PATA | Contact

All posts in Featured Post

SPTO Christina Leala‐Gale,

SPTO’s new manager for Sustainable Tourism Development Christina Leala-Gale.


SPTO appoints new head of sustainable tourism

19 January 2016, Suva, FIJI – The South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) has today announced the appointment of Christina Leala‐Gale, a Samoan, as its new Manager of Sustainable Tourism Development.

Ms Leala‐Gale will be responsible for strengthening SPTO’s work in the area of sustainable tourism development. She brings over 14 years of experience to the position.

In welcoming her to the organisation, Chief Executive Officer Chris Cocker said: “Christina joins SPTO with a wealth of experience in various areas such as sustainable development, tourism planning, project management and climate change to name a few. SPTO is indeed fortunate to have an asset like Christina to share her technical expertise and knowledge in the field of sustainable tourism development, which is an area of great importance to the Pacific Islands. The Sustainable Tourism Development Division is of course a new unit in SPTO and as we evolve to also undertake tourism development programs, I am pleased that we have qualified managers like Christina at the helm.”

“2017 is an important year for the Pacific and the entire global community and Christina has joined us at an opportune time to contribute to national, regional and global initiatives like the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development. She will work closely with other regional agencies and development partners on a range of environmental issues including energy efficiency and reduction, climate change and disaster risk management and their links to sustainable tourism,” he added.

Ms Leala‐Gale joins SPTO from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in Apia where she managed a regional project on reducing the vulnerability of community livelihoods to the impacts of climate change through improved national meteorological services in 14 Pacific Island countries.

Prior to that, she held a variety of positions over 10 years at Samoa Tourism Authority (STA), working on tourism planning and development, climate change adaptation in the tourism sector and managing the recovery of the Samoan tourism sector following the 2009 tsunami and Tropical Cyclone Evan in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Information Systems from the University of the South Pacific.

“I am very pleased to be part of the team at SPTO and I look forward to working closely with our members and development partners on how we can improve in the area of sustainable tourism as a region,” she said.

Ms Leala‐Gale hails from Lepea village outside Apia, which is known for its sliding rocks, an eco- tourism activity that is managed by the community. She is joined in Suva by her husband and five children.

Based in Suva, SPTO works with 16 Pacific island countries to market and develop tourism in South Pacific region.

About SPTO

Established in 1983 as the Tourism Council of the South Pacific, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) is the mandated organisation representing Tourism in the region. Its 18 Government members are American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the People’s Republic of China. In addition to government members, the South Pacific Tourism Organisation enlists a private sector membership base.



For more information, contact:

Alisi Lutu, Marketing Manager

South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO)

Email: [email protected] or +679 3304177


A Celebration of 2016: MGM Sustainability Newsletter

Categories: Asia, Featured Post
Comments Off on A Celebration of 2016: MGM Sustainability Newsletter
MGM Sustainability: Create A Better Tomorrow Today


We’re doing a lot behind the scenes at MGM to reduce our impact on the environment and support the people that mean the most to us, including all our employees and community. Contributing to a better Macau through our arts and culture program is also an important aspect of our approach. Through this newsletter we will share our monthly sustainability highlights with you, and hope you will join us in our sustainability programs to help us Create a Better Tomorrow Today. 


As the year draws to a close, in this month’s Sustainability Newsletter, we would like to celebrate some of the 2016 highlights from our program across each of our sustainability pillars. Here’s a recap of just a few of those highlights.

