Monitoring and reporting
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Monitoring and auditing are used to see what actually occurs after project implementation has started. Predicted impacts on biodiversity should be monitored, as should the effectiveness of mitigation measures proposed in the environmental impact assessment. Proper management should ensure that anticipated impacts are maintained within predicted levels, and unanticipated impacts are managed before they become a problem and the expected benefits (or positive developments) are achieved as the project proceeds.
The results of monitoring provide information for periodic review and alteration of management plans, and for optimizing good practice at all stages of the project. Data generated by impact assessment and monitoring should be made accessible and useable by others, for example by publishing reports or displaying relevant information on notice boards.
Monitoring and control systems are needed as part of the management and operation of tourism activities and biological diversity, for both monitoring national policies and strategies, and for monitoring specific sites and projects. Monitoring is a tool:
• to see what actually occurs after project implementation has started;
• to check how effectively tourism developers and operators are at avoiding or minimising negative impacts on biodiversity and indigenous and local communities (see Section 13 on Impact Management);
• to check whether conditions set out in project approvals are being properly implemented and complied with;
• to identify any changes of circumstances such as environmental conditions or biodiversity status;
• to identify the impact of tourism activities on biological diversity;
• to assess how far the objectives of tourism development have been achieved;
• to establish trends concerning the state of biodiversity, tourism development and the economic and social development of indigenous and local communities.
Monitoring promotes and facilitates Adaptive Management (see Section 17 on Adaptive Management), and should provide the information necessary to redirect and adapt in order to avoid and mitigate any adverse impacts on biological diversity.
Decisions will have to be made on how monitoring is conducted, including:
• Who will be responsible for undertaking monitoring;
• What indicators will be used;
• How frequently measurements will be recorded;
• What format will be used for data collection;
• How monitoring data will be analysed and by whom;
• How monitoring results will be reported.
It is important to include monitoring for long-term and cumulative effects. It is therefore necessary to have a broader scope in regard to the area of influence and to consider whether other activities have indirect or parallel impacts.
In relation to indigenous and local communities, monitoring should include indicators to monitor tourism impacts on the economy, health and livelihoods of indigenous and local communities; and should provide them with the opportunity to be involved effectively in monitoring and evaluation.
Monitoring indicators that are linked to objectives and vision will need to be selected or formulated. Indicators should be measurable and related to the objectives of tourism development and biological diversity. Qualitative indicators can be just as valuable as quantitative.
Furthermore, developers and operators of tourism facilities and activities should be required to report periodically to designated authorities and to the public on compliance with conditions set out in approvals, and on the condition of biodiversity and the environment in relation to the tourism facilities and activities for which they are responsible.
Key factors to consider when setting up a monitoring system are:
1. the specific purpose of monitoring and reporting in relation to overall goals, objectives and impact management plans;
2. selection and/or design of suitable indicators to measure both positive and negative impacts that may arise (ideally these will be a combination of performance-based or process-based indicators);
3. identification and citation of relevant data that is already collected and available;
4. identification of what additional data may be required;
5. assessment of the effort involved in obtaining additional data against its necessity, and where appropriate, collection of this data;
6. analyzing the data and making assessments according to the indicators established;
7. establishment of regular feedback of monitoring results into impact management, decision making, implementation and Adaptive Management.
The main actors involved in monitoring and reporting are:
1. Government authorities responsible for decisions on tourism proposals and activities and tourism policies;
2. B iodiversity managers responsible for the conservation and management of biodiversity;
3. Managers, enterprises and companies involved in the implementation and oversight of tourism proposals, activities and operations; including their associations
4. Indigenous and local communities;
5. Non-governmental organisations;
6. The consumers, tourists and the public in general.
Government authorities responsible for the approval of tourism proposals and activities also have a statuary responsibility for checking that the developing and operating companies and enterprises comply with conditions relating to the formal approval of particular policies, plans, and projects or activities. These conditions are a legal requirement for the developers/operators to fulfil. They also need to know about any changes in the circumstances which may affect decisions concerning specific proposals or activities.
Indicators for assessing the performance of developers and operators are usually laid down in the conditions attached to the approval and refer to the items treated in the impact assessment, the impact management plan and the decision-making process. It is common practice to require developers to:
• collect and provide specific data relating to compliance with conditions attached to approvals for specific projects or activities;
• periodically hold multi-stakeholder meetings on site to check on implementation progress, and report on monitoring;
• periodically report to designated authorities and the public on compliance with the conditions of the approval and the conditions of biodiversity and the environment in relation to the tourism facilities and activities for which they are responsible.
Government authorities usually have a role in making monitoring results and reports available for the general public. It is important to present the information in a non-technical way so that it can easily be understood.
Government agencies also have a key role in monitoring and organising the feedback of monitoring results to determine and report whether strategies and policies are working. The key issues are compliance with policy, regulations and the conditions of the management regime, and the occurrence of impacts that the conditions are intended to prevent.
