Brisbane G20 Leaders Forum looks at role of sustainability in global tourism

On the eve of the G20 Summit in Brisbane, a group of global tourism leaders will meet at South Bank to discuss the strategic role that sustainability will play in managing the future development and operation of the world’s tourism industry.

The G20 Sustainable Leaders Forum, to be held on November 13, will be chaired by EarthCheck, a Brisbane-based organisation whose sustainability programs are now used in 70 countries around the world, impacting the lives of six million people per week.

During the forum, EarthCheck will moderate a panel discussion with representatives from world-leading companies and destinations to share thoughts on how the industry can manage the double-edged sword that comes with being one of the fastest growth sectors in the world.

The tourism industry currently delivers five percent of the world’s GDP, eight percent of the world’s jobs and brings much-needed foreign exchange to developing countries.

CEO of EarthCheck Stewart Moore said that on one hand the industry delivers enormous social and economic benefits to host destinations. On the other hand it needs to be carefully managed to minimise its environmental footprint.  

“The tourism industry needs to adopt destination-wide management plans for the future including innovative design, construction and operational approaches to serve the needs of customers while at the same time protecting the very things that bring visitors to the region.

Moore believes the global spotlight surrounding the G20 will provide an opportunity for tourism operators - daring to make a difference - to tell their story.

“Tourism as an industry must take a leadership position and deliver its own solutions to achieving more sustainable outcomes. We can’t wait for governments or anyone else to mandate change.”

“EarthCheck has some exceptional members around the world who are leading the way. We are bringing them into a panel environment for others to listen, and learn from their experiences,” Moore said.

Panellists include Peter Gash, an eco-entrepreneur who has single-handedly reduced the environmental footprint of a mid-sized Queensland island, Lorenzo Ocampo the man behind a community-wide sustainability program in one of Mexico’s leading tourism destinations, and Dr Susanne Becken, a co-recipient of the Nobel prize and Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University who is leading a three-year project in New Zealand on ‘Preparing the Tourism Sector for Climate Change’.

Moore notes that Australia is recognised worldwide as leading the way with scientific research, innovation and conservation management. It is important that we celebrate thiswhile the world’s spotlight is on Brisbane.

The G20 Sustainable Leaders Forum will be held from 5pm to 7.30pm on November 13, 2014 at the Webb Centre, South Bank.

Media are welcome to attend.