  Leading in sustainability management:
In 2016, to support best practice sustainability we established our Sustainability Policy, signed by senior management, and applicable to all employees and business partners.
We further enhanced our sustainability practices and data management through the certification of our Sustainability Management System with ISO 50001 in Energy Management as well as with the EarthCheck data benchmarking system.
Among many awards received throughout the year, MGM was selected to join the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Benchmark Index, which identifies the top sustainability leaders in Hong Kong and Mainland China that are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  Unwavering commitment to the community:
Throughout 2016, we contributed over 6,400 hours of our time to the community across 95 different community events providing care to 1,500 senior citizens, 700 low-income families, 600 youths in Macau and 300 disabled persons.
With our haircutting service for senior citizens being one of our signature events; we broke all our records delivering 550 haircuts, as well as new friendships, to associations for senior citizens around Macau.
To support local business, MGM engaged 635 new small and medium-sized enterprises(SME) through our quarterly SME Business Matching Sessions from November 2015 to December 2016. As a result, we successfully created new business with 158 vendors and signed 2,213 new deals worth MOP155 million. MGM also took its commitment to SMEs to new level, by developing its existing Macau SME relationships with its parent company, MGM Resorts International, with the first global deal signed in December 2016.
Further, to raise awareness of modern day slavery and the detrimental effects of human trafficking, MGM initiated and sponsored a series of events internally and externally including comprehensive internal training, documentary screening and seminars.
  Fighting to protect the planet:
Through energy reduction initiatives, MGMconsumed 1,818 less tons of CO2 emissionsin 2016, which is the equivalent of taking 384 cars off the road for an entire year! Total energy consumption has reduced by 30% since 2008.
To conserve water, we implemented aninnovative water recycling scheme to recycle condensate water from our air-conditioning system for flushing in our toilets
In 2016, we reduced our waste sent to the incinerator by 9% since 2015; and a total of 15% since 2012, which is the equivalent weight of over 127 African elephants!
Throughout the year, our employees also got involved through the Let’s Waste Less Campaign, the Recycling Bag Design Competition, Energy Conservation Week, Earth Hour, the screening of Before the Flood, and the annual tree planting & maintenance program.
To ensure our new property, MGM COTAI, has environmental sustainability at its heart, green building practices were employed throughout the design and construction process, with MGM receiving the China (Macau) Green Building Label for our efforts (the first company in Macau to receive this award).
  Investing in our employees:
In 2016, our employees received over 268,933 hours of training, or 45 hours per employee.
As part of this, we sent 27 high-performing local team members to our sister properties in Las Vegas through our PRIDE and MAP program, launched a High School Diploma Program to promote lifelong learning, and launched our online learning platform – MGM eAcademy.
We also welcomed 149 interns from colleges and universities from Macau and beyond for on-the-job experience in a professional environment.
In advance of our second property opening, MGM COTAI, we also launched our mass recruitment campaign hosting various mass recruitment job fairs for local residents, and we look forward to welcoming 6,000 new employees to our ranks.
Launched in 2016, our Internal Transfer Program presents exciting new opportunities and our Referral and Rehire Program will be updated with an enhanced incentives program in 2017.
  Contributing to the arts and culture in Macau:
The Fun for Everyone Campaign kept us all entertained with MGM’s Art Space hosting an exquisite sculpture display, “Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion”. From April-November, the exhibition received more than 23,500 guests and 150 tours.
MGM’s Grande Praça also hosted our majesticButterfly Garden, a kaleidoscope of colorful giant butterflies hovering above our colossal aquarium.
To celebrate Chinese culture and further cultivate interest in Chinese traditional dance, MGM’s Lion Dance Championship, as well as the Junior Lion Dance Training Program for young children, aged 5-10 years brought excitement for this ancient art form to Macau.
澳門美高梅   MGM MACAU
Avenida Dr. Sun Yat Sen, NAPE, Macau
E [email protected]
MGM logo



Dr Ioannis Pappas, CEO of Green Evolution SA, Member of the Board and Country Representative of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, is an experienced professional engineer, with over 25 years of work in several fields of science, focusing on sustainability for tourism, energy and environmental efficiency in infrastructure and buildings, auditing or advising in standardization of companies and technological implementation of climate adaptation and mitigation methodologies.

