The Crash Course Creating demand for Sustainable Tourism took place in the Alvie, Morlich & Glenmoore room. It was organized by the Rainforest Alliance (www.rainforest–alliance.org/), which was represented by Federico Solano.
Federico has worked in the tourism industry since 1994 focusing in the marketing field in different areas such as hospitality, airlines, travel agencies and car rentals. He joined the Rainforest Alliance ´s Sustainable Tourism program in 2004. During his time in the Rainforest Alliance, Solano has coordinated projects in several Latin American, North American and European countries, and supporting sustainable tourism by helping offer and demand to adopt responsible practices towards the environment and local communities. His dedication in promoting sustainable tourism to consumers and the tourism industry has led to multiple strategic alliances with local governments, international organizations and private industry.
More information on speakers: (http://www.adventuretravel.biz/connect/summit/summit-agenda/2010-featured-content/speakers/)
The session began with a small presentation of the Rainforest Alliance. The organization sets to create best practice guides (Forest, coastal environments or anywhere). They create these tools to aid companies in different areas around the world to increase their sustainability strategies and efforts. It provides tools and a work structure which has been adopted in many different areas with a lot of feedback to improve these tools.
They provide a certification for sustainable practices in tourism, through this guideline. We are aware that as nobody is perfect, therefore no business can be 100% sustainable but this program aids companies in order to work in the direction of sustainability and implements these types of strategies. They look for win-win situations where business and local communities benefit from the developments and give back to the community some of the industry incomes in order to preserve the natural and cultural heritage.
They also have an agricultural, forestry programs among others. The agricultural is the second biggest, a figure is for example of the British tea consumed, and 50% is certified by the Rainforest Alliance. In terms of the tourism program it is growing rapidly and has various programs, some targeting companies and best practices, the sustainabletrip.org organization which educates travellers, or the green travel program.
After this initial presentation there is a panel of companies that will debate some of their actions and activities that they have carried out in order to try and increase demand for their sustainable products and practices.
- Enrique Umbert of Mountain Lodges of Peru http://www.mountainlodgesofperu.com
Enrique experience has been a learning process towards sustainability. He focused on this idea of comfort versus sustainability in terms of managing expectations. We must understand that we are selling emotional comfort and quality. He educates the visitor and explains why things are done in a certain way. He transmits what are the benefits to the environment and local population of carrying the operations in the way they do.
- Veronica Napuri Peirano of Tucano Reps. Peru http://www.tucanoperu.com
She works in a rural community in Peru which is self-sustained, (agriculture, fishing, school). She focuses on local development but through community integration. The local people are the ones who identify their needs, for example a small playing area for the children, a greenhouse with vegetables so that they don’t have to travel so much to trade. For example: The visitors are the ones who learn the language of the local inhabitants. Shows a great job of conservation of ancient cultures and how this community continues to live in the traditional way and it is they who have the control to continue in this manner or introduce products and services of the “new world.”
The program plants trees in the rainforest and there is a strong commitment to keep this community intact and living in their traditional ways.
Randy has been part of the World Travel & Tourism Council, and now manages his has his own organization with other partners. HE put forward the idea that there is a clear change towards more sustainable practices and especially in tourism sector. There are EU guidelines, carbon emissions reduction Schemes and programs, surveys show there is a societal change occurring. People are becoming more aware of our impacts on the environment and there is an increase in people and tourist who look to reduce their ecological footprint. There is the greening of suppliers as airlines improve efficiency, companies want to do community development and tour operators travel and audit the greenness of their suppliers.
For example: Country walkers, (Part of TUI) has created a step program certification and awareness campaign to educate, clients, providers, suppliers and all their supply chain to reduce their impacts and becoming more sustainable. Another example he put forward was travel agency that has zero emissions as it neutralizes through forestry programs and using the lower emissions jets.
- Rob Holmes of Green Living Project http://www.greenlivingproject.com
The represent a unique production and distribution team for US & North America. They carry over 175 events around the world. They create movies on experiential travel, we had a meeting with them and we are trying to produce a documentary on the shire of la Vera. According to their expertise the Nicaragua market needs more work in ecotourism and Costa Rica has been the leader year’s back. Their final goal is to educate the consumer. Today they are working on Granada in San Jose for their next event.
European Escapes are increasing and there are everyday more people looking for different type of travel:
- Sustainable Travel – standards are evolving and more and more companies are increasing their sustainable practices.
- We need to unify these standards. There are many standards and in order to compare different destinations these need to be unified.
- Increase in the number of certifications (TI) carbon offset arena.
- Formation education, it’s a process. No one is 100% sustainable!
- Standards A to B and finally to C. (Long term Process)
- Sustainableairlines.org set criteria and international language for transport companies.
From this session we can identify the changing trends in travel and how the sustainable market is increasing and been every day more demanded. Its changing from an additional value to something that is been demanded by the adventure traveller.
Adventure Travellers want more sustainable practices to be implemented.
Would you be willing to pay a little more for your holiday if you knew that this money is used for recovery and protection of natural environments to recover cultures, communities and ancestral customs?