GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training: May 30 – June 2, 2022

The GSTC delivered a 3-day in-person training on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. Led by GSTC Trainer Angela Nagy, the training class also featured expert contributors, including Rebecca Mackenzie (Culinary Tourism Alliance), John Winter (Harbour Air) and Dave Bodaly (Petroglyph Development Group).

The audience was comprised of 13 staff (and one dog) from 4VI, formerly Tourism Vancouver Island, and now a social enterprise in support of a sustainable future for Vancouver Island as a tourism destination. As 4VI makes the transition to ensure that travel becomes a force for good on Vancouver Island, the participants shared that the training was very valuable and brought up several areas of action that they hadn’t previously considered.

During the training, participants also discussed more deeply some of the areas that they wish to focus on, including several GSTC criteria under Section D: Environmental Sustainability, related to Environmental UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water. There was interest amongst the team in how to support efforts to use regenerative methods, such as seagrass restoration, to create habitat while also growing an important carbon sink, as well as to encourage industry to get involved with projects and organizations that are working to protect sea life.

The field day took the team to Harbour Air, where they learned about how measuring and reducing carbon emissions has been a long-time goal of the world’s largest all-seaplane airline. As North America’s first carbon-neutral airline (since 2007), Harbour Air took a big step towards decarbonization by becoming the first airline in the world to test the world’s first fully-electric commercial aircraft in 2019.

Participants also visited Saysutshun Marine Provincial Park, which was recently renamed with its traditional indigenous name and management transferred to the Snuneymuxw First Nation, as part of the reconciliation efforts of the British Columbia Provincial government. While on the peaceful island, the team received a talk from Dave Bodaly, an indigenous cultural tour guide, about the historical and current uses of the island, and his efforts to share these traditions and the culture of his people, with visitors.

About the GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Course

The GSTC Sustainable Tourism Training Program offers regular online and in-person courses covering the GSTC Criteria, with the aim of supporting industry professionals to:

✓ Gain in-depth knowledge of the GSTC Criteria, the global standard for sustainability in travel and tourism.
✓ Make informed decisions on how to implement sustainability practices for your company or destination.
✓ Get ready for developing viable and actionable sustainable tourism policies and practices for your organization.