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Project Management

Ensuring tourism projects are designed with sustainability in mind so they have long-lasting benefits for destinations and communities.

Tourism projects can be diverse and vary in terms of time, budgets, sectors and the variety of stake holders they target. These projects also often influence a wide range of economic activities and social segments. As a result, there is a considerable impact on the sustainability development at a local and hence a global level.

If a tourism project is designed with sustainability in mind, it could have far reaching effects on the long-lasting benefits for destinations and communities further ensuring that they receive appropriate funding and resources for successful project delivery.

So, what is it that impacts the need to create and drive sustainable projects successfully? One of the key factors for any project are the people involved in it. Most often it comes down to effective leadership and governance; those leading the project must be convinced of undertaking a sustainable approach, and the project must have a practical and structured approach with a clear understanding of what the project should produce as a result.

The fundamental reason for many projects being rejected is the lack of situational analysis and lack of understanding of the funding opportunities and the criteria that need to be met to secure the all-important funding to drive the project further. Looking at a problem in isolation can often lead to developing solutions that do not solve the challenge at hand. As a result, they are at a greater risk of not being viable.

Some of the questions to ask to avoid a project failure are;

  • Has a situational analysis being carried out in the scoping phase? Especially since a ‘situation analysis’ looks at all factors that impact the project like the political, social, cultural and economic factors.
  • Does this project have a government buy – in? To ensure destinations are more sustainable in the long run it is key to have government buy-ins to begin with.
  • Do all the key stakeholders have a collective agreement on the scope as well as delivery of the project? It is important to take everyone involved in the project along during the planning and initiation phase. This avoids expectation mismatch during the delivery of the project.
  • Is there an exit strategy in place? It is important to have well defined actions in the project-closure phase to ensure a smooth handover by making the project initiative a self-sustaining one. 

While focus is on avoiding project failure, it is important to ensure that the project variables are monitored since they are fundamental to ensuring the project kicks off and continues till the very end of the expected closure stage;

Scope: Scoping a project is understanding the aim and the bigger value it needs to bring to the community. It is important that the project manager and the team is clear of what the short and long-term goals are.

Cost: it is key that projects add value to stakeholders and also are a value for the cost that goes into delivering them. Making sure the financial needs of the project are understood and agreed prior to its kick-start to avoid untimely - stalling or failure of the project.

Risks: There are often various uncontrollable factors that impact any project -especially a tourism project considering the diverse sectors they function in. Understanding these risks and building mitigating plans and disaster recovery mechanisms can save the project from failing into code-red situations.

To help understand the various aspects of managing and successfully delivering a sustainable tourism project, PM4SD – Project Management in Sustainable Development is a methodology targeted for project managers and tourism stakeholders. APMG International is pleased to announce a four-week online course starting 7th May to 1st June to be delivered by Foundation for European Sustainable Tourism (FEST), JLAG Europe and Training Aid. Jlag is an accredited training organisation (ATO) of APMG International. TrainingAid is an international tourism training company specialising in sustainable tourism. For more information on the course please click here. You can find the list of confirmed expert presenters for this course here.


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