PRESS RELEASES

Sustainable Travel International Announces Appointment of Geoff Bolan to CEO

Seattle, WA (October 4, 2016) – Sustainable Travel International, the leading nonprofit focused on improving lives and protecting places through changes in the way destinations around the world manage travel and tourism, announced today that Geoff Bolan is named Chief Executive Officer.  Bolan succeeds Sustainable Travel International’s Founder and CEO, Brian Mullis. Mullis will transition into an Executive Advisor role after nearly 14 years guiding the organization. Bolan will lead Sustainable Travel International in its next chapter of growth, focusing on expanding the organization’s global impact to combat threats like environmental degradation and economic inequality.

GB image 2Bolan joined Sustainable Travel International in January 2016 as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. His background includes more than 25 years of management, business development, and strategic planning on a global scale in both the non-profit and private sectors. Bolan held multiple leadership roles with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), leading all commercial development for the Americas region, then running all aspects of U.S. operations.  He has held previous management positions in the hospitality sector with TravelCLICK, McDonalds, and iExplore. Bolan started his career in enterprise and ecotourism development with Conservation International, working primarily in Latin America. Bolan earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and a BA in international relations from Tufts University.

“Geoff has exhibited the expertise and leadership skills necessary to guide Sustainable Travel International into its next phase of growth,” said Roger Lang, Chairman of the Board. “The work of this organization is crucial to ensuring the well-being of destinations and people around the world and the Board is confident in Geoff’s vision for the organization and ability to expand this impact going forward.”

“We’re working to ensure a better future for some of the world’s most vulnerable destinations – such as the Galapagos Islands, Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, Panama, and Indonesia. I look forward to helping Sustainable Travel International deepen this global impact,” said Bolan. “Travel and tourism represents 1 in 11 jobs around the world; and harnessing this economic strength to improve living conditions and protect sensitive environments is no small task. It requires the participation of governments, the private sector, and individuals. I greatly appreciate the confidence of our Board, and all the accomplishments of the organization’s founder, Brian Mullis.”  

For any media inquiries regarding the transition, please contact Kaitlyn Brajcich at kaitlynb@sustainabletravel.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 on. By leveraging the power of travel and tourism, which employs 1 in every 11 people on the planet, we aim to ensure that communities thrive and their environments are healthy for future generations. For more information, visit www.sustainabletravel.org.

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Sustainable Travel International and Mandala Research receive SASI-ONE Award for 2016 Sustainable Traveler Research

(September 20, 2016) – Sustainable Travel International and Mandala Research received a SASI-ONE Merit Award in the market research category for the 2016 study The Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism. SASI-ONE Awards (SASI = Shop America Salutes Innovation) recognize prominent leaders in the tourism industry for their vision and commitment to developing shopping and cultural tourism. The award was presented at the annual SASI-ONE Awards Breakfast on Friday, September 9, during the ONE Travel Conference at Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica California.

Sustainable Travel International and Mandala Research conducted the 2016 Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism research to help the travel and tourism industry better understand how travelers define sustainable tourism and how they incorporate it into their travel decisions and behaviors. The report revealed compelling results, most notably that 60 percent of U.S. travelers (105.3 million) have taken a “sustainable” trip in the last three years. These travelers spend more (on average $600 per trip), stay longer (seven days compared to four days) and bring higher benefits to local communities including job creation, giving-back and volunteering. More details and a full copy of the 2016 Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism report can be found at www.mandalaresearch.com.

The SASI-ONE Awards are sponsored by CenterCal Properties in partnership with Shop America Alliance and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council. The 2016 judges were Jan Kroells, Vice President, Bloomington MN Convention & Visitors Bureau; Rose Hapanowich, Director of Travel & Tourism, Destiny USA and Christine Szalay Strange, Vice President, The Outlet Resource Group. The SASI-ONE Awards are presented annually at the ONE Travel Conference. To view the video award presentation of the 2015-16 SASI-ONE Awards, visit ONETravelConference.com.

The Role of Sustainability in Travel and Tourism research was supported by lead sponsor, Visit California. Additional study sponsors include Travel Oregon, G Adventures, Destination Better, Shop America Alliance, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, and Wild Rivers Coast Alliance.

For more information regarding the award or study, please contact Kaitlyn Brajcich.

