Tourism expert named as keynote speaker for NZ industry conference

Professor Susanne Becken

The Director of the Griffith Institute for Tourism, Professor Susanne Becken, will appear as a keynote speaker at this month’s inaugural Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals conference, to be held at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Professor Michael Hall, of the University of Canterbury, and World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) Director Johnny Edmonds will also give keynote presentations at the event.

The trio leads a contingent of more than 80 expert academic and industry speakers attending the conference, and will help explore myriad aspects of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), part of the organisation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“I am honoured to have been asked to make a keynote presentation at the first-ever Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals conference,” Professor Becken said.

“The multibillion-dollar global tourism industry has far-reaching and significant positive and negative social and environmental consequences, and thus is intrinsically linked to the realisation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“Not only is tourism directly mentioned in three of the goals, but it also plays a part in reaching other targets; for example, Goal 13 seeks to support the Paris Agreement in limiting the rising global temperature, an objective that tourism operators and other industry stakeholders will be crucial in reaching.”

As the head of GIFT, Professor Becken possesses a wealth of experience in sustainable tourism practices and is a regular industry commentator in the media, particularly on the issue of emissions and waste reduction.

Professor Becken also spearheaded the development and launch of the Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard – the only resource of its kind – which uses data analysis to measure progress towards meeting the UN SDGs.

“Tourism exists at the nexus of social, technological, environmental and economic trends and developments, and as a result the industry must be proactive in its efforts to respond to challenges – namely, climate change – and opportunities that arise out of its unique operating environment,” Professor Becken said.

“Increasing social and environmental resilience and ensuring tourism is better able to adapt to the changing world around us are key to meeting our targets for a sustainable future, and I am eager to hear my colleagues’ insightful perspectives at this month’s conference.”

Read more about the Griffith Institute for Tourism here.

The inaugural Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals conference will be held at Massey University, Albany, from January 24-25. For more information, see its website.