any travel professionals probably
don't realize it, but the industry recently marked what could
become an important anniversary -- the first anniversary of BEST, a
travel industry acronym that isn't nearly as well known as it ought
It stands for Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel, a
joint effort of the Conference Board and the World Travel and
Tourism Council that is funded by, among others, the Ford
Who are these people, you might ask?
The Conference Board is the nonprofit business research
organization that tracks consumer confidence and the leading
economic indicators. It also engages in research and educational
projects aimed at improving the business climate and enhancing the
contributions that the business community can make to society at
large. The Conference Board is run by senior executives of major
corporations -- its trustees include senior executives of companies
like Ford, Texaco, General Mills, Goldman Sachs and Unisys.
Just about one year ago, this organization launched the first
industry-specific initiative in its 84-year history -- and that
industry was travel.
BEST capped its first year by holding a global sustainable
tourism summit in South Africa that focused on curriculum
guidelines for college degree programs in hospitality and tourism
management and other tourism-related educational programs. The
idea, according to BEST, is to give a new generation of travel
professionals the tools to pursue their careers "while contributing
to the well-being of the destination communities and
The Conference Board's unique commitment to such an enterprise
speaks volumes about the importance of this industry -- our
industry -- to global commerce and employment and to society at
You can, and should, learn more about BEST at www.sustainabletravel.org.