Midnight Musings from our CEO
This past week I had the opportunity to speak at a conference hosted by our new partners the Responsible Tourism Institute and Biosphere who will be assisting our region in achieving International Accreditation as a Sustainable Tourism Destination. This event was attended by tourism representatives from around the globe as well as members of the UNWTO and UNESCO who discussed and debated the importance of the strategic management of the burgeoning world tourism industry.
An industry where there has been annual growth of 4% or greater since 2009, it currently represents 1.5 trillion in US dollars a GDP of 10%, and an estimated 1.8 billion people are expected to be travelling by the year 2030; these are all unprecedented numbers.
The magnitude of this is almost incomprehensible and brings both extremely positive opportunities through economic growth, improved interpersonal relations between nations and tremendous knowledge, education and personal growth as well as a wide variety of concerns and challenges.
The proper development of a sustainable tourism industry means much more than the consideration for the environment and implementation of green practices, it must also take into account social effects including the impacts on residents of a tourism destination, demands on infrastructure and the economic impacts on businesses, communities and individuals. As the traveler ventures ever further we all have a responsibility to develop guiding principles that will assist in ensuring both residents and visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and authenticity of an area for the long term.
The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and launched a program called “Travel Enjoy Respect”.
In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more and more from our TOTA team on sustainable tourism practices and we will be inviting stakeholders, government officials and local residents to participate in the discussions and planning. Never has the need for strategic planning for our tourism industry been greater and never have these words been truer …. The Future we get is the Future we deserve.
A Few Highlights from this Week’s News Centre…
The season for eating outdoors is once again upon us and the Thompson Okanagan has some of the best options and several are even featured on open tables top 100 (read more); as we get closer and closer to Canada’s 150 there are many events, celebrations and special projects and one unique event is the diversity bead mural in Vernon (read more); Wine Talks an International Perspective is something not to be missed, taking place June 26 at the Penticton Campus of Okanagan College and supported by Liquidity Winery (read more).
This summer enjoy Air Canada service into the region with daily service from a variety of Canadian and US cities into Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton
Read all of this week’s News Centre stories at news.totabc.org
We hope you keep following and contributing on TOTA’s Facebook and Twitter sites throughout the week; send us your stories, photos, events and remarkable experiences. Make sure the industry knows what is happening around our region and be sure to use #route97 and #explorebc when posting your tourism shots and stories from around the region.
REMINDER: please send us your 150 Celebrations activities and events to firstname.lastname@example.org