Six non-governmental organizations call for a rebalance in tourism as the sector recovers from COVID-19
SEATTLE, WA – 16 June 2020 – Six organizations have come together for the first time to form The Future of Tourism Coalition with the global mission to place destinations at the center of recovery strategies – the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), Destination Stewardship Center, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares, and the Travel Foundation, with the guidance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
Decades of unfettered growth in travel have put the world’s treasured places at risk – environmentally, culturally, socially, and financially. The travel and tourism industries face a precarious and uncertain future due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, with international tourist numbers projected to fall 60-80% in 2020. As tourism moves forward and recovers, re-centering around a strong set of principles is vital for long term sustainable and equitable growth.
To rally global change, the Coalition has put forth Guiding Principles that outline a bold vision for tourism’s path forward and is calling on tourism agencies, travel companies, governments, investors, non-governmental organizations, and destination communities to commit to them.
Twenty-two founding signatories who represent a diverse cross-section of key industry stakeholders have committed thus far. They are influencers in the movement, demonstrating leadership and adherence to the Guiding Principles in their product and business practices. They will provide guidance to the Coalition as plans are put in place to support travel and tourism entities long-term in their strategy to place destinations and communities at the core of their work. Those signatories include Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), Ecotourism Australia, G Adventures, Global Ecotourism Network, Government of the Azores, Government of Colombia, Hilton, Innovation Norway, Intrepid Travel, Jordan Tourism Board, Lindblad Expeditions, MT Sobek, Palau Bureau of Tourism, Riverwind Foundation (Jackson Hole, WY), Slovenian Tourist Board, Swisscontact, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, The Travel Corporation, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Tourism Council Bhutan and the World Wildlife Fund.
Interested travel and tourism stakeholders are invited to show their support and become part of the movement by joining as signatories. Visit www.futureoftourism.org.
The Guiding Principles provide a clear moral and business imperative for building a healthier tourism industry while protecting the places and people on which it depends. Those Principles call for signatories to:
- See the whole picture
- Use sustainability standards
- Collaborate in destination management
- Choose quality over quantity
- Demand fair income distribution
- Reduce tourism’s burden
- Redefine economic success
- Mitigate climate impacts
- Close the loop on resources
- Contain tourism’s land use
- Diversify source markets
- Protect sense of place
- Operate business responsibly
The foundation of these principles was built on a firm belief that taking a holistic approach to responsible and sustainable tourism is the only way to secure the future the Coalition stands for.
“The recent crisis in tourism has shown us just how much tourism relies and depends on local and global communities,” said Maja Pak, Director at the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB). “We have already strengthened ties with local communities and tourism authorities from across the country. We now find that sharing our experiences and gaining best practice examples from other countries will be the key to successfully navigate the post-corona tourism universe. This is where the role of the Future of Tourism Coalition will be vital. The STB is looking forward to cooperating with the Coalition and to progress further with the reset of tourism, especially in this new reality, where sustainability and destination needs, as well as trust, will have to be placed at the center of tourism’s future.”
The Coalition recognizes that a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is fundamental to achieving its Guiding Principles. The travel and tourism industry has much work to do, and the Coalition will act with intentionality in addressing the role that racial and environmental justice play in creating a more equitable tourism economy. The Coalition members have made a commitment to listen, learn, and seek change by engaging with signatories and other entities as a part of that journey, and this work will be guided by GSTC indicators and criteria related to equity, inclusion, and non-discrimination.
In a joint statement, the CEOs of the organizations represented in the Coalition said, “It is imperative that every organization evaluates how they will actively place the needs of destinations and equity within their communities at the center of tourism development, management, and promotion decisions. There is no stable future for tourism if this is not done now – together, responsibly, and vigorously. This is not a short-term effort, this is the future. Long-term resilient social, economic, and environmental recovery and regeneration will require all sectors of industry to rethink how tourism works, who it works for, and how success is defined.”
The path to change is a journey and lasting solutions take time. The Coalition will support the industry by providing the tools, guidance and collaboration to ensure a stronger path forward and encourage a diverse and inclusive set of signatories to sign on and share their perspectives and experiences to collectively work toward a more just, equitable, and sustainable future for all. For more information, visit www.futureoftourism.org
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The Future of Tourism Coalition is a collaborative effort to chart a new, more sustainable direction for tourism and shift the status quo. The Coalition is comprised of six non-governmental organizations, the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), Destination Stewardship Center, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares, and the Travel Foundation, with the guidance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), that stand united in an appeal for change. The Coalition is pursuing a shared global mission: to place destination needs at the center of tourism’s new future. Through commitment of their Guiding Principles, the greater travel industry and destination agencies can align around a path forward for a more sustainable future for tourism. For more information, visit www.futureoftourism.org
Ben Lynam, The Travel Foundation: 07866 155700 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Roi Ariel, GSTC: email@example.com
Jessica Flores, Tourism Cares: +1-781-821-5990 x212 / firstname.lastname@example.org