Coastal Tourism Innovators’ Symposium

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The 2nd Executive Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism Development, designed to foster sustainable tourism in sensitive sea shore and marine environments, will take place May 15-18, 2013 at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico.

This unique event is organized by the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), a non-profit institute based in Washington, DC and at Stanford University.  Stanford’s Centers for Global Business and Economy (part of the Graduate School of Business) and Latin American Studies are co-hosts of the Symposium.

The four-day gathering will bring together some 150 – 200 developers, designers, hoteliers, investors, and other business executives committed to (or considering) new ‘green’ models of marine, coastal, and vacation home development.  These include the thought leaders who are breaking the mold of cookie-cutter resort development and mass-market cruise ships.  Among the keynote speakers, for instance, is Sonu Shivdasani, founder of Six Senses and Soneva Hotels, whose pioneering vision for sustainable tourism combines barefoot and intelligent luxury within his “Slow Life” concept (see feature on Soneva in Green Hotelier’s January 13, 2013 edition).

Other speakers include:

  • Chris Blackwell, Owner, Island Outpost, Jamaica
  • Céline Cousteau, Executive Director, CauseCentric Productions and granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau
  • Faith Taylor, Vice President, Sustainability & Innovation, Wyndham Worldwide
  • Eduardo Sanchez Navarro,Director, Grupo Questro
  • Carlos Hernandez, President, Pellas Development Group, Mexico & Costa Rica
  • Robert Zimmer, Managing Member, Zimmer Associates International, USA

“This Symposium grows out of CREST’s work in recent years on large scale coastal and marine tourism, two of the largest and least sustainable sectors of the tourism industry,” explains CREST Program Director David Krantz. “Fortunately, there are a growing number of tourism professionals who are experimenting with socially and environmentally responsible models. The Symposium is designed to help coalesce these ‘innovators’ into a more self-conscious and high profile movement.”

In addition to business leaders and Stanford University faculty, a select number of participants will attend from key government agencies, NGOs, academia, and international development organizations. In parallel with the Symposium will be a Green Expo Trade Show featuring businesses that provide environmentally responsible products and services for tourism construction and operation.  The fourth and final day of the Symposium will feature a case study of the Cabo Cortes/Los Pericues mega project, with a visit to the site and the adjacent Cabo Pulmo National Park, the only living reef in the Gulf of California and the oldest reef in the Americas.

This Symposiums follows on the highly successful first Innovators Symposium held at Stanford University in 2010. The large contingent of Mexican tourism professionals who attended proposed that the next such gathering be held in Mexico. Los Cabos, located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, was selected for its importance as a coastal destination, terrific wildlife, and in an effort to bolster “green” resort and other sustainable tourism initiatives.

To learn more about the Symposium and its organizers, or to register, visit www.CRESTconference.org

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