Transforming Tourism Conference

The Future of Destination

Dominican Republic

Large Arrow


Transforming Tourism – Destinations for Future


26. – 27. October 2022 from 9:30 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.


Iberostar complex, arr. El Macao – Arena Gorda, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic

By invitation only!


Tourism is an essential driver for economies, local livelihood and showcasing natural and cultural heritage. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector accounted for over 10% of global GDP and 10% of jobs worldwide with international tourist arrivals predicted to rise from 1.1 billion in 2014 to 1.8 billion in 2030 (UNWTO).

With the tourism sector recovering from the pandemic, there is an opportunity for the public and private sector and civil society to accelerate the transformation of the sector’s future towards a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive industry. The pandemic has highlighted the link between human health risk, biodiversity and the economic system, underscoring the need to simultaneously boost resilience and sustainability of the tourism sector in response to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution to ensure prosperity for all. A recent international study also suggests that ‘the pandemic has been the tipping point for travelers to finally commit to their own sustainable journey’, and increasingly tourism actors commit, measure and report on their sustainability actions. Some online travel agencies also have started to provide sustainability information to their customers to make sustainable travel choices easier.

A beach in the Dominican Republic with palm trees and sea

However, the need to scale up climate and biodiversity action and investment dramatically remains urgent in the sector as emissions could rapidly rebound and pressure on nature increase once operations restart fully.  At the same time, the tourism sector is highly vulnerable to climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, including extreme weather events, damages to assets, and there is an increasing insurance cost and safety concerns by public and private stakeholders.

The travel and tourism sector has thus a big role to play in decarbonization and can help accelerate the transition to low-emissions and circular business solutions, creating new opportunities in energy generation, reduce transport emissions, and integrate nature-based solutions into tourism activities and operations. If the sector can move rapidly away from carbon- and material-intensive ways of delivering visitor experiences and adapt to new sustainable tourism consumer trends and environmental risks, if community and ecosystem wellbeing will be prioritised, then tourism can be a leader in the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable future.


It is in this context that the Conference is organized on the 26 and 27 October 2022 by UNEP and TourCert and with the support of the German government as part of the International Climate Change Initiative project Transforming Tourism Value Chains in Developing Countries and SIDS to accelerate more resource efficient, low carbon development ”and the Austrian Development Agency as part of the project „Transforming Tourism“ – Protecting biodiversity and increasing local value creation by promoting sustainable tourism development in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica”.

The conference provides the opportunity for experts and leaders from the public and private sector, and other relevant stakeholders to learn about trends, opportunities, and challenges in tourism destinations, share best practices, and identify priorities to advance sustainable tourism in a changing environment. It is also an opportunity to strengthen existing partnerships, build new ones, and enjoy face to face interactions.

The two days conference is followed by an ‘After Conference Tour’ to Samanà, one of the project regions, on 28 and 29 October 2022 to showcase successful sustainable tourism practices.

A beach in the Dominican Republic with palm leaves.

Themes to be addressed

The conference will focus on five main themes:

  • Governance of Destinations:
    Exploring cross-sector multi-level transformation and governance approaches leading to destinations to live in harmony with nature benefiting residents, value chain businesses, community, and travellers.
  • Finance:
    Identifying potential sources of finance, and related marketing and incentives programmes, and exploring innovative finance mechanisms to increase funding for the sector, including for SMEs.
  • Sustainable Food Systems:
    Showcasing sustainable food systems, including gastronomy  as catalysts for developing sustainable value  chains and exploring circularity, sustainable procurement approaches to optimise resource use, and build and protect human and social capital.
  • Linking Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Pollution:
    Discussing the alignment of tourism with climate, biodiversity and pollution strategies, best practices in calculation methodologies, tools, standards and certification mechanisms to support tourism stakeholders in implementing effective biodiversity and climate action in a pollution free planet.
  • Leaving no one behind:
    Showcasing the contribution of tourism to prosperity, the inclusion of vulnerable groups, as well as discussing gender responsive, and human rights action in tourism, community empowerment and capacity building opportunities at local level, and supporting growth and sustainability of micro-businesses.


Innovation and digitalization are seen as cross-cutting topics in all themes.

Do you still have questions?

We will be happy to help you with your questions. Just get in touch with us.

Vivien Multrus

Junior Project Manager

+49 711 24839726