GSTC2022 Conference Program

The GSTC2022 Global Conference in Seville, Spain, December 12-15, will address:

  • (A) Tourism Adaptation to Climate Change
  • (B) Mainstreaming Sustainability Standards
  • (C) Destination Stewardship

December 11th-12th – Pre-conference Training (optional)

A two-day in-person GSTC Sustainable Tourism training class is offered in conjunction with the GSTC2022 Global Conference, during December 11th at 9:00-17:00 and December 12th at 9:00-17:00. Those participating in the training class, can then join the evening reception and the rest of the conference program (December 12th – 15th).

A class in English and a class in Spanish are offered. Fore more information:

Monday, December 12th – Welcome Dinner

11:00 – 12:30Meeting with ASI for GSTC-Accredited Certification Bodies (by invitation only)
14:00 – 15:00Tourism Impact Alliance: Audit Manager and Audit Office (by invitation only)

For GSTC-Accredited Certification Bodies & GSTC-Recognized Standard Owners

15:00 – 17:00GSTC Gov’t/Destination Members Meeting (by invitation only)
19:00Welcome Reception at La Raza Puerto

Tuesday, 13th December – Conference Day 1 (tentative)

8:00 – 9:00Registration
9:30 – 10:15Opening Ceremony

  • Luigi Cabrini – Chair, GSTC
10:15 – 11:00GSTC’s Global Mission and Current Activities
GSTC2022 Conference themes overview
Randy Durband – CEO, GSTC
11:00 – 11:45Refreshment Break and Networking
(Press conference for local media)
11:45 – 13:15

@ Auditorium 3

(1) Climate Change, Heat Waves, and Fires: Influence on the Tourism Industry

Climate change is the single most important global environmental and development issue facing the world today. Tourism is considered to be a vulnerable and highly climate-sensitive economic sector. Climate defines the length and quality of tourism seasons and plays a major role in destination choice and tourist spending. Climate affects a wide range of environmental resources that are critical attractions for tourism, such as snow conditions, wildlife productivity and biodiversity, water levels and quality. Climate also has an important influence on environmental conditions that can deter tourists, including infectious disease, wildfires, insect or water-borne pests, and extreme events such as tropical cyclones. In this session we will explore the implications of climate change and climate policy for tourism sectors and destinations around the world, adaptation and mitigation responses by all major tourism stakeholders, and the integral links between climate change and sustainable tourism.

Moderator: Luigi Cabrini – Chairman, GSTC


  • Albert Salman – Future of Tourism Summit and Glasgow Declaration
  • Michael Holmes – Head of Marketing, Global Rescue
  • Bijan Khazai – CEO, Hotel Resilient
  • Ulf Sonntag – Managing Director, Institute for Tourism Research in Northern Europe (NIT)
  • Gina Bunton – Chief International Operations Officer, Tahiti Tourisme
13:15-14:30Lunch and Networking
14:30 – 15:45

@Auditorium 3

(2) NTOs Engaging and Promoting Certification of Businesses

Destination stewardship requires good public policy and strong private sector practices. The Destination Management Organization (DMO) has a role in both, not just the first. The DMO needs to provide guidance and encouragement to the private sector to operate more sustainably. Criterion A4 of the GSTC Destination Criteria and its Performance Indicators underscores that DMO’s must take an active role in engaging with the private sector. This is needed to encourage more sustainable forms of services and experiences.

Moderator: Dr. Mihee Kang – Assurance Program Director & Asia-Pacific Program Director, GSTC


  • Cherie Lee – Chief Sustainability Officer, Singapore Tourism Board (STB)
  • Mafila Richard Malesu – Environment & Eco-Certification Manager, Botswana Tourism Organisation
  • Knut Perander – Head of Tourism Development, Innovation Norway
  • Lindsay Morvan – Director, Mauritius Tourism Authority
14:30 – 15:45

@ Auditorium 2

(3) Sustainable Business Travel

Business travel is a segment within the tourism industry focusing on visitors who travel for business and professional purposes. Business travel is an important factor in national and international business. However, it also has a negative effect on our environment. Sustainable business travel is concerned with managing the costs, social impacts and environmental consequences generated by the use of different modes of business travel. Using the GSTC Criteria as a reference point allows corporates and organizations to improve their commercial performance and enhance their reputation by adopting sustainable working policies and practices.

