Author Archive

The MEET Network: New Opportunities for Travelers and Communities in the Mediterranean Region (SLIDESHOW)

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    From the sun-drenched beaches of the Côte d’Azur to the crystal-clear waters of the Greek Islands to the rocky trails of Italy’s Cinque Terre, the Mediterranean region draws 220 million tourists each year.
    (Photo © Evangelia-Marina: Stunning views from a hike through Karpathos, Greece)
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    This regular influx of visitors contributes to the destruction of landscapes, soil erosion, water pollution, the loss of wildlife habitat and cultural homogenization.
    (Photo © Ramon Fortia. A honeyeater in Aiguamolis, Spain)
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    Drawn by the economic benefits of mass tourism, local communities often do not prioritize conservation or the protection of their cultural and historical attributes. Visitors are then subject to inauthentic and tarnished experiences.
    (Photo © Marianne Lang. Kayak trip in Portcros, France)
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    The Mediterranean Experience of Ecotourism (MEET) is turning things around across the region. MEET is a growing network of tourism experts, tour operators, NGOs and government agencies committed to raising awareness and financial support for protected areas and their surrounding communities through ecotourism.
    (Photo © Montgrí, les Illes Medes i el Baix Ter)
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    Sustainable Travel International has been working with the network to promote MEET Experiences, a series of itineraries that connect travelers with local people and off-the-beaten trail activities. We have also helped MEET to develop a business model that provides an economic incentive for local communities to actively support the conservation of their natural and cultural resources.
    (Photo © Jabal Moussa Biosphere Reserve: Learning about plant species in Jabal Moussa, Lebanon
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    In France’s Cevennes National Park, visitors learn about edible plants, like Ceps and Chanterelle mushrooms, on hikes led by local guides passionate about the landscape and community traditions.
    (Photo © Cevennes Evasion: Hiking through Cevennes, France)
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    In Torre Canne, Italy, this local farmer shows off his vine-ripened tomatoes. The day ends with a trail-to-table dinner hosted by the farmer, who will instill in visitors an appreciation for the local bounty, and maybe even reveal a family recipe or two!
    (Photo © Parco Regionale Delle Dune Costiere: Slow food movement in the Torre Canne Region, Italy)
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Your Destination is a Story

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    People tell stories; great stories become myths because they allow audiences to aspire to a basic value.
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    We moved from an oral tradition of storytelling to a broadcast era where ideas spread in one direction.
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    We’re now in a digital era where everyone spreads ideas and tells stories; the best survive over time.
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    Great marketing stories don’t sell products. Marlboro ads didn’t sell cigarettes; they sold manliness at a time when filtered cigarettes were for women.
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    In the best stories, the hero goes on a journey, meets a mentor who gives him a talisman and sends him off on an adventure to seek a truth.
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    In successful marketing, stories empower their audiences.
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    In traditional broadcast marketing, the focus is on the brand—its accomplishments.
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    But engaging stories make the audience the hero by giving them something to aspire to.
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    You can share all the great sustainability stuff that you’re doing. But that’s not a story that’s going to stick with your audience.
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    A very successful Dove soap campaign didn’t focus on the product’s cleaning power; it engaged women around their feelings about self-image and self-worth.
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    Values are the essence of what your brand stands for.
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    The nonprofit Charity Water stands for water as the basis of life.
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    This Nike campaign was not about running shoes but inner strength.
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    Patagonia takes the audience on the sustainability journey; they don’t claim that they’re doing everything perfectly. Sustainability is a journey.
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    Airbnb’s campaign is about the essential goodness of people.
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    What is a value that you can share about your brand?
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10 MILLION BETTER Presentation