 

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 Mandala Research. Mandala Research is one of the leading travel and tourism research companies in the world. The firm has pioneered the “firsts” of many niche studies in the travel industry and offers extensive knowledge of several growing demographics and trends, including African American, LGBT, and U.S. Hispanic, and women travelers; and niche markets such as cultural, arts, and heritage tourism, retail/shopping tourism, wine and culinary tourism. Mandala’s clients include destinations, major travel brands, associations, government agencies, and NGOs and has expertise in brand tracking, brand equity and brand identity research. For more information, contact Laura@MandalaResearch.com or call 703.820.1041.

ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining and Cultural Tourism is produced annually by Shop America Alliance and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council. The Conference brings together leaders in the travel industry to focus on The Power of Partnership, speaking with ONE Voice. The 2016 ONE Travel Conference was held at Le Meridien Delfina in Santa Monica California September 7-9. For more information visit ONETravelConference.com or call 707-224-3795.

Shop America Alliance is the travel trade organization representing hundreds of the premier shopping tourism destinations, retailers, shopping centers and outlets in America. Founded in 1998, Shop America Alliance co-produces the annual ONE Travel Conference and SASI-ONE Awards and The Cultural Traveler guidebook, publishes Shop America Magazine and markets more than 100 shopping tours and cultural heritage experiences in 40 cities. For more information, visit shopamericatours.com or call 707-224-3795.

US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council (USCHT) is a travel trade association with the mission to market U.S. cultural and heritage tourism experiences. USCHT represents leading U.S. tourism destinations, attractions and travel partners engaged in marketing U.S. cultural and heritage to travelers throughout the United States and around the world, co-produces the annual ONE Travel Conference and SASI-ONE Awards and The Cultural Traveler guidebook and sponsors market research on the Cultural and Heritage Traveler. For more information, visit TheCulturalTraveler.com or call 760-703-6020.

 

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WHY ‘GOING GREEN’ PAYS OFF: Sustainable Practices Drive Destination Choice For A Majority Of Travelers, New Research Unveils

DATELINE, CA – May 12, 2016 – A majority of travelers in the United States spend more money per trip, travel more frequently and stay longer when destinations offer sustainable practices, according to a report released today by Sustainable Travel International and Mandala Research.

The 2016 Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism report revealed compelling results, most notably that 60 percent of U.S. travelers (105.3 million) have taken a “sustainable” trip in the last three years and that these travelers are extremely valuable to the tourism industry. These travelers spend more (on average $600 per trip), stay longer (seven days compared to four days) and bring higher benefits to local communities including job creation, giving-back and volunteering.

Visit California, a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the state’s travel industry to develop marketing campaigns that drive tourism to the state, was a lead sponsor of the study. “The findings show that tourists, especially California tourists, value and intentionally seek sustainable tourism options,” said Visit California President & CEO Caroline Beteta. “A sustainable mindset is woven into the California brand, and travelers who come here will find California’s travel industry is leading the way in sustainable practices.”

This inaugural report on sustainable travel included responses from 2,292 leisure travelers. They answered nearly 40 questions related to their understanding of sustainable travel, perceptions, what motivates them to book travel and much more.

According to Laura Mandala, Managing Director of Mandala Research, “We looked at the key components of sustainability, specifically, environmental, social, cultural, economic and governance. The study reveals that while experiential travel by Millennials is driving a new sustainable travel mindset, the majority of the general leisure market is also emphatically behind that change.”

Sustainable Travel International Founder and CEO Brian Mullis said, “The study is a huge wake-up call for the travel industry. It shows that the market for sustainable travel is much larger than previously thought. More than half of this market, or 60 million U.S. travelers are selecting their travel company based on their sustainability practices; and 56 million make destination choices based on the sustainable practices at the destination. This is too big to ignore.”

