ECLAC: DR faces numerous gaps in sustainable tourism

The RD has high and medium gaps in 23 of the 24 main tourism sustainability indicators used by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to evaluate how the sector offers potential destinations for the enjoyment of visitors and respect for host communities.

For the organization, sustainable tourism goes beyond an offer of environmentally sustainable nature destinations, and understands that this concept encompasses the capacity of tourism to contribute to the development of countries from a social, cultural, economic, environmental and management dimension.

Destination management

In the study “Tourism sustainability from a territorial perspective”, ECLAC identified that the greatest areas of improvement for the country are in the management of tourist destinations, since there are large gaps in strategic plans and legal frameworks, certifications, personnel training and safety for women.

The analysis, which measures the reality of the main tourism poles of the RD, Panama and Costa Rica, points out that there is a lack of information for the management of tourism sustainability in the destination, as well as little use of data for planning and decision making.

Although it recognizes that each destination presents different results, it acknowledges that governance is a cross-cutting element that, in addition to presenting RD Turismo Sostenibleweaknesses, impacts other dimensions to achieve sustainability, according to Diario Libre.

“There are deficiencies in the capacity of local governments to incorporate sustainability in their strategic plans, especially due to the lack of training in sustainability and the difficulty of having personnel dedicated to the subject,” the report states.

In this regard, the multilateral recommended the creation of a Diploma in Destination Management, which would provide specific information on this topic. The postgraduate course, which has already been launched by the Ministry of Tourism, would aim to improve the technical skills of officials, train university students in sustainability and territorial management, and promote continuity in the implementation and analysis of indicators.

Environmental sustainability

In the environmental dimension, energy was the only indicator of the 24 main indicators in which ECLAC observed a slight gap in the RD.

However, this is not the case for natural resource management, solid waste and wastewater, which it labeled as “deficient”, in all three countries.

“Few awareness and training programs are observed in the sustainable use of natural resources and their linkage with tourism,” it adds, emphasizing that there is “a serious gap” in the use and management of protected areas and other natural spaces.

To this end, the study suggests training to raise awareness of the efficient use of water, electricity and resource management, as well as a management plan for natural heritage, involving the community and businesses.

Socio-cultural sustainability

In the sociocultural aspect, which takes into account the impact of tourism on communities and their relationship with the destination’s cultural heritage, ECLAC noted that there is low participation and satisfaction in planning activities, implementation and monitoring of the sustainability strategies of the tourist destination.

It pointed to the low level of training of businessmen, community members and officials in tourism sustainability as “the clearest gap” that exists on this issue.

He considered that there is a lack of linkage of cultural heritage with the tourism development strategy, resulting in a lack of inventory of cultural attractions, scarcity of managers and degradation of this heritage.

However, he acknowledged that the measurement and follow-up carried out by the RD on the Colonial City is a reference for the development of related indicators, both to evaluate other destinations within the country, as well as for destinations in other countries.

Economic sustainability

In the economic sphere, the RD is the country in which the study found a higher proportion of women in informal enterprises, which links to a problem of precariousness and feminization of tourism employment also present, although to a lesser extent, in Panama and Costa Rica.

“In the RD, it was observed that the degree of informality is related to the maturity of the destination. The greater the maturity, the higher the percentage of formal companies,” the study stresses.

It points out that there is an average gap in the country in terms of employment and financing compared to the nations cited in the study, which have a low gap in this area.

It adds that the economic information available tends to focus on demand, and not so much on the tourism supply of the place or its socioeconomic impact on the destination visited, in addition to the fact that priority is only given to collecting information in the most sought-after destinations.

To improve in this area, ECLAC recommended, among other aspects, greater access to financing for innovation and sustainability projects. It also recommended promoting decent employment and the registration of tourism establishments.


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