Sustainable Business Practices to be Promoted at IATO`S 2002

Michael Seltzer, the Director of Business
Enterprises For Sustainable Travel (BEST), a joint initiative of The
Conference Board and the World Travel & Tourism Council, spoke at the
12th Annual IATOS
(International Adventure Travel and Outdoor Sports)
2002 Expo + World Congress on Adventure and Eco Tourism in Chicago on
February 22.
BEST`s mission
is to ensure the future of travel to the
benefit of companies, travelers and communities.

Seltzer served on a panel called “Innovative Private Sector Models in
Eco-Tourism.” In his presentation entitled, “Innovations and
Sustainability: Lessons from the Travel Industry,” Seltzer described how
sustainable practices, which are those that contribute to the well-being
of a company`s most valuable assets: the people, their culture and the
natural environment of destinations and headquarters communities, also
help to advance that company`s long-term profitability goals.

One example cited by Seltzer is Lindblad Expeditions in the Galapagos
Islands, Ecuador. The tour operator created a customer-generated
charitable fund to support scientific research and environmental
preservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands. By implementing this
fund, Lindblad experienced higher employee morale and lower employee
turnover, enhanced credibility with local government officials and
increased visibility for the company and all its tour packages.

Another example is the , Ka`anapali Hawaii Beach Hotel in Maui
which is
helping to preserve native Hawaiian culture through a staff-training
program.  The extensive cultural awareness program, which helps to
promote Maui as a cultural destination rather than as a strictly
recreational one, enhances experiences for guests and employees. As a
result, the hotel`s benefits include a more dedicated employee base that
contributes to better retention, and a more loyal customer base, leading
to higher occupancy rates, revenues and income.

According to Seltzer, “By implementing sustainable practices,
travel-related companies are helping to preserve the environmental,
economic and cultural aspects of destination communities as well as
advance business objectives. For example, hotels that use subcompact
fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which use less energy than regular bulbs and
last longer, are able to conserve energy and reduce costs. Additional
benefits that result from sustainable practices include increased
customer and employee loyalty, brand enhancement, increased market share
and profit margin as well as favorable relations with local governments.
In essence, sustainability is good business.”


BEST is a Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel (BEST) is the first
industry-specific initiative undertaken by The Conference Board
) in its 84-year history. The Conference Board
is the world`s leading business and research organization, including
more than 3,000 companies in 67 nations in its global network. BEST is
co-sponsored by the World Travel & Tourism Council (
), which
provides macroeconomic research data and forecasts. BEST serves as a
leading source of knowledge on innovative travel industry practices that
advance the interests of communities, businesses, and travelers.