In this short interview, TravelMole sustainable tourism editor Valere Tjolle shares his story and reflects on tourism, sustainability initiatives and why so much still needs to be done.
Best described as a catalyst and mentor, Valere has been involved in the tourism industry since 1959, when he helped his father as a 14 year old boy. The term sustainability wasn’t around back then (the concept is timeless), but Valere recalls that people generally were much less wasteful then.
This year, Valere’s focus is on the global top 100 sustainable destinations – plus his mould-breaking integrated tourism initiative – Best of Romagna and ‘A World Beyond Tourism’.
- When Valere first thought about sustainable and responsible tourism;
- How his TravelMole audience of travel professionals thinks about sustainability;
- His main takeaway as sustainable tourism observer over those many years;
- Valere’s thoughts on TripAdvisor’s Green Leaders scheme;
- Which sustainable tourism stories have been the most inspiring and memorable for him;
- In which region of the world he sees most interest and momentum for sustainability;
- His favorite tourism, travel or sustainability books.
Valere, when did you first start using the words sustainable, or responsible tourism?
One specific seminal moment. I was in Notre Dame Cathedral in 1993. Seeing the groups of tourists coming, photographing and going made me realise (again) that tourists and our heritage were neither getting a good deal out of tourism. The experience gave me the energy to keep finding out more about sustainable tourism, leading me to many more such experiences – economic social, cultural and environmental.