The topic of this 2017 conference was "Transparency in Sustainable Travel" and two days were dedicated to discuss what sustainable travel means for each stakeholder and how consumers can have clarity as to whether a travel product they purchase meets the standards and expectations of sustainability. One of the outcomes was a White Paper that we all contributed to and produced. A real treat was that the opening address and keynote was held at the United Nations Grand Assembly in the Chambers of the Economic and Social Council. Wandering around before our session began, and I found a bunch of other chambers in session that one would surely hear about on the news, and it made me feel being at the epicentre or the pulse of the world. I can't describe it but it was really exciting!
One the second day, we had a series of guest speakers, working sessions and breakouts, and at the end, the contents of our work was collected and later assembled into our White Paper. At the end, it was announced that Travel & Social Good would be renamed into "Impact Travel Alliance". It was nice to share this conference with Ryan Snider, my dear colleague!
As is tradition in tourism summits, local products are offered to experience and in our case, those would be sustainable walking tours of the city. I chose Prospect Park, the counter part to Central Park in Brooklyn. It was serene, and quite fascinating to hear the history of the development of the park, the ongoing conservation efforts, the creation of new events and the endeavours to protect this vast green space for the benefit of the local people. Central Park might be the big tourism attraction, but Brooklyn is becoming an IT-spot on its own and so a visit here will definitely provide very similar experiences than its big brother in Manhattan does.
And of course I would not be a good tourism professor if I did not take some time to (re-)discover the city that never sleeps, to bring back some new pictures for my power points and to find cool little travel gems and new attractions. I love love love New York City, and there is always something new to see. I walked all over the place, I think I was close to 25,000 steps that day. New to me was the inside of the Oculus (last time I was there it was being built) and the High Line, a former elevated railway track cross the Meat Packing District, that has been transformed into an outdoor walk way along Manhattan's Lower West Side. It features nice vegetation, a peek onto the old railway tracks here and there, a lot of funky little art displays along the way, and spectacular views of the Hudson River, the Manhattan skyline, lower lying attractions such as Chelsea Market, and views into rich people's apartments ... you heard me right. I call that window shopping and I'm not gonna lie, this voyeuristic indulgence excites me a lot! I am not staring, but I am also not hiding the fact that I love taking little glimpses here and there and catch some interior decorating ideas! :))))