Stewardship is not a new concept.  It has been around as long as people understood that resources are used, and consumed.  That the landscape can alter, and change with time, and use.  The dictionary definition of the word (dictionary.come):

the responsible overseeing and protection of
something considered worth caring for and preserving

Tourism is about consumption, about people shifting from their normal every day existence into something different.  Our resources are not infinite.  There is a carrying capacity for each area of the known world.  That moment when we extend invitations for use, and demand exceeds our viable resources.  When that happens, damage occurs.

If we don’t organize, plan, and control those resources, eventually our ability to continue as an entity will come to a close.  This hints at the product life cycle.  That there is a moment of birth, a moment to live, to stagnate, and die, or to be reborn into something new.

Tourism Life Cycle
Tourism Life Cycle ©Slate/WVU

Our product has a perishable element. In terms of time, and assets. Each 24 hour period, we have an opportunity to capitalize on use of that product, and capture revenues. Yet, if we fail to adequately plan for events, time is our enemy. Our product will skirt on an even plan for so long, unless we find a way to rejuvenate its existence. This can be seen in the example of the Great Barrier Reef off the cost of Australia. Too many tourist travel to the area, threat this natural phenomenon. The reef begins to change, even die. This is a product, an attraction that draws visitors to Australian shores. If it is not there, what has Australia lost? What has the world lost?

So we are stewards of this land, of its resources. To continue in our business, we must understand just what that means.

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