March 3rd marked the third-annual Monterey Institute of International Studies’ (MIIS) Net Impact Forum, held in Monterey, Calif. The event’s focus, “Greening Outside the Niche: Practical Applications of Sustainability,” blended multiple industry sectors in a one-day conference addressing specific niches of the sustainable business movement, including one workshop dedicated to travel and tourism.
Local organic farmers, green builders, sustainably-minded venture capitalists and adventure/eco-tourism leaders presented during the conference. The travel and tourism workshop was led by ATTA Board Member John Poimiroo, ATTA’s Director Chris Doyle, and Heidi Tiura, co-founder, captain and owner of Monterey’s Sanctuary Cruises (www.sancturarycruises.com).
Designed to provide general awareness of industry issues, the ecotourism session was moderated by MPA 2007 candidate Aaron Leonard. Poimiroo set the pace with a review of the overall issues facing the travel and leisure industry in general. Doyle then followed up with a look at the environmental and cultural impacts of adventure travel, along with emerging solutions being advocated by the ATTA and pursued by sustainability and ecotourism experts including Sustainable Travel International, TIES, GreenGlobe21, and others. Tiura then closed the session with an on-the-ground look from a tour owner/operator’s perspective about the struggles and realities linked to true commitment to sustainability practices.
Audience members in the MIIS workshops, put together by MIIS students committed to using business to earn profits and create positive social change, included executives from diverse industry sectors, local nonprofit leaders, entrepreneurs, and graduate business students.