TIES and USF Patel Center for Global Solutions Host Inaugural ESTCNA

TIES and USF Patel Center for Global Solutions Host Inaugural ESTCNA

TIES and USF Patel Center for Global Solutions Host Inaugural Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference in North America


The International EcoTourism Society’s inaugural Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference North America began today at the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS). This will be the first major Sustainable Tourism Conference following the adoption of the United Nations Sustainability Goals and the outcomes of COP21 Climate Change negotiations in Paris, France.


Although ESTC holds international conferences every year, this is the first conference held for North America. The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference is an annual global conference focused on the advancement of sustainability goals for the tourism industry. Offering invaluable learning and networking opportunities, the ESTC is an internationally recognized forum where experts with innovative minds gather to discuss ideas and solutions that inspire change. Promoting policies and practices benefiting businesses and communities, the ESTC helps to reinforce the role of tourism in building a more sustainable future.


The ESTC is held from January 25th27th and brings together 200 professionals from around the world. The ESTCNA is focused on highlighting and promoting ecotourism's role in sustainable development and aims to strengthen the industry's commitment to the recent UN resolution, "Promotion of Ecotourism for Poverty Eradication and Environment Protection."


Dr. David Randle, Professor and Sustainable Tourism Director at PCGS, and Ambassador Richard Jordan, Chair of the United Nations CONGO for Sustainable Tourism Committee and Chief of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust Operation at the United Nations, welcomed participants to the conference.


Dr. Randle followed with a keynote speech on how sustainable tourism can address the nine planetary boundaries developed by Johan Rockstorm and other scientist colleagues in 2009. Since entering the Anthropocene era, humans have pushed the planetary boundaries to the limits.


“A connection with natural is integral to our survival,” said Dr. Randle. “It’s a call to action that our planet has entered the Anthropocene era. The choice for humans is clear: we can either choose to protect our planet or we can allow it to be destroyed. But by destroying the planet, we destroy ourselves.”


The first day concluded with a keynote presentation from Dr. Blair Witherington, Conservation Programs Manager for Animals, Science and Environment at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.


The second day of the ESTC is a hands-on day where participants can choose from several outdoor excursions that feature sustainable tourism including a tour of the Anna Maria Island Pine Avenue Restoration District, a visit to the sponge docks of Tarpon Springs, and more.


The conference will conclude on Wednesday, January 27th with keynote presentations from Dr. Kelly Bricker, Professor and Chair at the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism at the University of Utah and Dr. Thomas Henry Culhane, Professor at Mercy College NY, Founder of Solar Cities, and National Geographic Explorer.



Melissa Wolfe
Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Patel College of Global Sustainability
Program Manager of the Office of Sustainability
University of South Florida 



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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