Sustainability Leaders Project team at ITB Berlin 2016
Sustainability Leaders Project team (right) at ITB Berlin 2016, in conversation with tourism sustainability pioneers Glenn Jampol and Masaru Takayama.

Why the Sustainability Leaders Project?

Florian Kaefer and Natalia Ferrer Roca started the Sustainability Leaders Project in 2014 with the purpose to share information on sustainable tourism.

As keen travellers with interest in sustainability, we found existing information and good practice case studies linked to tourism sustainability not very accessible, hard to ‘digest’ and not inspiring. We realized that most talking and writing about sustainability took place at an academic, intellectual, functional level, whereas tourism is all about experiencing and sensing.

So we started visiting hotels and participated in tours to get a ‘feel’ for the topic, which led to review-style articles. Those were still rather dry and fact-based. After a while we seriously questioned whether what we did would be enough to entice busy hoteliers, tour operators and other tourism professionals to engage with sustainability practices. Something was missing.

Over time we noticed that what our readers valued most was ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to the personal experiences, stories and reflections of leading tourism professionals and those businesses already successful with their sustainability practices. Our inspirational quotes on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in particular have become very popular.

We also found that tourism practitioners often did not know or care about the work of tourism academics, mostly because of not being able to understand academic language. This meant that they missed out on opportunities and could not take advantage of latest research insights. Academics, we realized, would have to be a key part of the Sustainability Leaders Project and of our new focus on interviews and storytelling. All this led to our current mission:

Our mission is to encourage and inspire tourism developers, managers and entrepreneurs to embrace sustainability. We do this through sharing the insights, experiences and stories of leading sustainable tourism thinkers and doers – researchers and practitioners.


Ary Suhandi Waerebo villageWhat do you think about the Sustainability Leaders Project?

“Simple and inspiring. Stories from inspiring people are very important. Considering all the negative events and actions in the world, we need to make people understand that there are still people with integrity and high spirits in keeping the world in good shape and harmony. I think it is our responsibility to spread news about these people to the global society; to inspire people to do the same in their own league, no matter how small it is.”

Ary Suhandi, Indonesia

More testimonials here


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