Uganda’s new sustainable tourism consultants to work with CBI companies

Uganda’s new sustainability consultants/coaches/trainers have gotten off to a great start by doing a baseline assessment of 48 DMCs using the CBI – Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries sustainable tourism scorecard.

Looking forward to working with them remotely as they further develop their skills and sustainable tourism services and to contributing to the ‘Transforming Ugandan Tourism’ project with our fabulous team.


SUSTOUR is a wrap!

On 13 – 14 Sept, the Final SUSTOUR Event took place in Cascais, Portugal, which marked the finale of the 3-year EU-COSME funded project aimed at propelling sustainable practices to the forefront of the European tourism industry.

I delivered a keynote for the Supply Chain Management panel to wrap up over 6 months of work on improving the sustainability of tour operator supply chains. My accelerator group consisted of small specialist Travelife-certified outbound tour operators from the EU who sell holidays to destinations all over the world. We focused on how they could work with and support their DMC partners so that they could in turn reach accommodation and activity suppliers.

More information and free recources like Codes of Best Practice and Toolkits on various topics are available from the SUSTOUR website.


A snapshot of 2022

My goodness 2022 just flew by!!! After a dead 2020 and a nice bit of work coming through in 2021, 2022 just went mad but I got to the end! Here’s a snapshot of some of my highlights this past year:

In April I travelled to South Africa for some remote working and to do a Progress in Responsible Tourism presentation at WTM Africa in Cape Town April 2022 together with Lisa Scriven from Fair Trade Tourism.

In June it was time for a first: a fam trip to Tunisia with 10 European specialist tour operators from the UK, The Netherlands, Germany and Austria for the Import Promotion Desk. Finally! Aim of the trip was to showcase the diversity of experiences that are possible in Tunisia with DMC and activity partners such as Tacapes Tours, Siroko Travel, Tunisia Ecotourism and Le Lemon Tour.

In September I went to The Philippines to do sustainable tourism mentoring for PUM Senior Experts. After nearly 18 months of only doing remote work with the team from GoNegosyo. Highlights on the trip included doing the Discovery Trail in stunning Masungi Georeserve, visiting countless organic farms, ecolodge start ups and rafting in traditional canoes expertly piloted by the bangkeros and then doing a short session with their leaders on sustainable tourism.

In October I teamed up with colleague Clive Bishop from Blue Skies Consultancy to organise a roadshow in The Netherlands and Belgium for sustainable tourism businesses from beautiful Zambia. The companies are all working on sustainable tourism certification such as Travelife for Tour Operators or Fair Trade Tourism.

In November it was time for WTM London with team IPD and the signing of the Responsible Tourism Charter.


WTM London and Virtual 2021

Team IPD finally got to go to an actual travel trade event. Gosh, it’s been a while but so much better than Zoom. Tourism is a people business. B2B networking and matchmaking for our partner companies from Tunisia, Ecuador, Nepal and Uzbekistan was the focus for the tourism experts and we did our best to meet as many specialist tour operators from Europe as we could on our stand in London. Our partner companies did not travel with us this time due to red lists etc. but did attend during the virtual event. Plenty of new contacts made all in all, now we all just need the world to get a proper grip on the pandemic. Next stop ITB Berlin 2022 with partner companies exhibiting!

For an overview of the IPD companies and how we work with tour operators in Europe please check our website. Check the country factsheets, they are new and very useful for product managers from Europe that are working on new destinations and tours.


Sustainable Tourism Certification for The Bahamas

Green Case Consulting

Delighted to be contributing to a new project in The Bahamas together with Green Case Consulting

‘The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is assisting the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) and Ministry of Tourism and Aviation to develop certifications systems that will be used to strengthen The Bahamas tourism product, according to a statement on the partnership.

The statement explained that the effort began last month and is expected to be completed January 2022.

According to the statement, the partnership includes retaining the expertise of myriad groups and individuals both local and international, and developing a system that will be used universally across The Bahamas to ensure the country’s purveyors of tourism goods and services operate at the highest levels.

“The aim of the project is to increase the resiliency and sustainability of The Bahamas as a tourism destination; enhance the state of the natural environment; improve destination competitiveness; ensure that revenue from tourism reaches a greater proportion of Bahamian communities and position The Bahamas as a climate-resilient destination by implementing climate risk management policies and implementation frameworks,” the statement read.

“Through the technical support of the entities, a consortium of experts from Europe and the Caribbean are analyzing, recommending and developing an implementation program for certification systems.”

After the January completion of the project, the most suitable certification schemes will be presented, and implementation plans will be developed through consultation with Bahamian stakeholders.’

More details here.


Georgia Tourism Cluster Project

End of July and beginning of August broke an 18 month period of no travel outside of the EU to start work as Marketing & Digitalisation Expert on my first tourism cluster project (through GIZ & EU Cluster4Development) in the Imereti and Kakheti regions in beautiful Georgia. The tourism cluster members will consist of food & wine producers, arts & craft makers and concept accommodation providers offering an authentic Georgian experience. Lots of work to be done but looking forward to bringing the entrepeneurs together, find what connects them all and improve their ability to take their tourism product to market. Updates to follow.

