WHO WE ARE: AIMS & STRUCTURE
BEST EN is an inclusive and collaborative network of tourism academics and practitioners committed to furthering the creation and dissemination of knowledge within the field of sustainable tourism. The acronym BEST EN stands for Building Excellence for Sustainable Tourism – an Education Network.
The network was founded in 1999 with a grant from the Ford Foundation under the name BEST (Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel). Housed at the Conference Board in New York, BEST served as an incubator for a variety of activities aimed at encouraging the adoption of sustainable practices. Under the direction of Michael Seltzer until late 2003 (when the grant expired), BEST program activities were concerned with university-level education, travellers’ philanthropy and community tourism. BEST subsequently became a part of the Prince of Wales International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) in London. At the time the BEST educational group was comprised of a network of educators and researchers, and a few industry professionals, who decided to re-organise as the BEST Education Network (BEST EN) under the leadership of Dr. Pauline Sheldon (2003-2005). Dr. Janne J. Liburd, University of Southern Denmark chaired the network from 2005 – 2010 followed by Dr. Dagmar Lund-Durlacher (2010 - 2014), and Dr. Gianna Moscardo currently serves as the Chair of BEST EN with Dr. Pierre Benckendorff as the Deputy Chair.
BEST EN aims to provide a platform for information, exchange of ideas, knowledge creation and building links and creating partnerships between academics as well as within the tourism industry. Its aims are reflected in the organizational structure. BEST EN has defined several priorities, including knowledge creation, knowledge dissemination, online communication and Think Tank planning, which are organized in sub-committees and chaired by executive members. An international advisory board, consisting of renowned senior experts in the field of sustainable tourism, gives advice to the executive committee in terms of strategy, publishing, Think Tank topics and locations, and future development of the network.
BEST EN’s signature event is the annual Think Tank. Think Tanks rotate among universities around the globe. Interested educators and researchers are encouraged to contact Dr. Gianna Moscardo.