Albert Salman

President, Green Destinations
Founding Member, Future of Tourism Coalition


Stop “Building Back” Tourism.
Empower communities to shape their own future.

“Building Back Better” is a suitable mantra giving hope to all impacted by COVID-19, but it does not provide a direction nor a blueprint. A rebuilding scenario would obviously serve the commercial interests of the cruise lines, the airlines and the global corporations that helped to create overtourism destinations catering for at least 99% of the world’s international travellers until COVID-19 showed its lack of resilience. International travel was a key catalyst of the 1st and the 2nd COVID-waves. Rebuilding the globalized model of international travel and tourism is undesirable from the perspective of local communities in the vast majority of the world’s destinations. It would continue to undermine the resilience of tourism economies and the health of the planet, as tourism is not only facing the COVID-crisis but also a climate emergency, an inequality & poverty crisis, a biodiversity crisis and a plastic pollution crisis. Albert will present his vision on tourism towards 2030.

You can see PPT slide here.

Albert Salman is an opinion leader and disruptive innovator in tourism committed to mainstream sustainability and fighting greenwashing. Albert holds a MSc degree in biology and environmental studies (1981) and started his career in European coastal ecology and conservation. In 2007 he created QualityCoast, the first sustainable tourism standard and certification for coastal and island destinations, supported by the Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR), a database and assessment system on tourism sustainability covering 2000 destinations.

As a response to greenwashing in the emerging sustainability certification of destinations, notably the notorious case of Barcelona and other cities in Spain, Albert founded Green Destinations in 2014, which quickly developed into the world’s largest network of 200 destinations; the Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100, the world’s leading competition; and in 2015 the Sustainable Destination Awards, hosted and sponsored by ITB Berlin.

Because mainstream tour operators and OTAs – in spite of lip service to sustainability – continued to refuse providing certified destinations any advantage in marketing, Albert started to develop the Good Travel Guide, the world’s first travel website exclusively featuring certified destinations and their ecolabel businesses on a non-commercial basis. It was launched in July 2020. And because of the failure of ecolabel programs to support SMEs in many places, he created the Good Travel Seal, a transparent and affordable certification for SMEs and a Virus-Aware certification as a free add-on.

Finally, Albert is also a co-founder of the Future of Tourism Coalition. He is very concerned about the impact of the pandemic on local communities, especially in the Global South.