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'Tracing an ecoplan:net 25 Year History Of Sustainable Tourism' delivered at New York University


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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.

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'Tracing an ecoplan:net 25 Year History Of Sustainable Tourism' delivered at New York University

  1. 1. S
  2. 2. S
  3. 3.   S  Our DIMINISHING tourism environment S  Revisiting sustainability PRINCIPLES S  25 year SCAN of a ‘modest’ adaption of sustainability S  URGENT: Strengthen all sustainable tourism training + education S  A COMMITTMENT to developing an individual ‘Culture of Sustainability”
  4. 4. ONGOING: Depleting of ALL our natural resources S  Excessive water consumption: S  Global accommodation onsite demand: 5 trillion liters (5 billion m3) or 1.3 trillion gallons/year (2013) S  Global warming (Tourism is 5% of global CO2 emissions) S  Loss of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity S  Water Degradation: industrial contamination S  Desertification and Deforestation S  loss of topsoil (industrial agriculture) S  Toxic chemicals: VOC, cleaners, solvents, glues
  5. 5. S  TOURISM GROWTH (Volume) S  Double international arrivals by 2030 S  200 million additional outbound 8+ billion domestic Chinese trips by 2020 S  Expansion of BRICS outbound tourism S  35,000 new aircraft (21,000 for fleet expansion) by 2030 S  INCREASED VISITOR EXPECTATIONS S  Bigger swimming pools, S  More 4 and 5 star properties S  Embedded water requirements (food, plastics, etc)
  6. 6. S  “there was only one consideration to take into account. Don’t look at the matter from your own point of view. I don’t look at this matter from the way those living in the village now will be affected. Look at it from the point of view of our grandchildren”; ‘The Compassionate Universe’ by Egnath Eswaran, page 53 S  “we do not inherit from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”; Haida Elder/Chief Seattle
  7. 7. S  “Humanity has the ability to make (tourism) development sustainable – to ensure that it meets the needs of the present (tourists and tourism businesses) without compromising the ability of future generations (tourists and tourism businesses) to meet their own needs”. -- World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987.
  8. 8. From the: ‘Encyclopedia of Tourism and Hospitality’, Chapter 3: ‘Developing Sustainable Tourism’ J. MacGregor, Van Norstrand Reinholt Publishing, NYC, NY, 1993
  9. 9. S  PRINCIPLE 1: Limit tourism impact on the planet (global) and the region (local) to a level that is within its carrying-capacity. S  Minimize tourist consumption of raw materials and energy S  2 star properties consume less than 3/4/5 star S  Water management and conservation: can cut water consumption 40% S  PRINCIPLE 2: Maintain the stock of biological wealth in the region. S  Conserve ‘Life support services’ and the processes that allow life to be productive, resilient and adapt to tourism impacts S  Maintain chemical balance, recycle nutrients, water/air pollution free S  Manage supply chain for sustainability and diversity
  10. 10. S  PRINCIPLE 3: Minimize the depletion of non-renewable resources. S  Tourism is a consumer of plastics, metals, fossil fuels, and water S  Integrate recycling and composting into all operations S  PRINCIPLE 4: Promote long-term [sustainable] economic development that increases the benefits from a given stock of resources and maintains or grows natural wealth. S  Promote new technologies; solar/wind/ batteries/engines S  Operations must charge the full price of resource use and damage; consumption tax, surcharge S  Integrating value-added products by improving and diversifying product lines
  11. 11. S  PRINCIPLE 5: Provide for an equitable distribution of the benefits and costs of resource use and sustainable management. S  Benefits spread across gender, age [intergenerational], class/ culture and physical/visual ability S  Ensure adequate training and access to all required sustainable management skills S  PRINCIPLE 6: Provide for effective participation of communities and interest groups in the decisions that most affect them and their environment. S  Participation of all community members and special interest groups S  Ensure commitment to sustainable planning, development, management and operations
