Sustainable Tourism Global Center Appoints Eight World-renowned Experts As Envoys


Sustainable Tourism Global Center Appoints Eight World-renowned Experts As Envoys

14 MARCH 2022, RIYADH

The Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC) – a multi-country, multi-stakeholder coalition established to lead, accelerate, and track the tourism industry’s transition to net-zero emissions – has today appointed eight international experts in sustainable tourism from across the globe as Envoys.

Announced by His Royal Highness Mohammed Bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia at the Saudi Green Initiative and COP26 in Glasgow last year, the STGC was formed by a coalition of governments, international organizations, academia, multilateral and financing institutions and industry associations. The STGC aims to reduce the tourism sector’s estimated 8% contribution of total global greenhouse gases and move towards net-zero emissions.

The eight newly-appointed Envoys were welcomed to Riyadh today to pledge their commitment to the Center, and were recognized for their world-renowned expertise across government and industry. Each Envoy has been carefully selected to utilize their knowledge and experience, to strengthen the work of the Center.

Based in Europe, Asia and the Americas, the Envoys will be ambassadors for the STGC, by contributing expertise – from their time in government, the private sector and NGOs – that will amplify its work and reach diverse global audiences, including youth.

The Center’s Envoys include:

    Ambassador Dho, Young-shim – Co-Chair United Nations Sustainable Development Goals ALUMNI

    Harry Theoharis – Former Minister of Tourism for Greece

    Isabel Hill – Former Director of National Travel and Tourism Office, United States of America

    Professor Geoffrey Lipman – Former President, WTTC; Executive Director, IATA; Assistant Secretary-General, UNWTO

    Dr Christoph Wolff – Former Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum

    Dr Mario Hardy – Former CEO, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)

    Professor Donald Hawkins – Professor Emeritus of Management, Tourism Studies and International Affairs, George Washington University

    Dr Adolfo Favieres – Former Owner, Occidental Hotels

This announcement builds on the STGC’s strong global engagement, with the coalition receiving positive support in phase one from various countries. The UK, USA, France, Japan, Germany, Kenya, Jamaica, Morocco, Spain, and Saudi Arabia were all invited as founding countries as they have prioritized tourism’s impact on the climate, allowing for synergies with the STGC.

The top organizations already helping to shape the Center and provide the services in phase one are UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), ICC (International Chamber of Commerce), WTTC (World Travel and Tourism Council), World Bank, SYSTEMIQ and WRI (World Resource Institute).

Harvard University has been invited to provide support to the STGC through research and capacity-building, and the UNFCCC will guide the Center to accelerate industry action on climate neutrality.​

His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb – Minister of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

"Saudi Arabia is taking clear and decisive action to ensure that the tourism sector, including the 330 million livelihoods depending on it, are protected into the future. Core to this is solving the problem of climate change – which requires strong collaboration with businesses, governments, and international organizations to accelerate action. I am pleased to welcome the STGC Envoys into the Kingdom, and look forward to their contribution to driving the tourism sector’s transition to net-zero."

Her Excellency Gloria Guevara – Chief Special Advisor, Ministry of Tourism, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

"I am pleased to see the leadership from Saudi Arabia to build a world-first multi-country, multi-stakeholder initiative to combat climate change and support the sector’s transition to net-zero. The STGC Envoys, who are global experts, will help the Center to deliver on this important mandate, and we are extremely grateful for their commitment."

President Felipe Calderon – Former President of Mexico, Honorary Chair of The New Climate Economy and Member of STGC Advisory Board

"I am delighted to be back in Riyadh to gather with world-renowned experts in tourism. Here we have some of the brightest minds from government to industry, and I am confident that together we will be able to ensure the travel and tourism sector plays a significant role in the fight against climate change."

Ambassador Dho, Young-shim – Co-Chair United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

"At the turn of the 21st century, the United Nations Secretary-General then, Kofi Anan initiated the Millennium Development Goals from 2000 to 2015. This was followed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who then expanded it to be the Sustainable Development Goals from 2015 till 2030. As a passionate advocate of both goals, I am incredibly excited to be part of the Sustainable Tourism Global Center leading the tourism sector to become a key driver of sustainable changes. In doing so, youth will be a significant player in helping to reach these major goals."

Harry Theoharis – Former Minister of Tourism for Greece

"The STGC is a much-needed initiative in a world that faces constant challenges. Tourism is a great social and economic enabler, and it is high time that it is also part of the global sustainability movement."

Isabel Hill – Former Director of National Travel and Tourism Office, United States of America

"I am delighted to join the Sustainable Tourism Global Center as an Envoy to help accelerate the ability of the travel and tourism sector to de-carbonize and to support sustainability of destinations and businesses. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to be commended for their leadership in this important agenda."

Professor Geoffrey Lipman – Former President, WTTC; Executive Director, IATA; Assistant Secretary-General, UNWTO

"There could not be a better time for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to show its commitment to our common future, through the STGC. The recent report from the IPCC says, despite the COVID induced global economic slowdown, greenhouse gases are still increasing at a potentially disastrous rate. This is why the STGC is launching its new ‘Tourism Panel on Climate Change’ to marshal the best climate science for our sector, and to create new analyses and metrics to support bold climate action, to meet our Paris 1.5 obligations."

Dr Christoph Wolff – Former Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum

"Travel and tourism are responsible for 10% of global GDP and anchors the livelihood for many countries. The Sustainable Tourism Global Center will be essential to use data-driven analysis to balance equity and sustainability."

Dr Mario Hardy – Former CEO, Pacific Asia Travel Association

"The world needs a global transformation and a clear commitment towards sustainable development, the reduction of social inequalities and the improvement of living conditions at a local and global level. The role of tourism in this process cannot be a passive one; and only through the effective collaboration between governments, NGOs and the private sector will the implementation of the SDGs be a reality."

Professor Donald Hawkins – Professor Emeritus of Management, Tourism Studies and International Affairs, George Washington University

"The Sustainable Tourism Global Center will challenge the tourism industry to incorporate sustainability goals in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of tourism-related facilities, services and infrastructure. The STGC can aspire to be the leader in guiding and monitoring the environment, social and governance (ESG) performance of global tourism. The ‘E’ should encompass net-zero carbon emissions and climate adaptation. The ‘S’ should include diversity and inclusion policies. The ‘G’ should include the system of practices, controls, and procedures that organizations adopt to govern their activities, make effective decisions, comply with the law, and meet the needs of key stakeholders."

Dr Adolfo Favieres – Former Owner, Occidental Hotels

"In tourism, like no other activity, is the customer who goes to the product, and not vice versa. This fact is precisely what makes tourism so transversal, affecting and being affected by nearly every sector. As much as tourism will reach higher levels of sustainability, the world will become more sustainable."