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Ten takeaways from the Hospitality & Operations Event: Hospitality & Thriving Destinations

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Organized by European Sustainable Hospitality Club & MQL Sustainable Tourism Services


The climate emergency and social instability demand urgent action from investors, governments, the private sector, and other industry stakeholders. We have the challenge of transforming hospitality, looking for solutions that address global environmental and social issues in the short and medium term to ensure long-term value. Social and environmental challenges are urgent global challenges. In this context, the Hospitality sector has a responsibility and unique ability to drive change at scale and support the transition to a just, fair, inclusive, and sustainable economy.



The discussion took place on October 25th and speakers' inputs and insights answered some of the following questions.


  • What role can brands play in supporting local communities and supporting positive change?

  • What can hospitality brands and destinations do to support community-based tourism?

  • How should we act on social impacts and nature conservation in the accommodation?

  • What are the most efficient routes to sustainable performance success, and why

  • Sustainability and financial resources are needed to regenerate ecosystems, and how do they affect destinations and hotels?

  • How can we leverage technology to move at the speed we need?

  • What are regenerative hotel practices, and how does it contribute to destination cohesion?



In the theory of change, we have three dimensions, a starting point, the pathway, and the vision of where we want to be.

To change our current path we are in, many stakeholders have to be involved and implement effective changes today.

From policy-makers, the private sector, and NGOs to individual action.

The question is how destination stakeholders, DMOs, hotels, and technologies can support cities to improve thrivability, inclusiveness, fairness, just economies, and regenerate ecosystems.


How can we decouple environmental impacts and social impacts (externalities) from economic and industry growth?


Hospitality is part of a living system and thus, economic activity has to be managed under planetary boundaries and put nature at the center for communities to flourish. How do we make this practical? What regeneration means daily?

We need systemic change understanding that we operate under planetary boundaries and community needs.


Ten Takeaways from this week's event


🥦1. Cutting food waste and changing ingredients and food choices can help to reduce GHG emissions. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies is key to preventing and reducing food waste, which accounts for 1/3 of global emissions.


📱2. The use of technology is key to gathering data and monitoring progress at every step.


📅3. There is still a long way to go before we achieve all 169 SDG metrics and reach the milestones. Cherry-picking occurs when industry stakeholders make a biased decision when choosing materiality impacts and prioritizing initiatives.


‼️ 4. Community-based tourism (CBT), empathy, and people-centric strategies help thriving destinations.

Destinations should promote strong values.


🗣5. Employees should be listened to, and hospitality companies should share the progress in sustainability actions with them. To make these policies and strategies a reality in operations, education is critical. Training to put practices in place, understand the value, and implement standards across brands and locations.


🎯6. It is challenging to navigate regulation requirements between jurisdictions operating across continents and countries. The industry operators must act beyond local compliance to have a positive impact.


🤝7. There is an opportunity for hotel owners, operators and developers to choose partners that believe and act to have a positive impact on hotel operations at all investment and asset management stages.


🌍8. Considering planetary boundaries and living systems is key to driving strategies in the hospitality and tourism industry.


🏨9. Educate guests through the guest experience about sustainability, and conservation practices.


👩🏽‍💼10. Different hospitality stakeholders require ESG information. It is critical to have the data for corporate clients, RPFs, and business development



Several other topics were briefly discussed, including the need to educate people in rural areas, the direct link between women's rights and young generations to sustainable development practices, the need to support social entrepreneurs, the differences between the global north and global south in terms of responsibility for emissions, the need for local wellbeing and bringing back the human side of tourism.


Meet the speakers that joined the conversation!



Catherine Germier-Hamel

Chief Executive Officer of Destination Mekong


For over 25 years, Catherine Germier-Hamel has built an international career dedicated to sustainable global and local development in a variety of sectors including tourism, hospitality, leisure, and environmental utilities -water, sanitation, and waste. After working for 9 years in a subsidiary of the Suez group offering consulting and technical assistance for environmental utility management in developing and emerging countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, she decided to embrace a career in sustainable tourism. In 2005, Catherine started a new life in South Korea where she creates the initiative Wine & Women Korea and promotes wine and sustainable wine tourism then serves as F&B Marketing Manager at Novotel Gangnam hotel (2007-2008). From 2008 to 2013), she joins the UNWTO ST-EP (Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty) Foundation as Director of Global Programs & Sustainable Tourism Consultant before becoming an independent Consultant and Trainer in 2014. ​In 2016, she incorporated Millennium Destinations in Seoul, an impact company providing consulting services and innovative solutions to small businesses and organizations in the travel, hospitality, and leisure sectors for their sustainable tourism development and marketing. In 2019, she co-founded Herost, an impact platform designed as an online travel guide and toolkit promoting sustainable, community-driven travel places, experiences, and practices. Since 2020, she has acted as the CEO of Herost. In 2021, Catherine was appointed CEO of Destination Mekong, ​a private-sector-led DMO aimed at championing the Greater Mekong Sub-region as a sustainable tourism destination creating value for all. Catherine holds a Master's degree in Business Administration and Management from Neoma Business School (1992), and a post-degree in Sustainable Tourism Development from the University of Paris Nanterre (2004).


- We are nature

- Everyone is responsible.

- Energy is very important

- There is no such a thing as a green destination

- The planet and the people need to heal


John Gardner

Chief Executive Officer Archipelago Indochina


Passionate 5-star hotelier experienced in general management, cluster management of multiple properties, renovations and pre-openings, and asset management, especially in challenging situations. With an excellent understanding of 5-star service and operations, including finance and marketing, to ensure positive results are consistently delivered but just as well versed in project management of pre-openings and renovations, I would be an asset to any hotel development company needing such skills and experience. Very adaptable and able to work well with hotel owners and developers from many nationalities, especially in Asia over the past 26 years. Over the past 5 years, I have been in the role of General Director of the JV owning company as their Representative in the operations overseeing and guiding the hotel management team and full renovations and asset manager of the property.

Will Porter

Head of UK Partnerships at Klimato


Will Porter is the Head of UK Partnerships at Klimato and has over 8 years of experience working in B2B partnerships across tech start-ups and the charity sector. In 2021 Will completed a master''s degree in Culinary Innovation Management from Le Cordon Bleu and Birkbeck University, which focused heavily on sustainability in the hospitality industry.

Klimato makes it easier-to-eat climate-friendly disclosing the CO2 impact of food and supporting Chefs with easy-to-use software, web-based, to work with data and drive behavior. His focus was on key ingredient swaps, methods of production of ingredients to consider, and how to incorporate more plant-based options on your menu. The webinar also looked at the benefits of making menus more climate-friendly in terms of business costs and customer loyalty.


Miquel Àngel

Head of HR & Quality Management / Working Group Vietnam Tourism Advisory Board

European hospitality and sustainable operations professional with over 35 years of project experience including Catalonia, Spain, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and mostly Vietnam. Turn-around European tourism expert, providing innovation & change to hospitality projects, and sustainable global standards. Intercultural training and personal and group coaching. Proven team management, standards implementation, skills training, customer satisfaction analysis and evaluation, human resources optimization, sustainability principles, associates professional empowerment, and individual mentoring.


Rewatch the session here!


Do you have something to share? Get in touch hello@eshclub.com


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