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Eco impacts on tourism focus of Vancouver Island student summit

Student-centred summit to follow this week’s IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism conference
FILE - The Parkside Hotel and Spa will co-host a sustainability summit for hospitality and tourism students, along with Camosun College. Photo courtesy Parkside Hotel and Spa

Students from three Vancouver Island post-secondary schools are gathering this week at a summit to discuss how the tourism industry can better handle the effects of climate change and to exchange ideas on eco-friendly practices.

“The purpose of this event is to encourage students to see what’s happening and how they can contribute to the change rather than just talking about it,” said David Pritchard, chair of Camosun College’s Hospitality and Tourism Management programs, in a Tuesday (Jan. 23) news release.

The two-day event, from Jan. 25 to Jan. 26, brings together students from Camosun, Vancouver Island University and Royal Roads University. It is the second annual hospitality and tourism sustainability summit held for Victoria-area students.

Last year’s event drew about 75 students, all from hospitality and tourism programs at the three schools. Pritchard expects about 85 students this year.

The student-centred event is designed to tag onto the IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism conference taking place in Victoria from Jan. 21 to 24.

This allows for students to connect with industry professionals in town for the conference. IMPACT guest Bob Sandford of the United Nations University Institute for Water Environment & Health will be the keynote speaker at the student event.

Day One will be at Camosun’s Lansdowne campus, with Day Two at the Parkside Hotel & Spa in downtown Victoria.

Parkside was chosen due to it being the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified hotel in Canada, as well as having a Green Key eco-rating, which specifically recognizes lodging facilities for environmental friendliness. and being carbon-neutral since 2020.

Parkside is also managed by Camosun alumni Trina White.

“It’s so important to bridge the learning in the classroom with practical application, and this is a great chance to help support the learning,” White said.

White will be on one of several panels at the event, which include a panel focused on the future of food, one on hotels, and another on sustainability innovations.

Each panel will bring together the students with local Victoria business leaders, adding to the networking opportunities for students.

READ MORE: Destinations Greater Victoria wins international award for sustainable tourism