With this Open Consultation Meeting, UNWTO sought to engage, share and discuss views, experiences and opportunities in measuring, monitoring and assessing tourism impacts at the destination level in preparation of the 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and to advance the agenda of sustainable and resilient tourism development.
Opening with a dynamic keynote by Executive Director Dr. Marcio Favilla who focused on new initiatives utilizing new means of data collection and analyses. Dr. Xu Honggang led the “Experiences from the Observatories” session sharing the wealth of experience which the team from Sun Yat-Sen University in China collected when they developed the first and to this day largest network of tourism observatories with UNWTO.
Other speakers included Rosa Ruvalcaba Benitez and Claudia Betancourt, associated with Guanajuato Tourism Observatory which has had great success in involving local stakeholders including 25 local organizations in the data gathering processes.
Michael Dodds, who directs the Regional Tourism Committee of Brittany France – an area which has done a brilliant job of attaining strong brand recognition discussed exploiting their niche markets such as sailing and cycling, both of which are notably limited carbon activities.
Roger Lang CEO of Predicta Cognitive Commerce Cloud beamed in to discuss how Silicon Valley ingenuity and UNWTO can accelerate the growth of sustainable travel.
The Symposium segued into discussions of the progress on indicators and measurement… initiatives and instruments, presentations on embracing big data, monitoring visitor satisfaction for effective destination strategies, analyzing mobile device info, each point presented by thought leaders from companies such as Amadeus and ReviewPro.
The conference concluded June 8 with an analysis of three aspects of Sustainable Travel: the Economic dimension, the Socio/Cultural dimension (an area several of the new Observatories being developed are planning to focus on including the recently formed Coalition to Observe and Advance Sustainable Tourism in Sonoma, California) and the Environmental aspect chaired by Dr. Ted Manning president of Tourisk,inc who brought a breadth of experience from his background consulting in destinations worldwide.
The host of the conference, Dr. Dirk Glaesser, director of the Sustainable Development Programme, closed saying that the goal is to “make Observatories around the world an absolutely normal thing”.