Moderator: Bernard Harrop – Managing Director, IG Management


  • Olivia Ruggles-Brise – Vice President Sustainability, BCD Travel
  • Charlie Sullivan – Head of Product Management, Travel Management Portfolio, CWT
  • Kit Brennan – Director, Thrust Carbon
14:30 – 15:45

@ Madrid room

(4) Sustainable Luxury Hospitality

Luxury hotels and resorts cater to increasingly sophisticated consumers that demand only the most exclusive, authentic and environmental-friendly experiences. Many hotels have implemented a green policy, by using sustainable construction materials, recycling waste materials, conserving water, or preserving fragile ecosystems. Sustainability doesn’t mean compromising on luxury: several of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands see sustainability as a core of their offering. In this session we will hear from offering luxury hospitality with embedded sustainability.

Moderator: Motti Essakow – Co-Founder, Rythms by Design and nestwell


  • Pegi Amarteifio – VP Global PR & Communications, Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH)
  • Marta Cardoso – Regional Director of Sustainability, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
  • Carlo Runggaldier – CEO, Tourist Office of San Vigilio & San Martin
  • Daniele Nannetti – Owner and Manager, Villa Petriolo
15:45 – 16:30Refreshment Break and Networking
16:30 – 18:00

@Auditorium 3

(5) Accessibility & Diversity in Travel & Tourism

Moderator: Rika Jean-François – CSR Commissioner, ITB Berlin; GSTC Board Member


  • Roni Weiss – Executive Director, Travel Unity
  • Pablo Ramón – Founder, Native Hotels & Accessible Tourism
  • Lauren Bruggemans – Director of Sustainability & Community Engagement, Visit Greater Palm Springs
  • Natasha Mytton-Mills – Hosting Policy Lead, Airbnb
16:30 – 18:00

@ Auditorium 2

(6) Sustainable Tourism in Latin America

This session will provide an overview and discussion with examples from important sustainable tourism initiatives in Latin America.

Moderator: Jorge Moller – Director LATAM, GSTC


  • Denise Guillén – Vice Minister of Tourism of Panama
  • Luis Chevez – Vice Minister of Tourism of Honduras
  • Beatriz Román Alzerreca – Director, Chile National Tourism Service (SERNATUR)
  • Gustavo Alvarado – Director, Costa Rica Tourism Board (Instituto Costarricense de Turismo ICT)
  • Gabriel Calderón – Presiden of Municipal Council, Tourism of Bonito City, Brazil
16:30 – 18:00

@ Madrid room

 (7) National Tourism Programs Using Existing Sustainable Tourism Standards

Applying sustainable standards and certification to tourism businesses and tourism destinations is conducted both by international Certification Bodies and by national schemes. The European Travel Commission, representing 32 national tourism organizations in Europe, published a handbook last year emphasizing the importance of a national approach towards planning, developing and implementing sustainability in tourism through certification. The handbook also explains it is easier to adapt or adopt an existing standard or a scheme than create a whole new one, specifically recommending the GSTC framework. In this session, we will examine 4 national schemes that use existing sustainable tourism standards: Visit Estonia Sustainability Plan, Sustainable Travel Finland, Green Scheme of Slovenian Tourism, and Switzerland Tourism’s Swisstainable Strategy.

Moderator: Rachel McCaffery – Director, Green Case Consulting


  • Liina Maria Lepik – Head of International Services, Estonian Tourist Board
  • Liisa Kokkarinen – Head of Sustainable Development, Visit Finland
  • Maša Klemenčič – Green Scheme Coordinator, Slovenian Tourist Board
  • Helena Videtic – Sustainability Manager, Switzerland Tourism
16:30 – 18:00

@ Brussels room

 (8) Data, Stats, and Trends

This session will look into important trends related to sustainable tourism based on data and statistics compiled by relevant organizations.

Moderator: Willy Legrand – Professor, IU International University of Applied Sciences 


  • Caroline Dal’lin – Commercial Vice President, Bidroom
  • Stephen King – VP Sustainability Solutions, Visa Europe
  • Hartmut Wimmer – Founder & CEO, Outdooractive
  • Ana Moniche Bermejo – Senior Tourism Data Expert, Tourism of Tomorrow Lab, Andalusia Tourism Board
18:00-18:15Review logistics by moderators
18:15Leave FIBES Congress Center  (dinner not included)

Wednesday, 14th December – Conference Day 2 (tentative)

