Former Nobel Prize winner urges tourism industry to align with “sustanomics”

Founder Chairman of the Munasinghe Institute of Development (MIND) Prof. Mohan Munasinghe on Tuesday urged Sri Lankan tourism authorities to think beyond the economic dimension, when opening avenues for the booming tourism sector. “While there is certainly an economic aspect for tourism which is very important for developing countries, there is also a social side to it which results in transformation in culture which we have to monitor carefully, and finally there is the impact on the environment of the very resources we use,” said Munasinghe, who shared the Nobel Prize in 2007 and is currently the Vice Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

He stated that the burning question today is how tourism contributes to the sustainable development of the country. “You can see the economic capital; there’s infrastructure happening, there is a financial return to the business community through tourism, that’s very visible. But the bottom line is, the owners of the environmental capital who are the people of this country; are they getting a return? They deserve a fair rent and the environmental capital should be preserved for their children and grandchildren,” said Munasinghe, who will be delivering the keynote address at the Future of Tourism Summit to be held later this month under the initiative of Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts in association with SriLankan Airlines.

Protection and enhancement of social capital was another factor, Munasinghe noted. He urged the Government authorities to take necessary action regarding preservation of environmental and social capital. “It’s not only the private sectors, the Government should enhance policies on how we can improve the positive aspects of the three types of capital and not form an unsustainable country.” In a branding context, he stated that innovative notions to promote the intrinsic element of industry would be the future of tourism.

“There’s a concept of goodness and there’s beauty; these are attributes branding quality, which are very important for us to brand ourselves on. When we think of countries like New Zealand or Switzerland, they’re not powerful nations but they have this intrinsic quality about them that is attractive rather than a powerful country which you are fearful of. This kind of green tourism is looking for more than satisfying material comforts.” He also explained that summits in general would be a great platform for the country’s middle level management to grow. “The world’s political leadership attend conference after conference, promises are made, so many goals but hardly any are met. However, at the middle level of leadership, which are the CEOs, CFOs, community leaders and so on, from the bottom up we have tremendous resurgence and growing activity. This is empowerment.”

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/468427/Former-Nobel-Prize-winner-urges-tourism-industry-to-align-with-%E2%80%9Csustanomics%E2%80%9D#sthash.TimXPIge.dpuf

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