Rutas Ancestrales AraucariasRutas Ancestrales AraucariasSeefeld, 19/02/2021 – “The project "Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias" enables members of the indigenous Mapuche nation to tell their own story and to decide for themselves at any time how to present themselves, their ways of life, their traditions, and values to their visitors“, according to the evaluation of the recent TO DO Award winner by the Institute for Tourism and Development (Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung). The Chilean project meets all the criteria for the internationally renowned award which has been organised annually by Studienkreis since 1995.

The Mapuche nation, who mainly live in the central and southern part of Chile, had to fight for centuries for the recognition of their rights and are still severely repressed by the state. Their ancestral land, for instance, has over the past centuries been reduced by military intervention from ten million hectares to a mere 500,000 hectares.

With the project Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias, the Mapuche (english: „people of the earth“) are now consistently working on having their culture and ways of life recognised. In as early as 2012, several local communities came together to discuss the economic perspectives of their people. At this meeting they developed the idea of community-based tourism in the community of Curarrehue, at the outskirts of the Villarrica National Park. By 2014, tours along three routes across the region were offered, organised by local guides.

By now, the project has found around 30 local partners who share the Mapuche’s culture and ways of living with visitors. Various activities are offered along the routes, from story-telling about the Mapuche’s world view or local medicinal plants to visits to farms and vegetable gardens. The guest may also get actively involved. On different occasions, guests and host get opportunities to talk to each other, whether during joint meals, traditional Mapuche games or over the production of handicraft – from weaving or dyeing of wool to the processing of plant fibres. Guests staying over night are put up with families and have dinner with them.

TO DO 2021: Perspectives for sustainable tourism – despite Covid-19
Projects such as »Rutas Ancestrales Araucarias« contribute significantly to helping the local population tap an additional source of income – but above all to find a possibility to protect their own cultural identity. This is facilitated by the fact that as many community members as possible are being involved in the project. The TO DO Award winner 2021 has helped as many as 38 families to generate a respective income. In 2020, this successful project, too, was hit by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Visits on location are not possible at the moment. The Studienkreis expert who assessed the project says: ”Of course, the loss of income due to Covid-19 is clearly felt. However, the Mapuche working with RAA are able to feed their families without depending on tourism. […] The members of RAA and their communities have overcome various crises in the past and have proven their resilience. This testifies to a particularly sustainable form of tourism“.

TO DO Award Winner 2020 honoured belatedly
As last year’s ITB was cancelled at short notice due to Covid-19, the two TO DO Award winners of 2020 could not be honoured during a live event at the trade fair. So during this year’s online TO DO Award ceremony the projects Esfahk Historic Village, Iran and Banteay Chhmar Community Based Tourism, Cambodia will also be presented and honoured. We will also show videos of the two award winners of 2020.

Claudia Mitteneder, executive director of the Institute for Tourism and Development (Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung): “The projects honoured with the TO DO Awards 2020 and 2021 significantly contribute to the creation of economic, ecological, and social perspectives for local communities, to improved living conditions, also reducing, for instance, migration to the large cities. Both in the planning and implementation phase, the interests of the local people take centre stage. Furthermore, the projects can serve to promote equal opportunities, diversity, and social advancement. All of this is achieved by all Award winners. The Institute for Tourism and Development has for more than 25 years supported and promoted such concepts. With the online presentation of the TO DO and this year’s award winners at ITB NOW we also provide these projects with a platform for communication and networking that is meant to support their future development“.

The virtual award ceremony will take place on 9 March 2021 at 2:00 pm and may be viewed on the streaming portal of ITB NOW (stream no. 2).

Studienkreis für Tourismus und Entwicklung (Institute for Tourism and Development) focuses on development related information and education in tourism. In this context it brings out publications, organises international contests, offers training and seminars for people employed in the tourism sector, carries out tourism research and consultancy, and is involved in dialogue on issues related to tourism development.

