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Published On: Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The Future We Get Is The Future We Deserve

The Future We Get Is The Future We Deserve

- Glenn Mandziuk is President and Chief Executive Officer of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Region. He can be reached at ceo@totabc.com.

THOMPSON OKANAGAN TOURISM - This past week I had the opportunity to speak at a conference in Spain hosted by the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association’s (TOTA) new partners the Responsible Tourism Institute and Biosphere who will be assisting the Thompson Okanagan region in achieving International Accreditation as a Sustainable Tourism Destination.

This event was attended by tourism representatives from around the globe as well as members of the UNWTO and UNESCO who discussed and debated the importance of the strategic management of the burgeoning world tourism industry.

An industry where there has been annual growth of 4% or greater since 2009, it currently represents 1.5 trillion in US dollars a GDP of 10%, and an estimated 1.8 billion people are expected to be travelling by the year 2030; these are all unprecedented numbers.

The magnitude of this is almost incomprehensible and brings both extremely positive opportunities through economic growth, improved interpersonal relations between nations and tremendous knowledge, education and personal growth as well as a wide variety of concerns and challenges.

The proper development of a sustainable tourism industry means much more than the consideration for the environment and implementation of green practices, it must also take into account social effects including the impacts on residents of a tourism destination, demands on infrastructure and the economic impacts on businesses, communities and individuals.

As the traveler ventures ever further we all have a responsibility to develop guiding principles that will assist in ensuring both residents and visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and authenticity of an area for the long term.

In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more and more from our TOTA team on sustainable tourism practices and we will be inviting stakeholders, government officials and local residences to participate in the discussions and planning. Never has the need for strategic planning for our tourism industry been greater and never have these words been truer…. The Future we get is the Future we deserve.