Author Archive

Healthy Coral Reefs Are Good for Tourism – and Tourism Can Be Good for Reefs

Guest Contribution by Dr. Robert Brumbaugh, Director of Ocean Planning and Protection, The Nature Conservancy Tourism is one of the world’s largest industries, contributing trillions of dollars to the global economy and supporting the livelihoods of an estimated one in ten people worldwide. Much of that tourism depends on the natural world—on beautiful landscapes and seascapes that visitors flock to in search of escape, a second wind, and a direct connection with nature itself. Coastal and marine tourism represents a significant share of the industry and is an important component of the growing, sustainable Blue Economy, supporting more than 6.5 million jobs—second only to industrial fishing. With anticipated global growth rates of more than 3.5%, coastal and marine tourism is projected to be the largest value-adding segment of the ocean economy by 2030, at 26%.
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How You Can Support Those Affected by Hurricane Irma

Most of us have seen the photos and videos filling up our news feeds, but for countless people across the Caribbean, the devastation from Hurricane Irma is not just something they’ve seen from afar. It hit home and it hit home hard. People watched as their houses, schools, and hospitals were reduced to rubble and their homeland transformed into a landscape of uprooted trees and debris. Too many families lost nearly everything and have been forced to leave their lives behind, not knowing when they will be able to return.
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Travel+SocialGood partners with major sustainable travel organizations to make sustainable tourism more accessible to travelers

With a focus on increasing transparency in the industry, Travel+SocialGood (TSG) is teaming up with Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), Sustainable Travel International (STI), Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and Tourism Cares to present the 2017 TSG Summit this Nov. 16-17 in New York City. The TSG Summit agenda will be centered on a core challenge and theme aimed at increasing accessibility and awareness of sustainable tourism.  

The TSG team is developing a “primer,” or introduction, to easily showcase sustainability options to consumers. The goal is to empower travelers with tools to think critically about a business’s efforts in sustainable management and its impacts on a destination’s local economy, environment and cultural heritage. The primer is meant to be a simple distillation of existing sustainable tourism certification bodies, making it easier for travelers to make more informed decisions, and arm them with access to resources to continue to learn more about sustainable tourism.

“While many travelers want to travel sustainably, they don’t always know how. We want to make these resources simple and easily available to all,” said TSG Executive Director Kelley Louise. “Each organization coming to the table brings its own perspective, experience and resources to create a comprehensive overview system. It’s a first for us to all work together and incredibly important. We’re proud to join forces around this common mission.”

Leading up to the TSG Summit, TSG, GSTC, STI, CREST and Tourism Cares will work together to build out the TSG Summit agenda, which will focus on showcasing an easily accessible, universal primer to sustainable tourism – a platform meant to act as an introduction to the basics of sustainable tourism.

“The primer is designed to help travelers understand that sustainability can be integrated into any type of travel; it doesn’t have to be about volunteering,” Louise said. “Our goal is to help make sustainability feel more accessible to travelers, and act as an introduction that will hopefully lead to travelers seeking out more in-depth resources from our Summit Partners.”

The organizations will have a chance to share their concepts during the TSG Summit’s design-thinking workshop, a key portion of each TSG Summit that is focused on developing concrete and actionable solutions that anyone can implement into their business model.

The TSG Summit is limited to 150 innovators and visionaries in the travel and impact space. An application to attend the 2017 Summit can be found here.

TSG was born in early 2013 as a partner of the +SocialGood initiative, headed by the United Nations Foundation, United Nations Development Programme, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Case Foundation and Mashable. Today TSG is a highly engaged and active global community with 20 Hubs (local chapters) in cities around the world. A registered nonprofit pursuing 501(c)3 status, TSG is driven entirely by volunteers and the passion of more than 200 active Hub leaders and Media Network members.

ABOUT CREST

The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) is a policy-oriented research organization dedicated to increasing the positive global impact of responsible tourism. CREST helps governments, policy-makers, tourism businesses, nonprofit organizations, and international agencies find solutions to critical issues confronting tourism, the world’s largest service industry. It also provides analysis and innovative solutions through research, field projects, publications, consultancies, conferences, courses, and documentary films, recognizing tourism’s potential as a tool for poverty alleviation and biodiversity conservation. For more information, visit www.responsibletravel.org or call +1-202-347-9203.  

ABOUT GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable tourism standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is an independent and neutral nonprofit organization that establishes and manages global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The standards are two sets of GSTC Criteria: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria, the minimum requirements for tourism businesses and destinations to pursue in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, along with conservation and poverty alleviation. The GSTC represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all strive to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.For more information, visit www.gstcouncil.org or email: info@gstcouncil.org

ABOUT SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL

Sustainable Travel International is a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of people around the world and the environments they rely upon. By leveraging the power of travel and tourism and providing business and government leaders with the guidance, policies and solutions they need, we aim to ensure that the communities they’re engaged in thrive and their environments are healthy for future generations. For more information, visit www.sustainabletravel.org or call +1-917- 677- 5731.

ABOUT TOURISM CARES

Tourism Cares, Inc., a US 501(c)(3) public charity, advances the travel industry’s social impact to help people and places thrive. We unite the industry to make a greater impact on shared priorities, and to help each company fulfill its giving goals. Our members include leading travel associations and companies, together helping destinations in need, supporting our workforce, and improving our corporate social responsibility. Learn more at www.TourismCares.org and @TourismCares.

Media contact:

Meghan Aftosmis

Travel+SocialGood

meghan@travelsocialgood.org

212-729-8634

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Mountain IDEAL Standard for Destinations Achieves GSTC Recognition

(July 27, 2017) – The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce that the Mountain IDEAL Standard for destinations has achieved ‘GSTC-Recognized’ status.

The Mountain IDEAL destination standard has been developed to address sustainability in mountain environments that include winter and summer activities. These unique challenges and opportunities include issues like water and energy use related to snow making and snow melting systems, affordable housing for residents and seasonal employees, collaborating with public land managers and the business community, and embracing mountain cultural heritage. Sustainable Travel International, Walking Mountains Science Center, and other partners have collaborated on the development of the Mountain IDEAL destination standard.

Achieving the GSTC-Recognized status means that a sustainable tourism standard has been reviewed by GSTC technical experts and the GSTC Accreditation Panel and deemed equivalent to the GSTC Criteria for sustainable tourism. Additionally, an organization that meets GSTC requirements must administer the standard. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that the certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify includes the minimum elements to ensure sustainability. The purpose of the GSTC programs is to reward genuine practitioners of sustainable tourism, which in turn builds confidence and credibility with consumers.

“GSTC Recognition of a standard means that the standard, Mountain IDEAL in this case, includes the four pillars of sustainability: management, social/community, cultural, and environmental issues. The Mountain IDEAL standard requires mountain resort communities to work to improve in all those four areas,” says Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

“The goal of Mountain IDEAL is to elevate collaborative sustainability performance and share best-practices across mountain resort communities.” says Kim Langmaid Ph.D., Walking Mountains Science Center’s founder and vice-president.

In addition to the Mountain IDEAL destination standard, Walking Mountains’ industry standard Actively Green, is currently under review for recognition by GSTC.

To date, 7 destination standards, and 28 hotels and tour operators standards have achieved GSTC-Recognized status. The completion of these step-wise programs rewards standard owners for their commitment to sustainability while offering the market a proof that these standards adhere to international norms.

The GSTC will continue to work with organizations around the world to provide GSTC Recognition of standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. GSTC Recognition does not ensure that a certification process is reliable, only that the set of standards used to certify are equivalent to the GSTC Criteria.

GSTC-Recognized standard owners are encouraged to complete the Accreditation process which relates to the quality and neutrality of their certification process. Achieving a GSTC-Accredited status affirms that their certification process follows the highest international standards while further distinguishing their standards and processes amongst other certification programs. Learn more about GSTC Accreditation.

