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Published on : Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2016 in Suwon, Republic of Korea, took place on 5-8 October 2016, with 400 participants coming from more than 20 countries in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa, and North America. This includes many GSTC members and the GSTC Board members.
The conference brought direct engagement with global thought-leaders to strengthen the global sustainable tourism movement while clarifying GSTC’s unique role as an Accreditation Body for standards of sustainable tourism.
The opening ceremony was greeted by the Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Mr. Nam Kyung-Pil, and Mayor of Suwon City, Mr. Yeom Tae-Young, as well as greetings by ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General, Ambassador Kim Young-Sun, and GSTC Chair Mr. Luigi Cabrini. Following opening remarks were given by UNWTO Director of Sustainable Development of Tourism, Dr. Dirk Glaesser, who explained the UNWTO framework for Sustainable Tourism based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
At the opening ceremony, GSTC officially announced the recognition of the Sustainable City Tourism Standards for Korea, created by Suwon City. These standards will first be applied to Suwon’s policies and practices, after which Suwon will make them available to other cities within the Republic of Korea.
GSTC CEO Mr. Randy Durband gave an overview of the GSTC and the four themes of the conference: Marketing Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable MICE, Sustainable City Tourism, and Cultural Tourism brought expert speakers and attentive and engaging participants.
Beginning with the Marketing Sustainable Tourism theme, participants learned from University of Surrey Professor Dr. Xavier Font how to mainstream and communicating sustainable tourism. TUI Group Sustainability Director Mrs. Jane Ashton shared how TUI Group communicates sustainability to its 20 million customers worldwide.
WWF Travel, Tourism and Conservation Director Mr. Jim Sano, explained the partnership between WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCL) to make RCL’s supply chain more sustainable. This includes a formal endorsement by RCL of the GSTC framework and a commitment to require all suppliers of their land tour operations gain certification by a GSTC Approved or Accredited Certifying Body by the end of 2019.
The Sustainable MICE & City Tourism theme was keynoted and moderated by MCI Regional Sustainability Director Mr. Roger Simons, exploring the characteristics of sustainable MICE destinations and key trends of Sustainable MICE cities.
Participants also heard from high level speakers and thought leaders including André Russ, Vice President Sales – EarthCheck; Hannah Jamieson, General Manager of External Relations – Business Events Sydney; Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director – Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office; Li Tienen, General Manager – CSCA; Lv Yuzhen, Director of Tourism Management Office – Mt. Huangshan Administrative Committee; Muhamad Daud, Culture and Tourism Unit Head – ASEAN-Korea Centre; Nichapa Yoswee, Director of MICE Capabilities Development -TCEB; Noor Ahmad Hamid, Regional Director APAC – ICCA; Rod Hillman, CEO – Ecotourism Australia; Willem Niemeijer, CEO – Yaana Ventures; and many more.
The learning, networking, and inspiration gained from the discussions, motivated participants to move sustainability forward. “The conference exceeded my expectations.” says Noor Ahmad Hamid, Regional Director APAC, International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), “Well done GSTC, Gyeonggi Tourism Organization and those involved. On behalf of ICCA, we are more than happy to be part of this inaugural conference and happy to be involved again in the future.”