Vicente Ferreyra is Director General of Sustentur, a person who is working to make changes that help companies improve tourism.
The Playa Times: Who is Vicente Ferreyra?
Vicente Ferreyra: First off, a worried citizen, but above all, someone who is occupied with reviving how we run tourism in Mexico and Latin America. I am originally from Mexico City, and have been living in the Mexican Caribbean for 13 years. I have dedicated a large part of my professional career to sustainable tourism, trying to minimize the negative impact that this noble activity generates. I support projects that maximize the social benefits of this activity, especially in rural and indigenous communities.
What is Sustentur? How was it born?
We began in 2015, in response to an opportunity to work in education and communication in sustainable tourism. Although it has been spoken about a lot, it is not well understood or applied in government, business and organizations. We can identify many bad examples of the impact of tourism, but rarely do we know how to develop successful projects that care for natural resources and generate wellbeing for the communities. At Sustentur we believe that we can change the way that we see and develop tourism.
What companies work with you? How can they add to the project?
We have collaborated with large corporate hotels supporting their development of projects of sustainable tourism, but we also work with the government, helping them see the importance of making tourism sustainable, and with rural and indigenous communities, developing with them projects that benefit from tourist activity. We also work with less luxurious organizations, regarding communication and their actions. In time we have become aware that there are organizations that do extraordinarily innovative things, companies and government that have these needs, and a large part of our work is to be the bridge that supports them.
Is it a private company? Or government?
As I commented, it is a social company, a hybrid between private and an organization without the luxuries; we are not government, but we work with many of them and we play an important role making this happen in public politics.
What do you think is the most important theme of sustainability in our destination?
Without a doubt, to form a common vision as a destination. We cannot keep thinking that we are isolated, and that our actions for sustainability should only be developed for my hotel, company, home or office. It accomplishes nothing to have the perfect company, if the surroundings are not adequate. We need to work with a wider vision on a large scale, deciding what we need for our future destiny, and above all, committing ourselves to accomplishing it.
Tell me about the Sustainability and Social Tourism Summit.
Approximately three years ago, speaking with some friends and colleagues, we reflected that Mexico does not have many spaces to speak about the themes of sustainable tourism and social tourism from a practical perspective of making a difference. This is how the summit grew, as a space to reflect on the actions of the larger themes of tourism, and environment, where we have advanced, but also socially, where we have a much longer path to follow, regarding accessibility, inclusion, dignified employment, equality, among others. We have been doing this for two years and without a doubt it has positioned itself as the most important event on sustainable tourism in Mexico.
What message do you have for tourists that visit us?
Tourists need to play a larger role and be more active in protecting the places that they visit. It is important that as they enjoy the beaches, mangroves, reefs, jungles, cenotes, they are also responsible for looking after them. Every year 17 million visitors come to the Quintana Roo; if they all contribute a little to conserving what we have, we will have won major battles. At Sustentur we have some important suggestions for responsible tourists:
- Travel light
- Create responsible companies
- Get to know the local culture
- Respect the flora and fauna
- Support local artisans
- Get informed
Tel: (998) 2678897