Sustainable entrepreneurship provides an opportunity for tourism enterprises to increase prosperity, at the same time, it protects the natural and socio-cultural assets that form the unique Wadden Sea region. The application of sustainable entrepreneurship as a means to increase sustainable development is the underlying theme in the research of PhD-researcher Hellen L. Dawo.
The Wadden Sea is a protected nature area in the North Sea region that spans three countries:, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. It has a rich biodiversity, a scenic landscape, and makes vital contributions to the health of ecosystems in and beyond the confines of the North Sea. Its ecological importance is exemplified by its role as a feeding ground for millions of migratory birds along the East Atlantic and African – Eurasian flyways. This uniqueness merited the designation of the area as a World Heritage Site with Outstanding Universal Value. In addition, the Wadden Sea area is home to a human population of between 2 and 3.7 million inhabitants. This makes it a stellar example of a protected area in the North Sea region.
Recent decades have seen a decline in traditional industries such as commercial fisheries and large-scale farming, with a growth in other industries, such as tourism and tourism related economic activities. The manufacturing industries located near ports have also grown. Despite this economic development, the North Sea region still faces socio-cultural, ecological and economic challenges.
In the first of three studies, conducted by Ms.Dawo, seven barriers were identified that tourism and tourism-related enterprises face to become more sustainable:
In order to enhance sustainable entrepreneurship in an ecologically and culturally sensitive area, multiple stakeholders need to be involved. Improvement of interactions between stakeholders and SMEs in the Wadden Sea area may lead to an increase in sustainable practices in entrepreneurship. During the first study, enterprises that already utilize sustainable business practices were identified. In the second study, these cases will be highlighted to see how these enterprises overcame barriers in order to yield sustainable products and/or services in this sensitive ecological environment.
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