September 14, 2017 – The Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2017 in Aysén, Chile (GSTC2017Aysen), brought together 250 delegates from 29 countries, as well as thousands of viewers joining the live broadcast of the conference.
The Conference focused on “Sustainable Destinations”, and the application of the GSTC Destination Criteria, with a focused panel of representatives from destinations that apply the GSTC Destination Criteria: Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism - Cayman Islands; Beatriz Barreal, Founder & General Manager - Sustainable Riviera Maya (Mexico); Dawson Ramsden, Ecotourism Marketing Executive - Botswana Tourism Organisation; Eduardo Gomez, Director Regional - Sernatur Los Lagos (Chile); and Tamara Ullrich, Board Member - ZOIT Cchellenko (Chile). Other topics included tourism and climate change (adaptation and mitigation strategies); marketing sustainable tourism; sustainable visitor management; indigenous tourism; sustainable food in the tourism industry; and more. Simultaneous translation was provided in English and Spanish.
Speakers came from near and far - from different parts of Chile (including Mapuche and Yagan), Latin America, and from further continents such as Africa, Australia, and Europe. “A great meeting in Patagonia, thanks to the organization and to all people who made this conference possible,” said Felipe Muñoz Narbona, Director of Ecomapu Valparaíso, a sustainable tour operator certified by Chile’s Sello S (a GSTC-Recognized Standard).
“The conference gave us the opportunity to connect with people who understand and work the sustainable tourism, not as an alternative way to make the things, rather as an opportunity and need for the future of the world tourism,” Felipe explained.“Thank you very much for transmitting, it's a great contribution,” said Paola Molina O'Ryan, a Chilean Architect who watched the entire conference through the live broadcasting.
Participants included international and domestic tourism stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism; including public sector, hotels, tour operators, academia, development agencies, NGOs, consultants, and more. Along with Chilean participants, international participants come from Australia, Botswana, Canada, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Greece, Guatemala, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, UK, USA, and more. As with previous GSTC Conferences, the carbon footprint of the event is being offset to become a ‘carbon neutral event’ by the scheme CO2 NEUTRAL SEAL through the sponsorship of Green Evolution SA. Other sustainable-events practices were carried out, such as reducing paper and plastic usage to a minimum: badges were made of recycled paper, brochures were not printed at all but were being provided through pdf files, no plastic bottles were used during the conference. Vegetarian meal was the default option, and no lamb was served.
The Conference also brought direct and indirect benefits to local businesses, as the 250 participants stayed in different types of accommodations in Coyhaique, with lunches and dinners distributed to a number of restaurants that serve local food. Stands of local craftsmen and local goods were present at the venue.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2017 (GSTC2017) was hosted in Aysén Región, Chile, and was organized by Sernatur and GSTC. Presentations from the conference can be accessed here.
About the GSTC
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global sustainable tourism standards with the aim of increasing sustainable tourism knowledge and practices among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is an independent and neutral USA-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that establishes and manages global baseline standards for sustainability in travel and tourism. The standards are two sets of GSTC Criteria: Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria, the minimum requirements for tourism businesses and destinations to pursue in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources, along with conservation and poverty alleviation. The GSTC represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities – all strive to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.