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable tourism standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that establishes and manages global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The standards are two sets of GSTC Criteria: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria, the minimum requirements for tourism businesses and destinations to pursue in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, along with conservation and poverty alleviation. The GSTC represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all strive to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

Media Contact: communications@gstcouncil.org

About Walking Mountains Science Center

Walking Mountains Science Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Avon, CO and their mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education. Their sustainability and stewardship department provides the Eagle County community education and coaching through their Energy Smart, Actively Green, Eco Schools and Zero Waste programs. Most recently Walking Mountains facilitated the creation of the Climate Action Plan for the Eagle County Community and is supporting the Town of Vail through the ongoing Sustainable Destination project. Visit www.walkingmountains.org or call 970.827.9725 for more information.

Media Contact: scottr@walkingmountains.org

About Sustainable Travel International

Sustainable Travel International is a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of people around the world and the environments they rely upon. By leveraging the power of travel and tourism and providing business and government leaders with the guidance, policies and solutions they need, we aim to ensure that the communities they’re engaged in thrive and their environments are healthy for future generations. For more information, visit www.sustainabletravel.org or call +1-917- 677- 5731.

Media Contact: kaitlynb@sustainabletravel.org

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Vail to be Assessed as the First Certified Sustainable Destination in the U.S.

Vail, CO (July 13, 2017) — After months of preparation, Vail will be hosting an independent site visit next week to determine if it has met the criteria needed to become the first Certified Sustainable Destination in the U.S. The certification process is sponsored by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Green Destinations, based in The Netherlands.

Conducting the onsite fieldwork taking place July 17-21 will be Magdelena Muir of Calgary, Canada. Her assessment will review the community’s performance on over 40 international standards in the areas of energy, climate, waste, equity, economy, wildlife health and more.

Muir is an internationally renowned professor of energy policy and climate science, published author, attorney and strategist. As the principal of International Energy, Environmental and Legal Services, Ltd. and Climate Sustainability Finance Ltd., Muir provides consulting services on a broad range of economic and energy projects, while also serving on several boards, including the Climate and Global Change, Coastal and Marine Union as well as research organizations including the Arctic Institute of North America.

During her visit, Muir will interview a diverse group of representatives from the resort community including Vail Resorts, Town of Vail, Vail Chamber and Business Association, U.S. Forest Service and Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, among others. She’ll also experience local events and visit top destination gems such as the Vail Farmers’ Market, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Ford Amphitheater Vail Jazz and more.

In partnership with Vail Resorts, the community of Vail and Vail Mountain are aiming to become the first certified sustainable destination in the United States under criteria from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, a non-governmental organization established by the United Nations Environment Programme and several other global partners in response to growth in tourism and the desire to foster increased understanding of sustainable tourism practices. The destination certification criteria include 40 best practices that any tourism destination should aspire to reach. Another global organization, Sustainable Travel International, is also a partner on the Vail project.

Over the past year staff from Walking Mountains Science Center, Town of Vail and Vail Resorts have been assembling supporting data and documentation demonstrating results in criteria categories where the destination excels and as well as a draft implementation plan to improve in areas that may need additional attention. Vail will receive an initial assessment at the end of the audit period and a determination of its certification application in the upcoming months.

“We are creating a new standard that Vail and other mountain resort communities can adopt so that we can all grow and develop in a responsible and sustainable manner. The increasing impacts of our success in promoting mountain tourism have a double-edged sword that requires proactive collaborative planning for the future,” said Walking Mountains Science Center founder and Vail Town Council member Kim Langmaid. The new standard named the Mountain IDEAL will become a model for mountain resort communities across the world.

“The Town of Vail has a long history of environmental stewardship and sustainability including the protection of open space in its Town Charter, the creation of the Vail Nature Center and Preserve in the early 1970s and more recently its proactive approach to restoring the water quality of Gore Creek. We hope to celebrate our successes and elevate our programs in those areas that need more attention,” said environmental sustainability manager Kristen Bertuglia.

The Vail Sustainable Destination Project began when the Environment Committee of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships was tasked to deliver an innovative legacy project. As a first step, the Environment Committee launched the Actively Green Sustainable Business Training and Certification Program which continues to support businesses and other organizations and is coordinated by Walking Mountains Science Center. The Actively Green program supports the larger destination certification project and provides local businesses and employees avenues to participate along the journey to make Vail a sustainable destination. “Vail is a great example of the progress and success that destinations can have when they harness the power of travel and tourism as a force for good,” added Geoff Bolan, CEO of Sustainable Travel International.

Among the certification criteria for destinations are sustainability indicators that address things like tourism infrastructure, planning for climate change, protection of sensitive environments and wildlife, affordable housing, light and noise pollution, programs for youth and seniors, stakeholder participation, cultural heritage protection and sustainability education.

“This whole area of environmental sustainability can become a positive distinguishing feature of the resort, for visitors and residents alike. It’s a wonderful project that can significantly enhance Vail’s future if this becomes a true, community-wide effort,” said long-time Vail resident and Walking Mountains’ board member Alan Danson.

For more information, visit www.walkingmountains.org/vsd or sustainabletravel.org/places/vail/.

Media Contacts:

Suzanne Silverthorn, APR
Town of Vail
ssilverthorn@vailgov.com
(970) 479-2115

Scott Robinson
Walking Mountains Science Centre
scottr@walkingmountains.org
(970) 688-4250

Kaitlyn Brajcich
Sustainable Travel International
kaitlynb@sustainabletravel.org
(917) 677-5731

 

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Jacada Travel will offset the carbon emissions from all trips booked from May 2017 forward, including international flights booked independently

Jacada Travel is excited to announce that they will be offsetting 100% of the carbon footprint of all trips booked from May 2017 forward. This even includes international flights travellers book for themselves. International flights are the biggest contributor to the travel industry’s carbon emissions, and as such, we are proud to be the one of the first travel companies – and the only one of our size – to automatically offset the impact of these flights. Jacada Travel is donating a part of the profits from their trips to compensate for the carbon footprint of each trip on the behalf of its customers.

To achieve this, Jacada Travel has partnered with Sustainable Travel International – a global non-profit organisation with over 10 years’ experience developing successful Carbon Offset programs for tour operators and other travel and tourism industry leaders – to calculate the carbon footprint of trips and select a portfolio of high impact carbon offset projects. The portfolio selected includes community-based Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) projects in Brazil and Tanzania, and a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) zero energy water filter production and dissemination project in Cambodia. Jacada Travel’s investment in these projects will not only work towards mitigating carbon emissions, but will also provide community benefits in their respective surrounding areas, such as local livelihood creation and education and health services.

Jacada Travel’s founder, Alex Malcolm, says: “Jacada Travel is committed to being a leader in sustainable and responsible travel. With 2017 being the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development it’s now more important than ever to put these initiatives at the forefront of not only the industry but also travellers’ minds. Offsetting our carbon impact is just one of a number of ways in which we are committed to making travel uplifting for everyone, and this initiative is just the beginning for us.”

About Jacada Travel

Jacada Travel is a luxury, award-winning travel company specialising in creating bespoke, inspirational journeys to Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australasia and the polar regions. Founded in 2008 by Alex Malcolm, Jacada Travel offers unique and inspired itineraries for travellers seeking a truly personal travel experience with attentive service from start to finish – from quaint vineyard hotel stays in Mendoza and Amazon tribe encounters in Peru to archaeologist-guided private tours of the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana.

Developing strong, lasting relationships with their local partners, Jacada Travel works to promote a sustainable and long-term boost to the economy of their destinations. For every trip they sell, they donate to a regional charity, the ultimate aim of which is to make travel uplifting for everyone.

About Sustainable Travel International

Sustainable Travel International is a non-profit organisation working to improve the lives of people around the world and the environments they rely upon. By leveraging the power of travel and tourism and providing business and government leaders with the guidance, policies and solutions they need, we aim to ensure that the communities they’re engaged in thrive and their environments are healthy for future generations. For more information, visit www.sustainabletravel.org or contact us at+1 917.677.5731.

Media Contacts:

Leila Al-Qattan, Jacada Travel: leila@jacadatravel.com; Jacadatravel.com

Kaitlyn Brajcich, Sustainable Travel International: kaitlynb@sustainabletravel.org; +1 917.677.5731

 

 

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