The annual GSTC Conference, the Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2018 (GSTC2018), addressed topics based on the Kasane Call to Action to accelerate sustainable consumption and production (SCP):
• Achieving Sustainable Destination Management
• Certification as a Driver of Sustainable Tourism
• Reaching the SDGs through the GSTC Criteria
• Market Access for Responsible Tourism Businesses
It has brought together 150 delegates from 26 countries.

Implemented in

  • Africa
  • Botswana

Sectors of activity
Consumer Goods, Energy, Food & Beverage, Scientific Research, Development and Innovation, Public Procurement, Tourism

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Education & Awareness Raising, Policy Frameworks & Tools

Start date
07/12/2018

End date
10/02/2019

Shared by

Roi Ariel

General Manager

Global Sustainable Tourism Council

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Objectives

The annual GSTC Conference, the Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2018 (GSTC2018), will address topics based on the Kasane Call to Action to accelerate sustainable consumption and production (SCP):
- Achieving Sustainable Destination Management
- Certification as a Driver of Sustainable Tourism
- Reaching the SDGs through the GSTC Criteria
- Market Access for Responsible Tourism Businesses

Activities

The Global Sustainable Tourism Conference 2018 in Maun, Botswana, which was organized by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Conference (GSTC), brought together 150 delegates from 26 countries, as well as hundreds of viewers joining the live broadcast of the conference.

The Conference themes were: (A) Achieving Sustainable Destination Management; (B) Certification as a Driver of Sustainable Tourism; (C) Reaching the SDGs through the GSTC Criteria; and (D) Market Access for Responsible Tourism Businesses.

In the opening speech of the conference, His Excellency The Fourth President of the Republic of Botswana; Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama stressed the risks and opportunities in tourism development: “An increase in tourism always carries the risk of harming the very attribute that attracts visitors in the first place. For example, roads, airports, water supplies, and public services. This would then lead to a perception by communities that the inconvenience from tourism outweighs its benefits, eventually leading to conflict, particularly with conservationists. Therefore proper planning is key at the early stages of tourism development.”

“Attitudes toward tourism could become negative over time as tourism development increases and host communities perceive such development as not beneficial to them. This may result in product defacing, animosity towards visitors and general resistance to tourism advancement. Therefore there is a need to develop policies and framework that will ensure that tourism development benefits both the entrepreneur, the nation and communities.”

“I, therefore, challenge you to give careful attention to ensuring that a balance is established between sectors of the economy if we are to have communities embracing tourism.”

Speakers came from near and far – from Botswana, different parts of Africa, and from further continents such as Asia, America, and Europe. Session topics included: “Destination Management – finding the right balance between overtourism and under-tourism”; “Wildlife Conservation and Tourism”; “Certification Body Collaboration Through Mutual Recognition or Shared Service”; “Recommendations for Market Access for SMEs”; “Achievements towards the 17 SDGs in the Tourism Sector”; and more.

Participants included international and domestic tourism stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism.

Impact and Results

As part of the GSTC Destination Criteria Revision process, a “Working Session on GSTC Destination Criteria Revision” took place (facilitators: Dr. Kelly Bricker, Vice-Chair GSTC Board of Directors, Co-Chair of GSTC International Standards Working Group; and Dr. Richard Denman, GSTC Associate Technical Director, Co-Chair of GSTC International Standards Working Group). All tourism stakeholders are invited to comment and make recommendations during the GSTC Destination Criteria Revision public consultation period.

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 sponsorship of Green Evolution SA. Other sustainable-events practices were carried out, such as reducing paper and plastic usage to a minimum: 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 meal option. The lanyards of the badges were collected to be re-used at the First Tourism and the SDGs Conference (Auckland, New Zealand, 24-25 January 2019).

The Conference also brought direct and indirect benefits to local businesses, as the participants stayed in different accommodations in Maun, with dinners distributed to a number of venues. Stands of local craftsmen and local goods were present at the venue.

A document with the key conclusions from the conference is available here: https://www.gstcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/Global-Sustainable-Tourism-Conference-2018-GSTC2018-Conclusions.pdf

Presentations from the conference can be accessed here: https://www.gstcouncil.org/gstc2018/program/