‘Sense of Place’ with Ottawa Bio-sphere Eco-City

Yesterday, I had been invited to be a panelist for an Ottawa presentation about sustainability, and why “sense of place” is important.
It was an educational and inspiring day to hear from the other panelists invited by the OBEC, or Ottawa Biosphere Eco-city. See http://obec-evbo.ca/event/sense-of-place-workshop-ottawa-biosphere-eco-city
I’d shared the stage with Jim Birtch, chair of OBEC; Don Gibson of Rideau Round table; and Birgit Isernhagen of Ottawa Public Health. The chair, Jim, and I had met at a Zita Cobb talk in Ottawa recently, and we got to talking about sustainability. When Jim learned what I did, he invited me to come be a panelist at his event, so that I could share what the tourism industry is doing in the area of sustainability; particularly since 2017 has been named the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.

I had a lot of fun preparing the presentation, and interacting with the very different audience than what I would normally encounter at my client events. It was fun to be around geographers and scientists, and environmentalists who value sustainability of Ottawa as a city center.
I enjoyed being exposed to the different perspectives of the panelists. It’s not every day that I get to hear from someone who safeguards the Rideau River and Rideau Canal waterway as a heritage site, after having served 30 years working with Parks Canada and heritage sites. And then hear from a respected geographer who studies the land, and the impact of city layouts and trees/ bike paths/ rivers on a citizen’s overall happiness. It was very thought-provoking! “Sense of place” is something that crosses many disciplines.
“Sense of place” pervades so much of what I do and what my travel partners do – so it was extremely interesting to hear local Ottawans talk of the importance of our aboriginal heritage, and the role of the Rideau River running through our lives. See http://www.rideauroundtable.ca/ It was also fun to have the enthusiastic feedback from those hearing my talk. (So much so that two attendees excitedly came up to me afterwards, showing such spirited enthusiasm for what I spoke about. One had worked with the WTO for decades, and had helped lay the groundwork for some of the studies I’d quoted for the UNWTO’s work on sustainability. The other invited me to address her University of Ottawa Geography & Tourism class this coming fall.)
Here are some of my slides.  Did you know that there are 1.2 billion international tourists each year that travel the world? That number was 25 million only 65 years ago in 1950. And now, every day, we have 3 m people crossing international borders. We have 3 m opportunities each day to make the world better with our choices for travel.
Let me know if you’d like to learn more!
Contact me if you’d like to stop ‘n sop!
And if you’d like to schedule a complimentary consultation about your travel, please shoot me a note, or give me a call!
Best regards,
Sheila
sheila.gh@visiontravel.ca
613-837-0699
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