The analysis is aiming at combining the concept of sustainability and leisure and tourism activities achieved within Germany. It is designed as an application for the integrative concept of sustainable development worked out in a joint project of different institutes members of research centers, combined to the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft deutscher Forschungszentren (HGF), and led by the Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (see especially Kopfmüller, J., et al. (2001): Nachhaltige Entwicklung integrativ betrachtet - Konstitutive Elemente, Regeln, Indikatoren. Global zukunftsfähige Entwicklung - Perspektiven für Deutschland, Band 1. Berlin). The final report on this project also covered to a lesser degree, the actitivity field leisure and tourism, as a subject of the empirical analyses directed to identifying deficits in the status of Germany regarding sustainable development, as well as to suggesting measures to overcome those deficits (Coenen, R., Grunwald A. (Hg.) (2003): Nachhaltigkeit als Problem in Deutschland - Analyse und Lösungsstrategien. Global zukunftsfähige Entwicklung - Perspektiven für Deutschland, Band 5. Berlin).
Core elements of the system to be considered
Leisure and tourism in Germany - defined as leisure activities on one hand and the related overnight stays on the other, both away from the familiar residence and within the borders of Germany - form the central part of the analysis. The analysis starts with the corresponding ‚demand flows', irrespective of whether they are characeterized by an individual's direct willingness to spend money or not. People may attend a cultural or a sports event, undertake some physical activities such as hiking, enjoy other activities in the countryside, or just meet family and friends in their home or at another location. The demand for leisure and tourism services, reflects the individual needs of the population of Germany and those of the foreign guests.
The offers in accordance to the demands, are also part of the analysis relating to leisure and tourism in Germany. They embrace a whole range of possibilities, covering nature areas and also buildings fashioned by man, ranging from an early to a more recent date. The owner may be a public institution, a private person or a company. Initially, it doesn't matter whether the offer is conceived primarily or exclusively to meet the leisure and tourism demands or is only occasionally put to this use.
The entire system being considered, also includes the change of location between more or less distant places, the concomitants of leisure activities outside the home and of the possible overnight stays. The means and modes of transport to overcome the distances including on foot are of special interest. Thanks to the extension of the transport infrastrucure available to the user personally at relatively low costs, the inhabitants of Germany and also the foreign guests are able to cover even long distances within a relatively short time span when doing a special leisure activity in one or the other place of Germany. This refers particularly to road and rail transportation but in the future perhaps even more so, to air transportation. Following the cause to effect relationship the focus is directed not only to the distances covered and to the means of transport used by the foreign guests within the borders of Germany, but also to the part of the journey outside Germany.
Approach and objectives of the analysis
Starting around the early nineteen-nineties, many discussions with regard to sustainability and leisure and tourism in Germany or of the German population were held in scientific, political and other communities of the society. Also, some concrete measures were taken. The discussions and measures dealt with and stressed different elements of the normally distinguished dimensions of sustainability, that is ecological, social, economic and institutional and political aspects. Frequently, they are based on only a small section taken from a basically broad spectrum.
The methodological approach of this project was characterized by the fifteen substantial rules of the integrative concept of sustainable development and embracing the area leisure and tourism in Germany in accordance with the limits above. One of the aims of the study is to continue and to deepen the analysis on the deficits and measures already integrated in the final report of the joint HGF-project (Coenen/Grunwald 2003, see above).