Sustainable business solutions in tourism

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Recent Projects

co-operative destination management organisation, India

Dunira's current and recent project locations include France, India, Pakistan, Russia, Scotland, Sierra Leone and Yemen and projects are being developed in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Clients are heritage organisations and environment agencies, local authorities, tourist boards and ministries, and regional and international development agencies, leading travel companies, charities and private clients. Examples include the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, United Nations World Tourism Organisation, United Nations Environment Programme, Scottish Enterprise, the Prince of Wales’ International Business Leaders Forum, The Association of British Travel Agents and The Travel Foundation. We have also submitted evidence to parliamentary inquiries into tourism, foreign affairs and public ethics.


Examples of recent and ongoing projects include:

Tourism development

Protected areas and natural heritage

Cultural heritage

Co-operative tourism

The Sustainable Tourism Initiative

Strategic analysis, sustainable tourism policy and assesment

Auditing and certification

Destination marketing and PR

Training and capacity building

Tour operator consultancy

Feasibility studies and options appraisals

Academic and market research




Tourism development


Protected areas and natural heritage


Ya'axche Conservation Trust, Belize

Dunira was commissioned by Ya’axche Conservation Trust in Belize (supported by Flora & Fauna International) to conduct a market survey and options appraisal for sustainable tourism development. Following a market survey of different tourism sectors, recommendations and a marketing plan were developed for the implementation of ecotourism to provide a sustainable and long-term financial contribution to aid the management of a Nature Reserve, enable the development of a National Ranger Training School and wildlife training programmes in Belize.


Economic assessment of tourism in protected areas

Whilst the primary role of the Natura 2000 network is in preserving endangered habitats and species in marine and terrestrial protected areas throughout Europe, less acknowledged impacts in economic development, welfare and employment are also intended outcomes of the initiative. Dunira and partners conducted extensive data collection and analysis to determine the economic value and socio-economic benefits provided by tourism, recreation and employment linked to the network of natural heritage sites.

A rural tourism strategy for the south of Scotland

Commissioned by Scottish Enterprise for its Making Tracks initiative, and working with The Borders Foundation for Rural Sustainability and market researchers NFO System Three, Dunira designed a ‘cluster tourism’ marketing strategy (link to PDF) for nature-based tourism in the south of Scotland. This involved a survey of tourism sites across the region and the development of geographic and thematic clusters into marketable products, all undertaken in conjunction with consumer research and consultation with a number of stakeholders. This strategy, which includes a wide range of tourism resources and attractions, will help to promote greater supply-chain linkages between tourism suppliers and the communities and environments in which they operate. Dunira has subsequently applied this methodology successfully in other countries, including Ireland, Poland and Lebanon. It is relevant to any emerging tourism destination, especially those that are more remote or marginalised by central government. More info>>


Tourism and conservation in the Caucasus

Commissioned by WWF International to conduct a feasibility study linking tourism and conservation for the development of ecotourism in Georgia and to assess product development opportunities in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, the first PAN Park (WWF’s Protected Area Network) in the Caucasus.  The resulting action plan is now contributing to master-planning in Georgia, where the country’s President has identified tourism as “the no.1 economic priority”.


Protected areas in Pakistan

Dunira was appointed by Pakistan's Ministry of Environment to conduct a review of its protected areas and of the country's capacity to deliver ecotourism. Conducted a Third Party Evaluation of the World Bank’s Protected Area Management Project (PAMP), which comprised projects in three of Pakistan’s most important National Parks. The outcomes included a review of local community networks and an action plan for ecotourism development, institutional capacity building, regulatory reform and financial sustainability.


Walking tourism


Dunira was commissioned by the Western Development Tourism Programme in partnership with DTZ Pieda Consulting to produce a framework and best practice guide for the sustainable development of walking tourism, based on the research and analysis of international case studies. Published in 2005, Walking in the West: A Step-by-Step Guide, proposes a new integrated development process to deliver a world-class walking product.

