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
ETC has contributed to the advancement of sustainable travel for over two decades. Our Responsible Tourism Showcase and associated monetary awards focused on community-based tourism initiatives. We have included sustainable tourism programming at the annual Conferences and recently, we have expanded sustainable tourism programming tracks and online resources.
Community-based tourism is important because it:
- 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
The Community-Based Tourism Showcase (formerly Responsible Tourism Showcase)
- Recognized the efforts of ETC members and their partners to develop and implement community-based tourism initiatives
- Was featured as part of ETC’s annual conference.
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.
The Sustainability Committee is comprised of ETC members who suggest, review and implement the sustainable tourism track at the annual conferences as well as regional venues.
Committee Members: Andrea Holbrook (Chair), Holbrook Travel; Jill Bernier (Staff Liaison), ETC Program Development; Beth Ray-Schroeder, Duke University; 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, World Wildlife Fund
- 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
- 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 electronically
- Reducing paper consumption by 40% by keeping attendee profiles online
- Minimizing signage throughout conference, using reusable or digital signage
ETC has compiled, with industry colleagues and associations, a repository of resources including:
- Options for offsetting the carbon released into the atmosphere by your travel and attendance at ETC’s annual conference: Offsetting Your Carbon Footprint
- Organization managing global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, and acting as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification: Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria Overview for sustainable corporate practices (GSTC)
- Marriott CSR overview of Marriott Corporations sustainability protocols
- For policy-based, unbiased academic research: Center for Responsible Travel (CREST)
- 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.
- The very useful Guide to Sustainable Travel – 25 tips to support sustainable travel created by Holbrook Travel