Be the first to like this
Delivered at the 2014 Gossinger Distinguished Lecture Series, at NYU's Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management, my presentation focused on the phases and evolution of Sustainable Tourism (ST) over the past quarter century (incidentally the same timeframe as the growth of the Internet..) The presentation began with a recognition that the tourism resource base is eroding at a rapid rate. However an overview of the basic principles of sustainable tourism suggests we have the knowledge and the tools to greatly accelerate the implementation of ST procedures and practices. The timeline begins (Phase 1: early 1990’s) with the preparation of broad based ST Policies (Canada, Bahamas, Palau), and Ecotourism Plans (late 1990"s). The presentation then traces the evolution towards greater levels of specificity (and possibly relevance) including ST and Ecotourism Certification Programs (Phase 2: 2000-2010). More recently (Phase 3: 2010-2015) there has been a shift to Employee ST training and Certification (Bahamas) and the integration of ST standards within the basic Quality Assurance accommodation grading programs (Morocco, Lesotho, Southern Africa).
Yet despite all these efforts and market concern for the environment relatively little has been accomplished in integrating sustainability into the majority tourism of operations worldwide. This is in part because of the lack of awareness (and perhaps interest) by most senior management teams. Perhaps no more than 2%-3% of the managers of accommodation facilities (worldwide) have ever received training in ST procedures, technologies and practices. The Challenge therefore falls to the current hospitality and tourism management students and recent graduates to develop a professional 'Culture of Sustainability’. Furthermore, in this current phase (2015-2020), sustainability must become an integral part of all graduate and undergraduate tourism and hospitality management educational programs. The resources upon which the industry is built are diminishing at a remarkable rate with the vast majority of those professionals working in the sector lacking both the technical skills and awareness to implement sustainable tourism practices. It is therefore the responsibility of the tourism management schools to immediately integrate sustainability into their core program.