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Already in an earlier article, we introduced to you the European Tourism Indicator System, short ETIS, developed through an initiative of the European Commission. Beginning September we started a project initiated by the tourist board “VVV Zuid-Limburg” in order to test the EU indicators. This project is part of the second official pilot phase of the European Commission’s Tourism Unit.
The project is supported by Prof. Dr. Dirk Reiser from Cologne Business School (CBS) and four of his master students in the context of the class “Applied Sustainability in Destination Management”. The aim of the pilot phases, there are three in total, is to gather feedback from destination in applying the indicators and the processes recommended in the related toolkit.
In a first meeting at the Cologne Business School, all project partners, including Stan Smeets from VVV Zuid-Limburg, came together to decide which indicators to test, to gather some first thoughts on them (e.g. who is responsible for this data? Or is it not gathered yet?) and to establish a rough guideline for the project with concrete goals and actions.
In the aftermath of this first meeting, the students continued the research on the indicators and complemented the list with more information about their availability. Simultaneously, Stan Smeets assembled a list of stakeholders that would interesting to invite to the first stakeholder working group meeting, amongst others some representatives from public authorities as well as some regional businesses.
On the 17th of October this first stakeholder working group meeting took place in Valkenburg at the headquarters of the VVV Zuid-Limburg. In a 2-hour meeting we introduced ETIS to them, as most of them did not know it yet, we discussed the feedback on the indicators that we have gathered so far and added new one. For example, we found that some indicators are not clear in regards to scope and some not clear regarding their precise measurement. The indicator “number of accommodations accessible for people with disabilities” does neither distinguish between different disabilities, nor does it specify which disabilities. The indicator “percentage tourism enterprises involved in climate change mitigation schemes– such as: CO2 offset, low energy systems, etc. – and “adaptation” responses and actions” asks defacto for two different indicators: firstly, “climate change mitigation” and secondly, “climate change adaption”. Furthermore, we discussed the further approach of data gathering and also established some roles and responsibilities for the stakeholders themselves.
Right after the meeting, the CBS master students started a visitor survey to collect some of the missing data. In the further course of the project, the students will also conduct a business survey. Stan Smeets of the VVV Zuid-Limburg has to hand-in his written feedback to the European Commission begin of December.
We will keep you up to date about further progress and results. Should you have questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. There will still be a third testing phase of ETIS. If you are interested in participating, we are glad to support you with our experiences.
All the best and have a great weekend everyone,