In this interview, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) CEO Randy Durband shares his thoughts on sustainable tourism, why effective destination management is so important, and why sustainability presents at least as many opportunities as it poses challenges to tourism businesses and destinations.
Randy’s professional experience includes almost 30 years in the tourism field, with positions such as President for Travcoa, INTRAV, and Clipper Cruise Lines, and Executive Vice President of Tauck World Discovery.
- How Randy Durband’s view of sustainability and tourism has changed since he first got involved in the field;
- His key professional insights and lessons learned;
- Where he sees the main challenges for sustainable travel and responsible tourism;
- In which regions worldwide he sees most interest in sustainability;
- His favorite book on tourism and sustainability;
- Why he decided to lead the Global Sustainable Tourism Council;
- His experience with the different rating and accreditation organizations.
Randy, what was your view of sustainability and tourism when you started your professional career?
Working for a tour operator offering packaged tours, I was proud of the fact that group tours on a motor coach are an energy-efficient mode of transport. That was before there was much discussion at the industry level of sustainability practices and policies, so my views were not nearly as broad and deep on sustainability as they are today.
Now at the beginning of 2015, what has changed?
It has changed completely, because now there is well-established literature and debate regarding sustainability in travel and tourism. We’ve made a lot of progress in identifying needs and opportunities, and many subsectors are trying to do the right things, but we have not made strong enough progress by enough of the largest enterprises in travel.
As a leader in the sustainability field, which have been your main insights?
One is the lack of full recognition that sustainability is complex and needs to be thought of as a journey with continuous improvement and adjustments to ever-changing conditions.