The World Bank


The government of Himachal Pradesh was experiencing a lack of private sector involvement with their tourism initiatives. In addition, Himachal Pradesh’s municipalities lacked the knowledge and capacity to plan, develop and implement sustainable destination management. They/it sought to attract sustainable tourism investment and develop relevant infrastructure.


As Lead Consultant and Project Manager for Sustainable Travel International, Brian worked with the World Bank, State government, city authorities, residents, and local counterparts to establish an inclusive and sustainable destination management demonstration project in the iconic destination of Dharamshala.

Work was executed in 5 phases:

 Phase 1: Situation Analysis – Assessed information availability and collected baseline data on key subject areas; analyzed tourism demand as well as tourism and infrastructure assets; worked with local counterparts to establish roles and responsibilities for project methodology

Phase 2: Diagnostic – Evaluated the destination’s progress and build destination capacity on 4 key pillars of sustainability: (1) destination management, (2) community involvement and benefits, (3) cultural and natural heritage management, and (4) environmental conservation, through the desk assessment, targeted stakeholder interviews and focus groups, on-site assessment, and roundtable meetings

Phase 3: Sustainable Tourism Action and Investment Plan – Developed a participatory, market-based and implementable action plan based on a multi-day forum including stakeholder involvement, and follow-up meetings to finalize the action plan and investor portfolio

 Phase 4: Knowledge Management and Communication – Established a destination monitoring framework to enable Dharamshala destination managers to monitor and evaluate identified key indicators such as energy consumption and waste management on an ongoing basis and communicate this to city stakeholders

Phase 5: Policy and Planning Support – Presented the results of the RDD to the Government of Himachal Pradesh and made recommendations for improved formulation of sustainable tourism development policy and the state-level Tourism Master Plan based on the results of the Dharamshala demonstration project

Special emphasis was placed on policy reform recommendations, mechanisms for enhancing coordination between national, state and municipal and ward-level authorities, strengthening capacity of local destination managers for improved sustainable destination management, and identifying the financing options for implementation.

Project objectives: 

  • institutionalize sustainable tourism development at state, destination and ward levels
  • conduct a full sustainable tourism diagnostic of the tourism sector in Dharamshala
  • facilitate participatory action and investment planning
  • establish a simple and effective monitoring system to track results


Outcomes of the demonstration project were expected to inform policy reform, and facilitate transition to sustainable and inclusive tourism in other hill towns, municipalities, and attractions in Himachal Pradesh.