About the Innovators Symposium:
The bilingual symposium in Los Cabos, Mexico will bring together not only those innovators currently involved in designing, financing, constructing and operating socially and environmentally sustainable coastal tourism developments, but also potential adopters – those who are or should be interested in learning about innovative models of coastal tourism. Sustainable tourism is no longer simply a development choice; it is an imperative especially in rapidly growing, environmentally and socially fragile coastal areas. By joining CREST and Stanford University in this collaborative effort, participants can play an important role in moving sustainable innovations into the mainstream of tourism development.
CREST hosted the first Innovators Symposium at Stanford University in 2010. Both symposiums are modeled on executive seminars held at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and feature a business-to-business emphasis with CEO and top management level participation. This unique, three-day event (with an optional site visit on May 18) will feature a diversified range of events and formats, including keynote talks, round-table discussions, knowledge-exchange workshops, formal and informal networking opportunities, "pitch" presentations of innovative ideas, documentary film presentations, a trade show, and more. It will be an exclusive and intimate event with high quality participants and ample time for informal networking.
Who will attend?
The symposium's primary participants will be executives involved in 'green' innovations in coastal and marine tourism development, including real estate development professionals, architects, hoteliers, investors, financiers, consultants, and other business executives committed to (or considering) new 'green' models of marine, coastal, and island development. Gathered for the first time in Mexico, the executives at this symposium are the 'thought-leaders' and pioneers who are breaking the mold of the old approach to building hotels and vacation homes, and forging new, sustainable techniques that are the wave of the future. Participants will also include officials from government agencies (including FONATUR, SECTUR and SEMARNAT) and international development organizations, as well as NGO experts and academics, including Stanford University faculty from its Center for Global Business, Center for Latin American Studies and Woods Institute for the Environment. The Symposium will have a geographic focus on coastal areas in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
The list of confirmed participants continues to grow, and as of December 2012, includes:
Keynote Speakers: Céline Cousteau, Ocean Explorer and Founder, CauseCentric Productions; Sonu Shivdasani, Founder of Six Senses and Soneva Hotels; Chris Blackwell, Founder of Island Records and Island Outpost Resorts; and panelists Dr. Walter Vergara, Chief of Sustainable Energy & Climate Change; InterAmerican Development Bank, and Carlos Hernandez, CEO, Pellas Development Group.
Media Representatives: Jonathan Tourtellot of National Geographic Traveler and Dinda Elliott of Conde Nast Traveler
Tourism Officials: Luigi Cabrini United Nations World Tourism Organization; Ruben Reachi, Sec. of Tourism, BCS; Hector Alfaro, FONATUR Los Cabos & Loreto, Jacobo Turquie, Los Cabos Tourism Director; Alberto Coppola, Hotel Association of Los Cabos
What will be discussed?
The symposium will serve as a platform for those on the cutting edge of innovative coastal tourism models to share what they have accomplished, what they have learned and challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Panels will explore social and environmental innovations from designers, operators and planners at both the destination and resort level, and also examine issues raised by particular tourism products, such as all-inclusive resorts, vacation homes, cruise lines, golf courses, marinas, spas, community-based tourism and marine protected areas.
The Symposium will also explore challenges to the wider adoption of sustainable tourism models and how these barriers can be overcome. Key components of these discussions will be access to capital, market and media trends, and communicating your story.
We will also invite leading PR executives, marketers and others to share how owners and operators can effectively communicate their sustainability and social responsibility messages, and how to engage with local communities. Leading media and tourism officials will also share insights on current and emerging trends both in Mexico and globally.
Finally, we will explore the crucial topic of climate change and what it means for coastal tourism development in terms of both mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Why Los Cabos?
A significant contingent of participants at the first symposium at Stanford in 2010 was either from, or working in, Mexico. A consensus emerged during the first symposium that Mexico, with its significant and expanding coastal tourism development, would offer a good setting in which to host the next event. When deciding on the host destination in Mexico, the Symposium organizers focused on coastal tourism destinations with easy access to international flights and without security concerns.
While Los Cabos lacks the number of sustainable coastal properties that can be found in the Riviera Maya, Los Cabos is both an important biological zone and currently Mexico's most popular tourism destination. As such, hosting the next Innovators Symposium in Los Cabos gives organizers an opportunity to attract participants from the conventional mass tourism to learn about sustainable alternatives from leading innovators. We have selected the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar in Los Cabos which is implementing a number of responsible management practices and actively supporting community purchases and projects.
Click Here to read a press release about Hacienda del Mar's Green Meetings initiative & their community project: Casa Hogar.