Posts Tagged ‘sustainable travel’

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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Earth Day: The Lanzarote Effect

Imagine an island where scarce water brings ancient vineyards to life. Where art, culture and the landscape is celebrated in every household, in every town center. This place is Lanzarote, an island with a story to tell. If you thought Lanzarote was just sun, sand and sea, think again. Conservation and cultural heritage are embedded in the history of Lanzarote and its people. Through a strong commitment and adherence to sustainable tourism development, this island offers unspoiled views and a visitor experience that leaves a mark on your soul long after you depart. In honor of Earth Day, we are celebrating the island of Lanzarote, one of seven Canary Islands off of the coast of Morocco.
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The Destination is Green for Panama – Tourism for Everyone

For a country slightly smaller than the state of South Carolina, Panama boasts an impressive number of environmental firsts: Most diverse wildlife in Central America, largest rainforest in the Western Hemisphere (outside of the Amazon Basin) and with 933 bird species, one of the world’s best bird watching destinations. While devoted birders are among the 1.6 million tourists who flock to Panama each year, the country has never positioned itself as a green destination, the way Costa Rica and Belize have. Until now. On Earth Day 2015, President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez, Minister of Environment Mirei Endara, Minister of Tourism Jesús Sierra Victoria  and General Director of the National Institute of Culture Mariana Núñez announced The Green Tourism Initiative, designed to integrate the protection of biodiversity and culture with tourism.
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AT WTTC Summit, Sustainable Travel International Announces Campaign to Rally the Travel and Tourism Industry Around Monitoring, Demonstrating and Scaling Up Benefits

[Madrid, Spain – April 14, 2015] At the World Travel & Tourism Council 2015 Global Summit in Madrid today, the NGO Sustainable Travel International unveiled an industry-wide campaign entitled 10 Million Better to monitor and scale up social and environmental benefits from travel and tourism.

The ten-year initiative convenes leading tourism corporations, organizations and destinations around the globe with the goal of tracking and demonstrating improvements in the lives of at least 10 million people and their families by 2025. Improvements to be monitored include growth of income and opportunity, and better protection of destinations’ natural, cultural and heritage sites.

Sustainable Travel International announced the 10 Million Better campaign in a joint presentation today at WTTC’s “Tourism for Tomorrow” awards event, entitled “Tourism for Tomorrow, Today: Launching the Next Decade’s Worth of Positive Impacts Starting Now.” It featured Dr. Louise Twining-Ward, CEO of Sustainable Travel International, Brian Mullis, Chairman of the Board and Founder of Sustainable Travel International, and Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President Responsible Business at Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. She is among the industry leaders serving as a campaign ambassador.

Other trend-setting ambassadors to the campaign include representatives of such leading travel companies as Delaware North, Intrepid Travel, and the Soneva Group.  The campaign is also endorsed by Sustainable Travel Leadership Network and Sustainable Destination Leadership Network, two Sustainable Travel International-convened collaborations which represent leading brands committed to advancing the industry’s sustainability efforts, including Globus, Finnair, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ltd., United Airlines and others.

“Collectively, our industry has the power to influence the protection of the environment, promotion of economic equality and preservation of the social well-being and cultural traditions of communities around the globe,” said Jerry Jacobs, Jr., Co-CEO of the global hospitality and entertainment group Delaware North Companies, Inc. “Not only do we believe that acting responsibly on behalf of the environment and communities is the right way forward, from our perspective it’s the only way forward. We’re wholly committed to ensuring travel and tourism continues to do better by our world.”

“There is a new readiness and urgency to act together,” said Sustainable Travel International’s Twining-Ward. “For the first time the tourism sector has a UN Mandate to act. A big shift is now needed towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns. The time is now for the industry to come together with a clear vision and focus its enormous economic power on solid goals and metrics for improving lives.”

“Sustainability in global tourism is achievable, but not if we work in silos,” said Ingunn Sornes, senior adviser to Innovation Norway, which helps to ensure Norway’s destinations are viable for the long-term through its Sustainable Destinations program. “We must work together to improve our collective performance, which is why this campaign is so important. Sustainable Travel International has helped us to develop sustainability management tools and metrics, and we’ve seen the difference they made to the health of our own tourism sector. Ensuring that such tools (and experiences) are widely available and accessible would do the same for destinations and businesses around the world.”

Travel and tourism is the world’s leading economic driver, representing 9.5% of the global economy and generating 1.1 billion arrivals last year and 1 out of 11 jobs worldwide. It’s poised for explosive growth over the next decade, and represents vast resources for improving lives and generating livelihoods globally while protecting places and the planet.

Sustainable travel and tourism are growing especially fast, but so are the industry’s energy, water, land and food use and its environmental, climate and social impacts.  As a result, the business imperative to tackle sustainability issues and the stakes of sustainability-related risks are intense.

Adverse impacts from unmanaged growth can include overcrowding, pollution, biodiversity loss, cultural homogenization and increased economic inequality. But if properly planned and responsibly executed, tourism can also powerfully incentivize protection of natural and cultural resources and enable destinations to prosper.

“Non-sustainable tourism won’t continue to exist,” said Dr. Edward (Ted) Manning, advisor to Sustainable Travel International, President of Tourisk, Inc., and lead architect in the development of the UNWTO program on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism. “If you allow your natural and human capital to decline over time, you will not be able to stay in business. Earlier iterations of sustainability indicators were about sensitizing destinations to their impacts. Today it’s about managing key risks and surviving.”

The UNWTO identifies destination monitoring as a key element of sustainable tourism management. It helps to both manage business risk and to protect the environmental, economic and social fabric of destinations. But like other industries working to integrate sustainability goals, travel and tourism has lacked adequate tools to track its impacts reliably, measure and communicate progress in an accountable way, and realize tourism’s larger potential for positive change.

The new campaign aims to change that, in part by creating and distributing an accessible, open-source impact monitoring tool which companies and destinations can help develop. It is designed to overcome existing barriers to monitoring and reporting, and balance data relevance with technical feasibility and financial viability.

“Organizations need to graduate from simply reporting their investments in sustainable or ethical practices to tracking their actual impacts on environmental quality, livelihoods, education and training, well being, and so forth” said Nick Desolino, member of Sustainable Travel International’s Board and an Energy & Sustainability Adviser at KPMG in the UK. “But they need objective tools to quantify and report on them.   Sustainable Travel International is helping to provide those tools, beginning to aggregate the data and engaging the industry in the common cause of using it to leverage the good we can do together.”

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Contacts: On-site in Madrid: Brian Mullis, founder and chair, Sustainable Travel International, brianm@sustainabletravel.org, +720-273-2975

In New York:  Carol Goodstein, carolg@sustainabletravel.org, +845-353-7620, Stephen Kent, KentCom LLC, skent@kentcom.com +914-589-5988    
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