Organisations have plans to manage what they want to do. However, a plan is written in one moment of time. The more time passes, the more chance that a plan can become out of date. Models are designed not to go out of date. A model is like a living, constantly adapting plan.
We are finalising a Sustainable Tourism Model for the Shoalhaven region of New South Wales, Australia. The model will monitor and predict the health of tourism in the region, which includes environmental, community, economic and experiential dimensions.
The first part of the model states what healthy tourism in the region looks like – each state is called an optimal condition – a desirable yet realistic state. The second part of the model measures how close real life is to the optimal conditions. It isn’t practical to measure everything, so indicators are chosen. Indicators are a tangible measure of the state of an optimum condition – they give an indication of the health. The third part of the model is adaptive management – a process designed to handle uncertainties, including natural fluctuation and changing conditions inherent in all managed uses of components of biodiversity. If an indicator is outside the acceptable range then it triggers adaptive management.
The model will be placed on a website so that all stakeholders can use it.