In this interview, sustainable tourism communication expert Xavier Font reflects on his academic and consulting career, where he sees the main sustainability challenges and opportunities, and how tourism businesses and destinations should (not) communicate their sustainability initiatives.
- How Xavier Font’s view of sustainability and tourism changed over time;
- His key insights as sustainable tourism researcher and consultant;
- Where he sees the main challenges – and opportunities – for sustainability in tourism;
- Xavier Font’s recommended books;
- In which parts of the world he sees most momentum for sustainable tourism;
- His thoughts on the future of sustainable tourism research;
- Why he founded Respondeco and how the consultancy is helping companies and destinations;
- The most important aspects when communicating sustainability initiatives;
- What you should always and never do when telling your sustainability story;
- Most important academic journals for sustainable tourism scholars.
Xavier, what was your view of sustainability and tourism when you first started your professional career?
Brought up in the Costa Brava, north of Barcelona, I remember thinking “there must be another way” better than mass tourism. I thought of sustainability as an alternative form of tourism, very different from what I could see on a daily basis impacting negatively on our landscape.
Now at the beginning of 2015, what has changed?
I have come to realise that every type of tourism product must be more sustainable, and that all companies must take responsibility for it. But I no longer think sustainability is a niche, a highly different product, but I see it as a journey. Focusing on the niche aspect allows the big players to get away with murder.