Sustainable Tourism Management Action Plan

Sustainable Tourism Management Action Plan

Northern Bruce Peninsula (NPB), Ontario

Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7) in partnership with the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, the County of Bruce, Parks Canada, and the Bruce Peninsula Environment Group commissioned Left Coast Insights and their partners, Twenty31, to undertake a Sustainable Tourism Management Action Plan for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, to ensure the tourism sector contributes positively to the social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being of the community and throughout the region.

The popularity of Northern Bruce Peninsula and Fathom Five Marine National Parks, the private sector operators and the natural attributes, have strained both the physical and human infrastructure in and around the Parks, the Village of Tobermory, Lion’s Head and the region. Over the last few years, the Northern Bruce Peninsula has seen a dramatic increase in the number of tourists visiting a relatively limited number of tourism sites. In turn these sites have faced overcrowding and Community infrastructure is overburdened and there is a perception that the economic benefits of tourism to the community are limited vs. the volume of tourists visiting. It has been observed by residents as well as businesses servicing the tourism industry that not all of this increased growth has resulted in a net economic and social benefit for the community. Tourism rarely develops in a sustainable fashion via organic means and therefore best practice often cites the importance of a strong leadership role by the municipal government. In this circumstance, a collaborative approach where leadership is a shared responsibility among key cooperating organizations was proposed.

The plan proposed a priority be given to developing a collaborative governance structure to ensure effective implementation of priority initiatives. These initiatives included: Community and Industry Engagement; Product and Experience Development; Investment and Asset Development; and Sustainability Positioning and Destination Branding. Critically, these initiatives would only be successful if underpinned by a comprehensive Visitor Management Framework (VMF).

Beyond creating visitor awareness of appropriate behaviours and instilling appreciation for sustainability concerns, the VMF supports analysis and understanding of visitor impacts and informs mitigation and management strategies. These may include: securing sustainable funding, promoting seasonal and geographic dispersion, site hardening, traffic modal-share and management, niche experience development, and performance measurement.

A Visitor Management Framework for NBP defined a systematic process of understanding what undesirable impacts may occur, identifying indicators, setting limits of acceptable change and actively applying management actions to avoid or manage the undesirable impacts of tourism in the destination within acceptable limits. It is about truly understanding how the visitor impacts occur, understanding the impacts, setting limits of acceptable change and responding to changes in conditions with effective management strategies that appropriately target supply, demand, the resource and the visitor.

Visitor Management Framework
Bruce Peninsula National Park