One of the tasks assigned to the Foundation by UNESCO was the preparation of a Sustainable Tourism Strategy by 2015. This is an important component of the Overall Management Strategy for the Dolomites World Heritage Site. The Operating Network for Social and Economic Development and Sustainable Tourism appointed the Institute for the Regional Development and Management of the Local Area, part of the European Academy (EURAC) of Bolzano, to provide a comprehensive picture of tourism in the Dolomites UNESCO Site.

The initial analysis phase fulfilled the aims of presenting the current situation, and identifying any critical issues threatening the site and opportunities for tourism to pursue. The study contains general guidelines for the entire site and specific indications for management of tourism in each of the nine Systems.

During the second phase, in summer 2013, the research body pooled more than 6,000 questionnaires filled out by visitors to the nine Systems of the Dolomites, providing information such as visitor type and characteristics of the visit, methods of access to the Property and travel within it, average level of knowledge of tourists and evaluation of services offered. EURAC therefore performed coordinated analysis of the tourists’ behaviour in the core and buffer areas of each System. The study then analysed expectations and perceptions of local tourist operators and residents in relation to the inclusion of the Dolomites in the World Heritage List.

Monitoring the same access points to the Dolomites Site as in the previous survey, EURAC was able to analyse a further aspect: accessibility of the Property using public transport. Processing the data that emerged from questionnaires, the study provided recommendations to improve public-transport access. Here too, the aim is to identify recurring problems and challenges of a general nature linked to accessibility of the entire area of the Dolomites.

The study was performed also with the support of MIBACT, on the basis of Law no. 77 of 20 February 2006 “Special measures for the protection and enjoyment of Italian sites of cultural, scenic and environmental interest, included on the ‘World Heritage List’, recognised by UNESCO”.

In implementation of the guidelines, the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation will renew its efforts in coming years to develop a monitoring system aimed at observing the evolution of tourism, tracking it over time, with application of the same methodology in order to ensure data suitable for comparison and verifying any corrections and additions.

Read the sustainable-tourism documentation:

Study – Sustainable tourism in the Dolomites. A strategy for the UNESCO World Heritage Property [in Italian]
Assessment – Analysis of tourists and operators [in Italian]
Assessment – Analysis of accessibility using public transport [in Italian]