NEW YORK, February 27, 2002 – Michael Seltzer, the Director of Business Enterprises For Sustainable Travel (BEST), a joint initiative of The Conference Board and the World Travel & Tourism Council, spoke at the 12th Annual IATOS (International Adventure Travel and Outdoor Sports) 2002 Expo + World Congress on Adventure and Eco Tourism in Chicago on February 22. BEST's mission is to ensure the future of travel to the benefit of companies, travelers and communities.
Seltzer served on a panel called Innovative Private Sector Models in Eco-Tourism. In his presentation entitled, Innovations and
Sustainability: Lessons from the Travel Industry, Seltzer described how sustainable practices, which are those that contribute to the well-being of a company's most valuable assets: the people, their culture and the natural environment of destinations and headquarters communities, also help to advance that company's long-term profitability goals.
One example cited by Seltzer is Lindblad Expeditions in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The tour operator created a customer-generated charitable fund to support scientific research and environmental preservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands. By implementing this fund, Lindblad experienced higher employee morale and lower employee turnover, enhanced credibility with local government officials and increased visibility for the company and all its tour packages.
Another example is the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel in Maui, Hawaii, which is helping to preserve native Hawaiian culture through a staff-training program. The extensive cultural awareness program, which helps to promote Maui as a cultural destination rather than as a strictly recreational one, enhances experiences for guests and employees. As a result, the hotel's benefits include a more dedicated employee base that contributes to better retention, and a more loyal customer base, leading to higher occupancy rates, revenues and income.
According to Seltzer, By implementing sustainable practices, travel-related companies are helping to preserve the environmental, economic and cultural aspects of destination communities as well as advance business objectives. For example, hotels that use subcompact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which use less energy than regular bulbs and last longer, are able to conserve energy and reduce costs. Additional benefits that result from sustainable practices include increased customer and employee loyalty, brand enhancement, increased market share and profit margin as well as favorable relations with local governments. In essence, sustainability is good business.
For more information on IATOS, please visit www.iatos.com.
Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel (BEST) is the first industry-specific initiative undertaken by The Conference Board
(www.conference-board.org) in its 84-year history. The Conference Board is the world's leading business and research organization, including more than 3,000 companies in 67 nations in its global network. BEST is co-sponsored by the World Travel & Tourism Council (www.wttc.org), which provides macroeconomic research data and forecasts. BEST serves as a leading source of knowledge on innovative travel industry practices that advance the interests of communities, businesses, and travelers. Its support comes from the American Express Company, the Ford, Charles Stewart Mott and Pettus-Crowe foundations, Marriott International, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and The New York Community Trust. Information on BEST may be obtained by contacting The Conference Board; phone 212-339-0335, or visit the following web site: www.sustainabletravel.org.