USTOA Holds First Ever ‘Sustainability Is Responsibility’ Summit

The United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is holding its first Sustainability is Responsibility (SIR) Summit from May 24-26, 2022. The summit will be held in collaboration with Visit Norway at Thon Hotel Nordlys in the Arctic city of Bodø—one of the country’s regions most vulnerable to climate change.

Designed to foster future partnerships, innovative approaches and cross-sector learning, SIR will serve as a platform for the association to leverage the collective brain power, insights and network of the USTOA Active and Associate Members to set the path for a more sustainable future for the travel sector.

Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA, said that the summit is a major component of the association’s 50th anniversary year. “As USTOA continues to look 50 years forward throughout this anniversary year, the summit will help unite the industry under the common goal of making a positive impact to ensure the preservation of human, natural, and cultural capital in destinations across the globe,” he added.

“Visit Norway is really pleased to host the very first SIR Summit and is inspired to share the insight and learning from actively working with sustainable destination development for more than a decade. Sustainability is very important for Norway, through all industries and levels of society. Stakeholder engagement from locals and communities, corporations and governments, continues to be high and active. Sustainability is part of our life now, highly integrated in any innovation and product development, as well as a standard measure for success and profitability,” said Hege Barnes, regional director Americas at Visit Norway.

Highlights include panel discussions featuring USTOA Active Members facilitated and moderated by Malcolm Preston, former PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) global head of Sustainability Services, and Greg Takehara, CEO of Tourism Cares. Workshops will promote discussion about areas of impact, sustainable developmental goals and climate resilience. Attendees will get the chance to visit local attractions and attend festivities organized for the event, such as a day at sea aboard Brim Explorer’s electric-powered ship that will serve as a floating classroom while also taking delegates out into the field to experience some of Norway’s sustainable tourism products, including the Arctic Hideaway.

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