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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Hasselt University stokes world on Green Growth and Travelism

Hasselt University stokes world on Travelism font size decrease font size increase font size Print Email 01.Oct.2014 DISQUS_COMMENTS Wale Ojo-Lanre Rate this item1 2 3 4 5 (0 votes) THE fear that the tourism sector would suffer terribly more from environmental degradation and pollution actuated the Hasselt University , Belgium to inaugurate the first ever Green Growth and Travelism Summer School held at its Diepenbeek Campus, between 25 and 29 August, 2014. Taking cognisance of the essence of tourism to human existence in relation to maintaining a sane environment, Hasselt University, Belgium stoked its summer school in announcing a five-day intensive certificated course for top notched tourism buffs, teachers, stakeholders, media practitioners, aviation gurus and ecological students from all over the world. Luc De Schepper, Rector of Hasselt University explained the purpose why the Summer School was organised, “The first Summer School with specific focus on sustainable mobility and biodiversity, is being organised by the Transportation Research Institute, Hasselt University, Belgium. This is because today’s world is changing rapidly and we are facing economic, social and environmental challenges compounded by intensifying climate change. In order to create a bright future, the idea of Green Growth has been developed as a strategic response. Its application for tourism and mobility is recognized as a key element of sustainable global socio-economic development. The case of Travelism, short for Travel & Tourism, in the context of a Green Growth paradigm transformation will be extensively discussed.” Thus, in line with this set objective, the host niversity gathered world renowned experts, world class lecturers and intellectuals who are not only authorities in green growth but deep in environmental sustainability, ecotourism, mobility, tourism and ecology. The university structured the teaching and learning around the concept of Green Growth, with specific links to Climate Resilience, Sustainability Mobility and Biodiversity Conservation. It wired all these round the Maurice Strong Reflection, an approach which helped to identify leadership directions and encapsulated a great range of views, constraints and opportunities. Leading the packs of the world class lecturers was Professor Geoffrey Lipman, Director, and President, International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP), a visiting/Adjunct Professor Victoria University, Australia who was also Executive Director AITA, First President World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations world Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), who released an avalanche of knowledge from his reservoir and experience to the students in exposing What is green growth? Lipman revealed that the meaning of Travelism and why it is potentially important to sustainable development of humanity and nature on planet earth. He also exposed what is Triple Bottom Line plus sustainability and why it is so important to Green Growth and to Travelism. He exposed with examples, how the world has failed to properly measure the good and the bad impacts of travelism; why we are locked in a quagmire of well meaning ostrichism. The don explained how big thinking and big data could lead to a full balance sheet approach to sustainable development in relation to green growth and travelism; unveiled what is cross silo thinking and why we don’t have it in travelism sector spelling out why it is essential for green growth and sustainable development. For the needed knowledge and information on diversity, Mr Ignace Schoops, Director, Hoge Kempen National Park, made concrete examples of how the Belgian government with efforts of some of them turned a rather barren land to the first and only National Park in Belgium. Ignace revealed the relationship between climate change and biodiversity with bias to tourism and mobility in a sustainable setting. He revealed how his concept of Re connection Model has been a successful vehicle for sustainable tourism and helped to protect and value the natural heritage in Belgium, a model, which can be adopted to shore up the ecology and environment of any given country. Prof Geert Wets, a full Professor at the School for Transportation Sciences, Hasselt University, Belgium deplored his robust knowledge and experience of how transportation which is one of the main drivers of climatic change has contributed to depletion of the ozone layer, hampering tourism development and distortion in environment. He pointed out that while it is well known that transportation is one of the main drivers of climatic change currently, cities still face the huge problem of making their transportation system more sustainable.” Prof Geerts revealed that overtime, some countries have taken many measures but these measures have not yielded the expected result. He emphasised the urgent need to embrace electric cars, solar powered items saying that any form of transportation, which does not reduce congestion and lower emission will contribute more to the society. Many options and latest developments in transportation for sustainable tourism were outlined and examined. At the Dinner debate, Imtiaz Muqbil, editor, Travel Impact talked on why sustainability and environmental problems needed to be looked at from the perspective of both the root cause and the broder context in which they occur. Many posers were raised on how important the problems in relation to all the others are facing the world today. Is tourism a part of the problem or a part of the solution? Will global climate change agreements really solve anything? Can Asia take thelead in providing permanent, long –term solutions? A professor of Sustainable Tourism, Victoria University, Australia, Terry Delacey who recently led projects in Bali on developing a green growth 2050 roadmap and is currently leading similar projects in Chine took the students on Green Growth Roadmap where he focused on a roadmaping process to assist tourism destinations to make transformation into the emerging green economy using Bali in Indonesia as a case study. But is there any reason for sustainable tourism? Who benefits anyway? Is tourism management taken seriously? Will climatic change see a paradigm change? And what are the real forces driving and managing tourism were dealt with by Valerie Tjolle, Principal, who is also the Sustainable Tourism Editor for Rebecca Hawkins, SA Research Fellow, of Oxford Brookes University related the story of environmental sustainability in the travel and tourism sector following its evolution from Rio Earth Summit in 1992 till date and moved on to look at priorities for future . Professor Shaun Vorster, University of Stenbosch Business School, was on Aviation – A special case. Ulrich Schulte – Strathouse, took , “A global view from Europe “ Managing Director , Aviation Strategy and Concept, Professor Elke Hermans Hasselt University, pondered on “Can mobility be sustainable ? While An Neven, of Hasselt university, revealed while mobility is essential to all: Mr Bart Paesen spoke on utilising BIG DATA to enhance tourism operation and sustainability. Professor Davy Janssen too hammered on the use of Big Data. Lucian Cernat, Chief Economist Director General Trade EU Commission explained the intersect of Trade and Travelism, revealing the directions of change for Trade in a green economy transformation. Koen Vanmelcheen, the renowned Belgian artist explained his Cosmopolitan Chicken Project and his Open University of Biodiversity, Dr. Tim Coles, professor in Management, Amit Gautam, who specialises in developing innovative business model in Sustainable Mobility , Renewable Energy and Travel and Tourism, and Eunji Tae, Coordinator of the World Tourism Organisation, all offered their best and handled their lectures well. Though the Summer School was intensive and hard, Hasselt University ensured that the students had rich, field trips to drive home the theme and goal of the Summer School. The students visited Open University of Biodiversity where they were able to interact personally with the experiment of Koen Vanmelcheen, visited the European Parliament where they had a lecture on how the parliament works and a highly educative tour of the only National Park in Belgium. At the end of the five –day hard work, each of the participants bagged a certificate of participation, which distinguished them as the first set of thoroughly baked world citizens to have attended the first ever Green Growth and Travelism Summer School inaugurated by Hasselt University, Belgium. According to Geoffrey Lipman, “We are satisfied and confident that we are releasing unto the world the first set of graduates from the Hasselt University Summer school who have been trained to appreciate and practise green growth attitude. “We believe this set of graduates will spread the news that the universe will be a better place to live if we judiciously lean on natural resources in a way.'' @uhasselt Read 172 times