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Gavin Bell

Gavin BellGavin has more than 20 years direct practical experience in protected area management and sustainable tourism development. A focus of his expertise is community based tourism and working with both national and local stakeholders to bring real benefits on the ground as well as developing tourism products that promote the special qualities of diverse cultures.

A bottom up career in protected area management and sustainable tourism development gives Gavin a strong practical perspective in the challenges faced in the field by both the private and public sector. He has been working internationally for more than 10 years supporting national agencies, communities and protected areas with sustainable tourism development. Gavin has extensive experience in strategic development and planning for sustainable tourism.

  • In Bosnia I Herzegovina he has worked with UNDP to create a strategic restructuring plan for National Park Sutjeska in order to raise its management and tourism development to international standards.
  • As an associate consultant he is working on capacity building for the UNWTO Silk Road Programme. Activities have included helping organise the Flavours of the Silk Road conference and facilitating the high level Silk Road Task Force meeting in Baku. In Tajikistan he works on the development of the Silk Road Volunteer Programme.
  • With the PAN Parks Foundation, he supported a network of some of the best wilderness protected areas in Europe in raising their management effectiveness and developing and promoting a strong tourism offer. A key part of this activity was actively facilitating the creation of Sustainable Tourism Development Partnerships between the protected area mangers and local private/public sector stakeholders. These then worked together on participative sustainable tourism development strategies as part of the strict PAN Parks assessment criteria.
  • In Romania he managed the sustainable tourism team that created the flagship ADEPT project that utilises integrated rural development as the primary tool for conservation of the largest HNV Grassland N2000 site in the region. This is internationally regarded as a model of best practice and the lessons learnt (both positive and negative) are relevant to many regions.

An experienced trainer, he was recently involved in delivering practical grass roots training in product and development for local communities under the UNWTO/UNDP MDF project for developing rural tourism in Serbia. Since 2003, he runs an annual seminar on tourism and protected areas for the vocational tourism university NHTV in Breda, Netherlands.

Gavin holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Countryside Recreation Management from Sheffield in the UK. He initially worked in the field for the Peak District National Park, UK as a ranger and then as project manager of the innovative Peak District Interpretation Partnership developing major sustainable tourism activities utilising EU funding.

He is currently a member of the IUCN World Commission for Protected Areas and is on the Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group. He acts an informal advisor to the UNWTO Silk Road Programme particularly in the area of community based tourism development.

In addition to consultancy activities, he also works with a small group of friends and colleagues to provide high quality tailor-made tours of Transylvania under the banner of DiscoverCarpathia. This keeps him up-to-date with the realities facing the tourism industry in the field.

Key areas of expertise

Community Based Tourism; Traditional Product Development; Integrated Rural Development Planning and Implementation; Arts & Heritage; Green & Environmental Matters / Sustainability; Strategy & Action Planning; Destination Marketing; Visitor Management & Services; Business Tourism; Business Planning.

Gavin Bell