Nicholas Catahan, self-proclaimed “Place Ecologist”, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer at our Business School was invited by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), tourism development agency linked to the Ministry of Tourism, and Royal Botanic Gardens of Trinidad and Tobago, to talk about cutting edge research on Botanic Gardens worldwide, their development and their instrumental part to play in global goals regarding sustainability. Nick was joined by Mr Brian Vogt, CEO of the acclaimed Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado, in a discussion about: ‘Developing Botanical Gardens as Natural Heritage Tourist Attractions’.

White metal spiral staircase in a botanical garden

Nick highlights that Botanic Gardens have key aims and purpose, which must be at the forefront of any development plans, policies and practice regarding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key concepts and good practice of mindfulness, effectual entrepreneurship (and all that comes with this, creativity, collaboration, innovation with the means available to name a few), Transformative Service Research (TSR) (considering both positive and negative transformations and ways forward), Responsible Tourism (acting locally on a micro-environmental scale, maximising positive outcomes and minimising negative), and Sustainable Tourism (regarding macro-environmental factors impacting upon places including ethical dimensions and of course acting globally with SDGs driving all that we plan for), but ultimately, Place Ecology, studying places in their entirety best we can, Place Phenology, studying the multiple dimensions of events, festivals and suchlike across the calendar year across places, and resultant responsible, strategic marketing, and Place Management practice are ways to approach development. Nick states that these are informed, evidence-based ways forward for not only Botanic Garden Communities but many others too, for the transformative service of places; and in this case developing Botanic Gardens as places of transformative service for scientific research, conservation, education and displays of collections, whilst developing as natural heritage tourist attractions being one strand and part of their policies, plans and developments.

Pink botanical flower surrounded by green foliage
Man standing in front of a flowering Corpse Flower

Secretary General of the CTO, Neil Walters praised Nick and Brian’s input into their strategic tourism development discussions and plans with much gratitude, and Charlene Drakes, Executive Coordinator, Office of the Secretary General stated that feedback on the presentations was well received, absolutely wonderful and insightful, and that further discussion has already commenced in the Ministry of Tourism on how they can better develop and make their Botanic Garden provision better and places better as a whole.

Nick certainly looks forward to further research with both the Royal Botanic Gardens of Trinidad and Tobago, and Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado.

Download Nick’s accompanying presentation, notes and closed captions [PDF]

For more information about Nick and his work on Botanic Gardens Worldwide please follow this link:

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