Biodiversity managers usually engage in monitoring to ensure that the conditions set in place to conserve biodiversity elements are adhered to and that additional conditions such as mitigation measures are established should unforeseen impacts arise. Important indicators are attached to the criteria for which the protected area has been established: specific ecosystem functions, habitats and species. Some countries have already set up schemes for national management effectiveness evaluations for their protected areas. Other countries are developing such schemes in accordance with CBD -Decision VII/28 which adopted the programme of work on Protected areas.
Some protected areas have received international recognition, for example under the Ramsar or World Heritage Conventions or UNESCO’s MAB-Programme (Man-and-the-Biosphere) or are being designated under regional networks such as NATURA 2000. Other protected areas have received certifications such as the European Charter for Sustainable tourism in Protected Areas, PAN-Parks or the Diploma of the Council of Europe. These international, regional, and national initiatives usually involve some form of periodic reporting based on criteria and indicators established for that purpose. Most of the baseline data required for monitoring tourism activities in and around protected areas is thus available. However, depending on the scope of tourism development, additional monitoring activities may be required to address specific issues or problems. Visitor monitoring schemes should provide for a clear picture on:
• how and which parts of the protected area are being visited and by how many visitors;
• who is doing what activities (behaviour);
• what expectations visitors have about their visits.
Combined with information about the biodiversity and environmental sensitivities of the visited area(s), management activities can be adapted so as to avoid, control and mitigate adverse impacts.
Managers, enterprises and companies
Managers, enterprises and companies generally collect data on their operations for their own management purposes, so that they can improve the tourism products that they offer, and respond to the expectations and interests of their customers. In addition, general statistics on tourism and trends may be collected by local associations of tourism businesses, and/or by local and national tourism offices.
Managers can also be a valuable source of information about visitor interests and visitor satisfaction, as their business operations depend on knowing what the tourists want. If managers are willing to make some of this information available, it will be a useful component for visitor monitoring schemes. Some companies also require their tour leaders and guides to make regular reports that include information on any problems that may have been encountered at visited sites, or other factors that may affect the quality of the visitor experience (eg. overcrowding, lack of observable wildlife, poor interpretative materials, problems with sanitation, waste disposal, etc.). They are likely to be interested in discussing possible improvements that could be made regarding provisions for tourism at visited sites with site biodiversity managers.
Managers, enterprises and companies may also be legally required to undertake monitoring and to report on monitoring results and progress with implementation, to government agencies, other stakeholders, including indigenous and local communities, and the public, in accordance with conditions that may be attached to approvals for specific developments and activities.
The tourism sector has contributed to the development of monitoring indicators on sustainable tourism, including indicators relating to biodiversity which have been developed in the Tourism Sector Supplement to the Global reporting initiative (GRI) 2002 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
Indigenous and local communities
Indigenous and local communities in areas of tourism development and activities have a role in monitoring and auditing the impact of tourism on their communities, livelihoods and the environment in which they live, and through their role as custodians of sacred, cultural and natural sites. These groups may be amongst the first to detect or experience adverse effects, and therefore can indicate any genuine problems related to tourism development at an early stage. Site / biodiversity managers should maintain a dialogue with indigenous and local communities in and around visited sites, over impacts that they experience, both positive and negative, associated with tourism activities and development.
NGOs are an important source of technical information on biodiversity. They maintain databases and observational data on biodiversity indicators over long periods of time. They frequently monitor the status of biodiversity in hotspots and protected areas. NGOs work independently but also cooperate together on biodiversity monitoring via international organizational meetings, such as those held by IUCN,38 which bring together scientists from biodiversity zones worldwide to compare their results and improve their monitoring protocols.
Because they are not related to political or corporate interests, though they do receive funds from both, they are considered to be excellent bodies to undertake unbiased monitoring programs. Many scientists work with NGOs to study the status of species, habitats, and the natural world, publishing their results in peer reviewed journals. They frequently develop research initiatives with local partners, including local universities, using rigorous scientific protocols where data is collected over the long term, and results are carefully analyzed with high degrees of scientific accuracy.
Consumers/tourists and public in general
The consumers/ tourists are an important source of information particularly concerning customer satisfaction and trends in tourism behaviour and preferences. Information from consumers / tourists can be obtained through visitor surveys, as well as via comment cards, complaints slips and other reports and observations.
Some tourists can also be important providers of technical monitoring information. Many naturebased tourists have a sophisticated biological understanding and are members of specialist groups with interests such as ornithology, plant, mammal, invertebrate, fish and coral reef communities. Some train and become regular participants in surveys such as Breeding Bird Surveys and Reef Check surveys of corals and fish.
Visitor monitoring at Müritz National Park, Germany
The Müritz National Park is located in the north-eastern part of Germany. Visitors can access the national park from many sites. A visitor monitoring scheme was established in 1999 to identify the magnitude of visitation per day and over the season, where visitors go and what they do (i.e. how they move around the park: walking, biking, canoeing, horse-back riding).39 This is being done by counting visitors at 15 determined sites on 15 determined days throughout the year. Besides calculating the approximate total number of visitors per year, the results indicate a spatial distribution of tourists and their main activities. The visitor monitoring is repeated at full scale every three years; usually visitor surveys are being done at the same time. Sample checks are made annually.
