*Article primarily written by Destination Greater Victoria
Attended by TIAC, the 2019 IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism conference was held in Victoria, B.C. from January 20-23.
The conference focusses on ensuring that the tourism industry is synonymous with responsibility, sustainability, respect and social good. It brought over 250 Canadians together under the theme: Unite – Commit – Act.
The second annual conference hosted delegates from government, academia, Indigenous communities, NGOs, and industry. Together, participants explored issues and solutions on four pillars of sustainability: ecology & environment, community & sense of place, culture & heritage and the environment.
Key takeaways and highlights:
- The need to take a hard look at tourism through a climate lens instead of looking at climate change through a tourism lens.
- Tourism activities need to protect our natural environment and cultural heritage.
- Tourism needs to be more about the destination than the visitor. Greg Oates, CIO of NEXTFactor, noted that sustainable tourism faces an identity issue, traditionally prioritizing the needs of the visitor over the needs of the community. It should not be about the number of people we bring in, but how many people we engage with and educate to protect our natural environment and existing communities.
- The Indigenous Tourism industry is growing at a staggering rate. More and more, visitors are seeking out authentic cultural experiences that speak to the history of the place they are visiting.
The conference wrapped up with a united delegation, individual and organizational commitments and a set of actions to drive innovation and collaboration across the industry.
TIAC is an ongoing advocate and supporter of sustainability practices in the tourism sector.
IMPACT 2020 will take place January 19-22. For more information and updates, visit www.impactnational.ca