The Ningaloo Destination Model: Combining Scientific and Social Research for Sustainable Tourism Planning
Achieving sustainable tourism development is elusive and involves interactions between governments, scientists, communities, land use planners, resource managers and developers. The Ningaloo Destination Modelling project seeks to provide a medium to harness these interactions through scenario planning that enables interested parties to gaze into the future of development at one of the world’s most significant fringing coral reefs.The project commenced with three workshops that developed scenarios that addressed issues of concern to stakeholders such as: what if the number of tourists doubles, what if water supplies can only support a limited population of residents and visitors, what if the reef is bleached by global warming or what if a budget airline begins operating in the region. These scenarios are informing the development of a tourism destination model for the region, based on the principles of systems dynamics and participatory research. This paper explores the process of harnessing scientific and social research expertise in a tool that addresses the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism. Ninagloo Destination modelling is a project of Australia’s Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Wealth from the Oceans Ningaloo Flagship research collaborative and is funded by CSIRO and the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre. Destination Modelling seeks to coalesce three years of research by scientists, social scientists and economists “…to evaluate possible management scenarios for the future planning for our marine ecosystems and the projected impact of human social and economic forces” (CSIRO, September 2006).
Keywords: Scenario Planning, Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration, Sustainable Tourism, Participatory Research
Dr. Tod Jones
Research Associate, Curtin Sustainable Tourism Centre
Prof. David Wood
Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Humanities, Curtin University of Technology