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Press Release

17/06/2006 *****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*************************
CSR and Sustainable Tourism: now is the time

The BEST EN Think Tank on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) concluded today with one key message, that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for Sustainable Tourism should be embraced by the tourism and travel industry now. The consequences of not doing so are serious.

CSR has implications for all aspects of sustainable tourism including profitability, company culture, customers, suppliers and ultimately…survival. Corporations not acting in a socially and environmentally appropriate manner will feel the backlash that other companies such as manufacturing have encountered in recent years.

Keynote speaker on day three, J.P. Bergkvist, Director of Environmental Sustainability for Hilton International and Scandic on Environmental Sustainability in Practice spoke on their initiatives in CSR, which could well serve as a guide for the rest of the tourism industry.

Fortunately companies such as Hilton International have taken the challenge of adopting CSR in their European and African properties, with the belief that people inherently want to do the ‘right thing’, but need information and knowledge to do so. J.P. Bergkvist described The Natural Step and the Hilton Environmental Program as the key documents for pursuing environmental sustainability and CSR. Bergkvist concluded by highlighting successful implementation of programs and environmental awards which demonstrates the progress towards environmental sustainability emphasising the belief that “the world is ready for this”.

Closer to the location for the Think Tank, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain is another example of CSR in action in the form of the La Fageda Yoghurt Factory. More than 35,000 visitors per year support the activities of La Fageda, creating a win-win-win outcome for the society, the environment and sustainable tourism. Training mentally ill and disabled people for gainful employment in all aspects of yoghurt production moreover, an innovative system for propagating plants is used to revegetate the surrounding national park.

The 2006 BEST EN Outstanding Paper award was presented to the Mr. Robert D. Billington and Ms. Veronica Cadoppi of the Sustainable Tourism Planning and Development Laboratory – Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, Inc., USA. The Chair of BEST EN Dr. Janne J. Liburd (University of Southern Denmark) commended their contribution to the implementation of sustainable tourism, community empowerment and CSR in the USA.

More evidence of the uptake of CSR in the tourism industry is urgently required. Keynote speaker Dr. Graham Miller (University of Surrey)’s main message was that the industry can only maintain a low profile for so long, before the changes heralded by the adoption of CSR in the corporate world will also be required in the Tourism Industry. The tangible outcomes of the three-day BEST EN Think Tank deliberations to underpin the adoption of CSR for Sustainable Tourism are a research agenda on the topic, a competence development module, as well as a special issue of the journal Tourism Review International.

The overwhelming and abiding conclusion is that all tourism businesses, from all-inclusive hotel chains to SMEs and family businesses in tourism and hospitality should learn the lessons of other industries and document their social and environmental responsibilities now, before profits are threatened, customers and suppliers are lost and the long term survival of their businesses is compromised.

For further information contact Dr Janne J. Liburd, Chair BEST EN

14/06/2006 *****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*************************

BEST Education Networks Think Tank VI in Girona, Catalonia, Spain today began their discussions on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Sustainable Tourism. The goal as expressed by the Chair of BEST EN Dr Janne J Liburd (University of Southern Denmark) is to gain a better understanding of CSR in Tourism with a view to developing a research agenda which will underpin the sustainable development of tourism. Through a three day process of engagement, dialogue and collaboration, the more than 40 experts from 11 countries will take up the challenge of researching this important, yet often overlooked aspect of the tourism industry.

Keynote speaker on day one, Dr. Graham Miller (University of Surrey) appropriately delivered his presentation titled ´Keeping a Low Profile: the Tourism Industry and CSR: in the Cloister of the University of Girona. Appropriate because CSR is embedded in a plethora of philosophical, ethical and moral issues that require a deep understanding of humanity and society. Thus, the expert group was presented with examples rangeing from the industrial and social reforms of Robert Owen to the modern day efforts of British Airways in developing programs for adopting a more socially and environmentally appropriate stance with respect to their corporate activities. Dr. Miller identified several lessons for the Tourism Industry with respect to policies and planning, human resource mangement and environmental practices which all demonstrate the successful implementation of CSR.

However, examples of CSR in Tourism were few and far between and Miller’s main message was that the industry can only maintain a low profile for so long, before the changes heralded by the adoption of CSR in the corporate world will also be required in the Tourism Industry. Thinking over the next three days will be focussed on these changes and identifying the specific implications of CSR for the Tourism Industry.

A diverse range of issues have already been identified on day one of the Think Tank, across a range of geographical and sectoral dimensions. Theoretical and practical issues have emerged through the research sessions on topics including CSR and sustainable business practices, economics, conceptual issues and case studies. Reflecting the expertise of Think Tank participants, CSR issues emerged in aviation, accommodation and entertainment as well as higher education, destination management and sustainable tourism development.

Parallel sessions on competence development and research in CSR and Tourism have identified further issues to be explored over the next two days. The outcomes will inform the development of a research agenda on the topic, as well as a special issue of the journal Tourism Review International dedicated to enhancing our understanding of CSR and Sustainable Tourism.

p>For further information contact Dr Janne J. Liburd, Chair BEST EN


Encouraging a balance between economics, people, culture and the environment, the concept of socio-cultural and environmental responsibility of enterprises has been acknowledged by private enterprises and public authorities, such as the European Commission, the World Travel and Tourism Council and the World Business Council for Sustainability. Private and public sector leaders increasingly see the need to incorporate the principles of corporate social responsibility into their planning of marketing strategies and leadership. Also recognizing the need to rebuild an image of responsibility and trust to assure potential visitors of ethical behavior, the pursuit of sustainable tourism is good for business and business is good for sustainable tourism development.

The BEST Education Network (BEST EN) announces Think Tank VI to meet in Girona, Catalonia, Spain from June 13-16, 2006 at the University of Girona. This year’s conference theme addresses Corporate Social Responsibility for Sustainable Tourism and includes research paper presentations, keynote addresses by international experts, a research agenda forum to drive future knowledge development in the field, and a curriculum design for sustainable tourism and hospitality.

The theme reflects the fact that the sustainable development of tourism destinations depends critically upon the sustainable operations of its constituent businesses and firms and is intended to overcome a relative lack of research on tourism sustainability at the enterprise level. Issues to be addressed will include: Ethical Business Practices in Tourism, Triple Bottom Line in Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Resource Management for sustainable tourism operations, Volunteer Tourism and Pro-Poor Tourism, Stakeholder involvement, culture and accountability, Consumer perceptions and preferences in purchasing decisions, Knowledge Management for Corporate Social Responsibility, Service learning in tourism educational programs and Best practice indicators (cultural, environmental and social) alongside a number of case studies.

BEST EN Chair, Dr. Janne J. Liburd, commented “Travel and tourism companies' performance on environmental, socio-cultural and governance issues is rewarding in more ways than one, and it is rapidly becoming more critical to their sustainability and competitiveness in a global market place.”

The Think Tank is expected to attract interested participants from around the world to explore together the issues involved in corporate social responsibility for sustainable tourism. Scholars, practitioners, civil society and agency representatives are invited to participate in the exchange of experiences and to submit either full papers or abstracts for presentation at the conference before March 31, 2006. The Call for Papers and Registration Information can be found on the BEST Education Network web site: