The 12th annual meeting of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, Conference of the Parties (CBD COP12) just concluded in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. During this 11-day event, many government authorities, world leaders and professionals of various fields shared common vision and adopted the strategic framework for capacity building agreeing to enhance public awareness of the importance of conserving biodiversity, promote innovative solutions to reduce the threats to biodiversity and encourage all stakeholders to take immediate steps to halt biodiversity loss.
During the conference, GSTC CEO Randy Durband was a guest panelist at a forum held on Biodiversity and Tourism Development. Mr Durband, discussed with the audience the threats and opportunities between medium and large scale tourism ventures and how they can cooperate with indigenous and local communities to develop nature-based tour products.
Similarly, Dr. Dirk Glaesser, GSTC Board Member and Director for Sustainable Development of Tourism Department at the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) led a panel on identifying criteria for priority-setting. The key purpose of this session was to reveal how to integrate biodiversity into the development of critical tourism and conservation hotspots. Dr. Glaesser – author of several publications in biodiversity- has years of involvement in the field and since 2007, he supervises the UNWTO Consulting Unit on Biodiversity and Tourism in Bonn, Germany.
According to GSTC member and world's leading conservation organization the World Wide Fund for Nature Foundation better known as WWF, "Biological diversity is the resource upon which families, communities, nations and future generations depend. It is the link between all organisms on earth, binding each into an interdependent ecosystem, in which all species have their role". Every two years, the WWF publishes the Living Planet Report which documents the state of the planet and what this means for humans and wildlife. The 2014 Living Planet Report provided a comprehensive view of the health of the earth and confirmed suspected trends.
Irresponsibly managed, tourism can have a variety of negative impacts on biodiversity. In order to address biodiversity loss at local, regional and national levels, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council will continue to lead by example with key actions: public access to the GSCT Criteria, sharing knowledge with the Sustainability Training Program, and supporting the pathway to more sustainable destinations with the GSTC Destinations Program.
Washington, D.C. (October 21, 2014) GSTC Early Adopter St. Kitts is the 2014 recipient of the Caribbean Tourism Organization ("CTO") / TravelMole Sustainable Tourism Award for Destination Stewardship.
St. Kitts Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary Patricia Martin and Assistant Permanent Secretary Diannille Taylor-Williams accepted the award on behalf of St. Kitts at CTO's State of the Industry Conference in September. Launched in 2013, the Destination Stewardship honor of the CTO / TravelMole Sustainable Tourism Awards is a new category. St. Kitts is only the second destination ever to win the award.
Washington, D.C. (October 7, 2014) Randy Durband, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), presented at the International Conference on Community Development (ICCDT), PATA Youth Symposium, and PATA Travel Mart held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia from September 16-19, 2014.
The events were organized by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), UNESCO, and other globally recognized organizations.
Washington, D.C. (October 1, 2014) On September 27th, the state of Gujarat, India hosted the International Conference on Sustainable Tourism. This 1-day conference had over 200 participants, ranging from Hotel and Tour Operators, government representatives, and natural reserve managers. GSTC Chair, Mr. Luigi Cabrini, presented on the concepts of sustainable tourism and participated in a panel discussion on "Drivers of success in implementing sustainable tourism." GSTC Member, Jonathan Tourtellot (National Geographic), also participated in the panel discussion.
India's Ministry of Tourism recently made bold strides towards increasing sustainable tourism practices within its borders. Inspired by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council's Hotel and Tour Operator Criteria, the Government of India unveiled its own "Sustainable Tourism Criteria and Indicators".
Washington, D.C. (September 17, 2014) On September 4th, 2014 Mr. Luigi Cabrini, GSTC Chair of the Board, delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony for the post graduate course on sustainable tourism at "Universidad del Caribe" in Cancun. He stressed the value of sustainable tourism and of the GSTC initiatives for an iconic destination such as Cancun and the whole Quintan Roo state, which includes the Riviera Maya.
The following day, a formal recognition as an Ambassador of Sustainaibility was handed over to the manager of Banyan Tree, located in the extraordinary Mayakoba resort in Riviera Maya. The project "Ambassadors of Sustainibility" was created by Sustainable Riviera Maya (SRM). SRM is a successful GSTC Early Adopter, and will also host Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria Leadership Workshop at the beginning of December. Beatriz Barreal, leader of the SRM initiative, has been recently elected as member of the GSTC board of directors.
Cabrini commented that, "Both events were attended by key tourism decision makers from the Government and the private sector. The GSTC plays a catalyzer role for sustainable tourism in the region and will continue to support new initiatives and projects."