ISV at the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) in Spain

by Narelle Webber on Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Simon Costain, ISV International Marketing Director at WYSTC 2011 Barcelona, (c) Narelle Webber, used with permission.

Each year, ISV takes part in perhaps the largest global travel conference for youth and students called WYSTC. This year around 850 delegates from around the world are attending. My colleagues Randy Sykes (ISV Founder and International Director), Simon Costain (International Marketing Director), Wagner Quiros (Costa Rica Project Director) and I are currently in attendance, aiming to connect with others in the volunteer and adventure travel industry.

Having served on the Board of Directors of WYSE Work Abroad since 2009 and by serving as the Chair of the Volunteer Working Group, Randy is actively involved in the conference. Recently announced at WYSTC, Randy has been instrumental in starting a new sector under WYSE Work Abroad, called WYSE Volunteer and Travel. Randy is recognized as a huge advocate for the volunteering sector of tourism and is known for his passion in the industry. Randy is well known for saying that ìvolunteerism isnít about travel trends, it’s about meeting needs, and there are more humanitarian and environmental needs today than ever before. Exciting times are ahead for ISV as we take a leading role in the new Volunteer and Travel sector.

Last year at WYSTC in Beijing I was a guest speaker on the topic of Risk Management in Volunteer Programs. This year, I’m looking forward in taking part in a workshop on Volunteers: doing good, feeling good, or both, a topic in which ISV passionately believes whereby projects should always address core sustainability issues.

Of interest, we attended a presentation by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) this morning and perhaps only thirty seconds were dedicated to a slide on the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. ISV’s Responsible Tourism ethics are aligned with these principles, and I would have enjoyed listening to an entire session dedicated to that topic alone. In my humble view there are far too many operators that don’t know what these principles mean, and with tourism growing internationally there is an opportunity to raise the bar for sustainable tourism practices based on these foundations.

I look forward to the remainder of the conference as it continues this week, particularly for the Awards Luncheon on Friday where ISV is in the running for a number of Volunteer Industry awards!

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