Sustainable tourism is one of the most progressive and rapidly growing movements in the travel and tourism industry. It has become universally recognized as a vital sector of human and industrial activity, yet sustainable travel hasn’t become mainstream. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) describes sustainable tourism as “development [that] meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future.” This survey indicates that sustainable travel has an even broader meaning beyond environmental, including cultural, social and economic: A large majority say they believe sustainable tourism means respecting and enhancing local community, helping to conserve heritage, nature and wildlife, minimizing damage, waste and all types of pollution as a result of their travel.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • More than than half (53 percent) of sustainable travelers report that sustainable practices at the destination were a driver of destination choice, either being the “key factor in their decision” to visit the destination (28%) or helping them choose between destinations (25%), (compared to only eight percent of all other )
  • 63 percent of all travelers say they are much more likely to consider destinations where there is a strong effort to conserve and protect natural resources. The number jumps to 75 percent among sustainable
  • Travelers feel a great deal of responsibility for ensuring their trip has a positive impact on the place they visit, 63 percent; 64 percent believe that responsibility also rests with local government.
  • More than 60 percent of all travelers feel strongly about their obligation to leave an area the same or better than they found it
  • More than two-fifths of sustainable travelers say they have purchased from travel companies because they believe they offer fair wages to their employees and invest in employees; while 38% say they have done business with travel companies who have helped to reduce human trafficking.
  • Over half of sustainable travelers purchased something from a travel company because they offered experiences that reflect the unique character of the destination (57 percent), educated customers about those unique features (54 percent), or provided primarily locally made or sourced products (54 percent). This compares to about a fifth of all leisure travelers who say they would make purchases based on these.

The purpose of the study was to help the travel and tourism industry better understand how travelers define sustainable tourism and how they incorporate it into their travel decisions and behaviors.

Mandala added that the study finally makes the business case for travel organizations to get involved in all facets of sustainability. “This segment of the market generates billions of dollars in spending with 105 million leisure travelers who are sustainable travelers, spending on average over $1,749 per trip compared to $1,154 for general leisure travelers.”

Additional Study Sponsors Include Travel Oregon, G Adventures, Destination Better, Shop America Alliance, Louisiana Tax Free Shopping, and Wild Rivers Coast Alliance.

More details and a full copy of the 2016 Role of Sustainability in Travel & Tourism report can be found here. Individuals interested in learning how they can increase sustainable travel practices are encouraged to share the study results and become involved with organizations such as Sustainable Travel International.

About Mandala Research. Mandala Research is one of the leading travel and tourism research companies in the world. The firm has pioneered the “firsts” of many niche studies in the travel industry and offers extensive knowledge of several growing demographics and trends, including African American, LGBT, and U.S. Hispanic, and women travelers;  and niche markets such as cultural, arts, and heritage tourism, retail/shopping tourism,  wine and culinary tourism.  Mandala’s clients include destinations, major travel brands, associations, government agencies, and NGOs and has expertise in brand tracking, brand equity and brand identity research.  For more information, contact Laura@MandalaResearch.com or call 703.820.1041.

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 Visit California. Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. Spending by travelers totaled $122.5 billion in 2015 in California, generating 1,064,000 jobs in the state and $9.9 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Official State Visitor’s Guide, go to www.VisitCalifornia.com. For story ideas, media information, downloadable images, video and more, go to www.media.visitcalifornia.com.

Media Inquiries: Email or call Paul Wilke, Upright Position Communications, at Paul@uprightcomms.com or +1 415 881-7995.

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A New Way to See and Experience Lanzarote in the Canary Islands

Arrecife, April 22, 2016 – This week, Turismo Lanzarote launched “The Lanzarote Effect” (#LanzaroteEffect), a new promotional tourism campaign focused on the island’s commitment to balancing art and nature with sustainable tourism development. While most visitors come to Lanzarote for the sun, sand and sea, this campaign will highlight a new way to experience the volcanic island, showcasing its unique cultural and historical attributes and told through the eyes of locals.

“We are proud of our island’s commitment to sustainability and to see how that commitment helps to shape a more inviting and authentic experience for our visitors. ‘The Lanzarote Effect’ campaign will help us share our yet to be told story with the rest of the world,” remarks Hector Fernández, CEO of Turismo Lanzarote.

The destination image of Lanzarote has historically been that of most other Mediterranean islands—sun, sand and sea. However, Lanzarote has much more to offer visitors. From their strict land-use and tourism infrastructure codes to the establishment of seven cultural centers highlighting the art, history, and values of the people, Lanzarote fosters a visitor experience that is more connected and enriched because of its commitment to a sustainable lifestyle. In 1995 they developed the Lanzarote Declaration, staking claim on their commitment to sustainable tourism values. Today, everywhere you go on the island, you are surrounded by culture, history, and gastronomy. In April 2015, Lanzarote was the first destination in the world to receive the Instituto de Turismo Responsible’s Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification, the first Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) approved certification for the globally recognized GSTC destination standard.

