A successful second edition of the Summer School “Leadership and Governance for Sustainable Tourism” was held between the 1st to the 3rd July in Seinäjoki, Finland under the High Patronage of the European Parliament.
Fifteen speakers representing a wide range of international institutions and companies, from the European Travel Commission to the European Commission to the UNTWO, participated in the three day event, organized in partnership by FEST – European Foundation for Sustainable Tourism and the Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences.
Thirty participants, including project managers, policy makers, researchers and students from Spain, Georgia, Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, Mexico, the Netherlands, the United Kindom, Italy and Finland attended the PM4SD Summer School that every year aims to share best practices about sustainable tourism, develop proposals and build synergies between companies and individuals.
Many institutions involved in tourism, including the Finnish Tourist Board, brought their experiences to the conference. Europe is by far the most visited destination worldwide but relative tourist weights are changing and Asian and African countries created new trends in tourism.
The challenge for the next years is turning Europe in a sustainable destination. With this in mind, the European Commission developed
the European Tourism Indicators System (ETIS) to measure the sustainable performances of the destinations, in which PM4SD can be used as the implementation methodology. After the positive results of the first phase, the second pilot phase started last April and will end in December 2014.
The Summer School led to the Seinäjoki Declaration, which will involve representatives of intergovernmental organisations, governments and public
sector agencies, development agencies and investment banks, project donors and funders, private sector, non-governmental organisations, civil society, professionals and academia in the shared purpose of sustainable development through tourism.
A new approach is required in the management of tourism destinations and funds to create long term benefits for destinations. There is a deep need of knowledges and competences on one side, and of synergies among destinations, institutions and companies on the other side.
Many case studies and best practices were presented during the Summer School about tourism, green care and stakeholder management. Technical agreements among tour operators, tourist boards and local NGOs allowed the development of projects in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Perù. In this new scenario it is fundamental to adopt a new model of community based tourism.
The starting point that led to the creation of PM4SD methodology and the Summer School was the lack of effective governance structures and appropriate sustainable tourism policies, especially in developing countries. The second edition of the Summer School was a new step forward in Sustainable Tourism with the strong commitment to continue on this path and to bring together and involve many other stakeholders to the Summer School 2015 (the Call for Host Organisations 2015 has just been open: read more here and here).