Around 450 participants from tourism, business, politics, science and finance from 65 countries discussed current topics relating to international tourism in Lucerne. In my opinion, the most positive and perhaps also even the most surprising insight was that the sustainable design of tourism offers is an absolutely key subject.
In his welcome speech, Martin Barth (General Manager World Tourism Forum Lucerne) made reference to it, and other keynote speakers picked up on the subject on the very first day. My highlight was the input from Jeremy Rifkin, US sociologist, researcher, publisher and advisor to the European Union. After his inspiring remarks on the third industrial revolution and the significance of the sharing economy, he clearly named progressive climate change as one of the greatest dangers for worldwide development. I look forward to seeing what is behind his announcement of an EU concept with the title “smart, green Europe”. This apparently trail-blazing concept is to be introduced in the autumn.
Partner of the WTFL
We are proud partners of the WTFL and offset its emissions, which benefits our successful project in Madagascar. Furthermore, we were also able to contribute some content: in the myclimate breakout session “Time to Act”, our CEO René Estermann chatted with Paul Steele, a representative of the IATA (International Air Transport Association), and the Grisons entrepreneur Remo Stoffel, who recently found himself in all Swiss media with his “Tower in Vals” project. The chastised airline industry in particular has a focused and clear plan towards a reduction of CO₂ emissions. Unfortunately we’re lacking a little immediacy, whether through completely integrated compensation or an automatic climate contribution. With more than a billion air passengers per year, there would definitely be powerful leverage. Actions followed on from the talking.
Tourism Stars and Rising Stars
At the “Walk the Talk” aperitifs and dinner, the guests were able to build “Tourism Stars” with us and the WTFL. Unusual lamps, powered by solar power, originated from PET bottles and LED diodes. It was a symbol and incentive to show what can arise from creativity and sustainability concepts.
Besides these “Tourism Stars”, several “Rising Stars” also shone out. From 15 partner universities, the WTFL chose nine young and talented people who have a great future in the industry. These individuals presented themselves, their ideas and objective at the WTFL. These talented people confirmed unanimously how important sustainable and green tourism is on a personal level too. I had the pleasure of introducing myclimate and our ideas at the presentation of this group. The interest was great and the feedback very exciting.
On the same day, René visited the Think Tank, held in advance of the actual Forum, and discussed recommended actions for tourism development in view of sustainability and innovation with a select group of experts.
What is left?
What is left? In the tourism industry, one of the most important economic factors and largest employers worldwide, there exists clear awareness of climate protection and concerns about sustainability. Among decision-makers and visionaries in particular, the topic is very high up on the agenda. The signs are there: tourism does not want to be part of the problem but rather part of the solution.