Going back to last week’s article, how will we define the character of this place called Big Sur. Who and what is she? What defines her? Those questions and more we need to ask ourselves so that we can come up with a plan for sustainable tourism.
This is the path that the Galapagos is also taking – sustainable tourism. They figure they are at the limit, at a little under a 1/4 of a million visitors a year. As islands, it is easier to limit the number of tourists they allow to go there. And that is what they are doing, in order to protect a fragile and unique environment, where Darwin developed his theory of Natural Selection.
“Keeping a tight lid on tourism is the way the South American country has preserved this volcanic string of 19 large islands, dozens of islets and rocky outcroppings.
Authorities wage this fight as world tourism grows and grows—it was up seven percent last year—and they must resist the temptation to let in hordes of visitors, their pockets bulging with dollars.
‘The Galapagos are the crown jewel, and as such, we have to protect them,’ Tourism Minister Enrique Ponce de Leon told AFP. ‘We must be drastic in caring for the environment.’”
The 26,000 residents and stewards of the Galapagos (and you can’t become a resident until you have been married to one for 10 years) have defined the character of this special place thusly:
“The environmental, social and biological features of this place—which is like no other—forces us to set a limit, to manage tourism in terms of supply, rather than demand,” said Walter Bustos, director of the Galapagos National Park.
The character rests on the uniqueness of the environmental, social, and biological features which are not found anywhere else. Could the same could be said of Big Sur? although the South Island of New Zealand does share some of our environmental features, our biological and social features are different.
How do you define the “character of place” that is Big Sur??
(Next week we go back to the Destination Stewardship model and explore areas that might work here.)