In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, we put the call out to leaders, CEOs, strategists and consultants to sit down and tell us, in their own words, what is going on and what is going to happen next in this vital global industry.

Is there anyone in the room who still thinks that global warming and climate change are a hoax? Well, then, assuredly, this episode of the Future of Tourism podcast is not for you. 

In September 2021, European Cities Marketing took the bold and progressive step of dedicating the entire first morning of its annual conference to addressing the reality of climate change and the role and function that destination organizations could and should play in this critically important crisis.

Rodney Payne, CEO at Destination Think, opened the conference with a stinging indictment that one short-haul flight creates more carbon emissions per passenger than the average person living in Uganda or Somalia does in an entire year.

I didn't need to hear that twice. Like many, I was rewarded for frequent travel for the better part of three decades, sometimes up to 100 flights a year. I unequivocally know that I have been part of the problem.

What is there to do about it? Where to start? Hard questions, indeed.

It was a struggle for the first twenty years of this millennium to get people to listen to the logic and science behind global warming. In 2006, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore made a mind-blowing documentary that won two Oscars and a Nobel Peace Prize — still, people were only beginning to listen.

Getting the message out was not easy. Guy Bigwood, managing director of the Global Destination Sustainability Movement, went as far as renting an Elvis Presley suit and climbing on stage to do his version of Presley's “A Little Less Conversation” when presenting to the senior management and board of directors at MCI, a global engagement and marketing agency. 

The questions at hand: is the DMO the right organization to tackle sustainability at the local level, and, if so — how?