The Morrison Government’s announcement today of $61.7m to ‘boost local tourism and preserve our environment’ is a drop in the ocean of what’s needed for a green recovery, the Greens say.

Greens Spokesperson for the Environment and Tourism Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said:
“Australians want our environment protected more than ever. There is a win-win opportunity here, but again the Morrison Government has missed the mark.
“Our special nature spots and the green tourism industry needs real investment, not just the crumbs left over after the Coalition has given the bulk of support to the fossil fuel lobby. This announcement is an insult to the thousands of small businesses that rely on our beautiful beaches, forests and parks being protected and cared for.
“There are more jobs to be created in restoring and protecting our environment than wrecking it. Yet, this Government is putting more money into trashing things than caring for nature. With millions of people out of work, investing in a Green Recovery would be good for local jobs, good for our tourism and good for the environment.
“I visited Kangaroo Island this week, which was ravaged by fire over the summer, and it was very clear so much more is needed to restore the natural environment the premier tourist destination is known for. This announcement isn’t going to cut it for the bushfire hit areas or other tourism destinations where our pristine natural world is the main attraction.”

Greens Spokesperson for Oceans Peter Whish-Wilson said:
“$20 million dollars for our declining reefs is a drop in the ocean.
“It shows just how out of touch the Government really is that with everything we know about the declining health of our oceans, it is committing so little.
“Artificial reefs and an aquarium are Band-Aid solutions to an emergency.
“We need definitive action on climate change and our warming oceans.
“I want my grandchildren to see our marine life at the beach, not behind a glass window.”

Judy Kepher-GonaJudy Kepher-GonaCREST staff and Board of Directors are honored to announce this year’s recipient of the Martha Honey Legacy in Responsible Travel Award: Judy Kepher-Gona, Founder and Principal Consultant at Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda (STTA).

The inaugural Legacy in Responsible Travel Award was made last year to Dr. Martha Honey on the occasion of her retirement to honor her incredible leadership and accomplishments in responsible travel. At that time the CREST Board of Directors decided to make this an annual award to someone in the global tourism industry making a significant difference in pushing the envelope in responsible travel. 

This year’s award winner, Judy Kepher-Gona, is a thought leader in sustainable tourism with over 20 years of experience in championing responsible tourism in Africa and beyond. From setting up Africa’s first ecotourism society to working with countless communities in tourism and conservation, Judy’s contribution to sustainable tourism transcends continents. She has dedicated her career to a pioneering model of ecotourism worldwide.

UNWTOUNWTO1 May 2020 -  For many millions of people around the world, tourism is so much more than a leisure activity.

Our sector gives them the chance to make a living. To earn not just a wage, but also dignity and equality. Tourism jobs also empower people and provide a chance to have a stake in their own societies – often for the first time.

This is what is at risk right now.

The International Labor Organization, a fellow UN agency of UNWTO, has raised the alarm: As many as 1.6 billion individuals worldwide could be affected by a loss of working hours as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fairbnb COVID relief campaign

2 April 2020 -, the new platform for sustainable tourism, launched its COVID-19 relief campaign #IStayHome & #TravelTomorrow, how does it work? The proceeds of future trips will be immediately used to support doctors, nurses and health personnel on the front line against COVID-19 in the active communities in Italy. 

A simple message for future guests of our cities: by booking today, while we stay at home, we can immediately contribute to the fight against Coronavirus and at the same time plan a sustainable holiday, helping Italy to recover.

Never as in this time the society in which we live seems fragile: economic and environmental crises and now the spectre of a pandemic is eroding our habits and safety. Tourism, among all sectors, has proven to be the most vulnerable: the necessary limitations and precautions for the Coronavirus emergency have exposed all its fragility and contradictions.

The booking platforms have recorded a collapse in bookings made for these and the coming months, however, placing the burden mainly on the shoulders of the owners and managers of the properties. A serious blow especially for the Hosts that we consider sustainable, those who host in their home or have at most one home on the tourist market: families who integrate their income without damaging the social fabric of their city.

