Navigating the way forward…

ITB Berlin sets tone at GSTC sustainable tourism conference

ITB Berlin’s CSR commissioner, Rika Jean-Francois, has been appointed to the board of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), and recently took part as a speaker in the annual global conference of the GSTC in the Azores.

Sustainability, climate change and environmental protection have always been matters of great importance to ITB Berlin, not just since the Fridays for Future movement. With its involvement in numerous initiatives, ITB has been campaigning for sustainable and socially responsible tourism for many years now. 

Together with other international tourism industry players, Rika Jean-Francois, the CSR commissioner of ITB, set the tone at the annual global conference of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, taking part in one of the panel discussions reflecting on the organisation’s work. The main question was how to approach the marketing of high-quality sustainable tourism products in order to ensure a positive image and acceptance among consumers.

The slogan of the GSTC Global Conference 2019, which took place in early December on the island of Terceira in the Azores, was “Navigating the way forward in sustainable tourism”. The participants examined the status quo and had come together in these times of climate change in order to jointly develop ideas for a viable, sustainable future in tourism. At the end of the conference the participants planted around 2,000 trees in the island’s interior to help offset the carbon footprint of the event.

The GSTC is a non-profit organisation that establishes and manages global standards for sustainable tourism. The criteria, which ITB emphatically supports, were first established in 2008 by an alliance of the UNEP, Rainforest Alliance, UNWTO and the UN Foundation. They consist of comprehensive, freely available guidelines which destinations and private tourism enterprises can use to integrate sustainability in their business strategy and protect and preserve the natural beauty and cultural heritage of our planet.

“We are proud to be members of this outstanding council. For tourism to justify its role in the future it needs to be shaped by social responsibility and be redefined”, said Jean-Francois after attending her first session as a board member. 

Photo: Rika Jean-Francois, CSR commissioner, ITB Berlin, planting trees