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On February 24-March 2, 2001, BEST convened its first Think Tank at the Bongani Lodge, just outside Kruger National Park in South Africa. The objective of the Think Tank was to produce a model curriculum on sustainable tourism that will be distributed to hospitality and tourism education programs throughout the world. Follow-up activities included development of course syllabi, applied case studies, and teacher and student study guides. Participants brought a broad array of expertise to the table that included economic, environmental, political, and socio-cultural proficiency. They also have significant research, teaching, consulting, and/or management experience in the field of sustainable tourism.

Press Release

Conference Board/BEST Initiative Address Educating Next Generation of Travel Professionals with Global Think Tank, January 25, 2001

South Africa First Stop In Development of Curriculum

Forty representatives from leading universities in the U.S., South Africa, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Fiji and other countries, will convene to develop a curriculum for hospitality and tourism educational programs worldwide. The first forum will be held February 24 - March 2, 2001 at Bongani Mountain Lodge in South Africa. The goal of the conference is to ensure the creation of a pool of travel industry leaders familiar with the sustainable travel and tourism practices that benefit not only the travel industry, but also destination communities and the environment. An initiative of The Conference Board and The World Travel and Tourism Council, BEST (Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel) serves as a leading source of knowledge on innovative travel industry practices that advance community, business, and travellers' interests.

Based on the representatives' collective knowledge of the economic, environmental, political and socio-cultural dimensions of the travel and tourism industry, the curriculum developed will include course syllabi and modules, bibliographies and applied case studies as well as teacher and student study guides. Subsequent conferences will be held in Costa Rica and Hawaii. According to Dr. Abraham Pizam, Professor of Tourism Management, Director of the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies at the University of Central Florida, and moderator of the Think Tank series, "The modules created will meet the needs of those entering the hospitality industry as well as those attending industry-based training programs. It is of the utmost importance that future managers have the knowledge to practice social, cultural and environmental responsibility."

Michael Seltzer, Director of BEST added, "The hospitality industry is in a unique position to enrich destination communities. The fact that these forums are being co-sponsored by The United Nations Environment Programme, the International Hotel and Restaurant Association, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, the Africa-America Institute and SATOUR (the South African Tourism Authority) clearly indicates the importance that the industry attaches to sustainability."

Mr. Seltzer also stated that Bongani Mountain Lodge was selected as the location for the first Think Tank because, "CCAfrica, which owns and operates the property, has at its core the principles of sustainable travel. It incorporates these ideals in its approach to staff training and its commitment to its surrounding communities through the CCAfrica Foundation, which builds schools, provides healthcare, assists farmers, builds roads and protects local wildlife. CCAfrica's sustainable practices enable both the community and the lodges to prosper."