Tourism is one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the world and the primary industry and producer of jobs for many island economies and developing nations, including Hawaii.
Many of tourism’s leaders, including the Hawaii Tourism Authority, are committed to seeing the industry grow sustainably while also generating increased global awareness about the need to preserve natural resources and perpetuate native cultures.
“We envision Hawaii being a global leader in showing destinations worldwide how unique, welcoming travel experiences can be created for visitors while Hawaii’s environment is preserved and its culture treasured by generations to come,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority. “We are pleased to support the launch of the Sustainable Tourism Summit at VERGE Hawaii. It’s vital that tourism leaders from the Hawaiian Islands and around the world come together to build a healthier, more sustainable tourism industry.”
The Sustainable Tourism Summit is a half-day, invitation-only working session that will convene more than 100 stakeholders — including global hotel brands and local operators, property owners and management companies, airlines, cruise lines, government tourism departments and policy makers, and service providers. The Summit will recognize the destination as a shared responsibility and focus on new technologies, policies and business models for accelerating sustainable tourism — in Hawaii and worldwide.
Reaping the economic, social and environmental benefits of tourism requires a shared vision of what it means for the industry to become sustainable. Addressing the myriad challenges and opportunities requires the entire ecosystem — industry, government, nonprofits and community stakeholders — in Hawaii and beyond.
In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the nation to mandate a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2045. Fulfilling this ambitious mandate will require support from the tourism industry combined with other clean energy stakeholders in order to create powerful new partnerships, technologies and business models.
“As one of the world’s largest industries, tourism has the potential to combat some of the world’s most pressing issues, including poverty, hunger, gender inequality and environmental degradation. But achieving this vision and ensuring that tourism maximizes benefits for communities and environments takes collaboration from all the relevant players,” said Geoff Bolan, CEO at Sustainable Travel International. “The Sustainable Tourism Summit at VERGE Hawaii is an ideal platform to bring together key stakeholders from Hawaii and beyond to chart a clear path toward a sustainable future.”
Goals of the Sustainable Tourism Summit include:
- Establish a shared vision of what it means for the tourism industry to become more sustainable while enhancing visitor experiences and supporting sustainable management of the destination and business.
- Convene a diverse group of stakeholders and organizations from Hawaii and beyond.
- Identify roles of key stakeholders in overcoming challenges and unlocking opportunities.
- Continue to support Hawaii’s position as a leader in sustainable tourism.
Produced in partnership between GreenBiz Group and the Hawaii State Energy Office, VERGE Hawaii brings together nearly 1,000 key stakeholders — from government, military, utilities, energy producers, entrepreneurs and other solution providers — to have candid, action-oriented conversations addressing the challenges and opportunities in transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy.
“For five years VERGE has uniquely brought together leaders and key stakeholders to accelerate the clean economy,” said Eric Faurot, CEO of GreenBiz Group. “We look forward to launching the Sustainable Tourism Summit at VERGE Hawaii as a destination for global leaders to establish a shared vision of what it means to become more sustainable, in a way that enhances visitor experience and supports local communities and businesses.”
To learn more about the VERGE Hawaii Sustainable Tourism Summit, click here.
ABOUT GREENBIZ GROUP
GreenBiz Group’s mission is to define and accelerate the business of sustainability. It does this through a wide range of products and services, including its acclaimed website GreenBiz.com and e-newsletters, GreenBuzz and VERGE; webcasts on topics of importance to sustainability and energy executives; research reports, including the annual State of Green Business; the GreenBiz Executive Network, a membership-based, peer-to-peer learning forum for sustainability executives; and conferences: the annual GreenBiz forum and VERGE. www.greenbiz.com
ABOUT HAWAII TOURISM AUTHORITY
The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority is responsible for strategically managing the State of Hawai‘i’s marketing initiatives to support tourism. HTA’s goal is to optimize tourism’s benefits for Hawai‘i, while being attentive to the interests of travelers, the community and visitor industry. Established in 1998 to support Hawai‘i’s leading industry and largest employer, HTA continually strives to help ensure the sustainability of tourism’s success For more information about HTA, please visit www.hawaiitourismauthority.org. Follow updates about HTA on Facebook, Twitter (@HawaiiHTA) and its YouTube Channel.
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.