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Published on : Thursday, May 14, 2015
520 participants attended from 30 countries, and there were keynote presentations from Jeff Parrish of WWF, Antoine George of Peru, and the Minister of Tourism of Ecuador, Sandra Naranjo.
During the ESTC15, Ecuador announced its commitment to the GSTC Criteria as a national standard, and was awarded a plaque for their national sustainability criteria being recognized by the GSTC.
The conference connected live via skype to the European Ecotourism Conference in Poland. There was also participation and support by UDLA University in Quito, where students daily highlighted the cultural attributes through food and music of various regions of Ecuador.
Participants went on a spectacular full day field sessions from the highlands of Cotopaxi to the ruins of Cochasqui with participation from a range of tour operators.
The conference closed with a celebration of 25 years of Ecotourism sponsored by Quito Turismo, who put on a Gala event at the Yaku Water Museum overlooking the city.
Botswana has agreed to host the next conference – ESTC16.
Said Kelly Bricker, TIES Chair: “The ESTC15 brought together expertise in ecotourism and sustainable tourism from around the world, highlighting success stories and challenges faced by tour operators, government, the accommodation sector, NGOs and communities – the content was rich, the stories told through GLP films and speakers were creative and inspiring, and the examples of what is possible remarkable!”
“Every participant came away well “fed” with ideas, energy, new contacts and relationships, and continued hope for the tourism industry to effect positive change in biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development.”
“We all know that tourism must be a partner in sustainability efforts and through the ESTC15, we learned strategies for implementation, through private – public partnerships, overwhelming support for the GSTC Criteria as a the global standard for sustainability in tourism, and creating strategic alliances and networks within destinations for sustainable management and development. Ecuador was an amazing classroom for us all!”