Tourist Tuesday, 5/15/18

“Sustainable Moments” is the current mantra of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau. ( and it has become the newest “buzz” word world-wide for tourism that is threatening some of our most beautiful and pristine places on the planet. What does it really mean?


  • Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

  • Able to be upheld or defended.

     •. A very brief period of time
     •  (formal) importance.

So, by this catchy phrase, do they mean, maintain at at certain rate or level for a short period of time, which would be giving the terms their common or ordinary definition? Or do the mean to uphold or defend an important or significant interest? Do the MCCVB and the Big Sur community mean different things under this marketing lingo?

What about “sustainable tourism?” How is that defined?

Sustainable tourism is an industry committed to making a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people.The positive of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people; tourism companies; and tourists themselves.


Management of Sustainable Tourism (Wikipedia)

“There has been the promotion of sustainable tourism practices surrounding the management of tourist locations by locals or the community. This form of tourism is based on the premise that the people living next to a resource are the ones best suited to protecting it. This means that the tourism activities (including marketing) and businesses are developed and operated by local community members, and certainly with their consent and support. Sustainable tourism typically involves the conservation of resources that are capitalized upon for tourism purposes. Locals run the businesses and are responsible for promoting the conservation messages to protect their environment….

The use of local knowledge also means an easier entry level into a tourism industry for locals whose jobs or livelihoods are affected by the use of their environment as tourism locations. Environmentally sustainable development crucially depends on the presence of local support for a project. It has also been noted that in order for success projects must provide direct benefits for the local community….

[P]artnerships between governments and tourism agencies with smaller communities is not particularly effective because of the disparity in aims between the two groups, i.e. true sustainability versus mass tourism for maximum profit. In Honduras such a divergence can be demonstrated where consultants from the World Bank and officials from the Institute of tourism wanted to set up a selection of 5-star hotels near various ecotourism destinations. But another operating approach in the region by USAID and APROECOH (an ecotourism association) promotes community-based efforts which has trained many local Hondurans. Mader[42] concluded that the grassroot organisations were more successful in Honduras.”

Our challenge is that the “sustainable tourism” experience is no longer. It is NOT a positive experience for the Big Sur environment nor for the Big Sur community and is therefore an oxymoron and a mere marketing tool with no real value. The entire Monterey Peninsula capitalizes on the lure and attraction of the Big Sur coast, BUT it does not include the Big Sur Community at large in the decisions and management practices that it employs. I am not implying that the MCCVB does not have a role in promoting the entire Monterey County, including Big Sur, as a tourist destination, and I do feel we can work together, but I am saying this MUST be Big Sur community based endeavor, NOT just a token consult with the community, or this is not sustainable tourism for Big Sur. The community is in the best position to be able to determine what is sustainable, and regardless of catchy phrases, we have long passed beyond the limits of sustainability. As I pointed out at the last Forum of the MCCVB on their “Sustainable Moments” campaign, they have it backwards. Infrastructure must be developed to serve the tourist industry BEFORE we strive to increase the level of tourism. We, the Big Sur community, and We, the Big Sur environment, cannot create a positive tourist experience if we don’t have the means to make it positive. In sum, it is time to organize the Big Sur Community – all its diverse parts into a whole that can best address all the various issues pertaining to visitors. That is the next step, and that is what we currently need to work on.  What sustainable ideas might you have for creating a balance between quality of environment, community quality of life, and tourists’s quality of experience?
Here is a great 3 minute video worth watching. (I tried to download and embed and ran into technical difficulties.) Make sure you watch both parts. It appears finished after part 1 due to blank screen and a seemingly long pause in this instant society, but it is not. There is a part 2.

8 thoughts on “Tourist Tuesday, 5/15/18

  1. I very respectfully disagree with you. The MCCVB and the internet have already oversold the entire area. We need no more promotion. We are already on every bucket list and best of list. Add to that former residents, extended families, and repeat visitors….I believe their budget should be diverted to bathrooms, rangers, fire education, fire personnel, and cops. We might need promotion again during a bad recession, but until then, please stop. Praying nothing untoward happens during road closures and construction this afternoon

  2. I may be mistaken, but I believe the intention here is to organize, in order to minimize the damage to the environment, reduce hazards like wildfires, and to improve and protect the quality of life of locals from the tourism that is already happening, and is definitely not geared towards promoting tourism. Laudable goals! Thank you Kate! I do have ideas and will contribute

  3. Thank you, Susan. Yes, to organize and balance the competing issues facing our beloved coast. I don’t see further promotion (or even continued promotion) in that equation. Our place speaks for itself in terms of being a destination. Where it needs a voice is in its protection.

  4. To “Big Sur”-
    Fortunately for the Big Sur coast, even though the Big Sur properties now owned by super wealthy part-time residents are no longer available as housing for the locals, the wealthy land owners will obstruct any environmentally destructive commerce in Big Sur with their mouths and their wallets. Big Sur is not in the same situation as the arctic, but the situation here is somewhat analogous to the arctic. However, some of our new wealthy neighbors’ BS properties are walled off castles, accessible to them via personal helicopter. They may not be as affected by activity outside of their castle walls as all of us plebes who are affected by the hordes of tourists over running the rest of the coast .

  5. To: Suzi,
    Children learn to eat what is put on the table, set the table with love.


    Start a small voluntary or privately funded committee mentoring all business along the coast to make sure that what we are setting our table with is inline with our goals.

    Don’t want plastic in our Ocean…stop selling plastic in our businesses, we have over 70 local artists.
    Don’t want GMO’s in our food… make a deal with the resturants to allow locals in after hours to package local food from local produce and distribute it to the camp stores and businesses.
    Don’t want fires in our forests… get the local fire brigade funded and out daily engaging the tourists and the children.
    Want funding…engage the many billionaires that have built homes here. (they have friends)

    When you have more than you need build a bigger table not a bigger fence.
    The only time you need to worry about what’s in your neighbors bowl is if you’re checking to make sure they have enough.

  6. Big Sur John-
    Love your suggestions. If I only had time….Living here temporarily until Mud Creek re-opens, when I’ll resume daily commute from home in Cambria. Work hours are 50 to 60 per week, travel hours are currently 6 hours per week (detour via 46, 101, Jolon Rd, Nac-Ferg), but add on packing for the week makes it 8 hours, which is about the same amount of weekly time for my daily commute from Cambria up Hwy 1.

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