Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bringing Sustainability to the Culinary Industry Helps Raise our Standard

Growing a tourism economy begins with establishing a higher standard for ourselves.

For me, raising Thunder Bay's standard includes sustainability. Sustainability goes hand in hand with our vision to position Thunder Bay as Canada's Best Outdoor City around a strong "Superior by Nature" image.

I've spoken before about sustainability, both in financial and environmental terms and both are equally important. The financial sustainability is what the industry desires and goes to what I spoke of a couple of weeks back about our need to redefine what an attraction is and should be in an accountable environment. However, when we talk about the city's tourism image, its the environmental sustainability and its connectivity to the brand that consumer sees....and folks, that's who has to see us first.

The definition of sustainable tourism is simple. The heart of it is "to promote visitor experiences that conserve the environment while bringing positive economic impacts to local economies." I've said it before and I've repeated it again. Its not that we have to give up promoting the visitor experiences we are known for but about doing so in the most environmentally responsible methods we can.

I spend a lot of time, seven days a week, looking for tourism industry news, looking at best practices and searching for new and innovative and provocative ways to promote the city to the target markets that match our visitor experiences.

Today I came across a fantastic online video showcasing the sustainability philosophy of Arthur Potts Dawson, a British restaurateur, where he discusses achieving sustainability in the culinary industry. Our city's culinary culture has blossomed in recent years and has become woven intimately into all we promote. We have some great examples of sustainable culinary experiences in the City. Growing Season Juice Collective, the Thunder Bay Country Market and the Thunder Oak Gouda Farm are just some that provide culinary experiences based on locally produced ingredients and create local employment. We need more, however. In fact, what if our entire local culinary industry embraces environmental sustainability to some practical extent?

I'm not going to say much more about the video or topic than the fact that it was absolutely enlightening. Watch it for yourself and if you're in the local culinary industry, you'll to come away enlightened too.

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