ETRAC Strategy for Ethical Tourism Recovery

Ethical tourism recovery in Arctic communities -project organized a workshop for tourism stakeholders in spring 2022 to discuss practical steps that need to be taken in order to achieve ethical tourism recovery. Based on this workshop and other sources, ETRAC has created and published a Strategy for Ethical Tourism Recovery, which includes examples of such practices taken in tourism already in different regions. This text will introduce some highlights from the strategy. You can read the full strategy from here.

The four pillars of practical steps include network development, national policy and infrastructure, changing tourist behavior and local strategic approaches. In relation to the network development, both local peer-to-peer networks but also international networks within ethical and community-led tourism were considered as relevant by the stakeholders. Local networks would be useful in product development, marketing and there could be joint packages between businesses. International/national networks could offer support and broader understanding for the best practices and standards of the sector. Joint discussions can also empower and encourage stakeholders based on common values. Strong leadership and training possibilities were also brought up.

There are also issues that need interventions from the government or public sector agencies. One of them is the inadequacy of affordable housing in some peripheral regions. Another one is that there should be good internet infrastructure available, which is not the case in many regions. And challenges in finding employees require that efforts need to be made to improve the reputation and working conditions of the sector.

Many destinations have had challenges with inappropriate tourist behavior and the stakeholders suggested a respectful information and guiding on how to act e.g. with vulnerable nature that they might not be familiar with and to have enough facilities for garbage etc. In order to further ethical tourism, there should be such products and services created and promoted proactively.

As local strategical approach a collaborative structure should be created that is inclusive to local stakeholders and community members and feeds to broader strategic decision-making. Local communities should be seen as necessary and active partners in developing local tourism strategies by the relevant actors involved such as DMOs, local councils and development agencies. Together these actors should engage in proactive planning instead of reactive, that addresses issues only afterwards.