For today’s interview with sustainable tourism thinkers, shakers and doers, we take you to Vienna, Austria. Meet Dagmar Lund-Durlacher, a leading academic at Vienna’s MODUL University and well known for her work as chair of the BEST Education Network, an international initiative dedicated to building excellence in sustainable tourism teaching and education.
- The origins of sustainable tourism and how discourse and priorities have changed over time;
- What it takes for sustainable tourism initiatives to be successful;
- Why sustainable tourism isn’t mainstream yet;
- How the BEST EN international network connects academics focused on research and teaching sustainable tourism;
- The current state of sustainable tourism in Austria and Germany;
- Her career advice to students and starting researchers.
Dagmar, a few words about your current responsibilities and professional background?
Since 2007, I am the head of the Department of Tourism and Service Management and Dean of the Undergraduate School at MODUL University Vienna, where I have been a founding member.
Prior to my appointment at MU, I directed a market research institute in Berlin and was appointed as professor for tourism marketing at the Master Program for Sustainable Tourism Management at the University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde (Germany).
I completed my doctoral studies at the Vienna University of Economics and Business and held a Research fellowship at the Department of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, USA, funded by the Fulbright Commission.
Since 2008 I am part of the executive committee of the BEST (Building Excellence in Sustainable Tourism) Education Network, which I chaired from 2010 – 2014.
Furthermore, I chair the Certification Council of TourCert, a non-profit organization for certification in tourism, and I am a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Futouris, a global initiative of tourism companies committed to the “improvement of living conditions, the preservation of biological diversity and environmental and climate protection”. I am member of several scientific tourism research networks.
My current research interests focus on environmental management systems and Eco certifications schemes for the tourism industry, climate change and sustainable transportation, corporate social responsibility as well as sustainability in higher education.
When did you first hear about sustainable tourism?
Having joined the anti-nuclear and peace movements as a high school student in the late 1970s, I have gotten interested already in sustainable tourism during my graduate studies of business administration in the mid 1980s when the term sustainability had not been born yet.
It was the time when the first criticism of mass tourism arose, because social and environmental impacts of mass tourism became visible also in the small and beautiful Austrian alpine destinations. Alternative forms of tourism were being discussed, called soft tourism or alternative tourism.