The lack of real commitment by hoteliers and other travel and tourism professionals to the need for more sustainable business practices poses a serious risk to the future of travel and to the development of destinations around the world. In Africa and other developing countries, this risk is multiplied as tourist numbers increase and demand for less travelled destinations grows, placing unplanned and often unrealistic demands on already stressed resources.
“What we lack in business today is not the ambition to agree on the fact that sustainability is important – it is a robust definition of what we really mean when we are talking about it,” says Jan Peter “JP” Bergkvist, founder of SleepWell AB, a Swedish sustainable business consultancy based in Stockholm.
Bergkvist has been involved in the hospitality industry for over twenty years, and particularly active in the field of sustainable business practice since the early nineties. For fifteen years, he worked with Scandic Hotels – arguably the world’s leading green hospitality brand, the last nine years of which was spent in sustainability practice for the group in an executive management position. He has also served as Director of Environmental Sustainability with Hilton International before establishing SleepWell Sustainable Business Advisors in January 2009.
As Director of Sustainability for Scandic, Bergkvist was instrumental in guiding this award-winning group towards its overall environmental objectives and for establishing many of the standards and practices that today make Scandic a respected brand for change. His contributions to sustainability have resulted in him being appointed as a director of the board of Fairtrade Sweden and of the International Green Meetings Industry Council, and he serves as Chairman of the Stockholm Water Prize Founders Council, one of the leading environmental awards in Sweden.
With his impressive experience in sustainable hospitality, Bergkvist offers a unique insight into how Scandic became an internationally recognised brand in sustainable tourism across Europe and what it takes to position sustainability at corporate level. He joins a wide-range of local and international speakers at the up-coming Environmental Management in Tourism (EMiT) conference which is being held from 9-10 November 2011 at the Sandton Sun Convention Centre. EMiT is being held this year in conjunction with the 10th annual Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism and the World Travel Market’s World Responsible Tourism Day.
For more information: www.emitconference.com
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