Leonie is an Environmental Social Scientist with research interests and employment history in sustainable and responsible tourism, ecotourism, recreation ecology, visitor management in natural areas, and wildlife conservation. She has worked in different coastal and mountain areas as a tour guide and researcher, investigating novel visitor monitoring techniques and sustainable tourism management solutions.
Currently, Leonie works as a researcher in a transnational project called LIVE (Llŷn IVeragh Eco-museums). LIVE is a collaboration between Welsh and Irish community organisations, academic departments, and local governments. The project is based on the Ecomuseum model of community-based co-operative marketing, which includes the creation of a powerful suite of open-source digital and non-digital resources. These resources are underpinned by knowledge of the coastal environments of the Llŷn Peninsula (Gwynedd, northwest Wales) and the Iveragh Peninsula (County Kerry, southwest Ireland). As such, LIVE aims to enable coastal communities to promote their natural and cultural assets, creating opportunities for year-round tourism and integrating regenerative tourism principles. This means that the project’s objectives are to 1) enhance collaborative tourism, 2) spread economic benefits geographically, across the year, and between communities, and 3) create freely accessible resources that contribute to economic development, environmental awareness, and socio-cultural preservation.
By engaging with a range of local stakeholders and delivering community events, we communicated outputs and improved resources based on feedback from participants in a co-production process. Whilst we faced several challenges, we also identified several types of tourism and activities that can be fostered to achieve the project objectives. The resources can be used, adapted, and shared by local businesses and communities for tourism purposes, knowledge exchange, and to encourage collaboration, connectedness, and shared values between communities and across the two peninsulas.
As part of LIVE, Leonie has also worked with the County Council (Cyngor Gwynedd) and Snowdonia National Park in north Wales to develop a tourism key performance indicator system in view of the regenerative tourism paradigm. In her presentation, she will talk about the challenges and opportunities of developing regenerative tourism and provide examples from both Ireland and Wales.