Communication and Participatory Approach

The UNWTO Consulting Unit places a lot of emphasis upon communication with stakeholders and the establishment of a participatory process.

Communication with and involvement of stakeholders includes imparting information and skills (see Education, Capacity Building and Awareness Raising), consultations as well as collaboration in decision-making. It is important that all stakeholders are enabled to actively participate in a project throughout all stages of its progress, including the preparation of tourism development and management plans to the preparation of project proposals and the implementation of tourism activities and development strategies.

The participation of stakeholders involved in or affected by tourism development in a destination is crucial for the integrated management of tourism and biodiversity. Broad involvement of stakeholders will allow for direct communication, better cooperation and a better understanding of complex dependencies and mutual benefits within a destination. As both, tourism development and biodiversity conservation, embrace interests of many different groups, a wide range of stakeholders should be covered. Also their involvement, and at an early stage helps in ownership of a project and thus the long-term viability and sustainability of the project.

The CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism also lay stress on the importance of local participation and encourage governments and developers to provide for full participation and communicate project-related information in an adequate way to everyone who might be affected by the individual project.

In order to provide for broad and informed stakeholder participation, two tools have been developed within the framework of recent UNWTO projects in Thailand and Indonesia:

  • The Community Involvement Plan (CIP)

The CIP provides local stakeholders with tools on how to accomplish information transfer by involvement of communities, relevant organisations and establishing the operating team.

  • The Communication Strategy

The communication strategy aims at raising awareness and understanding of the project throughout its development, in particular, how to manage and communicate the key messages and content of the project to identified stakeholders and the target audiences.