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Recap PM4SD Summer School, Day 2

Day 2 of the PM4SD Summer School, in cooperation with the Next Tourism Generation Alliance (NTG) has brought up some new insights. The event focused on the selected theme “Skills, Careers and strategic alliances for Sustainable tourism” and has invited many expert keynote speakers to discuss this rising matter.

Find the Programme and Booklet here:

PM4SD Summer School Programme
Speakers Booklet

A quick recap on insights and action points:


Session 4: Global experiences, future trends, sustainable development goals

David Randle

Currently directs the Sustainable Tourism concentration for the USF College of Global Sustainability and serves as a president and executive director of the WHALE Center. He is also Managing Director of the International Ocean Institute Waves of Change Initiative.

David talked about the Blue Community Consortium and introduced the principles of the Blue Community.

The Blue Community Consortium is an opportunity for coastal communities to declare their own work to protect the oceans and promote ocean sustainability. As the first member of the UNWTO International Sustainable Tourism Observatory (INSTO) network, the Blue Community networks globally sharing its best practices while simultaneously learning from the best practices of other INSTO members from around the world. Each INSTO member develops their own specialty or expertise. The expertise of Blue Community is coastal habitat and marine environments.

The Blue Community has developed a new certification process based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria with an emphasis on coastal habitat protection, restoration, and enhancement for lodges, tour operators, attractions, and resorts. The program is strongly rooted in the science of planetary boundaries and the proven 12 Blue Community strategies developed in collaboration with the Walt Disney Company.

In addition, the Blue Community program is currently working to support the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria for communities and destinations seeking to become sustainable, reduce disaster risks, and improve their economy through eco-friendly tourism. This is an interesting view of objectives and sustainability.

Benjamin Carey 

An expert on the sustainable development and environmental management of tourism for Tourism Society Fellow.

Benjamin spoke about the chances and practical implications of sustainable tourism, because:

”Tourism, if managed well, can be transformative.

Quality + investment = sustainability”


The 17 sustainable development goals are 17 goals to transform our world. We as a tourism industry can work with the local communities and destinations to create impact. It is all about mitigating whenever and wherever. According to Benjamin, the process of cooperation must be effective at every stage in order to become successful.

Therefore, in the first place the destinations should develop good tourism products > whereas communities are willing to invest in >, as a result, people will be more successful in their jobs > and in the end, this will lead to happier customers.


”Tourism is never going to be entirely sustainable, but it is getting better. Quality and investment is necessary to reach sustainability. And everyone that works in tourism can encourage better and more sustainable partnerships.”


Arman Valesyan – UNDP

UNDP project coordinator “Integrated Rural Tourism Development” being responsible for managing the team that implements the biggest touristic projects across Armenia with the perspective to develop rural tourism and makes it an income-generating opportunity for local villagers around the country.

Arman shared the most important learnings of the Integrated Rural Tourism Development Project.

The concept applies an integrated approach targeting strong local social networks that explicitly link local actors for the purpose of jointly promoting and maintaining the economic, social, cultural, natural, and human resources of the localities.

The project started with an inventory of Armenia. The project seeks to build synergistic benefits for the various stakeholders on the local level by engaging the local human resources in value creation to combat social exclusion, retain maximum benefits in a locality by using and adding value to its resources and focusing on the requirements, capacities, and values of its people, and ensure sustainable development considering environmental protection. The main question must be answered in order to develop rural tourism: where is the tourism potential?

To do so, help from stakeholders is needed. Universities, as well as the communities and other partners, must engage:

  • Universities must be involved and connected to research & development centers to ensure the sustainability of the rural tourism by establishing basic destination management mechanics.
  • The community has to be supported to thrive as a tourism destination by diversification of services and developing high-quality products. Design, build and operate is the used method to engage the private sector and a planning method is used with the community and individuals.
  • Universities and the community work together with other partners, to create ideas. There can be a hundred ideas, but most of the time actually three or four ideas are actually useful.


What are the NEEDS for this project to become successful?

