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Destinations Together, GSTC team on sustainable tourism webinar series

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Destinations Together and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council are sponsoring a Sustainable Tourism Webinar Series beginning Jan. 27.

The goal is to help educate travel and tourism leaders to work collaboratively to protect the environment and support sustainable policy and management practices.

Destinations Together was formed in 2020 by shore excursions experts/business consultants Larry Stauffer and Tom Anderson as a platform for information and collaboration among Caribbean tour operators.

Examples of GSTC's cruise-related work include a sustainability assessment of Corfu and Heraklion, co-funded by Cruise Lines International Association, and certification of Royal Caribbean Group shore excursions.

Core pillar for long-term success

Despite the pandemic, sustainable tourism remains a core pillar for the travel industry's long-term success.

In a 2018 Nielsen study, 73% of global consumers said they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment while balancing convenience, price and awareness.

According to Destinations Together, the cruise industry and destination partners must embrace this emerging paradigm shift and lead by thinking beyond the short-term sustainability costs to the longer-term benefits of a more sustainable experience and possibly opening new profit centers. 

Toward this, travel companies and destinations need to better understand what consumers care about and how they will spend their time and money. The World Economic Forum advises that as the sustainability revolution expands, accelerates and disrupts, it is forcing companies to reassess how they operate and what products they offer. 

Concerns about crowding when travel resumes

'I fear that once people feel comfortable enough to travel, it is likely that some tour and travel companies could be so eager to get the business that local, natural, historic and cultural sites may be negatively impacted by throngs of enthusiastic tourists,' Anderson said. 'With this in mind, we are trying to help cruise-related tour companies keep sustainability on the agenda.'

Webinar schedule

The Destinations Together/GSTC Sustainable Tourism Webinar Series will address some of these critical issues during a four-part webinar series.

The series kicks off Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. EST with a GSTC overview of global sustainability. It features Randy Durband, CEO, GSTC; Rob Zeiger, chief communication officer, Royal Caribbean Group; and Ukko Metsola, director general, CLIA Europe.

Session 2, Feb. 10, hones in on tour operator sustainability and the path to GSTC certification, featuring Naut Kusters of Travelife.

Session 3, March 3, addresses destination stewardship and sustainability, with Planeterra's Jamie Sweeting and Kathleen Pessolano, a specialist in corporate-community partnerships whose experience includes WWF.

The series wraps on March 17 with hotel sustainability, featuring GSTC's Durband.

Registration/information: www.destinationstogether.com.

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