Borrego Village Association – Working to Build a Better Borrego


Last updated 9/6/2018 at 10:44am

Sustainable Tourism Program

The creation of the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council (BVSC), and the adoption in Nov. 2014 of a Governing Charter based on National Geographic’s principles for sustainable destination management were spurred by the recognition of water constraints in the Borrego Valley.

The urgency of the issue is underscored by the fact that the only source of water for the Borrego Valley is a critically over drafted aquifer.

The State of California has designated the town of Borrego Springs and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) to be at risk due to years of over drafting the aquifer to accommodate water-intensive agriculture and recreation. Hence, there is a growing desire to wean away from these water intensive activities by embracing the ABDSP as a world-class wilderness and discovery destination and the town of Borrego Springs as the “hospitality hub” located directly in “The Heart of the Park.”

The Borrego Village Association (BVA) wishes to further move forward with the intent of the Governing Charter to actively support and fund a Geotourism program approach utilizing a community stakeholder engagement process designed to develop and strengthen destination partnerships to support economic development, celebrate local culture, conserve natural and cultural assets, and enhance the well-being of residents through sustainable tourism management and marketing.

Authentic, sustainable tourism inspires curious and mindful people to explore the world

The benefits are many:

– It benefits residents economically

– It supports integrity of place

– It brings together local stakeholders

– It informs both visitors and hosts

– It helps travelers plan great trips

BVA Mission:

“To create and sustain a thriving and attractive community, surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, where residents enjoy a quality lifestyle, prosperous businesses meet community needs, and tourism enhances the character and well-being of our village.”

What is Geotourism?

“Tourism that sustains or enhances the distinctive geographical character of a place – its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the well-being of its residents."

Why Geotourism?

When done poorly, tourism can significantly damage a destination and its appeal. When done correctly, tourism can bring economic benefits and create an incentive to conserve natural assets and cultural heritage. Geotourism encourages visitors and residents alike to work for the long-term sustainability of a place.

What is a Geotourism Strategy?

A program that helps destination stakeholders identify and develop a place’s authentic and sustainable assets and market them using innovative tools.

What tools are used to support Authentic Destination’s Sustainable Tourism Program?

Stewardship Councils are an alliance of representatives of local public, private and non-profit organizations that commit to uphold the principles of Geotourism and are trained to guide a destination through the implementation of a Geotourism strategy.

MapGuides are interactive online platforms, including websites and applications, co-branded with the destination that promote the natural, historic, and cultural assets unique to a destination as identified by local stakeholders.

Strategic Plans guide stewardship councils to market and manage their destination through assessment, management, operations and marketing to sustain their destinations over time.

Where has this been done before?

Since 2005, over 20 Geotourism Programs have been implemented for destinations in 17 countries and 25 states.

Geotourism Approach to Sustaining Destinations

The BVA is implementing a strategy to strengthen the opportunity for the community and the park to work as partners to develop Inside Anza-Borrego in ways to better benefit from well managed tourism must also clearly reflect the need to evolve the current business promotional practices from a traditional business booster style marketing plan to a Geotourism inspired Destination Management Organization – joining the Anza-Borrego region, an acknowledged World Heritage Center Man and Biosphere Reserve, to a network of world-class UNESCO recognized sustainable destinations.

The Inside Anza-Borrego initiative positions the community of Borrego Springs and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in the mutually beneficial ways that will enhance the visitor experiences, increase revenues for the Park and economically benefit local businesses and the community.

Key goals of tourism for Inside Anza-Borrego include the following:

– Sensitizing the community to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (ABDSP) goals and creating an advocate for park concerns

– Sensitizing ABDSP staff to community efforts to provide services for park visitors

– Providing for a more seamless and enhanced park visitor experience

– Attracting a younger and more diverse profile of visitors to the park

– Promoting Inside Anza-Borrego as an international destination

– Establishing an online presence to communicate with national and international tourism markets

– Improving overall communications and relations between the community and the park

– Building on the park’s reputation as an international center for science and education

– Cultivating key regional supporters for marketing, planning and sustainability initiatives

– Increasing revenues to ABDSP and the community of Borrego Springs

Sustainable Tourism Program Objective:

1. Increase the value of natural and cultural heritage as a vital economic asset.

2. Engage as many tourism stakeholders as possible in the process to develop and implement the tourism strategic plan.

3. Implement the Inside Anza-Borrego initiative as a Park- centric brand identity that positions Borrego Springs as the hospitality hub for visitors engaging holistically with the park and community.

4. Develop a plan that identifies the types of visitors to target who will appreciate that unique “sense of place” of Inside Anza-Borrego and who can make major contributions to the well-being of the local residents, through support to small and medium sized tourism businesses.

5. Develop a common vision for sustainably growing the industry, maximizing local benefits, and minimizing negative social and environmental impacts.

6. Create a unique website that will engage ABDSP and the community of Borrego Springs. The website will present Inside Anza-Borrego as a unified visitor experience and showcase the destination’s unique assets for travelers to plan authentic and responsible travel experiences.

7. Form a non-profit organization that will bring together destination stakeholders to utilize the destination website and facilitate the implementation of the tourism plan while enhancing communication and collaboration among stakeholders.

For more information, email

Rendered 11/13/2022 09:57