Participating were Sallie Grayson, Heidi Van Der Watt, Janice Lichtenwaldt, Amos Bien and myself.
Frankly, I have been confused all things related to the GSTC. The name keep changing and it’s been difficult to get answers from those in charge. Then there are documents that talk past one another: Responsible Travel’s Open Letter and GSTC’s Sustainable Tourism Criteria.
Hence this recorded conversation, a reboot after years of mutual inattention and null dialogue and engagement (a topic in discussion in the recording). While the start time wasn’t duly noted by those at the GSTC (we had to delay recording for an hour) and the end of the recording shuts down due to a technical glitch, it’s a good solid chat where people got to say what they wanted to say.
Amos was openly hostile to the notion that there was opposition to the GSTC and that while aware of Harold and Justin’s letter, he would get around to contacting those who signed the original letter in a year or two! (Minute 19)
My view is that the road chosen by GSTC is one that bullies SMEs while doing nothing to insure that government institutions, academics and consultants raise their game. In our conversation Amos admitted that targeting the hotels first was a matter of going after the low hanging fruit.
Personally, I think we agree more than we disagree but I am put off by the lack of adequate consultation. Too many of the meetings have been conducted behind closed doors without adequate documentation.
For those interested in the topic, check out tomorrow’s ATTA Webinar: Using Tourism Certification to Position your Business in the Market featuring Amos Bien.
Other recommended media include the new presentation (with audio) from Harold Goodwin regarding whether certification has value.