  • Improve country statistics (who are the tourists and visitors?)
  • Improve the curriculum of tourism education (from people that can sell, to people who also can develop  destination)
  • Country zoning (not every area can be a tourism destination)
  • Country promotion
  • Infrastructure Development

Klaus Ehrlich – Eurogites

Responsible for the management of Eurogites

Eurogites represents approximately above 450.000 hospitality units with approximately 6.5 million beds and Klaus talked about ‘extending training to the micro-and collaborative economy services.

”Airbnb and HomeAway multiplied the beds on the market.”

Tour guides are booming as well, especially the tour guides who offer free tours, which are driving out the well-trained guides. They are successful in the market and are a part of the future of tourism but mostly without any formal or informal tourism training.

Who are these ‘new’ participants on the micro-and collaborative economy services that are interesting for extending training modules?

  • Individual persons, part-time or even total complementary activity
  • Success factors: passion attitude digital social and cultural awareness and skills, they are human
  • General education level: hoss well above the mean level of population
  • Auxiliary staff, low to very low (unpaid or poor paid and mostly without any training)

Training needs: basically this comes down to content. Normal training in specialized areas is what these people need.


How should it be done?

  • A generalist training (instead of a specialist)
  • Learning by doing or on the job, or through advice on-site
  • Professional attitude but not necessarily professionality (diploma, hospitality school would be overqualified) but a professional attitude
  • Knowledge counts: no necessary formal titles
  • Especially for a huge number of micro-entrepreneurs, they have poor access to training schemes, which could be a lack in organizing training.


How can we do it?

  • Practical and hands-on
  • Modular structure based on short thematic modules, that build up into higher qualification levels
  • Flexible in timing
  • Formal recognition is not critical or relevant
  • Blended learning methodology: online tutorial + human interaction  and break-out meetings + mentoring/advisory service


The question is: who does it and who develops/ pays it?

Airbnb is working on this. Another example is Google Garage, they offer training modules for free. How can we make information accessible for our targetgroup? Destinations should be involved.


Session 5: Sustainable Tourism Management, Destinations and Entrepreneurial Skills

Ioannis Pappas – Green Evolution

Ioannis Pappas, CEO & Co-Founder Green Evolution is Director for Mediterranean Region and Member of the Board of Directors in the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Ioannis presented the 4.1 miles case, about the Greek island Lesbos. The case is about dealing with an issue and increase the visitors of Lesbos, the Greek island that was in crisis for the last five years.

  • 86.4236 citizens
  • 1800 SMEs
  • 11.1000 refugees

Assisted with 114 NGO’s and 8000 volunteers: to discuss and find solutions.


Lesbos needed a regional plan:

  • It started on the schools: refugees visited the schools
  • Taught from personalized material in order to create some kind of income.
  • DMO’s created specialists in some places
  • SMEs were trained how they could communicate this on social media and not let others do it
  • Lesbos created another AEGEAN brand
  • And two observatories are helping: UNWTO and a refugees observatory

Visitor numbers are going up again, Lesbos got a 40% increase in visitors 2018.

The tourism sector needs some new ideas and new practices for such crisis cases. The video below is about real life, and shared human heritage which always is connected to tourism.

Capacity needs assessment survey. There is some certain ground, people who are responsible for this work, The responses about strategy and having training is very low. There is a lack of knowledge about how those sustainability strategies can be built.

Data from monitoring must lead to right decisions and ambitions. There is some basic reporting, going to the management only. There are opportunities to use this data for decision making.

Hotels set up different partnerships with other stakeholders and feel confident, but there is a lot of potential for using data towards a strategic engagement and also a more transparent sector. How can capacity-building function as an enabler of collective action of hotels?


Needs for sustainable procurement:

  • Support interaction with stakeholders and measurement of impact
  • Advance implementations of existing policy frameworks and programs
  • Ensure quality of monitoring and reporting of business and program’s performance.


Giordano Dichter – H&D Partners

Co-Founder and partner of the H&D Partners consulting firm that provides support to build effective entrepreneurship support programs to incubators and accelerators globally.

Incubation is a process of stimulating, selecting, starting and scaling in people organizations and services. Here are some facts and figures about the context of innovation and start-ups.