Special monitoring of biodiversity indicators (species and habitats) are being enacted on sites identified critical to visitor impact, for example around the crane resting areas and the habitats along the waterways for canoeing. Following the monitoring results, visitation to the crane resting areas has been adapted and the crane monitoring now reflects the effectiveness of the management measures. Similar adaptive changes are currently being discussed in a multi-stakeholder forum concerning canoeing.
Development of indicators for tourism and tourism impacts at Beruwala, Sri Lanka40
Beruwala consists of two villages, Moragalla and Kaluwamodera. The area is approximately 15 square kilometres and located on the west coast of Sri Lanka, 60 kilometres south of Colombo. In 1998, the Beruwala area had a collection of 13 hotels and 12 licensed and unlicensed guesthouses along the beach in the two villages. The total population of both villages is approximately 45,000. At the time of the study, Beruwala had about 1300 rooms available for accommodation and a total of 583,469 guest nights (data from 1999). Of these guest nights, over 90% were by international tourists, primarily interested in sun and sand, although there are many cultural and ecological attractions nearby.
There were two objectives for the UNWTO case study of Beruwala: first was to determine the key risks to the sustainability of the tourism industry of Beruwala; and second to use this study as a demonstration of the identification, evaluation and use of indicators of sustainable tourism in general. Indicator preparation was undertaken by consultants, with assistance of members of the Ceylon Tourism Board, who undertook the field work and site interviews, while the actual selection of the indicators was carried out by local participants during a three-day workshop. The workshop participants were briefed about the process and the criteria, presented with key destination facts and given a site visit to the key areas of concern. Then, in three working groups, the participants focused on the development of candidate indicators.
The final list of selected indicators was divided into six different categories; environment, society, economy, product quality, management and community planning. The UNWTO also suggested measuring certain indicators separately for specific ‘hot spots’ within Beruwala which included the beachfront area and the lower reaches of the Bentota River where tourists from the adjacent resort use the river. It was suggested that for these areas indicators such as intensity of use should be measured to supplement the destination-wide indicators.
|Beruwala indicators list
• Water quality (seawater)
|Water quality (E.coli, biochemical oxygen demand, heavy metals)
Number of truck loads of garbage removed from beach/day
|Sea water quality
||Water contamination in river and off the beach
||Volume treated Volume discharged by hotels (treated or untreated)
|River and beach erosion
Loss of soil/sand
|Changes in vegetation coverage and beach configurations
(using aerial photographs)
|Lack of Drainage
|Number of flooding events/waterlogged areas
|Tourist environmental awareness and expectations
||Measures of tourists’ environmental awareness and expectations (see also social issues)
|Drinking water contamination
||Freshwater quality (including bacterial counts, hardness, heavy metals)
|Local involvement in tourism industry
||Percentage of all direct tourism jobs held by local residents
||Statistics from census/government surveys
|Tourist numbers (baseline data)
||Tourism industry statistics: totals, occupancy levels (by month)
|Lack of dependable hotel supply and materials from local suppliers
Number of contracts with local suppliers
|Wages in tourism relative to other sectors
|Product Quality Issues
||Percentage of tourists comfortable leaving hotel at night
No. of daytime complaints to police/CTB regarding safety
Exit survey of tourists perception of safety (theft, harassment, vehicle safety, danger etc)
||No. of complaints regarding harassment
|Exposure to Sri Lankan culture
Scarcity of “real” high quality products
|Complex indicator of cultural integrity of tourism offerings (classification system)
Percentage of tourists who are satisfied with their level of contact with Sri Lankan culture during their visit (Q)
|Access to destination
|Time to get to destination
|Access to health facilities
||No. of complaints from operators (and tourists) about health care facilities
|Perceived quality of tourism product
||Attitude survey on perception of value for money
|Quality of the beach experience
||Garbage counts/quantity of garbage and other waste on beach (see also environmental issues)
Tourists perception of cleanliness of beach (exit Questionnaire)
|Tourism Management Issues
|Unlicensed and uncontrolled tourist services
||Enforcement of licensing
|Density of motorboats on Bentota river
||Number of boats (each type) on river at peak time (see also environmental issues)
|Density of boat traffic in mangroves
||Number of boats (per hour) in mangrove on peak days
|Stray animals (also a quality of tourism issue)
||Number of animals loose on beach/hotel grounds
|Community Planning Issues
|State of planning for Beruwala
||Presence/absence of integrated plan (including key elements)
|Public access to beaches
||Access roads per km of beach
Local perception of level of access to beach for community
||Level of pollution on riverbanks
Local awareness (and tourist awareness) of environmental issues (questionnaire)
|Level of communication/ coordination between authorities
||Number of joint projects
At the time of the indicator project there was no significant planning in Beruwala and no authority to oversee data collection. Additional challenges resulting from the departure of the consultants before the data was collected by the local authorities. The strengths and weaknesses of the indicators and their methodologies are seldom seen until they are properly piloted, and in this case implementation revealed difficulties in data collection, ambiguity in indicator wording (is a greater number of garbage trucks removing rubbish from the beach an indication of a move toward or away from sustainability?) and differences in definitions, which might well have been resolved had the process not been so rushed.