Sustainable Travel Ireland

Sustainable Travel Ireland has formally adopted the GSTC Industry Criteria to be used in Ireland by accommodations and tour operators.

Sustainable Travel Ireland, formerly Ecotourism Ireland, is Ireland’s leading and longest-running body for the promotion of sustainable and responsible tourism, training and certifying businesses for over 10 years.  Founded in 2009, Ecotourism Ireland set out to develop ecotourism in Ireland, and to highlight the best of what the country had to offer whilst ensuring its heritage and environment were preserved for this and future generations. Today, Sustainable Travel Ireland has the same mission but broader, aiming to drive the development of a new, sustainable model for ALL tourism in Ireland.  

Madrid, 22 January 2020: The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is officially announced today by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to tackle the root causes of plastic pollution, enabling businesses and governments to take joint action.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is ground-breaking and ambitious in its goals. It aims to reduce the amount of plastic pollution caused by the tourism sector. To achieve this vision, tourism companies and destinations will be required to make a set of concrete and actionable commitments by 2025, including to: 

  • Eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging and items by 2025; 
  • Take action to move from single-use to reuse models or reusable alternatives by 2025; 
  • Engage the value chain to move towards 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable; 
  • Take action to increase the amount of recycled content across all plastic packaging and items used; 
  • Commit to collaborate and invest to increase the recycling and composting rates for plastics; 
  • Report publicly and annually on progress made towards these targets. 

Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental challenges of our time, and tourism has an important role to play in contributing to the solution

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is pleased to announce the release of the GSTC Destination Criteria v2.0, which had been under development for most of 2019.
GSTC Criteria serve as the global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The Criteria are used for education and awareness-raising, policy-making for businesses and government agencies and other organization types, measurement and evaluation, and as a basis for certification. To date, two sets of GSTC Criteria have been developed: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars: (1) Sustainable management; (2) Socioeconomic impacts; (3) Cultural impacts; and (4) Environmental impacts (including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes).

Athens, 20 January 2020 - The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has announced a new sustainable tourism seminar in Athens, through the GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Training Program (STTP).

According to Sustainability Leaders, this particular seminar is the most recognised and trustworthy training program globally for certifying professionals in the field of Sustainable Tourism. Recent statements by the Greek Ministry of Tourism reveal that Sustainability will be one pillar, perhaps the most important, of the new national 10 Year Tourism Strategy while education and certification of individuals in the principles of sustainability and global affairs also becomes a primary objective!


The GSTC 2019 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference “Navigating the Way Forward” that took place on December 4th-7th in Terceira Island, the Azores, brought together 250 delegates from 42 countries, along with hundreds of viewers that watched the live broadcasting of the conference.

The Conference themes were: (A) Sustainable Destination Management; (B) Market Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Products; and (C) Tourism Response to Climate Change

“Our challenge is twofold: we need to create effective and practical tools to mainstream sustainability in tourism and to convince those skeptical decision-makers, who are not ready nor convinced, to evolve from their ‘business as usual’ methods. This has been our goal at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council for the last 12 years,” said GSTC Chair, Mr. Luigi Cabrini, mentioned the following achievements of GSTC: The Criteria for Destinations and the Industry are widely recognized by the public and the private sectors as relevant instruments to inform strategies and planning of central and regional governments, destinations, hotel chains, tour operators, etc. The Accreditation Program for certification bodies is steadily progressing despite its novelty when compared with other sectors and the difficulties deriving from the complexity and the transverse nature of the tourism chain. Every year several hundreds of people with responsibilities in tourism receive training, tailored to their needs, on the use of the criteria. Finally, the GSTC has made important steps forward to position sustainable tourism in the markets, a key factor for any change to be relevant at the global level.
“Of course, much remains to be done and we are just one of the many organizations committed, in different ways, to promote and to implement more responsible practices in a difficult context,” concluded Mr. Cabrini (full speech).