Skål International will increase its focus on Tourism Sustainability

Article by the Advocacy & Global Partnership, Sustainability Sub-Committee 2022.

Starting with the foundation of its globally recognized and annually presented Tourism Sustainability Awards, Skål International is moving to enhance its efforts in this critical area as a major commitment.

Led by the Sustainability Subcommittee of the 2022 Skål International Advocacy and Global Partnerships Committee, a number of initiatives which complement the annual Tourism Sustainability Awards are moving through the approval process.

The Sustainability Subcommittee is led by Mayumi Hu of Taiwan and Kit Wong of Mexico. Other members are Handan Boyce of Turkey, Paco Cuevas and Jane Garcia of Mexico, Adri Kruger of South Africa, Alfred Merse of Australia, Rosemary Mugambi of Kenya, Ville Riihmaki of Finland, and Susan Webb of Canada. Full committee co-chairs Kemi Soetan of Nigeria and Steve Richer of the USA are ex-officio members of the subcommittee.

The Sustainability Subcommittee has already implemented its first goal, which was to kick off this effort with a global press release on Skål International's commitment to sustainability for Earth Day, April 22, 2022. The release was produced and has already generated coverage in trade and social media worldwide. The leading quote in the piece was the statement by Skål International World President Burcin Turkkan, "Skål International is making this announcement on Earth Day to emphasize that this will be a long term commitment and that we, as a global tourism organization, see sustainability as a global priority”.

The subcommittee is recommending a broad range of elements on which to focus, including historic, cultural, natural, and animal resources, as well as the global climate.

In order to achieve success, other recommendations are to provide sustainability seminars at the Skål International World Congress and other national or regional Skål International meetings, to develop a network of 'sustainability champions' at every level of Skål International, and to produce a sustainability tool kit to empower and guide the sustainability champions to implement best practices throughout the industry, led by Skål International's local and national vision.

All efforts will examine methodology to protect, preserve, and regenerate each category of resources, while identifying strategic partners with whom Skål International can engage, such as Sustainable Travel International.

As another initial activity to kick off this long term commitment, the members of the subcommittee took Earth Day photos of sustainability activities and posted them on social media.

Quote from Mayumi Hu: “The goals for a global sustainable development are set and I am amazed to feel the enthusiasm from each and every one in our Sustainability Sub Committee on this important topic. We are all committed to make sustainability part of our daily lives and encourage Skålleagues around the world to embrace our proposals, which will not only raise awareness but help protect the very own resources we promote. Together, we can help ensure that by 2030 the UN Agenda can be achieved”.