His company, Green Evolution S.A. is an advisory company in the fields of environment, energy and carbon finance. With respect to sustainable tourism in particular they assist interested entities to implement sustainable tourism through consulting, training and functional support, in the design, management and implementation of tourism projects with sustainability in order to create long term benefits for destinations and local communities

In this interview Ioannis Pappas speaks with Anula Galewska about challenges of tourism development in Greece and reviews the sustainability efforts of the Greek tourism industry.

This article is part of the interview series with Speakers of the GSTC Conferences in Suwon, Korea and Athens, Greece held in October and November 2016.


GSTC’s Regional European Meeting took place in Athens, Greece in November 2016. To view presentations from the past conference and learn about upcoming GSTC events, visit GSTC website.

Click here to read more on the original article by Travindy.


2016 has been a significant year in advancing fundamental principles and rights at work. Working with governments, social partners and communities, the ILO FUNDAMENTALS Branch has helped those who cannot organize and bargain collectively, those suffering from discrimination, and those who are trapped in child labour and forced labour. There is much more to be done, and we look forward to accelerating progress and coordinating action towards our common goals over the coming years.

Click here for the original article by International Labour Organization (ILO).


Reflecting on the past year

Categories: Asia, Featured Post, People and Places
Comments Off on Reflecting on the past year


As I end the second year of my 3-year term as PATA CEO, I just wanted to take a few moments to reflect on the past year and what a crazy year it has been! I could summarise the past 12 months in just a few words: migrant crisis, terrorism, changes in political landscape, natural disasters, the passing of a great King, Brexit, talks of walls and the shocking results of an election. Despite of it all and the uncertain future the world will be facing, the travel industry remains resilient as we are still seeing steady growth in our sector.

However when I hear talk of building walls rather than bridges, the closing of borders or that borders are now managed by generals, the return of more stringent visa policies and that climate change is hoax, I worry! I worry for my children, I worry that our world has forgotten about the past, I worry that it isn’t focused on building a better future for itself!

But I have hope, when I see a country measuring its success based on the happiness of its people, another building a future to be totally reliant on sustainable energy, heads of large corporations focusing on long term sustainable growth and not on quarterly profit or our youth building businesses that are inclusive and involving local communities. I have hope when I read about a King who has inspired a nation and taught its people about the need for a sufficient economy. I have hope when an industry unites to make our world a better place to live.

I have travelled to 83 countries and made it a point to engage with local communities in every country I have visited and for that I am thankful, as it has made me a better person. I believe that if every traveller makes an effort to engage with locals, embed themselves within the culture of the country they are visiting, then the 1.2 billion tourists roaming the world could all become ambassadors for peace.

As we enter 2017, I invite you all to join me in creating a better world together and build a sustainable future for our youth and future generations.

I wish you all a Happy Holiday season.

Posted in CEO Blog, Dr. Mario Hardy.



How to influence supply chains to effect change at scale: interview with WWF’s Jim Sano

Categories: Americas, Cruise, Featured Post, Private Sector, Tour Operator, Wildlife
Comments Off on How to influence supply chains to effect change at scale: interview with WWF’s Jim Sano
James Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF at GSTC Conference in Suwon, Korea presenting the partnership between WWF, Royal Caribbean Cruises and GSTC.

James Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF at GSTC Conference in Suwon, Korea presenting the partnership between WWF, Royal Caribbean Cruises and GSTC.

For this interview Anula Galewska spoke with Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF, about the partnership between WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Jim serves as the senior advisor on sustainable tourism programs and develops new initiatives to engage WWF’s most committed supporters. He was formerly President of Geographic Expeditions, a San Francisco-based adventure travel company that offers educational travel, location management, and sustainable travel consulting services.
Prior to joining Geographic Expeditions, Jim served as a ranger and special assistant to the Superintendent at Yosemite National Park in California. Jim was on WWF’s National Council for 10 years and is an Emeritus Board Member of the Trust for Public Land.

