What makes Vicente Ferreyra a Global Shaker?
Lecturer and conservation champion Vicente Ferreyra is CEO of Sustentur, a Mexico-based consultancy specialised in Sustainable Tourism.
The organisation supports governments, destinations, companies and communities in a bid to integrate sustainability into their core business.
After more than 15 years of experience in developing sustainability projects across Latin America, Ferreyra is clear that tourism has to be “more than just offering a trip” — it has to be about sharing life experiences, so that there are benefits for all stakeholders in the tourism value chain.
In a 2018 TedX talk, centred on the question: “How can you travel and change the world at the same time?”, Ferreyra said that only 20% of the 1.3bn tourists every year think about the wellbeing of communities in destinations they visit. “So what’s going on with the other 80%,” he asks. “Do they not care? Are they irresponsible? Or do they simply think that they already have enough concerns in their daily lives to think about something else when they go on holiday?” Ultimately, he says that whatever the answer, it’s insufficient. “After so many years studying tourism and its impact, I’ve discovered something very important: there’s no tourist, not even one, that’s not involved in the improvement or decline of the place they visit.”
Ferreyra’s Sustentur is also the organiser of Sustainable Tourism Summit, discussing responsible travel in Mexico, Latin America and around the world.
In 2020, the summit was celebrated through a virtual meet. One of the key messages was that domestic tourism would be a fundamental part of growth in the wake of the pandemic, which would bring benefits for sustainability.
In an interview after the event, Ferreyra said that the team were “very happy” with the results from the summit. “If we were to do an analysis of everything that was shared, we’d have to spend 2 or 3 months going through it all. But it’s worth bearing in mind because it’s data, statistics and examples that will help us take better decisions, which is very important.”
He continued: “It was very complete. Speakers ranged from the big companies that invest millions of dollars, to public policy and local communities — something we never stop highlighting, because they’re part and central to this activity which has to be sustainable precisely so it benefits communities.”
Harold Goodwin, the academic who coordinated the definition of responsible tourism, and Jeremy Sampson, CEO of the Travel Foundation, both spoke at the summit.
Before Sustentur, Ferreyra worked for conservation organisations including the World Wildlife Fund, the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative, and Amigos de Sian Ka’an, an NGO dedicated to environmental conservation and sustainable development which protects and influences the creation of protected areas in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. This involved coordinating multilateral projects funded by the World Bank and other International agencies.
As set out in a biography on Sustainability Leaders Project, Ferreyra has a Master’s degree in Politics and Environmental Law from the Universidad Anáhuac Cancún, a Master’s in Environmental Management from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional. He’s completed a training course at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (see Randy Durband profile).
As a lecturer, he’s also taught courses in countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua; for people at locations including Mexico’s Tourism Ministry, and at the Center for Responsible Travel (See Martha Honey profile).Tags: Mexico, Responsible Travel, Sustainable Tourism
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