TT 4




Numerous keynote speakers, notably Dr. Fayos-Sola from the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and the WTO Themis Foundation and Dr. Louis D’Amore, President of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism updated the audience on key developments in mass destinations on sustainable tourism. Both speakers emphasised the importance of knowledge creation and involvement by local stakeholders. Another major keynote address delivered at the end of the Think Tank entitled “Destination Australia: A Research Agenda for a Sustainable Industry” was presented by Professor Leo Jago, Deputy CEO and Director of Research of the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre in Australia. He explained the approach taken in Australia to ensure the quality and relevance of research for sustainable tourism. Participants were also invited to present academic papers. Altogether, twenty one highly informative research papers were presented on the first day of the conference. Paper themes covered Mass Tourism and Sustainability, Sustainable Financial Management and Accounting (Triple Bottom line), After the Mega Event What Then?, Sustainable Facilities Management, City and Urban Tourism, and Innovative Technologies in Destination Management. And an award was presented to the most outstanding paper by Ms. Paulina Bohdanowicz, Mr. Branko Simani and Dr. Ivo Martinac from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, for their paper entitled “Environmental Training and Measures at Scandic Hotels, Sweden”. The model described in the paper contributes significantly to the literature on sustainable tourism by demonstrating the viability of implementing broad-based environmental management in the hotel sector.

Day two, three and four of the conference, were devoted to developing sustainable tourism curricula in the areas of Facilities Management and Triple Bottom Line Reporting. As with previous Think Tanks, framing papers provided background information and stimulated the audience’s thinking in preparation for sessions to identify the key learning objectives for each.

The framing paper for the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) was presented by Dr. Larry Dwyer. He explained that TBL is an accounting system that provides information required for achievement of sustainability. The framing paper was supplemented by a research paper by Jeffery Faux. The audience learned from these two presentations that TBL accounting methodology explicitly considers an organization’s environmental and social performance along with its economic performance. Financial outcomes, environmental quality and social equity indicators evaluate company performance, thereby providing information for decision making related to sustainable management. TBL reviews performance from the management, user and social assurance perspectives.

The second framing paper on sustainable facilities management was presented by Ms. Paulina Bohdanowicz. She laid out the parameters of resource consumption related to the tourism and hospitality industries, and gave a summary of the average usage levels of electricity and water, and the average levels of waste generated by hotels in different parts of the world. Methods of mitigating the various impacts at the planning (siting, design, facility operation and transportation), construction (land excavation and grading, demolition of previous structures, vehicle traffic and heavy equipment operation, construction and finishing and furnishing), and operational (energy and electricity usage, water use, utilization of consumptive products, operation of mechanical systems and human activities) stages were discussed. The topics of eco-purchasing and corporate initiatives to encourage eco-friendly practices were also covered.

A third teaching module - Community Tourism – was based on previous work done in collaboration between the WTO and BEST Education Network. The outline of a curriculum module to train community tourism hosts had been developed the previous year and formed the equivalent of a framing paper for this session, and a framework for the break-out sessions.

The practical development of the teaching modules took place in three break-out sessions. For each curriculum, attendees began by identifying what students should be able to do after a 6-8 hour lesson. Consensus on the objectives was reaching by applying the nominal group technique (NGT). The technique is particularly useful for achieving equal participation and creative thought. Readers are referred to Jurowski and Liburd (2001) for a detailed discussion of how the nominal group technique is used in the Think Tank sessions.

The Think Tank ended with a visioning session to set goals and direction for the next two year’s activities for the B.E.S.T. Education Network. It was decided that knowledge creation and dissemination in sustainable tourism were still the main missions of the network. While the module development remained a critically important way for the network to disseminate knowledge, it was decided that future Think Tanks might include a Critical Issues Think Tank to address cutting edge research issues in sustainable tourism.