For sustainable tourism to thrive, it is crucial to establish an enabling environment that meets specific conditions. This ensures that tourism contributes positively to both conservation efforts and local communities, while avoiding any detrimental impacts on conservation. This becomes even more critical when tourism is targeted towards sensitive areas such as conservation areas.

To address these concerns, MEET has outlined a set of minimum criteria that destinations must meet. These criteria encompass essential conditions related to governance, with a focus on the Local Ecotourism Clusters  (LEC) and their role in facilitating ecotourism development within the destination. Additionally, the criteria also addresses conservation aspects, highlighting the importance of the protected area where the ecotourism activities take place.

By adhering to these criteria, destinations can establish the necessary foundations for sustainable tourism practices, ensuring the protection of natural resources, supporting local communities, and promoting responsible ecotourism development.

Who is it for?

This tool enables Local Ecotourism Clusters (LEC), Destination Management Organisations (DMO), and Protected Areas (PA) to self-assess the enabling environment for ecotourism development in their destinations. It provides valuable insights to improve the development and management of ecotourism by offering indicators that serve as entry criteria and inspire ongoing enhancements. It should be kept in mind some of the indicators are important entry criteria whereas others should rather inspire for constant improvement of the development and management of ecotourism. 

The governance assessment evaluates whether the protected area and various tourism stakeholders in the cluster and destination operate under  the principles of good governance. It draws upon the IUCN Best Practice Guidelines for the Governance of Protected Areas to establish an evaluation framework.

The conservation assessment aims to assess whether the protected area has implemented suitable tourism management mechanisms to ensure ecotourism offer to be low-impact and conservation-friendly. It is based on a simplified version of the IUCN Green List Global Standard for Protected Areas, promoting sustainable practices and responsible ecotourism development.

By using this tool, LECs, DMOs, and PAs can assess and improve the enabling environment for ecotourism, fostering sustainable practices and preserving natural resources in their destinations.

Stakeholders involved

The organisation leading the assessment will need to engage with: a) the Local Ecotourism Cluster (LEC) to assess the  governance of ecotourism in the destination. This body (LEC) could be the Destination Management Organisation, Business Cluster, Tourism Board, European Charter for Sustainable Tourism Forum, Committee overseeing tourism development in and around the protected area or nature-based destination, or any other ad-hoc structure; b) the Protected Area Management Body to assess how tourism is managed in the PA and its potential positive and negative impacts on conservation.

What to expect when using the tool?

This assessment is done  using a simple survey collecting data that should be easily available by the LEC and the PA, and in many instances publicly available. Data collectors will need to collect the data and enter it into the platform. The following documents can help you plan the data collection process before entering the data into the tool.

Before you start

The following documents can help you plan the data collection process before entering the data into the tool.

More info


The methodology for assessing the Enabling Conditions (Governance and Conservation) has been developed by IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, with the external support of ECO Institute of Ecology, with support from the Standard Group of the DestiMED PLUS project.