City Council and Love Catalina look at sustainable tourism

File photo

By Charles M. Kelly

Part two of two: sustainability.

The Avalon City Council and Love Catalina Tourism Authority discussed developing a plan for sustainable tourism to the Island.

Consultant Myles Rademan facilitated the meeting, which was held on April 20.

Rademan said Park City was an accredited member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

“I just wanted to remind everybody that we are members of GSTC, but we are not accredited,” said Jim Luttjohann, president and CEO of Love Catalina.

Luttjohann said the cruise ship industry was impressed that Love Catalina was a sustaining member of the the GSTC.

Rademan said the Park City Chamber did surveys of businesses, residents, and visitors; they also did focus groups.

Rademan said the Park City council, Chamber, and community approved their sustainability program.

Rademan said if you’re lucky enough to live on Catalina Island, you’re lucky enough.

Everyone in the room chuckled.

Rademan said it is harder now. He brought up the issues of affordable housing, traffic, pollution, and increasing costs.

According to Love Catalina Chair Bryce Noll, trying to co-ordinate something like the Park City program would take everyone working together, because it would require the council to direct city staff to work with Luttjohann to put together that plan.

“One of the things that was on one of those slides was finding the right visitor,” Noll said.

“And I would never want to disclude anybody from coming here, but at the same time, from a marking standpoint, we want to market to the visitors that come and produce the least amount of waste and are safe and careful in our town and give us lots of money,” Noll said.

He said if Avalon could have fewer visitors who spend more money and do less to the environment and the community, the better.

Noll said that doing a study would not only be a great opportunity for Love Catalina to focus their marketing, but would open doors to grants they would not be able to have without that plan in place.

Luttjohann said there is a segment of travelers that are making their decisions based on environmental impacts. “You know, ‘maybe I am going to be carbon heavy to go to an island,’ by the nature of it being an Island,” Luttjohann said.

“‘Do some of my dollars go back to that community in a way that offsets that or sustains that place or better that place,’” Luttjohann said.

Noll said he didn’t know if there was interest in both parties moving in that direction.

Councilmember Lisa Lavelle said it made sense to look at the pricing; see if the council wants to look at the idea for this year’s budget.

Mayor Anni Marshall said the good work has aready been done. She said she bet other cities around the world have their own sustainability plans.

Luttjohann said that one of the really interesting things he has learned is that the plans are particular to their place.

“If we have bison that roam our hills, there other places that have tigers and elephants,” he said.

“You start reading their plans and what’s important to them and preservation of species in much of the world is right at the top,” Luttjohann said.

According to Marshall, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council has a huge boilerplate for a sustainable tourism plan.