Tourism: Building Back Better, a global conversation with expert panelists

‘Tourism: Building Back Better’ is part of the Global Perspectives Speaker Series, an initiative of the Whistler Institute, located in Whistler, BC, Canada.

If you missed the live conversation you can view the panel discussion recording online on the Whistler Institute YouTube Channel. Note that the Question and Answer function is now closed.

  • Could the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the tourism industry and on travelers’ experiences also be an opportunity for a reset and a reinvention?
  • Can tourism recover from the shock of the pandemic by being “greener, smarter and less crowded”?

These are questions posed in a recent New York Times article that asks if the future of travel has moved beyond sustainability and eco-tourism and suggests that “the new frontier is ‘regenerative travel,’ or leaving a place better than you found it.”

As the world recovers from the global pandemic, there will be a renewed freedom to travel and a need for economic recovery – both in the tourism industry and within local communities. Now is the time to address the challenges and risks ahead so that the future of travel is better for the earth and for its people.

Join this distinguished panel for a vital discussion about the future of tourism. Presentations and discussion will cover:

  • Adjusting our tourism practices to protect and manage the vital ecosystems, cultural wonders, and community life that attracted residents and visitors to our destinations in the first place
  • Uncovering and accounting for tourism’s hidden costs to ensure we build environmental and social resilience, while simultaneously achieving economic recovery
  • Understanding how travel can be truly transformative when we uphold what we value, mitigate our impacts, and recognize a prosperity in sync with place, community and environment
  • With supporting examples that travel the globe

During the discussion there will be an opportunity for attendees to submit questions for the panel to address during the Question and Answer period after the discussion.

BONUS EVENT: May 14, 4-5PM – Book Club with Megan Epler Wood

Ticket holders for Tourism: Building Back Better will be able to attend the 4PM Book Club with Megan Epler Wood, log-in details are included in the ticket confirmation email. Epler Wood is a conservationist, ecotourism pioneer, research leader and consultant on questions of managing sustainable tourism for destinations, business and civil society and the author of the 2017 book, Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet and the 2019 report Destinations at Risk; The Invisible Burden of Tourism. This session is moderated by Jack Crompton, Past President of the Lower Mainland LGA and Mayor at the Resort Municipality of Whistler

The Whistler Institute is pleased to partner with the Lower Mainland Local Government Association and Tourism Whistler to bring this event to a global audience.

The Panel

Megan Epler Wood: Founder & Principal, EplerWood International [Author, Destinations at Risk, The Invisible Burden (2019) Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet (2017)] Megan Epler Wood is a thought leader, pioneer, teacher, and consultant on questions of managing sustainable tourism for destinations, business, and civil society.  She has led her firm EplerWood International since 2003 to design net positive regional tourism development projects working in over 35 countries with support from the World Bank, IFC, IDB, GIZ and USAID.  Since 2010 her research and on-line courses with Harvard Extension and Cornell universities vetted a wide range of solutions to help protect destinations using science-based, technology-powered measures together with socially and environmentally responsible  business development techniques designed to meet local economic development goals, and global SDG and Paris Climate standards.   Her research work is presently dedicated to addressing the tough questions of managing tourism sustainably as it scales upward after the historic COVID 19 downturn of 2020-2021.  Epler Wood wrote her 2017 book, Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet and 2019 report Destinations at Risk; The Invisible Burden of Tourism to address the gaps in governance, business and civil society models for meeting the aspirational goals of sustainable tourism worldwide.

Rodney Payne: CEO, DestinationThink! an innovative consultancy & agency working with destinations around the world. Rodney Payne is the CEO of Destination Think!, an international consultancy & agency working with the most innovative and progressive destination marketing. HIs role affords him the responsibility and privilege of leading a team that has reached the pinnacle of its industry, successfully delivering hundreds of branding, strategy, campaign, content marketing & sustainability-related projects for destinations all over the world.

Barrett Fisher: President & CEO, Tourism Whistler Barrett Fisher is the President & CEO of Tourism Whistler. She brings to her position 30 years of tourism experience, and is responsible for marketing Whistler to the world, elevating Whistler from a winter regional destination to a year-round international destination. In addition to heading up the tourism organization of Research; Destination Development; Market Development; Marketing; Communications; and Conference Sale; Fisher’s responsibilities also include overseeing the operations of the Whistler Conference Centre, the Whistler Golf Club, the Whistler Visitor Centre, and Reservations.

Fisher is passionate about strategic planning, change management, and people leadership; and her organization’s most recent focus has been on responsible tourism, destination development, and growth management. Fisher currently serves on the boards of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia, the British Columbia DMO Association (which she chaired for three years), and Whistler Sports Legacies. Prior to these, she served on a number of additional boards, including the Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games, the Pemberton Airport Authority, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, and the Whistler Arts Council.

Session Chair: Jack Crompton, Mayor, Resort Municipality of Whistler. Jack Crompton has deep roots in Whistler and is passionate about the future of his community. His grandparents were original shareholders in the Garibaldi Lift Company and the Cromptons have been engaged in business and community organizations since the beginning. Jack’s professional life has focused mainly on transportation and software. He founded Whistler Resort Cabs and operated the company until selling the company in 2008. He then founded and served as CEO for Ridebooker; a Whistler based transportation software company. In October 2018, Jack resigned his position with Ridebooker to serve full-time as Mayor of Whistler.