This article is part of the interview series with Speakers of the GSTC Conferences in Suwon, Korea and Athens, Greece held in October and November 2016.

Anula: How did WWF come to be partnering with Royal Caribbean Cruises?

Jim: Earlier this year, WWF and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd entered into a five-year partnership that focuses on ensuring the long-term health of the oceans. Over the next five years, our global partnership will work to achieve several ambitious and measurable sustainability targets that will reduce the company’s environmental footprint, support WWF’s global oceans conservation work, and raise awareness among the company’s more than 5 million passengers about the importance of ocean conservation.

The targets include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, responsibly sourcing food, including seafood, and promoting more sustainable tourism operations and destinations. For example in sustainable tourism, Royal Caribbean will offer guests at least 1,000 shore excursions by operators certified to the GSTC standard by 2020. Learn more about all of Royal Caribbean’s 2020 environmental sustainability targets on our website.

Anula: How is this partnership encouraging suppliers to improve their sustainability standards?

Jim: Improving sustainable tour operations through the company’s suppliers is one of the primary goals of the partnership. RCL has worked with many of their tour operators to improve sustainability over the years, and as a great first step, these operators have conducted internal assessments and some have been certified or recognized against international sustainability standards. Getting GSTC-recognized certification is the next step in this process.

One of the strategies we are working on with Royal Caribbean is to add a sustainability preference into their responsible tour sourcing policy. RCL will give preference to tour operators who have made progress towards certification or have been certified against a GSTC standard. Not everyone will be certified by 2020, but the new sourcing policy will be in place by 2018, encouraging tour operators to begin the certification process.

Of course we need to be realistic as it is not always possible to get 100% of suppliers certified, especially in places where there is only one company capable of delivering the service.

Through this commitment, Royal Caribbean is be sending an important signal about the importance of GSTC. And, more and more, we’re seeing a shift towards sustainability in the tourism market. Having a large company like Royal Caribbean endorse the GSTC standard will hopefully spur others to follow suit.


Dirk Glaesser (Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism, UNWTO), Jim Sano (Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF) and Randy Durband (GSTC CEO)

Anula: So another aim has to be educate the customer about conservation issues and the project itself?

Jim: We want to increase consumer awareness of GSTC as the leading tourism sustainability standard. In the future we hope that all certified suppliers will be able to use the GSTC logo. By increasing awareness of the GSTC logo, we hope to create a brand like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and reduce the confusion caused by the proliferation of ecotourism labels in the marketplace.

As part of this partnership, we’re actively working to educate Royal Caribbean’s guests about ocean conservation. We’re developing educational content across three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. There’s a special edition of WWF’s magazine, “WWF At Sea,” in every stateroom across these brands. We also have dedicated oceans-focused programming on the stateroom tv channel.

In April 2016 Royal Caribbean committed to combatting wildlife crime, through an event organized by the White House and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. To support this commitment, WWF is developing educational materials on smart shopping while in port – advising Royal Caribbean’s guests what to look out for and what not to buy. WWF is also developing a special guide about sharks and rays, to provide best practices on how to conduct tours in an ecologically-sensitive manner. We hope this will provide needed guidance to the industry as a whole, and not just Royal Caribbean.

Anula: Do you also have any special education programs for the staff?

Jim: Yes. We know that educating the crew is going to be critical in building awareness with guests. The staff, whether its cruise directors or waiters, are allies in helping spread our message on board the ships. We are in the process of developing trainings and content on a variety of topics – from sustainable seafood to wildlife crime.

We plan to leverage the experience of the tour operator Natural Habitat Adventures. Their training programs have proved to be a success, so we want to do a similar thing with the Royal Caribbean.

Anula: Why did WWF decide to work with Royal Caribbean?

Jim: Our oceans under threat. According to WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report, in the last four decades populations of some marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have declined on average by half. The loss of mangroves—perhaps one of the most valuable habitats on the planet—is estimated to be occurring at a rate three to five times that of the loss of rainforest. If we are going to reverse the downward trends, we must take bold steps to repair, restore and protect the oceans.

