G20 Leaders Forum looks at role of sustainability in global tourism

On the eve of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, a group of global tourism leaders will meet at South Bank to discuss the strategic role that sustainability will play in managing the future development and operation of the world’s tourism industry.

The G20 Sustainable Leaders Forum, to be held on November 13, will be chaired by EC3 Global, a Brisbane-based organisation whose sustainability programs are now used in 70 countries around the world, impacting the lives of six million people per week.

During the forum, EC3 will moderate a panel discussion with representatives from world-leading companies and destinations to share thoughts on how the industry can manage the double-edged sword that comes with being one of the fastest growth sectors in the world.

The tourism industry currently delivers five percent of the world’s GDP, eight per cent of the world’s jobs and brings much-needed foreign exchange to developing countries.

CEO of EC3 Global Stewart Moore said that on one hand the industry delivers enormous social and economic benefits to host destinations. On the other hand it needs to be carefully managed to minimise its environmental footprint.

“The tourism industry needs to adopt destination-wide management plans for the future including innovative design, construction and operational approaches to serve the needs of customers while at the same time protecting the very things that bring visitors to the region.

Moore believes the global spotlight surrounding the G20 will provide an opportunity for tourism operators - daring to make a difference - to tell their story.

“Tourism as an industry must take a leadership position and deliver its own solutions to achieving more sustainable outcomes. We can’t wait for governments or anyone else to mandate change.”

“EarthCheck has some exceptional members around the world who are leading the way. We are bringing them into a panel environment for others to listen, and learn from their experiences,” Moore said.

Panellists include Peter Gash, an eco-entrepreneur who has single-handedly reduced the environmental footprint of a mid-sized Queensland island, Lorenzo Ocampo the man behind a community-wide sustainability program in one of Mexico’s leading tourism destinations, and Dr Susanne Becken, a co-recipient of the Nobel prize and Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University who is leading a three-year project in New Zealand on ‘Preparing the Tourism Sector for Climate Change’.

Moore notes that Australia is recognised worldwide as leading the way with scientific research, innovation and conservation management. It is important that we celebrate thiswhile the world’s spotlight is on Brisbane.

The G20 Sustainable Leaders Forum will be held from 5pm to 7.30pm on November 13, 2014 at the Webb Centre, South Bank.

Media are welcome to attend.

For more information on the event and access, please contact Tara Roberson on 07 3238 1950 or tara.roberson@ec3global.com.

EarthCheck

EarthCheck is the world’s leading environmental benchmarking and certification program for the travel and tourism industry. Its flagship product, EarthCheck Certification, has helped clients in more than 70 countries realise over $500 million in operational savings while reducing their footprint on the environment.

EarthCheck believes smart business practice and sustainability go hand-in-hand. It focuses on productivity, profitability and performance as well as resource efficiency, eliminating waste and safeguarding the social and natural environment.

Chair: Stewart Moore, CEO EC3 Global and EarthCheck

Stewart Moore is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of EarthCheck and EC3 Global, an environmental management and advisory group and a world leader in sustainable tourism operating in 70 countries across 32 industry sectors.

With more than 25 years experience in a range of disciplines from business and strategic planning to policy development, tourism destination management and marketing, sustainability, risk management and corporate and social responsibility, Stewart is one of Asia Pacific’s most experienced management consultants.

Stewart served on the Tourism Forecasting Council of Australia for 10 years and was Chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) in Queensland for eight years and a member of three PATA Task Forces. He is currently Chairman of the National Centre for Studies in Travel and Tourism.

In 2013 Stewart was named in the Global list of the top 100 sustainability professionals (ABC Carbon Singapore).

Panellists: 

Peter Gash, Managing Director Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

Peter Gash is the Managing Director of both Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, a coral cay located 80km northeast of Bundaberg on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and Seair Pacific, an aviation tourism charter business that has been flying tourists to the Great Barrier Reef for more than 25 years.

Peter began his career as a pilot operating scenic daytrips using float planes from the Gold Coast to Lady Musgrave Island. In the late 1980’s, he discovered Lady Elliot Island. (Coincidentally, it’s also where he ‘discovered’ his future wife Julie, who also shares a passion for the natural environment and the fragile eco-system of the Island.)

In the mid 90’s, Peter met with the-then leaseholder of neighbouring Lady Elliot and agreed to provide air services to the Island. In 2005, he took a 30-year lease on Lady Elliot Island and has been operating the 41 room eco resort ever since.

Peter’s main motivation is Education and the Environment - Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort operates on a ‘Four E’s’ Philosophy: To look after our Environment we need to be Efficient, Economically Sustainable and able to Educate effectively.

Lorenzo Ocampo, Voice of Sustainability of the Board of the Association of the Hotels and Motels, Huatulco, Coordinator of the Huatulco EarthCheck Program and leader the Equipo Verde Huatulco, A.C

Originally from Mexico City, Lorenzo Ocampo moved to Cancun in 1993 to work as the General Coordinator for the hotels Carrousel Cancún and Riviera Maya.

In 1998 he moved to Huatulco (where he continues to live), a tourism destination located on the coastline of the state of Oaxaca, that provides sustainability from the ground up, and involves the entire community. Training programs for children and adults are held on the first Saturday of each month.

Lorenzo has served as Secretary and Vice President of the Board of the Association of Hotels and Motels in Bahías de Huatulco and has also held the positions of Leader of the Integrated Marketing Commission and Member of the Sustainability Commission (and Manager of the Tourism Trust of Bahías de Huatulco). He has been instrumental in effecting change in the community and starting positive sustainable initiatives.

Susanne Becken, Professor of Sustainable Tourism, Griffith University

Dr Susanne Becken is a Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University, Australia, and an Adjunct Professor at Lincoln University, New Zealand and is currently leading a three-year government funded project on ‘Preparing the Tourism Sector for Climate Change’ in New Zealand.

Susanne is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Journal of Policy Research in Tourism, Leisure and Events, and Tourism Review. She is also a Resource Editor for Annals of Tourism Research, and represents Asia-Pacific on the World Meteorological Organisation’s Expert Team on Climate and Tourism.

Susanne acted as a contributing author to the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change and is currently contributing to the Fifth Assessment Report.

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