Over the course of the pandemic, so much has changed for tourism, tourists, and destinations.

We’ve talked a lot in this “Future of Tourism” space about how destination organizations are at an existential crossroads. They must do everything they can to become more relevant, essential, and engaged in their home destinations.

We’ve talked about equity, diversity, and inclusion. We’ve talked about how the events of the summer of 2020, particularly George Floyd’s death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were shots heard around the world that hopefully will usher in a new era of tolerance and inclusion.

We’ve talked about sustainability and how the mantle of sustainability has shifted during COVID-19 from its pre-pandemic focus of primarily environmental sustainability to encompass a much greater mandate, one of environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

The questions rightly arise, “What is the role and function of the destination organization in sustainability, and how will it shift from its current modus operandi to address and leverage these challenges and opportunities?”

One person who's been working on the concept of sustainability for the better part of a decade is my friend and peer, Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Nursey is one of the founding partners of the annual IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference, a partnership between Destination Greater Victoria, Synergy Enterprises, Tartan Bond Integrated Communications, and Starrboard Enterprises.

In this time of massive flux, the IMPACT 2022 conference scheduled for May 8-11, 2022, promises to be a different beast. The challenges and changes it purports to address are no longer seen as vague or potential threats — global flooding, fires, crop failures, and erratic weather all point to the fact that climate change as one element of sustainability is wildly out of whack. 

The annual conference has been a rallying point for North American destinations (and some beyond) to further the dialogue on sustainability. Every year, the conversation and recommendations are captured from the annual conference to produce an IMPACT conference proceedings white paper.

With us today to talk sustainability and the emerging role and function of the tourism organization is my good friend, a respected peer in the industry, and a futurist in his own right, Paul Nursey.