Integrated tourism with the development of forest resources : a joint initiative to encourage and promote sustainable management with the creation of a community wide recognised award system - Tourfor

LIFE96 ENV/UK/000413

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Contact details:

Project Manager: John TRIBE
Tel: 44.1494.522141
Fax: 44.1494.465432

Project description:


The importance of Tourfor was related to two key factors. Firstly, forests are high on the environmental agenda. As well as their productive functions, they contribute to global carbon cycles and biodiversity. Secondly, tourism is moving up the environmental agenda. Its rapid growth has forced attention on to its negative impacts as well as its contributions to economic growth. But the potential for co-development exists across these sectors: forests could absorb more tourism by providing increased recreational activities, and tourism could benefit forests by providing social use valuations as well as direct income. With a positive approach to tourism and recreational management, a harmonious relationship between the visitors and the environment can be formed. If managed carefully, tourism and recreation can help to maintain the environment, rather than inflict damage on it. There exists a relationship of mutual interdependence between tourism, recreation and the countryside environment. The Environmental Management System (EMS) which is at the centre of Tourfor, develops an award and guidelines for environmental management that recognises such an interdependence. It seeks to reduce conflict between tourism, recreation and the countryside environment and create a symbiotic relationship. Tourfor is a response to Agenda 21 and is aimed at environmental improvement at the corporate level. It uses the EMS approach to implant sustainable objectives into organisational missions and encourage systematic delivery of sustainable practices. Among the benefits that such a approach can bring, over and above environmental improvements, are additional information to consumers, assistance in marketing, and help in the reduction of costs.


The objective of the project was to provide a model for the consolidation of sustainable tourism and forestry management. Criteria and guidelines were to be established for sustainability in tourism and forestry management and were to be published to support the introduction of a pan-European Award system. "Best Practice" would also be identified and disseminated through published manuals and marketing strategies. The primary aim of the project was to generate inward investment through encouraging tourism which facilitates and promotes multi-benefit forestry operations thereby encouraging the strengthening of rural economies and the production of greater quantities of "sustainably produced" forest products. This was to be achieved by projects involving private and public sector partnerships and the co-operation of all interested parties at local level. A twin economic approach was to be taken during this project, which would encourage tourism whilst at the same time, allowing for the development of sustainable timber production to meet the increasing demand for wood products. Both of these activities would benefit rural areas. A voluntary Award Scheme would be used. The analysis of three representative regions within the Community would be followed by the production of guidelines and criteria for implementing voluntary Award Schemes. The specific objectives of the project were: 1. To promote the establishment of a collaborative working group across EU Member States. 2. To identify ways in which tourism could support the management of sustainable forestry. 3. To monitor sites of tourism activity in forest areas in the UK, Portugal and Finland. 4. To identify costs and benefits of tourism in forest areas. 5. To establish criteria for sustainable tourism development in forest areas. 6. To identify methods of promoting the sustainable co-development of tourism and forestry, which would maximise benefits and minimise costs. 7. To produce approproate guidelines to encourage such development based on best practice. 8. To bridge the gaps between theory and practice. 9. To promote the benefits derived from the project.


The project resulted in the production of a manual of good practice for the attainment of sustainable co-development of tourism and forestry - the practice that would lead to a TOURFOR award. The project achieved the expected results. That was to present proposals for an award that can be given to organisations achieving agreed standards of environmental management in forest recreation and tourism, and to develop the supporting documents and assistance necessary: a manual to implement good environmental management and guidelines to manage the award. The emerging key issues and distinctive features of the Tourfor award proposals and EMS are as follows: 1. Tourfor is relevant where tourism and recreation, forestry and the environment are all significant issues 2. There is a mixed reaction to the proposals from potential sites but with a substantial core of interest 3. The project has established a structure, network and market for such an award but needs pump-prime funding to enable it to be put into effect. 4. Like the Blue Flag awards, Tourfor has strong potential to: - raise public awareness of environmental issues in the countryside. - provide information to assist consumer choice - offer markeing benefits to recipients - provide a vehicle to drive improvements in environmental standards - provide a control mechanism to promote tourism development in the countryside that is managed for sustainability 5. It is based on established EMS systems, particularly EMAS 6. The guiding environmental policy at the heart of Tourfor EMS is locally devised but informed by existing environmental concepts and guidelines 7. The award of EMS encourages a flexible response in the light of differing circumstances throughout Europe 8. It lays a strong emphasis on practical advice for the implementation and sharing of experience 9. It operates as part of a wider suite of environmental instruments 10. Tourfor is not the management system for sustainable forestry, rather it contributes to sustainable forest management where tourism and recreation are significant activities 11. For forests where tourism and recreation are the primary activities, the Tourfor EMS may be the site EMS. In multi-purpose forests, the Tourfor EMS may be embedded in a wider EMS 12. The potential exists to widen the scope of Tourfor to encompass tourism and recreation in a wider context of countryside activities and destinations 13. The potential exists to rationalise award schemes operating or planned for tourism and the environment.


Environmental issues addressed:


Services & Commerce - Tourism and Accommodation
Land-use & Planning - Forest management


conflicting use‚  consumer information‚  mixed use area‚  integrated management‚  tourism‚  forestry‚  public-private partnership‚  rural area

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...
  • Land & Soil
  • Regulation 2078/92 - Agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the prot ...
  • Regulation 2080/92 - Community aid scheme for forestry measures in agriculture (30.06.1992)
  • Regulation 1257/1999 - Support for rural development from the European Agricultural Guidance and ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Buckinghamshire College of Higher Education
Type of organisation University
Description Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College
Partners Estacao Florestal Nacional (Portugal) North Karelia Polytechnic (Finland)


Project reference LIFE96 ENV/UK/000413
Duration 01-FEB-1997 to 01-FEB -2000
Total budget 665,603.41 €
EU contribution 325,121.66 €
Project location Pohjois-Karjala(Finland Suomi) Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) South East (UK)(United Kingdom)


Read more:

Publication: Book Title: Environmental Management for Rural Tourism and Recreation Author: J. Tribe, X. Font, N. Griffiths, R. Vickery Year: 2000 Editor: J. Tribe, X. Font, N. Griffiths, R. Vickery
Publication: Book Title: Forest Tourism and Recreation - case studies in environmental management Author: Tourfor Year: 1999 Editor: X. Font and J. Tribe


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version