International Youth Tourism Forum ‘Quo Vadis Tourism? COVID-19 Impact on the Role of Sustainability in Tourism’
During the Forum presentation were given by the representatives from UNWTO, European Travel Commission, Inspektour International GmbH, Estonian National Tourism Board, Curonian Spit National Park and Klaipėda University. The lecturers emphasized that the COVID-19 pandemic established the need to be more active in implementing sustainable development principles in tourism as well as the need to include and empower youth to participate in the development of sustainable tourism. The Baltic Sea region has big ambitions to become an example of the development of sustainable tourism while placing significant emphasis on the involvement of youth.
International Youth Tourism Forum “Quo Vadis Tourism?” was held on May 7th, the day leading up to the Europe day on May 9th. The forum was organized by the Baltic sea countries council’s financed project “Youth Networking by developing sustainable tourism in the Baltic sea region”. The organizers – Ministry of the Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania and Klaipėda University.
“Sustainable tourism principles are becoming more and more relevant and during the pandemic we were made to reconsider their significance – when we are often traveling thought our own country, we often discover new things and we are able to better understand nature and ourselves. Moreover, the tourism products themselves are being created more responsibly. Everybody can become a sustainable traveller and the way to do that is really simple – when traveling it is important to leave the smallest footprint possible, behave responsibly with natural and cultural heritage, support local artisans and farmers by buying their products” – said Vice-Minister of Economy and Innovations of the Republic of Lithuania Vincas Jurgutis.
In the Forum the best ideas for Tourism vision 2030 in BSR were awarded. Ideas for the competition the participants sharerd through the E-Box in the Sustainable Tourism Excellence Network of Youth STENetY , which provided a platform for youth to connect, share and discuss their initiatives.
The ideas were evaluated by the Jury of Tourism Experts from International and National Tourism Organisations, Ministry of the Economy and Innovations of the Republic of Lithuania and Klaipėda University.
The best idea for sustainable Tourism vision 2030 was announced “Effici“, presented by the International group of students: Povilas Kazlauskas (Lithuania), Gustavs Nolle (Latvia), Ralfs Roga(Latvia). Effici is a fractional ownership platform where tourism organisation and private individuals, though a public marketplace, could purchase and share for tourism needs fractional ownership of consumer and capital goods in turn reducing waste and encouraging economic and environmental sustainability. The winners were given an opportunity to participate in the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s 1st youth tourism forum on this year’s July 17-21 in Italy. Throughout the forum youth will be able to share innovative ideas and visions for the future of sustainable tourism and it’s development.
The second place was awarded to a fifteen-year-old student Liudvikas Kazlauskas from Klaipėda Lyceum and his idea – “Local hidden gems“, which allows locals to share their distinct knowledge about unknown or rarely visited places, to present unique local services and products that would attract tourists. The third place went to Jovita Traškevičiūtė, a 3rd year Tourism and Recreation Bachelor study programme student from Klaipėda University who proposed a mobile application “Sustainable tourism library“. Special prizes for the best sustainable tourism ideas awarded to Mantas Karpas for “Mobile application that generates randomised tourism routes for pedestrians and cyclists“ (3rd year Tourism and Recreation Bachelor study programme student from Klaipėda University), Gabriela Maslova for “Tiny house movement“ (Vilnius), Marija Frenkel-Tamošiūnė (1st year Masters degree Tourism and Recreation Management student at Klaipėda University) for idea “Interactive Jewish heritage platform for Baltic seaside cities“