Operationalizing sustainable tourism: Applying the tourism optimization management model (TOMM) to rescort development on abaco island
As a result of global sustainable tourism policies and strategies, the focus of the tourism industry has changed from conceptualization to operationalization of sustainable tourism. Although a planning model exists for implementation of such policies, the Tourism Optimization Management Model (TOMM), it has not been applied outside its original context as a destination planning methodology for Kangaroo Island, Australia. To evaluate its potential, the purpose of the study was to apply TOMM to a resort development on Abaco Island in the Bahamas. A literature review of environmental planning and management methodologies, such as the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC), Visitor Impact Management (VIM), and Visitor Experience Resource Protection (VERP), provided a theoretical foundation. Application of TOMM resulted in procedural modifications due to conceptual and methodological deficiencies. Based on the conditions found on Abaco Island, it was demonstrated that the modified model, the Sustainable Tourism Optimization Model (SUSTOM), is a suitable tourism planning methodology for less developed countries.