8:00 – 9:00Registration
9:15 – 10:30

Auditorium 3

(9) Influencing Supply Chains to be more Sustainable

Sustainability-oriented companies can influence change by not only making their own operation more sustainable, but also influence their supply chain. That is, encouraging and/or requiring their suppliers to follow certain sustainable practices. If a seller or operator of travel services wishes to claim that their supply chain is sustainable, how do they go about it? Do they conduct their own analysis of each supplier’s performance? That would be time-consuming and costly. A better approach is to trust the work of the experts that conduct neutral, independent, 3rd-party certification of businesses. This session will consider how to phase in preferential contracting of sustainable certified businesses into the supply chain of other businesses, with examples from key companies that utilize the GSTC Criteria to influence their supply chain in different ways.

Moderator: Randy Durband – CEO, GSTC


  • Charlotte WWiebe – Sustainability Director, TUI Group
  • Matt Callaghan – Director of Customer & Operations, easyJet holidays
  • Paul Loughrin – Director, Shore Excursions, Royal Caribbean Group
  • Arantxa Garcia Lis – Head of Sustainability TUI Musement, TUI Group
10:30 – 11:00Refreshment Break and Networking
11:00 – 12:15

@Auditorium 3

(10) OTAs highlighting sustainable accommodations and tours

An online travel agency (OTA) is a web-based marketplace that allows consumers to search and book travel products and services, including hotels, flights,tours, activities and more. As part of its Market Access program, GSTC has been working with prominent OTAs on how to communicate and highlight sustainable hotels and sustainable tours that are verified or certified as such. In this session we will learn key OTAs that are GSTC Members on how they utilize the GSTC framework in their platforms.

Moderator: Roi Ariel – General Manager, GSTC


  • Kees Jan Boonen – Senior Manager Travel Sustainable Program,
  • Catherine Gilvarry – Head of Supply, Hostelworld Group
  • Elena Pérez Cabello, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hotelbeds Group
11:00 – 12:15

@ Auditorium 2

(11) Sustainable MICE

As international travel is returning so does the demand for large conferences as well as business retreats and small meetings. The MICE sector is part of the tourism industry and therefore can and should be part of the journey towards more sustainable practices. This session will discuss how to advance and apply sustainability in the MICE sector.

Moderator: Peter Reelfs – Sustainability Advisor and Lecturer

  • Francis Hong – Director, Suwon Convention & Visitors’ Bureau
  • María del Mar Carnero – Congress and Events Director, FIBES Conference and Exhibition Centre of Seville
  • Jaime Sanchez Pozo – COO, beon. Worldwide
  • Simon Louvard – Founder & Manager, Lodg’ing
11:00 – 12:15

@ Madrid room

(12) Destination Stewardship Councils

The GSTC Destination Criteria have well proven their value as guides to good destination stewardship. GSTC has chosen not to provide weighting to specific criteria, preferring to present a holistic system. Yet, many experts identify Criterion A1 “Destination management responsibility” as the leading, summarizing the importance of a holistic and inclusive planning group. Inclusive in terms of a “whole-government” approach and in terms of ongoing and meaningful engagement with stakeholders from the community and from tourism-related businesses. Without holistic management that includes citizen participation, difficulties can easily arise, and have: overtourism, neighborhood disruption, cultural degradation, and various environmental problems. By contrast, well-managed tourism can enrich communities, improve public education, and provide the means to sustain natural habitats and elements of cultural heritage, from music and theater to architecture and cuisine. The relationship between tourism and a destination is complex. It requires a collaborative approach.

Moderator: CB Ramkumar – Vice-Chair & South Asia Program Director, GSTC


  • Carolina Mendonça – Sustainability Coordinator, Azores DMO
  • Stefano Ravelli – Destination Manager, DMO Valsugana
  • Stephanie Völser – Sustainability & Product Management, Eggental Tourismus
  • Morgan Mingle – Director of Sustainable Tourism, Park City Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau
11:00- 12:15

@ Brussels room

Attraction Criteria Consultation Workshop

Currently, there are two sets of the GSTC Criteria: GSTC Industry Criteria and GSTC Destination Criteria. With growing interest and requests, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council is now developing the GSTC Attraction Criteria. Conference participants are welcome to take part in this consultation activity as part of the development process and help shape the GSTC Attraction Criteria.

