The 2019 GSTC Asia-Pacific Conference is just around the corner and this year it will address the following themes:
1. Smart Destination Management
Destination Managers are increasingly applying new technologies to assist them with many aspects of their complex jobs in managing tourism destinations. “Smart Destinations” refers to data-driven decision-making and management of destinations.
2. Quality Tourism: Delivering Sustainable Quality Experiences
This track of the conference program content considers both industry (businesses) offering more sustainable or responsible product as well as public sector destination managers doing the same.
3. Tourism Protecting Wildlife
The business of travel can either provide protection to wildlife by funding activities that create incentives for residents and governments to enforce protection laws and ethics, or it can cause much harm to wildlife. Awareness-raising is key, and this track will cover issues of importance to everyone involved in travel and tourism.
2019 GSTC Asia-Pacific Conference will bring together international and domestic tourism stakeholders involved in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism; including public sector, hotels, tour operators, academia, development agencies, NGOs, consultants, and more.
EXO Travel will be represented by Mrs Nia Klatte, Sustainability coordinator in Vietnam & Laos. She will share her insights and experience on elephant camps assessment.
Elephants in tourism
There has been much discussion in recent years about whether it is ethical for travelers to ride elephants. This is an important issue, but the much larger and more important discussion should be about the general care and welfare of elephants. To that point, GSTC has assembled a panel of experts on elephant welfare, led by the scientific research conducted by Chiang Mai University. Elephants cannot tell us what makes them happy or sad, free or not of pain, so we need good, solid scientific observation and research to understand best how to treat elephants in captivity. Southeast Asia has thousands of elephants alive today that were domesticated as hard-laborers for the timber industry, which has been banned, but the elephants cannot return to the wild due to new habits and due to the decreasing amount of habitat available for life in the wild. This is a complex subject that requires scientific analysis. Sellers of travel who wish to better understand the ethical choices of how to satisfy visitor interest in viewing and interacting elephants will surely gain new insights into this matter by attending this session.
Moderator: John Roberts, Director of Conservation, Minor Hotel Group
- Dr. Pakkanut (Im) Bansiddhi, Center of Excellence in Elephant Research and Education, Chiang Mai University
- Dr. Chatchote Thitaram, Director, Center of Excellence in Elephant Research and Education, Chiang Mai University
- Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, Global Wildlife and Veterinary Advisor, World Animal Protection
- Nia Klatte, Sustainability Coordinator, EXO Travel Vietnam & Laos