Reconciling Scientific, Political and Participatory Perspectives on Sustainable Tourism Indicator Development for Destination Sustainability Assessment

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Sustainable tourism indicators (STI) are widely recognized as a useful tool for assessing the sustainability level of a tourism destination. Methods for STI development, however, are still inconsistent and often characterized by a debate between approaches proposed by three parties: scientists, policy-makers and supporters of participatory decision-making. Despite the development of approaches that address this debate, there has been little agreement on the broader methodological and conceptual foundations of STI development. In the pursuit of finding consensus, a Delphi survey is conducted in which an expert panel assesses and discusses the potential of innovative hybrid methodologies. Findings emphasise a shift towards more participatory formats and show that the requirements of all three parties can be met. This study advances future STI development processes by structuring the debate, evaluating existing and new approaches and exemplifying how to conceptualize formats to facilitate local involvement, thereby mapping out future pathways for STI development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTourism Planning and Development
Number of pages21
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18.10.2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

    Research areas

  • assessment, community participation, Delphi survey, indicators, Sustainable tourism
  • Management studies