12:15 – 13:45Lunch and Networking
13:45 – 15:00

@Auditorium 3

(13) Carbon Neutral Cities

Carbon-neutral city is one that reduces the majority of carbon emissions and offsets residual emissions, to the point that its operations do not result in a net increase in emissions. Climate mitigation is heavily dependent on urban action and hundreds of cities have committed to eliminating their emissions by 2050. In Europe, cities play a pivotal role in achieving climate neutrality by 2050, the goal of the European Green Deal. They take up only 4% of the EU’s land area, but they are home to 75% of EU citizens. Furthermore, cities consume over 65% of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions. Earlier this year, the European Commission announced 100 EU cities that will participate in the EU Mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, the so-called Cities Mission. The 100 cities come from all 27 Member States.

Moderator: Kit Brennan – Director, Thrust Carbon


  • Esperanza Caro Gomez – General Director of Sustainable Development, Financing and Foreign Action, Seville City
  • Juan Manuel Rosauro – Head of Institutional Affairs and Development Andalusia and Extremadura, ENDESA
  • Jaume Mata – Head of Sustainable Tourism at Visit València
  • Alexia Panagiotopoulou – Head of Strategy, Athens Development and Destination Management Agency (ADDMA)
  • Camilla Zedendahl – CEO, Royal Djurgården Society (Stockholm)
13:45 – 15:00

@ Auditorium 2

(14) Sustainability Reporting in Accommodations

A Sustainability Management System (SMS) is used to identify the risks, outline corresponding management, and monitor and document performance relating to the environmental, social, cultural, economic, quality, human rights, health, and safety issues which will be based on the size, business nature, and scope of an organization. Through regular monitoring, the SMS sets a platform for continuous improvement in sustainability performance. Most importantly, the SMS and all related information has to be clearly documented. This is addressed in GSTC-I criterion A1.

Moderator: Glenn Mendziuk – CEO, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance


  • Brianda Lopez – CEO, Hostelling International
  • Audrey Peguret – Chief Sustainability Officer, Ritz Paris
  • Philip Bacon – Senior Director, Global Practice Leader – Valuations, Horwath HTL
  • Alexandra Michat – Chief Purpose Officer, EXO Travel
13:45 – 15:00

@ Madrid Room

(15) Smart Cities & Regions: Better Places to Live and Visit

Moderator: Ingunn Sørnes – Innovation Norway Special Advisor


  • Sara Martínez-Cañavate – Consultant, ECOTERRAE
  • Taewoo Kang – Project Manager, Tourism Division, Suwon City
  • Marina Delgado Pelarda – Technical Advisor, Government of Andalusia / NECSTouR
  • Annika Fredriksson – CEO, Swedish Lapland Visitors Board
13:45 – 15:00

@ Brussels room

MICE Criteria Consultation Workshop

Currently, there are two sets of the GSTC Criteria: GSTC Industry Criteria and GSTC Destination Criteria. With growing interest and requests, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council is now developing the GSTC MICE Criteria. Conference participants are welcome to take part in this consultation activity as part of the development process and help shape the GSTC MICE Criteria.

15:00 – 15:30Refreshment Break and Networking
15:30 – 16:30

@ Auditorium 3 (plenary)

(16) Türkiye Sustainable Tourism Program

Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA), with guidance from the GSTC, has developed the first mandatory national program for accommodations based on the GSTC Criteria and GSTC Assurance program. The Turkish tourism industry will be restructured from 2022 throughout 2030, when all international standards will be met. This session will discuss the goals and details of the Türkiye Sustainable Tourism Program.

Moderator: Randy Durband – CEO, GSTC


  • Dr. Elif Balcı Fisunoğlu – Vice General Manager, Tourism Operations and Development, Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA)
  • Dr. Halil Burak Sakal – Associate Professor of International Relations, Cappadocia University
  • Dr. Ioannis Pappas – Mediterranean Program Director, GSTC
  • Dr. Mihee Kang – Assurance Program Director & Asia-Pacific Program Director, GSTC
16:30 – 16:45Closing session
17:00Leave FIBES Congress Center
19:00 – 21:30Farewell cocktail dinner at Real Alcazar 

Including a private tour and cocktail at the Royal Palace in Sevilla, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, when it is closed for the delegates of the GSTC2022 Conference only.

18:15-18:30 leave hotels with buses
19:15-20:00 tour
20:00-21:30 evening cocktail

Thursday, 15th December: Post-conference tour

10:00Meeting point tbc with Official tour guides
10:30Plaza de España
11:15Santa Cruz quarter
13:00Setas de Sevilla
14:00Lunch is not included



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