Dunira advised a local consulting firm on international best practice for the development of the Dwarsberg Heritage Trail, South Africa. This included the development of a viable business plan for community-led walking tourism in a protected area, ensuring effective management and broad stakeholder participation to actively promote social inclusion and celebrate the cultural heritage of the area. Additionally, the project included the initiation of partnerships to create a model for rural tourism in Southern Africa, using the framework for the sustainable development of the Dwarsberg Heritage Trail as a world-class walking route.




Cultural Heritage

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Developed a business plan for Ceòlas Uist, including an audience development plan, architectural design and fundraising strategy to transform the visitor economy of the Outer Hebrides through the development of a $10m international cultural centre for music, language and dance that draws on UNESCO’s renewed emphasis on ICH.



Community integration and regeneration through tourism

Working with storytellers and artists in Scotland and internationally, Dunira is promoting the use of storytelling and folklore in tourism as a way of breathing life into cultural heritage and engaging host communities in the design and delivery of tourism. This can involve the creation of links between education and tourism attractions and contribute to the social and economic regeneration of communities through tourism.


Memorial artworks trail

Dunira has delivered a memorial artworks trail to commemorate Scotland's worst fishing disaster and  create a major new tourism attraction for the southeast of the country.  Jill Watson was commissioned to produce the series of bronzes.  More info>>




Co-operative Tourism


In India, Dunira has been working with YesBank and Queen Margaret University to develop Edge of India, with the concept of ‘co-operative tourism’ following its contribution to the 2008 international conference on the emerging role of co-operatives in tourism, at which Dunira provided the keynote speech. Delivering an economic development programme to establish ‘co-operative destination management organisations’ in a number of Indian states as an international model for sustainable rural tourism development, drawing on the tourism market potential and heritage value of natural assets.




The Sustainable Tourism Initiative

Developing sustainability in outbound tourism

The Sustainable Tourism Initiative (STI) was established in 2001 as a multi-stakeholder forum: as well as Dunira Strategy, the large team involved the British government, non governmental organisations (NGOs) and operators in the outbound travel industry. As part of the UK's preparations for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, the STI’s objective was to develop the sustainability of outbound tourism. The capacity building process was managed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, and initiated a number of pilot projects. The work of the STI continues, now under the auspices of The Travel Foundation, a new NGO supported by the British government and travel industry. Dunira is a founding member of The Travel Foundation Forum.




Strategic analysis, sustainable tourism policy and assessment

A survey of tourism supply chain practices

Working with other members of Leeds Tourism Group, Dunira won a contract from The Travel Foundation to research tourism supply-chain initiatives. The three-month project identified the best ways of encouraging suppliers and purchasers to work in a more responsible and sustainable manner so as to minimise the economic, environmental and social impacts caused by tourism, particularly to mass market destinations. The survey covered a wide range of initiatives throughout the supply chain – from stimulating local enterprise through local purchasing to supporting improvements on waste management – and should influence working practices in the tourism industry. Dunira subsequently built on this research programme with an economic impact assesment of specific sustainable tourism development opportunities in the Caribbean.


Tourism and migration baseline study

Dunira produced a baseline study for the World Tourism Organization on tourism and migration offering a series of policy recommendations on the opportunities and challenges related to sustainable migration and tourism development.


Benchmarking Scotland’s Tourism Sustainability

Dunira developed a benchmarking system of sustainable tourism indicators for Scottish tourism, providing an annual national assessment and European benchmark on a range of national and international indicators covering economic, environmental and social pillars. Primary case studies were Austria, England, Estonia, Ireland and Romania.


Tourism Safeguarding for Sierra Leone

Dunira was part of a working partnership with Dexis and BEST devising a social, economic, legal and environmental safeguard framework for the development of tourism in Sierra Leone, comissioned by the World Bank . Stemming from the understanding that the creation of a suitable investment climate is not in itself sufficient to ensure that developments within the tourism sector are socially and environmentally responsible. Dunira’s work reflected the necessity for links between private and public sector partnerships related to the enforcement and implementation of associated regulations, legislation, policies and guidelines.