  • 24 start-ups are actually built with the support of a business incubator/accelerator per year. There is a conversion rate from 7& about 350 ideas.
  • A unicorn (such as Airbnb) is rising once in a decade if you get lucky. But a thriving small business community with some high growth cases if you work it out well.
  • Approximately 95 jobs are created in the first year of activity by a start-up.
  • 2575 people need to be stimulated to get 24 startups.


Within tourism we talk about:

  1. Over-arching high-tech innovative solutions
  2. Local non-high tech innovation (customer experience, local networking, sustainable development, new services)
  3. Non-innovative opportunities

A business owner can not train employees. Business owners need to be trained by peers to speak the same language. They need coaching more than anything else, same for the need of internal assessors who can review the business in two hours.

Benjamin Gill – One Planet Living

Technical Director One Planet Living, the framework as a flexible tool that can be used to drive systematic change through an organization and an industry.

How to work on projects all around the world to create a sustainable community? One Planet Living is an easy-to-use framework that can help anyone, anywhere to plan, deliver and communicate sustainability. One Planet Living is a vision of the world where everyone, everywhere can live happy, healthy lives within the limits of our planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness. The One Planet Living framework comprises ten easy-to-grasp principles and detailed Goals and Guidance. Together, these provide a clear, practical route-map to create a sustainability action plan for any organization that can engage hearts as well as minds.

Silvia Barbone and Dr. Sheena Carlisle – PM4SD | NTG

Sustainable project management is an essential soft skill. PM4SD can be implemented within organizations to develop those skills. “Sustainability” is a concept which inspires policy makers and tourism planners, but it is still quite difficult to implement sustainability.

PM4SD™ recognizes the need to build solid and efficient practices in Project Management in order to guarantee a continuous improvement approach to the discipline aimed at guaranteeing ever more successful outcomes for projects and more specifically for their continuous sustainability. In order to achieve this, the PM4SD approach establishes some simple, yet essential factors any Project Manager (PM) should be aware of when embarking on a project.

Silvia and Sheena pointed out that these factors cover the variable objectives of a project (which must be kept under constant control to ensure a successful final delivery), lessons taken from previous experiences (which can greatly help the PM and also reduce/improve the management activity), any applicable Best Practices (these do not have to be only about Project Management but any best practice applicable to the project ahead) and a solid foundation for the Management of the Project given by a clearly defined set of Principles which cover all aspects of the project management activities.

The sustainable development of tourism requires a sound planning and management process, which needs to be knowledge-based, to include the management of key sustainability principles and to put in action sustainable policies, guidelines and recommendations.


Session 6: Best practices in skills and career development in the tourism industry

Dr. Pilar Espeso-Molinero, a faculty member at the University of Alicante (Spain), teaching Cultural Heritage and Tourism Anthropology.

Tourism Collaborative Capacity Building must involve the incorporation of the views of stakeholders. How to incorporate traditionally excluded stakeholders?

According to Dr. Pilar, there are some principles for capacity building programmes. They must be:

  • locally based
  • adaptive and flexible
  • experimental and experimental
  • inclusive participatory and co-constructed
  • knowledge integrative
  • problem-solving and applied
  • supported by creativity visual and practical thinking
  • and last but not least fun and enjoyable


Irena Erbakanova, lecturer at Varna University of Management, teaching various tourism and hospitality related subjects & Irina Petkova, lecturer at Varna University of Management, teaching in the field of Hospitality and Human Resources.

From Bulgaria, Best Practice skills platform ‘My Competence‘ is explained. My Competence contains Bulgarian and English job descriptions, with job perspectives. The platform makes use of integrated data and the platform is free and accessible for everyone in order to generate and collect all the information one needs in one place.

The goal is to support and initiate effective measures for employment and skills development by incorporating good practices and creating a library with the possibilities for support of lifelong learning.

My Competence provides relevant materials for the support of lifelong learning. Employers, employees, students, organizations, hei’s, ministries and agencies, and other institutions are participating in the My Competence platform.

Follow the efforts of the Next Tourism Generation via our website, Facebook, Twitter | #NTGskillsalliance or via LinkedIn

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