Global Green Destinations Day is a 2-day conference taking place in Ljubljana on the 27-28th of September. We asked Albert Salman, the founder of the Green Destinations Partnership, how the preparations are going and what to expect from this conference.
Anula: There’s less than a month left before the Global Green Destinations Day. How are the preparations going?
Albert: The team is really pleased with the positive response from everybody looks at the programme. So many interesting people are coming, it seems everybody is going to be there! The first fifty of the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 have just been selected, so we are working hard to invite them; many are so happy about the opportunity to meet like-minded destination ambassadors!
Anula: Please, remind our readers – what is the main purpose of the conference? And how is it different from all the other conferences out there?
Albert: The conference aims at inspiring and informing all tourism practitioners on the benefits of new approaches re: sustainability. It is much better than any seminar on the subject for which you would pay a lot more money! Compared to other conferences we try to be much more interactive, by limiting presentations to 15 minutes, and by parallel sessions on three different subjects at the same time.
Anula: Who is this conference for?
Albert: I would think that participation is a must for every destination manager or local council member responsible for tourism… But the programme and the audience is also really interesting for any destination adviser or consultant. There will also be tourism students, they will probably learn more in two days than normally in two weeks!
Anula: The program looks pretty intense. Which presentations or panels are you personally are looking forward to the most?
Albert: I think the most exciting session is the one preparing to create the world’s new Green Travel Map. Travellers more and more wants to know where to find the real authentic and green experiences, what we call the “green offer”. With so many Top 100 destinations and experts around, I think we can make a great start. I think almost every destination wants to be involved in the pilot activities.
Also the ETIS-workshop will be really interesting: the destinations that participated in the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS) are invited to discuss the future plans of their community.
Anula: What will participants learn in the Green Solutions Workshop?
Albert: These are actually four different parallel workshops presenting best practices and success factors important for destination leaders, business leaders in travel and in hospitality. Maybe the most exciting here will be the ATTA AdventureConnect Event to facilitate networking among outdoor and adventure-focused gear and apparel brands, retailers, media, travel providers, and destination representatives.
Anula: On your website I also noticed “Green Lab” section. What is it about?
Albert: The Green Tourism Lab is centred around a number of exhibitions stands presenting “green” solutions for hospitality. Everybody – also those not attending – is encouraged to nominate a particularly interesting solution for the Top 10 Green Solutions competition! You can download the forum here.
Anula: During GGDD you will also announce the 100 Top Green Destinations of the world. It’s the 2nd time this ranking will be published. How this edition is different from the previous one? Any big surprises?
Albert: Now it was much more difficult to make nominations, but still we had 150, all with a high potential. And this time it was support for small countries to be nominated. Yes, we will definitely have surprises…
Anula: As we all know, content of any conference is important but usually it’s the networking that makes a real difference. So tell us, who will we meet in Ljubljana?
Albert: You will meet almost all interesting people on tourism sustainability, except the ones who are celebrating World Tourism Day elsewhere. GGDD is the only World Tourism Day-celebration around the topic of sustainability. Our speakers include Luigi Cabrini, Chair Global Sustainable Tourism Council GSTC, Olivia Ruggles-Brise from WTTC, Herbert Hamele from ECOTRANS, Chris Doyle from ATTA, Salli Felton, CEO of The Travel Foundation, just to name a few… I suggest, look for yourself on our website.
Anula: And the last question – can people still register? If yes, tell us where and how much does it cost.
Albert: Yes, registration will remain open at least until mid-September, until we are full. The fee is only €145 (incl. gala dinner and lunches)! Student fee is only €58 (no gala dinner). To register, follow this link.
Thanks for the interview Albert, and see you in Slovenia!
Albert Salman is founder of the Green Destinations Partnership, a leading network of 35 organisations assisting tourism destinations, regions, and countries to enhance sustainability, quality and market visibility, and working with industry and government partners on a day-to-day basis. Since 2007 Albert leads the development of innovative approaches to measure and monitor performance in tourism sustainability at destination level, e.g. through the QualityCoast Award programme. He took part in the creation of: the (GSTC-Recognised) Green Destinations Standard, with an online assessment and reporting platform, linked to a database that holds information on 60,000 destinations.