Auditing and certification

Sustiainable Tourism EcoCertification

Accredited auditor for Sustainable Travel International’s Sustainable Tourism Eco-certification Program™ (STEP) and Luxury Eco-Certification Standard (LECS). Recent audits have been conducted in luxury hotels in the UK and Europe.



Evaluating a hotel benchmarking tool

Dunira was commissioned by the International Hotels Environment Initiative to evaluate a benchmarking tool that had been designed to measure the environmental and socio-economic performance of hotels against a range of indicators and provide a foundation for improvement. The evaluation involved advanced statistical analysis and consultation with hoteliers in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Caribbean and the Pacific. We employed trial applications and assessments, along with questionnaires and structured interviews to obtain feedback. This process confirmed the soundness of the content, while also identifying opportunities for the development and refinement of the tool itself.




Destination marketing and PR

PR for emerging destinations

Dunira has been engaged by a number of public and private clients to produce feasibility studies and comprehensive marketing plans and PR strategies. Most recently, Dunira was appointed by the Yemen Tourism Promotion Board to act as the PR representative for Yemen in all English-speaking media markets within Europe. Other projects include product development plans in a wide range of destinations in the British Isles, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and have involved regional cluster and cross-border product development opportunities, including the British Isles, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. On every project we are working closely with specific stakeholders with particular local knowledge. This body of work builds on our team's experience of destination marketing, tourism management and sustainable development. In each destination we engage local and regional government, youth and community groups, environmental and sporting organisations, tour operators and accommodation providers to produce an integrated tourism strategy and development plan, and is regularly featured in leading publications including TTG MENA. Read more about the role of tourism in emerging destinations.


Capacity building in South Lebanon

Working with Mercy Corps, Dunira established a regional tourism network and developed a destination management plan for South Lebanon as part of a $12M economic development programme.  Despite significant cultural and natural heritage, the region, which was already recovering from conflict, had suffered from a poor domestic and international reputation.  Activities include broad stakeholder consultation and training, as well as assessments of tourism potential and supply chains, and persuading the British Government to change its Travel Advice. Read more in Benjamin Carey's article on the opportunities for tourism in South Lebanon


Destination options appraisal and development strategy

Dunira was awarded a contract to deliver a new strategy for Whithorn Priory, Scotland's earliest Christian foundation (397AD), and is working with associate Rob Robinson and international expert Prof Myra Shackley.


DMO for Highland Perthshire

Dunira was appointed as the consultant to establish a formal Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Highland Perthshire by Scottish Enterprise. Through thorough stakeholder engagement and concept development, Dunira provided an effective evidence-based DMO for Highland Perthshire including a comprehensive business plan, including joint alliances with neighbouring destinations and additionally secured funding for a new organisation.


Marketing campaign for Slovenia

The Slovenian Tourist Board commissioned Dunira to design and implement a successful market development campaign for Slovenia in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup. In generating partnerships with lead tour operators and airlines and implementing a market development campaign using a range of media and distribution plans in the UK, Dunira successfully achieved significant growth in holiday sales and consumer awareness towards Slovenia.


Tourism strategy for Sierra Leone

In partnership with Todd Associates (Scotland) and FJP (Gambia), Dunira developed a national tourism strategy for the Government of Sierra Leone.


Tourism in post-conflict destinations

Dunira worked on a project to increase the number of British tourists visiting Palestine by developing a powerful, cost-effective and compelling communications, marketing and PR strategy. This was commissioned by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in response to a presentation on the role of tourism is post-conflict destinations at the 2008 London Palestine Investment Forum. The result of the project outline comprehensive market analysis techniques, and media and internet strategies for the implementation of an effective tourism strategy.

