Friday, March 12, 2010

Icarus Foundation's Guide to Green Festivals and Events

I had a chance to catch last evening's presentation on climate change and tourism by Dr Rachel Dodds of the Icarus Foundation and it really reinforced my beliefs that the sustainability of our natural environment will be key to maintaining and growing our tourism economy for the city and region.

Its our goal to become leaders in urban sustainable tourism and with the abundance of partners and tools we have at our disposal, its achievable. We're currently ramping up our dialogue with our Active Transportation and Greenwise initiatives, with Lakehead University and others who all share this goal. We've had interest from some traditionally consumptive partners including the snow mobiling and hunting segments, who want to learn more about this. It's that broad range of interest that's encouraging. Remember, its not that we have to give up our recreational passions and activities that are part of our northern culture. Its just that we undertake them with an eye to ensuring they exist in the future.

The Icarus Foundation has some great research and planning tools to assist tourism industry partners to become more aware of their ecological footprint and provide planning tools to become more environmentally responsible.

Locally, we see this awareness starting to grow and recent Municipal awards granted to the Victoria Inn and OLG Casino Thunder Bay are evidence that economy and ecology are inter elated more and more in our industry. My vision is to see environmental sustainably worn like a badge...quite as many of our local tourism partners as possible, letting visitors know our values.

There's one particular tool I want to hi lite in this post. In 2008, the Foundation released a Guide to Green Festivals and Events. This 15 page guide provides some insights and ideas that can be readily implemented by organizations at all levels. Its easy to follow and gives some great real examples of what's done elsewhere.

To read it online or print it (but only if you need to print it!), visit

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