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.
- 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.
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