  12. 12. S  PRINCIPLE 7: Promote the values that encourage others to achieve sustainability. S  Provide leadership, transfer knowledge, create awareness and demonstrate a sustainability ethic S  Promote responsibility across the entire tourism supply chain S  PRINCIPLE 8: Establish a ‘sustainability culture and knowledge base’ throughout all levels of tourism education and training S  Integrate CORE curriculum environmental awareness and sustainability principles in tourism institutions worldwide S  Educate on application of technologies and techniques
  13. 13. S  1990, Canada’s : ‘An Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Policies’, ecoplan:net S  Evening brainstorming session (5 hours, 8 international experts S  Areas of Responsibility; i) Government ii) Tourism Industry, iii) NGOs and iv) Tourism Education Institutions S  5 Sustainability Themes: S  Integrated planning and management S  Social and economic benefits; fair trade, equity, local hiring, SME S  Cultural and traditional Heritage conservation and enhancement S  Sustainability education and awareness S  Biodiversity protection and enhancement; water, energy, waste management, hazardous materials,
  14. 14. S  1994; The Bahamas Sustainable Tourism Development Policies and Implementation Strategy, ecoplan:net S  Issues particular to small island States; inefficient water use, cruise ship dumping, litter and marine debris, high level of imports, illegal fishing S  32 Policies and Action Plan: S  Planning, EIA, public consultation, intergenerational and gender equity, local involvement and benefits S  Marketing and Green Management, energy and water conservation, hazardous waste, purchasing procedures, etc. S  Heritage protection and restoration S  Research, audits and monitoring S  Marine Debris reduction, enforcement S  Winner; Green Globe Achievement Award: WTTC
  15. 15. S  1996: Republic of Palau Sustainable Tourism Policies ecoplan:net S  1992; Clayoquot Sound (BC) Area Sustainable Tourism Development Master Plan (Canada’s First), ecoplan:net S  1995-2002: a) National Ecotourism Master Plans S  Australia (1994), Botswana (2002), Bulgarie (2002), Philippines (2005), Laos, Bhutan, Vietnam (1999 - 2004), Ecuador (2002) S  b) Regional/State and National Parks Strategies, ecoplan:net S  Province of Saskatchewan Ecotourism Master Plan, Canada S  Brasov County (Agrotourism) Strategy: Romania S  Retezat National Park Sustainable Tourism, Romania) S  Province de Chtouka Aït Baha (Morocco)
  16. 16. S  1992-96: Ecotourism Planning, Product Development + Marketing Workshop: Banff Center for Management/ecoplan:net S  1994-95 Commonwealth Caribbean Sustainable Tourism + Green Management Workshop Series, Commonwealth Secretariat, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism/ecoplan:net S  WINNER: Green Globe Achievement Award (1996) S  1994-1996 Brazil Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Workshop Series, Conservation International/ecoplan:net S  2002 Morocco Sustainable Rural Tourism Workshops, USAID and Chemonics International/ecoplan:net
  17. 17. S  (A) Generated more than 120 Ecotourism/Green Certification Programs S  Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT): Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program - CST S  Québec Marine Ecotourism Certification (2001) S  Australia Nature Tourism + Ecotourism Accreditation Program (2002) S  Romania Ecotourism Standards and Certification (2006) USAID S  Egypt Ministry of Tourism: Green Star Hotel Certification Programme S  Ecotourism Ireland S  Chile: National System for Distinction in Sustainable tourism
  18. 18. S  (B) Organization or Association Programs S  STEP Eco-Certification: Sustainable Tourism International S  Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria S  European Ecotourism Labeling Standard (EETLS) S  Rainforest Alliance Standard for Tourism Operations S  Green Globe, S  Green Key, S  EarthCheck S  Center for Ecotourism and Sustainable Development S  Japan Ecolodge Association
