Does your Protected Area offer ecotourism itineraries? Measure their Ecological Footprint with DestiMED’s Calculator

Ecotourism is indeed a great opportunity to promote the unique value of protected areas and support their activities while creating revenue for local communities. To help protected area managers and tourist operators in creating a sustainable ecotourism experience, the DestiMED project, with the support of the European programme Interreg-MED, has created this free online calculator to measure the Ecological Footprint of ecotourism itineraries focusing on the 4 main different aspects of an ecotourism package, i.e. accommodation, food & drinks, mobility & transfer activities and services.

With the support of the European programme Interreg-MED, the DestiMED Project has created this free online calculator to measure the Ecological Footprint of ecotourism itineraries focusing on the 4 main different aspects of an ecotourism package, i.e.

  • Accommodation
  • Food and Drinks
  • Mobility and Transfer
  • Activities and Services

 Visit the calculator at this link: https://www.meetnetwork.org/calculator

What is the Ecological Footprint?

The Ecological Footprint is an indicator and a resulting methodology developed by Global Footprint Network to measure the ecological assets required by a given population to produce the natural resources it consumes and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions.

One of the most remarkable outcomes of the DestiMED Project has been the adaptation of this methodology to ecotourism packages in protected areas. Moreover, the tool offers specific information on:

  • The EF of the whole ecotourism package (expressed in gha per package)
  • The EF per tourist per day (expressed in gha per tourist per day)


How to use DestiMED's Ecotourism Footprint Calculator

To get started,  you will need to register on the platform by creating a new account. Before carrying out this assessment, we recommend appointing a specific person from the protected area (or tour operator) staff to act as the “surveyor”. This person should be responsible for collecting data from the involved service providers and the one to have access to the Calculator.

In order to prepare for the data collection, we suggest downloading the questionnaires contained in the Calculator User Manual.

DOWNLOAD THE USER MANUAL AND QUESTIONNAIRES HERE.

 

WHAT data ARE required to complete this assessment?

For each ecotourism package, you will be requested to provide the number of days and of participants. In each of the categories (accommodation, food & drinks, mobility & transfer activities & services) the questions will focus on the type of supply and how it is provided.

It is therefore strongly recommended that the surveyor is suggested liaises with each service provider involved in the package (all the hotels, restaurants, providers of transport and guides/providers for each activity) and have at least one in-person visit them to ensure data is collected as precisely as possible so that all questions are answered (it should be a data collection on field). It is likely that service providers will need more time to check internally among managers, workers and/or technicians for gathering precise information and the exact data requested. Finally, the results will be displayed on the park’s dashboard.

Did you know that…?

Results from the DestiMED project illustrate that a low Ecological Footprint of tourism can be achieved by:

Staying at small-scale, family-run, local and traditional housing accommodations, preferably with renewable energy sources in place.

⇒ Although large hotel chains are often very resource efficient because of economies of scale, these small-scale hotels will reduce the accommodation Footprint by as much as 48%, Global Footprint Network found.

Eating food sourced locally or regionally, offered through the typical Mediterranean diet providing an abundance of vegetables and grains, and less animal protein-based products (non-endangered fish-based products and non-intensive meat based-products).

⇒ Buying local and organic food products improves each meal with a tasty Footprint reduction of 5%, Global Footprint Network found. This can really add up over the course of a trip!

Considering the quantity of food consumed: light and balanced dishes are favored over lush, bountiful, and never-ending banquets.

Traveling “slow” by using alternative and motor-free modes of transportation as much as possible. Walking, as well as using bikes, kayaks, horses, or even public transit, is preferred to carbon-intensive transportation.

⇒ An electric vehicle will help reduce the Footprint by 40-50%, Global Footprint Network found, and a bike ride means no Footprint at all!

Enjoying carbon-free activities that allow tourists to enjoy the slow pace of the natural areas they are visiting and re-discover the original rhythm of nature.

More on the Ecotourism Footprint Calculator

https://www.footprintnetwork.org/our-work/sustainable-tourism/

 For further enquiries, please contact carla.danelutti@remove-this.iucn.org