Mentoring tourism mentors in The Philippines

Go Negosyo and PUM Netherlands proudly presented the 36 mentor-graduates of the Mentoring The Mentors in the Tourism Industry program last May 3, 2021, via Zoom.

The mentors had to go through 10 Inbound Tourism Restart modules focused in 6 weeks, headed by PUM Senior Tourism Expert Emilie Hagedoorn. Hagedoorn also shared other thoughts and tips in Tourism Restart.

Go Negosyo MSME Development Senior Adviser opened the program by welcoming all guests and thanking PUM Netherlands through Maria, Emilie, and Dante for having a timely intervention to Philippine Tourism and,of course, to all the mentors for making it to graduation. Moreover, Engr. Cruz then turned over the ‘Tourism Restart Philippines Concept Note’ to the Office of Ambassador of The Netherlands to the Philippines and Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) for the continuation of the program.

We were also lucky to have two special guests to congratulate the graduate mentors and grace the event–Ambassador Saskia de Lang and DOT USec. Roberto Alabado III.

Ambassador of The Netherlands to the Philippines, Saskia de Lang, emphasized the importance of restarting and sustaining responsible tourism, agriculture, and waste management. With the program, Ambassador de Lang also assured the mentor-graduates that this will have a long-lasting impact on reviving the business, on promoting the local tourism industry, and on economic growth.

Then, DOT USec. Alabado III discussed ways on how our mentors can relate or continue what they have learned to continuously apply it not just to their mentees but to their community. Be smarter entrepreneurs despite the crisis.

On behalf of all the mentors, four mentors shared their experiences, knowledge gain, and gratitude to their Mentor Emilie for teaching and guiding towards tourism restart, PUM Netherlands, and Go Negosyo.

Lastly, Philippine Country Coordinator of PUM Netherlands Maria de Guia closed the program by extending its warm gratitude to its partner organization, Go Negosyo, for having a program like MTM and that both organizations have a common mission on sharing knowledge to help, develop and strengthen our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.

The program was hosted by Ms. Joby Linsangan-Moreno, Owner of Orange Blush Salons and Go Negosyo Mentor.

Mabuhay our dear mentor-graduates!

MTMTourism #PilipinasAngatLahat #PUM


The route to market in the new tourism reality

The COVID crisis has changed the way of doing business and selling tourism. To help tour operators make sense of the new tourism reality I wrote an article for The Good Tourism Institute that gives you tips for finding new business partners and customers from Europe once tourism recovers.

Please note with the travel advisories in Europe changing rapidly it is even more important to figure out who can travel where, when and how. Also check this article by Tourwriter.

In the meantime check this overview of OTAs for inbound tour operators/DMCs (with more and more having a focus on sustainable tourism).


Future of Tourism Coalition

Green Heart Tourism has become a signatory to the Future of Tourism Coalition.

Interested travel and tourism stakeholders are invited to show their support and become part of the movement by joining as signatories. The Guiding Principles provide a clear moral and business imperative for building a healthier tourism industry while protecting the places and people on which it depends. Those Principles call for signatories to:

  1. See the whole picture
  2. Use sustainability standards 
  3. Collaborate in destination management
  4. Choose quality over quantity
  5. Demand fair income distribution
  6. Reduce tourism’s burden
  7. Redefine economic success
  8. Mitigate climate impacts
  9. Close the loop on resources 
  10. Contain tourism’s land use
  11. Diversify source markets
  12. Protect sense of place
  13. Operate business responsibly

The foundation of these principles was built on a firm belief that taking a holistic approach to responsible and sustainable tourism is the only way to secure the future the Coalition stands for. 


Widen your African horizon: tour Tunisia!

With travel advisories slowly lifting tour operators looking to restart tours to Africa may find their options are a bit limited so why not widen your African horizon? Now is a perfect time to get creative and shift focus from southern and eastern #Africa to the North, to #Tunisia! Same goes for long haul specialists that previously dismissed Tunisia as ‘just a beach destination’, you have been missing out on a hidden gem.

Tunisia has done extremely well in tackling the COVID19 crisis and is open to welcome and host visitors safely. It may not have the bush and Big 5 but you can definitely plan a self-drive #safari‘ away from the masses in wide open spaces enjoying national parks, friendly locals, superb historical sites, delicious wine and olive oil tastings, desert experiences, rich food and culture staying in gourgeous traditional dars and quaint guesthouses. After your deep dive into the hinterland you can top it off with some beach time.

Sounds like a plan? Need a reliable inbound partner? The Import Promotion Desk #IPD) is supporting some excellent sustainable tourism specialists. These #DMCs specialise in cultural, soft adventure and ecotourism routes.

If you would like to be connected to them, email Emilie :