“Sustainable tourism certification may be better known for hotels, tours, and attractions, but destination certification is now growing.  The Biosphere Responsible Tourism certification is one of the few certification schemes available for destinations, and has achieved the elite level “GSTC-Approved” mark. Destinations around the world can use the GSTC Destination Criteria to improve their sustainability policies and practices, and many are now pursuing certification as a means of proving their commitment and actions” remarked Randy Durband, CEO of the GSTC.

Turismo Lanzarote has partnered with Sustainable Travel International since 2012 to receive guidance on how to better identify and promote the island’s responsible actions and values. In 2012, Lanzarote was one of the Early Adopters of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) Destination Criteria. The organizations have worked together to refresh Turismo Lanzarote’s brand values and communications strategy, train public and private sector stakeholders about sustainable tourism messaging, and helped them achieve sustainable destination certification. In 2015, the island became the world’s first GSTC-recognized Biosphere Certified Destination. This certification highlights the island’s exemplary efforts toward mindful tourism development, conservation, and green growth. In 2016, Turismo Lanzarote and Sustainable Travel International developed “The Lanzarote Effect” campaign based on their six brand values: nature, gastronomy, health and sports, culture, the arts, and leaving a legacy.

“The compassion and commitment that the people of Lanzarote have toward their island’s future is both captivating and addictive. ‘The Lanzarote Effect’ draws you into the island in a way not experienced in other destinations,” stated Lizzie Keenan, Director of Marketing and Communications at Sustainable Travel International. “Lanzarote is one of the world’s best examples of destination stewardship. It is time they are recognized for it and more people experience what makes Lanzarote so special.”

Over the next 12 months, Lanzarote’s story will be told through the voices of local people. “The Lanzarote Effect” campaign, which was inspired by a short film produced by Lea Amiel and Nicolas Libersalle, will highlight the island’s spirit, something not commonly shared in its marketing campaigns. From artists to educators, scientists to wine makers, the people of Lanzarote will tell their story of what makes Lanzarote valuable and worth experiencing, both now and in the future.

In addition to a dynamic social media campaign, destination training is planned for travel trade in the UK and other target markets.

For the latest updates on the campaign, please visit http://www.turismolanzarote.com/en/ or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

 

About Turismo Lanzarote

Lanzarote is a unique island of extreme and unusual beauty. Amazing nature, dramatic landscapes, long sandy shores, a deeply rooted local culture and gastronomy, and above all a genuine respect for nature and its environment. All of them make Lanzarote an ideal destination to enjoy, and visit again. Let yourself be surprised! Visit us at http://www.turismolanzarote.com/en/ to learn more.

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.

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Sustainable Travel International Names Business Sustainability Leader as Chief Operating Officer

NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK February 4, 2016 – Sustainable Travel International, a leading nonprofit organization focused on improving lives and protecting places through changes in the way travel and tourism is managed, today named Geoff Bolan as Chief Operating Officer to help meet the growing demand for sustainable tourism solutions to some of the world’s greatest global threats like climate change and economic inequality. Bolan will work closely with Sustainable Travel International’s CEO and President to expand the organization’s resource base and build a strong foundation for strategic growth.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Geoff as Sustainable Travel International is poised to expand its global impact,” says Brian Mullis, CEO and founder.  “Geoff brings a wealth of expertise in sustainability as well as travel and tourism.  His broad experience at the nexus of business and environmental sustainability will be a tremendous asset.”

Bolan’s background includes more than 25 years of management, business development, and strategic planning on a global scale in both the non-profit and private sectors. Most recently he held multiple leadership roles with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) program, leading all commercial development for the Americas region, then running all aspects of U.S. operations.  He’s held previous management positions in the hospitality sector with TravelCLICK, McDonalds, and iExplore. Bolan started his career in enterprise and ecotourism development with Conservation International (CI), working primarily in Latin America. Bolan also holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and BA from Tufts University.

