Louise Twining-Ward is one of those persons without whom the tourism industry would do much worse regarding social and environmental practice than it is doing today. As former CEO of Sustainable Travel International and now at the World Bank, Louise has helped numerous businesses and destinations embrace the benefits of sustainability as development strategy.
Highly regarded both in academic and practitioner circles, Louise’s professional career is an inspiring example of how women can take a lead and change the game in the mostly conservative, male-dominated tourism business.
- How Louise’s perception of sustainability in tourism has changed over the years;
- Why women should take a lead in developing sustainable tourism destinations;
- The biggest challenge preventing businesses and destinations from becoming more sustainable;
- How to measure the success of sustainability initiatives in tourism;
- Key insights from her work at Sustainable Travel International (STI);
- Which are her favorite books on tourism and sustainability;
- What she’d do different, given the chance to start over again.
Louise, when and where did your sustainable tourism journey begin – when did you discover your passion for sustainability?
My family traveled a lot when I was a child but I really saw how tourism could be a tool for conservation and development in my early twenties when I trekked in the Annapurna Area of Nepal.
What was your view of sustainable and responsible tourism when you first started your professional career?
I thought it was just a niche, something only small groups could do in isolated locations.
Now at the end of 2015, (how) has your view changed?
Now I know it is both necessary and possible for all forms of tourism to be sustainable.