WTTC ushers in new critical collaboration with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


WTTC and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health host first Sustainability Leadership in Travel & Tourism programme.
CEOs and industry leaders gather to discuss sustainable business practices.

Cambridge, Massachusetts, 20 November –The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global Travel & Tourism private sector, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health, marked the beginning of a critical collaboration, with its two-day action leadership programme at Harvard University. The partnership will bring about ground-breaking research in the form of case studies and key papers on sustainability and focus on best practices within the Travel & Tourism sector.   

The collaboration will initiate an effort to raise awareness, shift mindsets and enact change.  

During the two-day programme, participants shared common goals, while working to challenge the status quo. Ultimately, these leaders have come together to support this sector as a force for good.  

Drawing on global trends, participants were invited to envision ways that business can embrace sustainable business strategies and engage in transformational leadership.   

WTTC and Harvard Chan School researchers aim to support Travel & Tourism leaders as they work to build the business case for sustainability, share best practices and support sustainability as a core strategic priority to ensure the sustainable growth of the sector and the co-creation of thriving sustainable societies.  

Speakers included faculty from Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard School of Public Health, such as Rebecca Henderson, Howard Koh and Ronald Heifetz and Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever and current U.N.-appointed SDG Advocate, together with the Directors of the Program, Drs. Wendy Purcell and Jack Spengler.
They were joined by leaders from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Virtuoso, lebua, Carnival Corporation, Intrepid Group, Google, Hotelbeds, City Sightseeing, Apple Leisure Group, Indian Hotels Company and The Travel Corporation. 

Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC said: “We are very excited about this collaboration with Harvard Chan School – one of the most important academic institutions in the world. I hope this programme and the research, will help usher in a new era within the Travel & Tourism sector – one in which both the public and private sector work together to ensure social and environmental responsibility.”  

Dr. Wendy Purcell, Director and lead faculty said: “The opportunity to develop an educational and research-led intervention, working with WTTC on behalf of the sector, has the potential to shift minds towards more sustainable Travel & Tourism for the better across the world.”

Dr. Jack Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said: “The accelerating pace of climate change requires that we collaborate across sectors of society. Working with WTTC to change the trajectory we are on is an opportunity to create a just future which respects nature.” 

Brett Tollman, CEO, The Travel Corporation said: “Our planet, its varied societies and species face a growing, existential crisis. The discussions held at Harvard this week, initiated by WTTC, reinforced that sustainable, purpose driven tourism must be a shared industry goal, rather than a competitive advantage. An agreed alignment of business goals to include sustainability, making it the new ‘good business’ has been the focus of these sessions, and I think there’s a real opportunity to make positive change and to do so quickly.”  

Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas Forth Worth (DFW) International Airport said: “This partnership will combine the world class research and analytical rigor of Harvard University with the leadership commitment of WTTC to drive continued sustainability progress and business value.”