We are reviewing how governments can create responsive, data-driven policies for sustainable tourism. With the collaboration of policy experts throughout the world, ISTI is reviewing policy models with leading experts and discussing how taxation, sustainable financing, and public private collaborations will need to be designed to respond to the pressure on destinations in the 21st century. 

The first stage of this research program was an online Roundtable on November 19, 2020, which was designed to allow experts in sustainable tourism governance to present a summary of their papers in advance on video, discuss in detail how tourism can improve its governance, and how tourism can be more responsive to the issues related to both sustainability and the recovery of destinations hit hard by the spread of COVID 19.

Results coming during the First Quarter of 2021!




Building Back Better: Reconstructing Governmental Systems and Policies for Sustainable Tourism

November 19th, 2020 9:30 AM- 12:00 PM EST; Harvard Extension Online Live and Recorded Forum

Hosted together with the International Sustainable Tourism Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Travel Foundation, and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). 

  • 9:30-9:40 AM: Welcome, Dr. Jack Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • 9:45-9:55 AM: Introduction, Megan Epler Wood, Director, International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Instructor, Harvard Extension, Dept of Sustainability
  • 10:00-10:10 AM: Jane Stacey, OECD Discussion Question, How can sustainability be structured into different levels of government? What should the organization chart look like?
  • 10:15-10:25 AM: Travel Foundation, WTTC and ETFI Discussion Question, How can the Destination Stewardship model help business to deliver sustainable tourism, and what public private policy structure enables this?
  • 10:30-10:40 AM: Group Nao Discussion Question, How do tourism taxes contribute to the effort to build sustainability into government and policy structures?
  • 10:45-10:55 AM: Harvard International Sustainable Tourism Initiative Discussion Question, How can holistic accounting help destinations to build sustainability targets into success plans?
  • 11:00-11:10 AM: PATA Discussion Question, Can destination hubs be launched within a recovery and attract finance for building back better?
  • 11:15-11:25 AM: Mark Milstein, Cornell University Discussion Question, Can destinations meet goals for sustainability without more skill transformation?
  • 11:30- 11:40 AM: Margaux Constantin, McKinsey & Company Discussion Question, What government structure can handle the requirements of tourism to develop sustainably in future? 
  • 11:40 AM-12:00 PM: Open Discussion and Closing


Pre-recorded Video Presentations & Speakers:


Reimagining the $9 trillion tourism economy – what will it take? - Margaux Constantin, Associate Principal, McKinsey & Company

Tourism tax impacts and regenerative tax structures: Peter Romer Hansen, CCO and Founding Partner, Group Nao and Signe Jungersted, CEO and Founding Partner, Group Nao

Financing Sustainable Destination Recovery – Results of October 2020 Roundtable in Southeast Asia and the Pacific & Financing Sustainable Tourism Recovery in Response to the COVID-19 Downturn, October 7 PATA Roundtable, Results, Analysis and Future Work: Graham Harper, Director of Sustainability, PATA and Trevor Weltman, Chief of Staff, PATA

Policy Priorities, OECD Tourism Trends and Policies 2020 (Ch. 1 & 3) & Rebuilding tourism for the future: COVID-19 policy response and recovery: Jane Stacey, Head of Tourism Unit, OECD

Advancing Public Private Collaboration for Destination Stewardship and Recovery (in press): Ben Lynam, Head of Communications, the Travel Foundation; Christopher Imbsen, Director of Destination Stewardship, WTTC; and Bernadett Papp, Researcher, European Tourism Futures Institute

Tourism Destination Environmental Management Framework; A Policy Support Mechanisms for Meeting the Paris Agreement and SDG Goals (in press): Sofia Fotiadou, Research Manager, EplerWood International and Megan Epler Wood, Director, International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Managing Director, Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP), Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise; Principal, EplerWood International

Skills and Capacity Development Needs for Building Back Better  (in press): Dr. Mark Milstein, Director, Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Cornell University




Manuel Alejandro Cardenete, Vice Minister Regional Tourism, Regeneration, Justice and Local Administration, Andalucia Spain

Antonia Alomar, Director, Agency for Tourism Strategy of the Balearic Islands 

Matt Berna, Managing Director, North America, Intrepid Group

Gwendall Castellan, Manager, Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Vancouver

Tim Fairhurst, Secretary General, European Tourism Association (ETOA)

Anna Fink, Economist, Asian Development Bank

Shannon Guihan, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Travel Corporation 

Frank Haas, Former Dean, Hospitality, Business & Legal Education, University of Hawaii, Kapiolani Community College; Former Vice President, Tourism Marketing, Hawaii Tourism Authority

Andreas Hoffmann, Project Manager, Tourism, GIZ 

John M. Knox, President, Knox and Associations

Wendy Moore, Director of Programmes, Travel Foundation

Maria Reynisdóttir, Specialist, Department of Tourism & Innovation, Ministry of Industries and Innovation, Iceland 

Jeremy Sampson, Director, Travel Foundation

Steven Schipani, Senior Specialist, Asian Development Bank 

Jack Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation, and Director of the JPB Environmental Health Fellowship Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Davide Strangis, Executive Director EU Programmes, Partnerships & Geographical Commissions, Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions 

Jos Vranken, CEO, Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions

Greg Wong, Country Director, Agoda


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