IMPACT Sustainable Travel and Tourism Conference Continues to Gain Momentum

By Paul Nursey, Destination Greater Victoria

In 2016, a small group of Greater Victoria community and visitor economy leaders saw a unique opportunity: further the growing need and community-led desire for enhanced sustainability practices in the travel and tourism space. This became reality with the creation of the IMPACT Sustainability Travel and Tourism Conference (IMPACT), held in Victoria every January. This year, due to health orders and restrictions on public gatherings we are hosting a condensed and focused virtual session on March 31, featuring Keith Henry, President & CEO of Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada, Marsha Walden, President & CEO of Destination Canada and Katie Briscoe, President of MMGY Global. I will moderate the panel. The full three-day conference will return January 23-26, 2022 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.     

In just four years, we went from concept to sold-out conference with a wide array of contributors working together. They discussed resiliency and sustainability, as well as communicating the importance of these attributes as shared community values. The opportunity at IMPACT was translating ideas such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into action. IMPACT has been an amazing success, but it was not easy. I would like to share our experience and how we reached our goals.

In the past number of years, we began to see individual entrepreneurs and Destination Greater Victoria members improving their business practices and increasingly applying the lens of sustainability. Sustainability practices became a business imperative as well as reflective of community values.  Concurrently, we saw the risk of increased regulation and top-down policy as governments were declaring climate emergencies and creating strict carbon emission limits with hard timelines for reductions. Businesses made nimble decisions in a way that they could control and guide incorporating sustainability practices, instead of adjusting to government policies and regulations at a future date.   

The third consideration was changing consumer mindsets. In our meetings and conventions segment, becoming a green and sustainable destination is a competitive advantage. Research from our partner at MMGY Global continues to demonstrate the shift towards responsible and sustainable travel preferences for consumers.

We hope that you can join us for the free, short dialogue on March 31, 2021. While the content is predominantly Canadian, sustainability concepts are applicable in other jurisdictions. We also hope to see you in Victoria for the IMPACT Sustainability Travel and Tourism Conference in 2022.

Further information on this year’s sustainability dialogue can be found here. 

About the Author

Paul Nursey headshot
Paul Nursey
President & CEO
Destination Greater Victoria
Paul Nursey joined Destination Greater Victoria in January 2010. He is an experienced and respected senior tourism leader and progressive tourism marketing, strategy, and branding expert with 25 years of tourism-related leadership and management experience. During his tenure at Destination Greater Victoria, Paul has transformed the organization using the Balanced Scorecard performance management framework. In 2016, Paul successfully negotiated a new funding relationship with local hoteliers, the City of Victoria and Province of BC that enables Destination Greater Victoria to better execute strategic planning over the medium term.