We believe it is important to harness the power of the global marketplace as a force for conservation. Our objective in partnering with Royal Caribbean is to contribute to the conservation of important ocean ecosystems and safeguard vital natural marine resources for generations to come. And, we hope to inspire other companies in the tourism sector to become more sustainable.

So one of the reasons why we work with big travel companies is to create a certain amount of critical mass, which has a profound influence on smaller companies to behave more sustainably. If you want to know more about why WWF works with these big players, watch this TED Talk by Jason Clay. In tourism we followed the same principle, and this is how we started working with Royal Caribbean.

Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF

Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, WWF

Anula: But big players are very often frightened to commit to sustainability. Why is that?

Jim: The travel industry, unlike other industries such as clothing, has very low margins. On top of that, tourism is a highly competitive market. The big barrier is how much money it will cost a company to raise the bar and be more sustainable.

At my former tour company, Geographic Expeditions, when we first offered tours to Nepal it was very difficult for the end customer to make a connection with a tour company. Now everyone has a nice website, and someone from customer service can answer all your questions online.

But big companies have a competitive advantage, which small ones don’t have – years of experience and a good insurance. At Geographic Expeditions our value proposition was the peace of mind. If a customer cares about sustainability and also health and safety, we offered them a customizable travel experience and the comforting feeling that all the issues had been taken care of.

We need to show these companies that sustainability and strong business fundamentals are not mutually exclusive.

Anula: How important is tourism for WWF?

Jim: This project with Royal Caribbean is our first large project in the travel and hospitality sector.

There’s a growing realization that tourism, when done right, offers a financial opportunity for countries to develop their economies responsibly and protect nature.

According to the studies we made at The Trust for Public Land, 400 national parks can create 14 million dollars in economic activity, and that offers conservation returns worth from $4 to $10 for every dollar invested.

We should be developing more case studies that present the economic benefits, and reports that showcase the compelling case for economic development and jobs creation thanks to tourism activity.

If we want governments to take tourism more seriously, we have to be able to document these numbers. Evidence and money talks, it is the only way to convince big businesses to choose sustainability as their development path.

GSTC Global Sustainable Tourism Conference took place in Suwon, Korea in October 2016. To view presentations from the past conference and learn about upcoming GSTC events, visit GSTC website.

Click here for the original article by Travindy.


African Tourism Ministers adopt African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism

Categories: Africa, Featured Post
Comments Off on African Tourism Ministers adopt African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism

African screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-09-12-02

African Ministers of Tourism and heads of delegation along with UNWTO officials assembled in Marrakech for the 22nd Session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22) to adopt the first African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism and sign the Declaration on ‘Tourism and Climate Issues in Africa’. Both documents pave the way for the implementation of sustainability and responsibility principles in the tourism sector in Africa.

The African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism, signed during the Ministerial Forum on Tourism and Climate in Africa, on the sidelines of the COP22, aims at becoming an instrumental tool for the continent to engage in sustainable tourism best practices by reconciling social and economic growth, the preservation of the environment and the respect for the cultural diversity of each country.

During the opening, H.E.M. Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Tourism of Morocco, said “the charter which is signed today is a commitment for the future in order to promote sustainable tourism for the benefit of Africa while showing respect to biodiversity and the heritage of each African country”.

Commenting on the charte,  Márcio Favilla, UNWTO Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations, said it is “the result of the vision that African countries have for the future of their tourism sector: one that respects the environment, local communities, promotes gender equality, creates jobs for the youth and is a key driver for sustainable and economic growth” and that “the Charter constitutes also an open working platform for countries which provides global orientations to preserve, respect and benefit African destinations and African people”.

The flowing countries undersign the document: the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Cabo-Verde, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Chad.

Click here for the original article by Travindy.