ESTC is The International Ecotourism Society’s (TIES) annual conference and is now in its seventh year. The ESTC is a leading international meeting place where individuals gather to discuss innovative ideas that will encourage change.
The conference aims to strengthen commitment to the recent UN resolution’s ‘Promotion of ecotourism for poverty eradication and environment protection’ which recognises tourism's role in sustainable community development efforts and features ideas, opportunities and solutions for the tourism industry to assist in conserving environments, alleviating poverty, empowering women, enhancing education and improving the health and well-being of local communities.
Organisers hope the event will work to significantly raise Kenya’s international profile as a leading destination in eco-tourism and provide a central platform for industry stakeholders engaged in ecotourism and sustainable tourism.
Kelly Bricker chair of TIES said, ‘Along with many others in the global tourism industry, the International Ecotourism Society is thrilled to hear of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s commitment to keep investing in Kenya’s tourism industry’.
‘Kenya was the birthplace for TIES in 1990, and we are returning home to help share best practices, and also showcase the many amazing ecotourism experiences Kenya has to offer’ she said.
Global ecotourism thought leaders will be attending and presenting at the conference in Nairobi with keynote presentations by Costas Christ, Editor at Large of National Geographic Traveller, Dr. Munir Virani, Africa Programs Director of The Peregrine Fund and Mr. Jochen Zeitz of the Zeitz Foundation and creator of The Long Run Initiative.
Alongside world-class safari camps and lodges from Kenya including Wilderness Safaris and Gamewatchers Safaris & Porini Camps, representatives from renowned pioneering ecolodges across the globe will be in attendance including Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge and Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Resort (Costa Rica), Feynan Ecolodge (Jordan) and Sukau Rainforest Lodge (Malaysia). In addition, sustainable destinations such as Chumbe Island Coral Park (Tanzania) and Taziry Ecolodge & Sustainable Village (Egypt) will also attend the conference.
Delegates will have the opportunity to network with these industry leaders as well as take advantage of the unique opportunity that the ESTC 2013 presents in order to enhance all aspects of sustainability practice including:
· Build a solid understanding of the fundamentals of ecolodge tourism via a special training seminar led by one of the world’s leading authorities, practitioners and researchers on ecotourism and author of Authentic Ecolodges, Mr. Hitesh Mehta.
· Gain an insight into the latest in design methods, green technologies and business approaches for sustainable accommodation through technical sessions featuring case studies from around the world.
· Find inspiration and practical lessons to help improve tourism business operations from successful partnership strategies for destinations to key consumer trends in emerging destinations.
· Find ideas for new ways to enhance sustainability practices by connecting with and learning about innovative initiatives such as “Pack for a Purpose” (ESTC 2013 partner) which allows lodges to engage their guests to support local community needs.
The conference programme includes training seminars, networking functions and exhibitions and will take place at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, which stands on 50 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens with a wide variety of indigenous trees home to an array of bird and butterfly species. The Safari Park Hotel is a member of Ecotourism Kenya and is dedicated to sustainability practices from the use of eco-friendly architecture, building and design to the use of local materials, skills and labour as well as the promotion of traditional arts and crafts.
Kenya looks forward to hosting the ESTC 2013 which will create an opportunity for businesses and destinations to learn firsthand how to utilise tourism to help support sustainable developments on both a local and global level.