Qantas, Zeitz, Roteiros, Bhutan Among Those Named at Lucerne Forum
The World Tourism Forum in Lucerne, Switzerland, has now provided a direct link to the 2013 illustrated showcase of best practices. The 20-minute sustainability-themed showcase “Green—And Beyond” ranges through various realms of tourism. Your portal editor was privileged to present it at the main plenary session April 18 before a 400-strong international audience of travel CEOs, government tourism officials, heads of civic organizations, and—unique to this forum—rising young talent. You can also download the slides as a PDF.
Cosponsored by National Geographic Traveler, the showcase sought to demonstrate how the sustainability movement in travel and tourism is evolving from such basics as recycling and low-energy light bulbs into a more holistic approach that encompasses cultural and natural heritage, aesthetics, endemic arts and artisanry, and destinations as a whole. Selections drew from the suggestions and support of colleagues and affiliates of the Destination Stewardship Center.
The showcase selections represented good practice trends from around the world. They included:
- Copenhagen—leader in sustainable hotels
- Alto Hotel, Melbourne, Australia—carbon-neutral pioneer
- El Nido Resorts, Philippines and Hotel Porto del Lago, Guatemala—conservation and jobs for local communities
- World Heritage destination of Alhambra and Grenada, Spain—excellent visitor management
- Orient Village development, St. Martin, French West Indies—suitable architecture
- Cayman Islands’ new “Dive 365” program—dispersal of diver traffic
- Roteiros de Charme hotel group, Brazil—combining charm, environment, and multiple price points
- InterContinental Tambo Airport Hotel, Johannesburg—local artisanry and cuisine augment in-hotel guest experience
- Entlebuch Biosphere Reserve, Switzerland—conservation and evolving cuisine based on traditional agriculture
- Qantas Airways—various destination-support programs for culture, nature, and aesthetics
- Helena, Montana airport terminal—design that evokes sense of place
- Royal Caribbean Cruises—newly launched certified shore excursion program
- Hoona, Alaska—cruise-passenger management
- Hong Kong’s new cruise terminal—notably appropriate for minimizing megaship disruption to port city
- Community Conservancies, Namibia—74 community-based conservancies and 1200+ jobs supported by wildlife tourism
- Zeitz Foundation’s Long Run Destinations—enterprises incorporating conservation, culture, community, and commerce
- Fogo Island, Newfoundland—geotourism enhancement by basing new assets on local tradition
- The city of Barcelona and the country of Bhutan—destination-wide sustainability policies.
The Thursday plenary session led off with a scathing and telling keynote [see 1st video, April 18] by Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Consumption and Production, United Nations Environment Program, who focused on the general failure of the travel industry to adopt sustainable practices with necessary speed. It was appropriate then, for the showcase to complement his reasoned critique with examples of how things can be done right—if there is will to do so. We hope they will provide inspiration for many others.
Other topics addressed by forum speakers ranged from the future of tourism to marketing and mobile media, along with a recognition ceremony for notably accomplished students in tourism from around the world. You can review all the presentations here , including those for the breakout session on destination sustainability. Setting the tone for the Forum was an introductory photo show of finalists from the 2012 National Geographic Traveler Photography Contest, accompanied by a live saxophone duet from the Lucerne school of music.
I offer my thanks to the many people and organizations who provided suggestions and material for the Best Practices showcase, including Sustainable Travel International, the Rainforest Alliance, the Zeitz Foundation, Solimar International, Tourism Australia, Jamie Sweeting, Costas Christ, Ariane Janer, Roger Sonderegger, the staff of National Geographic Traveler, and numerous others.