“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic,
social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry,
the environment and host communities.”
World Trade Organization


Given the interest in people-to-people experiential exchanges and support of a positive economic and social impact on communities visited, ETC has contributed to the advancement of sustainable travel for over two decades.  ETC has focused on Community-based tourism initiatives through its Responsible Tourism Showcase and associated monetary awards.  ETC has also included sustainable tourism programming at the annual Conferences.  Recently, ETC has expanded sustainable tourism programming tracks and online resources to continue to “walk the talk” of sustainability in travel.

Photo of weavers in China


“Educational travel that supports local communities, cultural heritage and strengthens destinations for future travelers.


  • Revives traditional activities and customs
  • Empowers communities and nurtures pride within them
  • Cultivates a favorable business environment, characterized by stability and supportive policies
  • Promotes cultural diversity
  • Supports local communities and empower women and youth
  • Raises awareness of the value of heritage
  • Breaks down barriers and builds bridges between visitors and hosts
  • Provides opportunities for cross-cultural encounters that can build peace
  • Contributes to mutual understanding, peace and security”

–World Trade Organization


Community-Based Tourism Showcase (formerly Responsible Tourism Showcase)

  • Recognizes the efforts of ETC members and their partners to develop and implement community-based tourism initiatives
  • Initiatives are featured as part of ETC’s annual conference. View past honorees!

Building Awareness Through Conference Programming

  • Innovative sustainable tourism programming throughout the years – from responsible tourism forums to Destinations Deep Dive sessions
  • Dynamic and inspiring speakers/leaders in conservation and sustainability
  • Relevant case studies and storytelling illustrating why it is important to offer programs sensitive to sustainable practices
  • Resources for travel planners for best practices in their programs and with their travel operators. See the Sustainable Tourism Practices Questionnaire.
Photo of woman in Peru


The Sustainability Tourism Committee is comprised of Educational Travel Consortium members who suggest, review and implement the sustainable tourism track at the annual conferences as well as regional venues.

Chair: Andrea Holbrook, Holbrook Travel; Jill Bernier, ETC Program Development, Staff Liaison (formerly with The Nature Conservancy)

Committee Members: Beth Ray-Schroeder, Duke University; Ben Sander, Black Sheep Adventures; Jared Dial, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA);  Andrew Lockwood, Pacific Islands Institute; Karen Kuttner-Dimitry, Lindblad Expeditions; Jean Bouffard, Adventure Canada; Kate Sanders, Oregon State University; Karl Egloff, WWF


Are you interested in working with the Sustainability Tourism Committee?
Connect to the Committee!


  • Migrating away from conference venues in Tier 1 cities to Tier 2 cities, where local communities directly benefit
  • Choosing hotels (for more than a decade the Marriott hotels) noted for their corporate social responsibility practices
  • Working with Executive Chefs to promote menus with locally sourced food, wherever possible
  • Recycling and reducing waste by eliminating single use products, when possible
  • Advocating water and coffee stations, with mugs and glass, wherever possible
  • Highlighting where significant food waste is incurred by no-shows
  • Reducing paper dissemination 100% with handouts provided online and through Conference apps.
  • Reducing paper consumption by 40% by keeping attendee profile information online
  • Minimizing signage throughout conference by using digital signage and reusable sign holders


In the past two years, ETC has compiled, with industry colleagues and associations, an online repository of resources including:

The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2018
The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2017
The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2016

  • ASTA presentation introducing the marketing advantage of sustainable travel, their Green Guide and additional links to industry research:  American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)
  • A global community and knowledge hub for tourism professionals interested in the latest trends, strategies and success stories in sustainable tourism: Sustainability Leaders Project
  • A series of questions curated specifically for travel planners to ask of their operators and suppliers. The questions are grouped into the key areas of sustainable travel; economic, environmental, and socio-cultural.