Contact: Dr. Kelly Bricker
Tel: 916.206.3189


ESTC North America Tampa, Florida


UN Sustainable Development to be a Key Factor of Discussion at Conference


New York, NY, December 23, 2015– The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) will hold its first North American conference in over five years, “Transforming Our World,” in Tampa, FL from January 25 – 27, 2016 for hundreds of integral professionals working to support the United Nations’ sustainable development efforts throughout the world. The United Nations has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.


The resolution, adopted on 4 December, recognizes “the importance of international tourism, and particularly of the designation of an international year of sustainable tourism for development, in fostering better understanding among peoples everywhere, in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bringing about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace in the world.”


With a strong focus on highlighting and promoting ecotourism’s role in sustainable development, the ESTCNA aims to strengthen the industry’s commitment to sustainable community development efforts in accordance with the UN resolution, "Promotion of Ecotourism for Poverty Eradication and Environment Protection.”


The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) strives to maximize tourism’s contribution to poverty reduction and conservation to increase awareness on the sector’s development potential by enhancing understanding and commitment to sustainable tourism. With this in mind, the TIES North America conference will call together the brightest minds from academic institutions and private industries, as well as public officials on the local, state and federal levels, to discuss the future of sustainable efforts in North America.


With this resolution in mind, the theme for ESTCNA will be Transforming our world through sustainable tourism solutions.


Dr. Kelly Bricker, TIES Chair, highlights the focus of the January conference,


“This year we are focused on solutions—while we recognize the problems faced with respect to societal issues and environmental issues, we seek solutions focused on enhancing the positive benefits of ecotourism—especially issues within North America. The ESTCNA forms a platform to highlight creative and innovative ideas from around the world.”  

Of special note will be the five dynamic speakers.


- Ambassador. Sarbuland Kahan and Dr. David Randle will provide a context for Sustainable Tourism as it responds to the new U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the new COP 21 agreement from Paris, and the challenges of tourism to operate safely within the planetary boundaries.


- Dr. Anne Savage, Conservation Director for Disney’s Animal, Science, and Environment team who will share insights and wisdom from a variety of experiences ranging from saving the cotton top monkeys in Columbia, to elephants in Africa, to sea turtles in Florida.


  Dr. Kelly Bricker, President of TIES, founding chair of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, professor at the University of Utah, and ecotourism operator in Fiji


- National Geographic Explorer Dr. T. H. Culhane who will share his work and research in developing countries from around the world.


Among the important global topics to be covered at the ESTCNA include Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Hunger; Ensuring Health and a Sense of Well-Being for all Individuals; Conserving, Protecting, & Sustaining Ecosystems, Places and Cultures; Enhancing Fair and Equal Access to Education; and Maximizing Local Economic Benefits while Enhancing Sustainable Infrastructure Development.


ESTC North America is being hosted by the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability in Tampa, Florida.


Dr. David W. Randle, Director of the Sustainable Tourism Concentration states: “We are excited to host what will be the first major sustainable tourism conference following the new U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and the COP21 Paris agreement. This conference is poised for a global action agenda that participants will be able to implement in their own local settings. Faculty, staff, and students are all excited to share some of our unique work as well as to learn from others from around the world.”


Florida, and especially the Tampa region is host to several examples of ecotourism and sustainable tourism. As such, participants will engage in educational field sessions, such as visits to the Tampa Bay Watch and Fort Desoto, Tarpon Springs, Disney Wilderness Preserve, the Dali Museum and Anna Marie Island.


Founded in 1990, TIES is the largest and oldest ecotourism society in the world, with over 14,000 members. Since 2005, TIES has hosted the ESTC, offering international tourism professionals, conservation groups, academicians, and governments the opportunity to network and share best practices in a supportive setting, while experiencing the ecotourism and sustainable tourism initiatives of the host destination.


Focusing on ecotourism’s role in sustainable development, the ESTC aims to strengthen the tourism industry’s commitment on global positive impact. The conference program will highlight ideas for conserving natural areas, alleviating poverty, empowering women, enhancing education, and improving the well-being of local communities.


TIES is committed to promoting responsible tourism practices that benefit conservation and communities. Our global network spans over 135 countries, with members who are leading the vital efforts to make travel and tourism more sustainable. 


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About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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