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    10 MILLION BETTER: This is our moment for a movement.
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    Despite its power and reach, travel and tourism isn’t as good as it could be.  Not everyone is benefitting as much as they could.  In many places tourism leads to exclusion, inequality and cultural homogenization.
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    It doesn’t have to be this way. We owe something to the places and people we visit.
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    10 MILLION BETTER is designed take the wonder, amazement and sheer joy of travel and use it to improve lives, protect places and provide visitors with meaningful experiences.  It’s designed to improve the lives of 10 MILLION people in tourism-dependent areas.
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    Hotels are recycling, airlines are offsetting carbon and restaurants are serving locally-grown food. But travel and tourism has not yet collectively rallied around  the cause—not like food, fashion, forestry and other sectors where sustainability has become the business norm.
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    One third of the population is interested in global issues like poverty and climate change. And they shop, share and travel with a conscience. Businesses that  demonstrate their commitment to a better world through travel are staying ahead of the curve. They’re reducing operating costs, increasing efficiencies and attracting visitors.
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    We are determined to improve the lives of 10 million people over the next ten years so that local communities and economies benefit from visitor spending and are empowered to determine their own path for growth. For businesses, 10 MILLION BETTER is an opportunity to demonstrate a return on investment in sustainability, gain recognition as a purpose-driven company and join a global initiative that is improving lives and protecting places through travel and tourism. For travelers, it’s a chance to protect the people and places they care about and to spread that word that travel can be a path towards.
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    Join 10 MILLION BETTER and be part of the movement to improve the lives of 10 million people around the world.
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summit

An Industry Call to Action at Travel & Tourism Summit

“Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest industries and a high-stakes piece of the global sustainability puzzle,” said Sam Adams, Portland’s former Mayor and current director of the US Climate Change Initiative at the World Resources Institute. “It can be an important part of the solution, provided the industry comes together and works toward common goals.”
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World Tourism Day: Celebrating the Caribbean

We’re working with our partners in the Caribbean to plan their own path toward a better future so that the magnificent beaches, magnetic cultural traditions and verdant forests that attract millions of visitors each year contribute to the well-being of communities, the creation of jobs and the protection of resources.
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The 10 Million Better Campaign Launches as a Focus for Tourism that Improves Lives and Protects Places

PORTLAND, Oregon, Sept. 25, 2015 – The industry-wide 10 Million Better campaign to monitor and scale up social and environmental benefits from travel and tourism was officially launched at the Travel and Tourism Collective Impact Summit in Portland, Oregon this week.

Spearheaded by the NGO Sustainable Travel International, the campaign convenes industry leaders worldwide around the goal demonstrating improvements in the lives of at least 10 million people and their families through travel and tourism by 2025. Targeted improvements include growth of income and opportunity, better protection of destinations’ natural and cultural resources and heritage attractions, and more efficient resource use. Campaign participants have begun pooling their impacts using Sustainable Travel International’s impact counter, which currently shows they’re reaching nearly 300,000 people and counting.

“The impact counter demonstrates the power of tourism to improve lives and protect places,” said Louise Twining-Ward, CEO of Sustainable Travel International. “Great efforts to turn the industry’s impacts positive exist, but they’re scattered across the globe. Adopting shared objectives, tracking progress and aggregating the data are key to leveraging tourism’s enormous power to do good and to help meet global sustainability goals, as the UN has mandated it to do.”

Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest industries. It provides one out of eleven jobs worldwide and has an enormous global environmental and social footprint, including 5% of greenhouse gas emissions. The Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit September 25-27 include promoting sustainable tourism and monitoring its impacts. The UNWTO declared September 27 World Tourism Day to highlight what UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called “the immense potential of tourism to drive inclusive economic growth, protect the environment and promote sustainable development and a life of dignity for all.”

Many travel industry and sustainability leaders have endorsed the 10 Million Better campaign and pledged their support.  Corporate sponsors include G Adventures and Globus. Afar, Carlson, Delaware North, G Adventures Intrepid Travel, Sierra Club, Skål International, Starwood and others have designated campaign ambassadors. Sustainable Travel International’s Leadership Networks including such brands as A&K, Finnair, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and United Airlines have endorsed the campaign.

Contact:  Stephen Kent, skent@kentcom.com, 914-589-5988

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