrix; however this tool was not only designed for the purpose of analyzing this specific project but it was designed to formulate or evaluate a tourism development project in a rural location, based on the sustainability principles. This matrix cross-references the sustainability dimensions (economical, environmental, social, cultural and political-institutional) against projects’ evaluation criteria that were designed based on the sustainable tourism principles and project management elements. The Sustainability Matrix was reviewed and updated in May 2016. New project management elements, new criteria for sustainable tourism development and other examples of sustainable tourism principles were considered for this new version of the matrix.
These criterions were considered to be relevant insofar as they considered different aspects of the strategy that, when taken into account, would result in a sustainable project.
It is worth emphasising that this evaluation did not include indicators of the project performance, but rather it focused on analyzing the project strategy within the framework established by the sustainable tourism principles instead of evaluating the efficient execution of the project. This approach is valid, especially since the project management staff usually performs this kind of evaluation. In order to define the indicators, the Matrix was developed in its entirety to determine the sustainability criteria to be measured by them. Although the original objective was to develop third generation indicators, only a few of them could be summarized in a single variable. Furthermore, while some of the indicators arose directly from the research project, others were taken from different studies and indicator banks to avoid on the one hand repeating the definition of indicators that had already been developed, but also, on the other hand, to ensure the project evaluation tool would include a list as complete as possible. In recent years new sustainability indicators have been developed and tested, hence it was appropriate to review and update the original indicator lists. Likewise, the original list is currently under review and thus is not presented in this paper. The author expects to publish an up-to-date list in 2017.
In the first place it is important to clarify that the research presents a methodological approach for the evaluation of sustainability in a tourism project, but since the case has been properly documented and systematized, additional studies and reviews can be performed. The Sustainability Matrix and list of indicators are not intended to be the ultimate word on the evaluation of sustainability for rural tourism projects, but they do provide a starting point and a tool for project planning. estimate the values of the proposed indicators and with the resulting data determine their usefulness and applicability in the sustainability analysis. This will allow guidance of the rural tourism planning in a region or country by considering the specific needs of all the stakeholder groups (local communities, ecologists, business owners, government and visitors).
1. bibiana cala iceland 2016
PROJECTS FOR RURAL
FROM A SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
Bibiana Cala M.S.
STM Global Consulting
Research Project Objective
The Sustainability Matrix (new assessment tool)
Main Conclusions from the research project
COLOMBIA, SOUTH AMERICA
THE RESEARCH PROJECT
Lack of systematization of experiences in rural tourism
Need of evaluation tools for sustainability in rural tourism
Analyze an experience from the perspective of compliance
and integration of the sustainable tourism principles
Propose an evaluation methodology based on the work with
METHODOLOGIES & APPROACH
Case Study Methodology
Specific case within its real context
Specific and general conclusions were drawn
Structured and semi-structured interviews
METHODOLOGIES & APPROACH
Collective analysis of the social circumstances that are the
object of the study
Collect information, analyze and plan
THE SUSTAINABILITY MATRIX
Integrate project evaluation to assessing sustainability
Sustainability Dimensions vs. Project’s evaluation
Project Categories for monitoring the
strategy on projects (sustainable strategy)
• Sustainable Tourism Principles
• Elements for the evaluation of
sustainability and strategy in social
• Pertinent project management
• New criteria for sustainable
tourism development (2016)
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM EVALUATION MATRIX
Economical Environmental Social Cultural
Demand for the
products and services
Efficiency in the use
participation and self-
Economical Environmental Social Cultural
Demand for the
Consider the factors
that affect the flow of
tourists; for example:
1. Proximity and ease
of transport to
2. Quality of products
3. Tourism seasonality
4. Broad market
trends and the need
5. Marketing “content”
6. Access and security
Capitalize on the
ecosystems in a
and promote them
with visitors and
and regional) that
supply and channel
the demand in an
the project must
promote “access for
others who have
Sign in to
initiatives at the
The project must have a solid and consistent conceptual background that justifies each of the activities and
techniques proposed (minimize negative impacts and maximize positive ones).
The project must take into account the risks and opportunities associated with the climate change
Relevance Relevance is understood as the degree of compliance with the originally set goals – whether or not they are
working as envisioned and contributing to address the problems in an optimal and sustainable manner.
The project promotes education and awareness for sustainable development – for all stakeholders.
Different studies and indicator banks
Some indicators arose from the research
project – Info from workshops with business
The original list it’s been updated
About the rural tourism project
Change of attitude: entrepreneurship y positive
Improved self-perception for local small business owners and
Better understanding of the importance of sustainability
Because of the poverty conditions, economic sustainability was the main
Largest shortcoming identified was political-institutional
Improve coordination between national plans and local reality
About the research project and the evaluation tool
Experience systematization and methodological approach
Matrix: useful tool (needs to be used in other projects)
Next step: update indicators list