Organized by the General Secretariat of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a lecture on the sustainable tourism concept was held at the Tourism Fair by Dr. Brooke Hansen, Professor from the University of South Florida and UNDP Associate.

The Large Conference Hall in Hall 4 of the Belgrade Fair was not large enough to receive all attendees due to the importance of this topic both on the global and on the local level. On several occasions during the presentation, Professor Hansen highlighted the great potential and her personal impression of Serbia’s tourist offer, especially cultural attractions such as Lepenski Vir, Golubac Fortress, Viminacium and many others.

She mentioned that sustainable tourism is based on the triple bottom line postulates (triple end result) which includes people, the planet and prosperity, and that this tourism is called sustainable because it should be at the service of future generations. Organizations such as UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), WTTC (World Travel & Tourism Council) and GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) have long been working to create global standards and guides for sustainable tourism that should be followed and practiced in business.

During the lecture, Professor Hansen especially emphasized that everyone can be engaged in sustainable tourism, whether they are large or small hotels, companies, institutions, and that many are already working on it, but that they must tell their sustainability story. From the government to private companies, such as the EXIT festival, which wishes to operate according to the zero waste – 0 pollution principle. Professor Hansen said that tourism is a large economic branch that affects CO2 growth mostly due to transport (air transport, cars, buses, etc.) and other related activities, such as food, with large quantities of leftovers thrown away.

“Questions that we ask today about the past and concern for the protection of the environment must not burden us, but we must face the future and move on, because tourism is growing, and this is shown by the data from 2022, and the quick recovery from Covid19. There is a great demand for travel and this needs to be monitored and coordinated. Conferences organized by the abovementioned global institutions, such as GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council), are the places where we should look for ideas and listen to positive practices that will connect all stakeholders (all interested parties somehow involved in the project) in tourism”, said Professor Hansen.

Several examples of practice, such as a relatively small hotel run by Jered Mayers-Legacy vacation resort ( which has its own ways of successful sustainable business, were presented to the representatives of the local self-governments responsible for facility categorization in accordance with the law on hospitality industry, and to other attendees engaged in the domestic tourism. Professor Hansen highlighted 17 sustainable tourism principles-goals of the United Nations that should be followed.

Choosing any or all of the goals of this agenda and writing a report on what has been done, makes us part of this story and movement, for example through reducing the use of plastic, which is a big problem for tourism, especially for living creatures – endangered animals.

One of the good examples that Professor Hansen also highlighted is the “Palau Pledge”, a small passport signed by tourists before getting off the plane. They get acquainted with the pledge of sustainable development ( during the flight, and by signing this symbolic document, they undertake to protect the nature and the animals inhabiting the area.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Hansen invited all attendees to get involved in sustainable tourism programs and promised that, with the support of UNDP, she will continue to come to Serbia, which she is enchanted by, and will help us all be better on this path of sustainable tourism.

After a large applause from the packed large hall of the Belgrade Fair, the visitors had the opportunity to talk to the lecturer and to the organizers after the lecture.

Moreover, a delegation of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) – Randy Durband, Director of GSTC and Dr. Ioannis Pappas, Program Director of GSTC, were staying in Belgrade during the Tourism Fair. They had discussions with Jelena Manić Petronikolos, Head of Sustainable Development Goals Program at the United Nations global development network (UNDP) and Dr. Brooke Hansen, representing the University of South Florida, as well as with tourism organizations and representatives of the Belgrade Tourism Fair who supported this event.

25.2.2023./News 2023/