Green Growth & Travelism – Letters from Leaders

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How can the most sought after human economic activity on the planet transform itself for a cleaner, greener, fairer future?

How can the most sought after human economic activity on the planet transform itself for a cleaner, greener, fairer future?

That’s the basic question posed to 46 thought leaders – inside and outside the travel and tourism sector, from around the world, in the lead-up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit – leaders who manufacture aircraft; campaign for civil society; explore futures; head governments, ministries, and international agencies; shape transport, trade, development, and capacity building policies; run airlines, hotels, trains, cruise ships, convention centers, and national parks; provide Internet information, as well as the software that runs it; teaches; trains; and the like. We focused their attention on the challenges that society faces, as well as the industry itself and on solutions. And we asked them to respond with crisp Time or Fortune-style essays that were long on vision and short on rhetoric; high on opportunity without shirking on the problems.

The result is a wide range of far-reaching transformational ideas that point to a brighter future in which travelism – the entire travel and tourism value chain, of communities, companies, and consumers – plays a constructive role in the shift to a world based on green growth patterns – low carbon, more conservation, resource efficient, and inclusionary. This book is the first to provide real evidence of the actions, viewpoints, and hopes of those at the frontline.

Some of the authors’ comments give a measure of the thinking –

• Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the 1992 Rio Summit (to whom the book is dedicated): “The travel industry needs an enlightened and radically-reinvigorated agenda for green growth transformation – building on its progress to date, but with real and continuing action, targets, measurement, and a new mind-set that links economic, climate, social, and environmental response.”

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• Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, Prime Minister of Bhutan: “…I would argue that an economy is not an economy if, at the very least, it does not promote sustainability, … instead of simply pursuing growth for its own sake, too often at the expense of our fragile Earth, the new economy will respect planetary boundaries, ensure fair distribution of our limited resources, and use those resources with care and efficiency, to serve human happiness and the wellbeing of all life.”

• Thomas Enders, Chief Executive of EADS: “It’s simple. To secure a green growth economy we need to put the focus back on technology and the education required to deliver it. Technology holds the key, but there is no innovation without education, and while the baby boomers are heading for the golf course, we’re not filling the gap behind them. That’s where our efforts for a green economy have to start.”

• Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group and the Carbon War Room: “I believe the airline industry can move from being a polluting industry to one of the cleanest industries in the world within 10 years. Unlike other industries, it only has 1800 fuel pumps to fuel the world’s aircraft, and, therefore, once clean fuels are ready for delivery, it is easy to transform the whole industry.”

• Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Tourism Minister of South Africa: “…I am a firm believer in the need to break out of silo-based thinking about tourism and aviation. These two sectors have, for historical reasons, been institutionalized and regulated in silos. Yet, they both face many cross-cutting policy challenges, which require coordinated action between different government line functions, United Nations agencies, and industry bodies.”

• Tony Tyler, Director General & CEO of IATA: “Aviation is a force for good in our world. Every aircraft that takes off, carries with it almost infinite possibilities, connecting people, facilitating trade, supporting journeys of discovery, and linking cultures to name just a few. The green economy is founded on technological solutions to our most pressing challenges. Disseminating technology and ideas with great speed is what aviation does best.”

• Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of UNWTO: “…It is exactly now, amid growing economic concerns, that we need to call for the right policies, the adequate investment, and the proper business practices that can make tourism one of the most effective tools to generate a fairer and more inclusive growth.


Akbar Al Baker (CEO, Qatar Airways); Gerald Lawless (Executive Chairman, Jumeirah Group); James Hogan (President & CEO, Etihad Airways); Patricia Francis (Executive Director, ITC); David P. Scowsill (President & CEO, WTTC); Giovanni Bisignani (Chairman, WEF Global Agenda Council); Supachai Panitchpakdi (Secretary-General, UNCTAD); Raymond Benjamin,(Secretary General, ICAO); Gloria Guevara, (Secretary Tourism, Mexico); Shanzhong Zhu (Vice Chairman, CNTA); Reto Wittwer (President & CEO, Kempinski); Madan Bezberuah (Former Secretary of Tourism, India); Alain St.Ange (Minister of Tourism & Culture, Seychelles); Gordon Wilson (President & CEO, Travelport); Angela Gittens (Director General, ACI); Chris Lyle (Chair, Air Transport Economics); Felix Dodds (Executive Director, Stakeholder Forum); Edwin D. Fuller (Former President, International Marriott); Daniel Scott (Professor, Climate Change Waterloo University); Dawid DeViliers (Chair, UNWTO Ethics Committee); Francis McCosker (MD, International Organizations, Microsoft); Jeanine Pires (Former President, Embratur); Ghassan Aidi (President, IHRA); Manfredi Lefebvre (Chair, Silversea Cruises) ;Lucian Cernat (Chief Trade Economist, EU); Harold Goodwin (Professor of Responsible Tourism, Leeds Metropolitan University); Mike Ambrose (Director General, ERAA); Peter Harbison (Executive Chair, CAPA); Randy Powell (President & CEO, Armstrong Group); Ignace Schops (Director, Regional Landscape Kempen & Maasland: IUCN Goldman Award); Sonu Shivdasani (Founder, Six Senses & Chair, Soneva); Ian Yoeman (Associate Professor, Victoria University Wellington); Rick Antonson (President, Tourism Vancouver); Don Hawkins (Professor, George Washington University); Tony Charters (Founding Director, Ecotourism Australia); Vanessa Scott (Director, Strattons Hotel); Geoff Buckley (Former MD, Tourism Australia); Valere Tjolle (Principal,; Brian King (Professor, Victoria University); Chris Buckingham (CEO, Destination Melbourne); and Karen Kotowski (CEO, Convention Industry Council).

Professor Geoffrey Lipman, who headed the research team at Victoria University Australia and Oxford Brookes, UK, commented: “With this rich compendium of ideas, we have tried to start an out-of-the-box response to the challenge that Maurice Strong laid out for this pivotal socio-economic driver and contributor to human happiness. We are confident that positive thought leadership, highlighting innovation and transmitted over new learning/social media frameworks, can help travelism in its long-term green growth transformation.”



At the Rio+20 Summit, June 20, 2012 1100 am-1230 pm
“Tourism For a Sustainable Future” organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Room T4
First copy to be presented to Maurice Strong by Professor Geoffrey Lipman and Dr.Taleb Rifai, SG, UNWTO


Geoffrey Lipman, Director,; Adjunct Professor, Victoria University Australia and Oxford Brookes University, UK; President, ICTP. Terry DeLacy, Professor of Sustainable Tourism and Environmental Policy, Victoria University, Australia. Shaun Vorster, Special Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, South Africa. D. Phil, Stellenbosch University, South Africa (in his personal capacity). Rebecca Hawkins, Director, Responsible Hospitality Partnership, Research Fellow Oxford Brookes University, and Visiting Professor, ICRT, Leeds Metropolitan University. Min Jiang, Research Fellow, Tourism and Climate Change, Victoria University, Australia.

Research at Victoria University Melbourne Australia and Oxford Brookes University UK.


Goodfellow is an independent global publisher of academic and professional books, online materials, and journals in Hospitality, Leisure, Tourism, Marketing & Management. For information on purchasing hardback, paperback, electronic versions: .


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Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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