In 2016, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) penned the Global Report on the Transformative Power of Tourism about a paradigm shift toward a more responsible and conscientious traveler.

In his opening address, UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai wrote:

“Tourism is much more than a leisure activity; tourism holds an immense potential to set new paradigms of thinking, to encourage social and cultural changes, and to inspire a more sustainable behavior. With over one billion international tourists crossing borders every year, there are one billion opportunities for accelerating the shift towards a more sustainable future.”

How do we harness the regenerative power of tourism? Where do we start? Where can we look for inspiration, ideas, and tools?

Liverpool is as good a place to start as any. By the late 1970s, it suffered from skyrocketing crime and little in the form of new development. In 2008, less than 30 years later, in a remarkable transformation, it was crowned the European capital of culture, a recognition of the economic and cultural renaissance the city has undergone since the decline of traditional industries.

I sat down recently with Richard Veal, the managing director of Simpleview Europe, to talk about his own experience in transformative tourism development in his adopted hometown of Liverpool, England.


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