Consumer education and advice for British travellers

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and The Travel Foundation commissioned a series of projects to develop consumer advice for British travellers on sustainable tourism and responsible behaviour. The resulting Insider's Guides to a selection of mainstream tourism destinations and activities were based on consultation with a wide range of local people and industry experts, to ensure that the content was relevant, engaging and informative, and that the format would meet the needs of the travel industry. Dunira assembled a specialist team that included experienced researchers and professional copywriters to ensure that the best results would be achieved. The research process itself also helped to establish a partnership framework for destination stakeholders. More info>>




Training and capacity building

Training in branding and marketing

Training on World Heritage Site branding, and management and governance of local sustainable development for UNESCO in Montenegro



Training in Corporate Social Responsibility

Dunira has worked with Tourism Concern and the British Government’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport to design and deliver training in corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the travel industry. Some of this training has been provided through a seminar programme supported by UK Trade & Investment for members of The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). Other training activities include capacity building initiatives for community groups and revenue management seminars and workshops for tourism SMEs in Scotland and Ireland, Croatia, Poland and Russia, Laos, Iran and Lebanon.


Capacity building for ecotourism managers

Dunira has delivered training courses and capacity building programmes for ecotourism operators and protected area managers in Bashkortostan, Iran, Laos, Lebanon, Nepal, Russia and Serbia in association with a range of stakeholders, including CEEWEB, ICRT, SNV and UNEP.  In recent months, Dunira’s MD has lectured on international marketing and revenue management at DEFI in France and at Edinburgh Napier and Queen Margaret Universities in Scotland.


Training for tour operators

Dunira devised a series of week-long courses on entrepreneurship, marketing and responsible programme development for 40 members of the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators. The courses were developed based on prior consulation with delegates, with modules including ‘customer service’ and ‘managing tours’.




Tour operator consultancy

Revenue management development

After a career as a manager and consultant to leading tour operators, our managing director has wide experience of significant IT projects in travel and tourism from design to implementation, including business requirements gathering, analysis and process re-engineering. His particular expertise is in designing and implementing risk and revenue management systems for travel and tourism companies, and developing associated training components. More info>>




Feasibility studies and options appraisals

Aerospace tourism feasibility study


Feasibility study to assess the potential for aerospace tourism in north-east Scotland, involving extensive market research, stakeholder consultation, funding options appraisal and revenue planning.



Eco-Tourism in Perthshire

The Comrie Development Trust commissioned Dunira to investigate the feasibility of ‘green tourism’ at a community-owned site of a former military prison camp that includes protected historic buildings and sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) in a unique rural landscape. The aim was to assess to suitability of the area and devise a business plan for developing accommodation. The assessment involved broad stakeholder consultation, and produced an audience development plan, business plan and funding strategy for the based on the findings that a ‘green tourism’ business with sustainable principles could be delivered in the area in an economically viable way that would provide important income streams for the community.


Eco-tourism and conflict resolution in Pakistan

Dunira was awarded a grant by UNESCO Scotland to investigate the scope of ecotourism to contribute to sustainable development and conflict resolution in Pakistan’s Kyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly ‘North-West Frontier Province’). Dunira devised a strategic plan to establish a community-led destination management organisation (DMO) as a model for nature-based tourism as a tool of post-conflict regeneration. To ensure commitment and viable sustainability of the project, Dunira’s field-based work included organising workshops and contributions from national and regional public agencies, international organisations, NGOs and community representatives. The proposed strategy was met with widespread enthusiasm in the Chitral region.




Academic and market research

Consumer research


As part of a large European rural development initiative, Dunira was commissioned to conduct research into consumer motivation and product opportunities for remote tourism destinations on the West Coast of Scotland.



Marketing Sustainable Tourism Products report for UNEP

Dunira, with Leeds Tourism Group, produced a report on Marketing Sustainable Tourism Products for UNEP and the Region of Tuscany, reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the tools and distribution channels available to promote sustainable tourism products. The report addresses understanding of the barriers that prevent demand and supply for sustainable tourism services from meeting, the main challenges for the promotion and distribution of services that claim to be sustainable, and the role that tourism distribution channels can play in strengthening the demand/supply link for sustainable tourism products.



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