“I look forward to returning to the tourism sector and helping to expand Sustainable Travel International’s worldwide impact,” Bolan says.  “For 13 years, Sustainable Travel International has racked up a proven track record in helping align the interests of people, planet, and tourism through well-crafted and thoughtful strategic planning and training.  I’m very excited to bring Sustainable Travel International’s work to the next level in bettering people’s lives and minimizing environmental and cultural impact through smarter tourism.”

 

About Sustainable Travel International

Sustainable Travel International (STI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works toward improving lives and protecting places through travel and tourism. For 13 years, Sustainable Travel International has been developing, testing, and sharing cutting edge methodologies, solutions and knowledge to drive greater sustainability in destinations. Governments, companies, NGOs and communities worldwide are uniting and using these solutions to achieve the right balance between economic and sustainable development, and protection of their natural, cultural and heritage assets.

Visit us at http://sustainabletravel.org to learn more.

 

Media Contact

Sustainable Travel International

Lizzie Keenan

Director, Marketing and Communications

lizziek@sustainabletravel.org

+1 917-338-9628

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Panama’s Tourism Ministry Achieves Progress on the Development of Ecotourism in Protected Areas with the Help of Sustainable Travel International

PANAMA CITY, PANAMA – November 23, 2015 This month, global NGO Sustainable Travel International met with Panama’s new Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Him, to discuss best practice approaches to the development of ecotourism in Panama. The objective of the work being conducted is a comprehensive and stakeholder-driven vision for the development of national parks and protected areas and their buffer zones that benefits of local communities. In a series of meetings the new Minister of Tourism Gustavo Him reaffirmed Panama’s commitment to pursuing tourism development in a way that improves livelihoods and conserves Panama’s world-class natural attractions and unique ecosystems.

Panama boasts some of the most diverse wildlife in Central America, including large rainforests that form a biological bridge between North and South America, and some of the world’s best bird watching, home to almost 1,000 different species. But, until recently, Panama has not actively promoted tourism in its parks and protected areas. Most of its 2.3 million annual visitors still don’t venture outside Panama City, where they come for shopping and business related to the canal.

An unusually large portion Panama’s land area—39%—is under protection. UNESCO Natural World Heritage site Coiba Island in the southwest of the country is part of the Pacific Marine Biological Corridor—a world-class destination for diving and whale watching. The island also has pristine beaches, mangrove forests, scarlet macaws, mantled howler monkeys, and four species of sea turtles.

In Boquete, Volcan Baru, a key destination for hikers, is the one place in the world with views of both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The legendary routes of Camino Real and Camino de Cruces, where the Spaniards originally crossed from the Pacific to the Caribbean by land (a predecessor to the Panama Canal) have the potential to be developed as ecotourism routes across highly diverse landscapes. They could link tropical rainforest and mountain ecosystems, and access rural and indigenous communities.

Since Panama’s formal commitment to ecotourism, in an agreement signed on Earth Day, April 22, 2015, Sustainable Travel International has been working closely with the Ministry of the Environment, the Tourism Authority, and private sector organizations in Panama, to conduct a comprehensive diagnostic of opportunities and challenges for developing tourism in Panama’s protected areas.

The project to develop a common vision for the responsible and sustainable development of ecotourism is due to be completed in January 2016. “Responsibly developed tourism offers unparalleled opportunities to stimulate the local economy, benefit indigenous communities and conserve rich biodiversity”, said Dr. Twining-Ward. “Panama is well on the way to the development of a world–class ecotourism offering. They are doing all the right things to maintain the authenticity of the experience, preserve ecosystems and keep visitors safe.”

The next step in the project is for Sustainable Travel International to develop a strategic vision and action plan for ecotourism in Panama. This will provide the framework for a coordinated approach to tourism in parks and protected areas.

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Media Contact:

Lizzie Keenan

Director, Marketing and Communications

+1 (917) 382-9185

lizziek@sustainabletravel.org

 

About Sustainable Travel International

Sustainable Travel International’s mission is to improve lives and protect places through travel and tourism. A global non-profit and industry thought leader since 2002, Sustainable Travel International has helped communities, hotels, airlines, cruise lines and governments to plan responsibly—to chart their road maps for responsible growth so that they can contribute to the economic and social well-being of people around the globe whose lives and livelihoods depend on the world’s wanderlust.

Visit us at http://sustainabletravel.org to learn more.

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