  19. 19. S  Botswana Green, Green Plus and Ecotourism Certification Program, ecoplan:net S  Based on Ecotourism Certification Feasibility Study S  Expansion of a proposed ‘ecotourism certification program’ to include Green and Green + standards S  Ecotourism Best Practices Guidelines Manual and Technical Standards Manual S  Accommodation Operator Handbook S  Validation by 350 accommodation suppliers S  Eventually integrated into Quality Assurance Standards S  WINNER: 2010 Tourism for Tomorrow Award
  20. 20. S  Bahamas National Guide Sustainable Tourism Certification Program (2010) ecoplan:net S  3 tier Guide Certification (entry, premiere and master) S  Birdwatching, Sea Kayaking, Fly-fishing S  Sustainable tourism standards, technical knowledge S  Training Manuals and Workshops S  Assessor Training Workshop and Support Materials S  On Island Guide Train-the Trainer Program S  The Knowledge, Network, Education, and Training (KNET) Working Group S  Identifying educational materials
  21. 21. Star Grading Programs Quality Assurance Responsible Tourism Universal Accessibility
  22. 22. S  Morocco Rural Tourism (Accommodation and Restaurant) Quality Assurance + Ecotourism Certification Program ecoplan:net S  Local operator awareness program S  Training of local assessors S  Marketing support (web site, FAM Trips, etc.) S  Winner: 2009 Tourism for Tomorrow Award S  Southern Africa Harmonized Accommodation Star Grading Program (2009 – 2011) ecoplan:net S  250 Quality Assurance, 60 responsible tourism, 40 accessible/ inclusive tourism standards S  Mandatory by 2016 S  Cooperative Management Structure and Marketing program (RETOSA and Member states) S  Endorsed by 14 Ministers of Tourism
  23. 23. S  Kingdom of Lesotho QUALStar Accommodation Grading Program IESC/ecoplan:net S  Revised Minimum Requirements for a business license S  Composting, linen policy, low flow restrictors, CFL’s S  Accessible parking and entrance, trained staff S  Stakeholder Sensitization Workshops (95% attendance) S  15 day Assessor + 3 day Master assessor training program S  350 standards across 6 accommodation categories S  Website and Communication Strategy S  I2 Pilot Assessments S  Awards Committee Training
  24. 24. S  CURRENT GLOBAL SITUATION: S  Despite 25 years of policies, plans, and certification programs; 65% of North American and 85% of worldwide hotels practice little or no sustainability initiatives. S  1 trillion gallons (5 trillion liters) of water untreated/year (2015) S  Millions of liters of untreated toxic chemicals (cleaners, plastics) from accommodation and restaurant sectors/year S  80% accommodation managers (GM, F + B, CFO, operations, etc.) have little knowledge of sustainability practices S  URGENT GLOBAL SOLUTION S  Worldwide expansion of compulsory sustainability training in ALL tourism and hospitality management programs S  Distribute sustainable tourism techniques and practices to private sector tourism suppliers
  25. 25. S  All Tourism Technical, College and Universities S  Shift from elective courses to core program S  Respond to current and future demand for sustainable awareness and knowledge S  Policies, Programs, Practices, Processes S  In house training for current hospitality managers and tourism planners S  Create International Tourism Educators Sustainability Task Force
  26. 26. S  Accommodation and Attraction Supplier Workshops S  2-3 day workshops that introduce suppliers to: S  Introduce resource depletion issues facing the industry S  Demonstrate Techniques and Technologies associated with sustainable operations S  Waste management, water conservation, CO2 reduction Community project contribution, purchasing policies S  Performing internal audits; Water, Waste, Energy, etc. S  Prepare 3-year Corporate Green Management Strategy and Action Plan S  Use of Green Management Planning Workbook
  27. 27. Sustainable Tourism Policies and Plans, Ecotourism Strategies, Facility Certification and Grading programs Sustainable tourism as a CORE program Integrating sustainability into all courses content Training faculty in sustainability 2-3 day intensive workshops Develop Company Green Management Strategy + Action Plan
  28. 28. Going beyond sustainable tourism training and certification to: Develop a ‘Culture of Sustainability’ in your life, your home and your workplace
  29. 29.