Travel Green - sustainable tourism focus of SZE panel discussion

Strict guidelines are needed globally and locally for sustainable tourism - this was one of the main messages of a panel discussion organized by Széchenyi István University at its Budapest Innovation and Training Centre. The event also related to the topic of gender equality, aligning with the United Nations' sustainability development goals.

In January of this year, Széchenyi István University launched the panel discussion series titled "Women in the Family, Society, and Science," providing a platform for female role models to share their experiences of professional success, determination, and their significant roles in society. The topics closely relate to the United Nations' sustainable development goal of gender equality, both due to the importance of the topic and because the Győr-based institution is a member of the United Nations Academic Impact initiative. The recent programme, titled "Wander Wisely, Travel Green," was inspired by World Tourism Day on September 27th. It's worth noting that the tourism industry employs one in every ten people globally, which is particularly beneficial for women, who make up 54 percent of the workforce in this sector.


7f5c56_3b37d10c718b4b7087013cfec92be4af~mv2.webpSpeakers of the panel discussion: Petra Perényi-Isky, Head of Unit, Centre for International Programmes and Alumni at SZE, Eszter Földváry, expedition leader, Judit Esküdt, PR and Communication Director at Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, and Dr Viktória Kundi, a Head of the Department of Tourism and Hospitality at SZE. (Photo: József Bankó/Paradignow Photography)


At the event held at Széchenyi University's Budapest Innovation and Training Centre, Judit Esküdt, PR and Communications Director of the Budapest Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, said that tourism industry players can also do a lot for sustainability. As a good example, she pointed out that sustainability is a key motive in the daily life of the Gresham Palace, with the management paying special attention to waste recycling. They no longer use plastic bottles, they recycle soap, do not discard bed linens but either donate them to shelters or continue using them for cleaning, and food waste is turned into biodiesel. She also emphasized that a significant portion of their menu is plant-based, as this is a major global expectation of today's tourists. He also said that the coronavirus outbreak has encouraged the hotel to find local suppliers, which will help them to further reduce their ecological footprint.

Eszter Földváry, a tour guide who has been guiding tourists for over 40 years and has explored the world more than 90 times as an expedition leader for the American travel agency TCS World Travel since 1995, explained that the main problem is not only the behaviour of tourists, but also the fact that hotels, tourism companies and cities are primarily profit-oriented, so they often do not act with responsibility for the planet. "Act locally, think globally," she said, a principle she believes is worth considering because 2023 has shown that there is a huge demand for travel again after the pandemic.

Dr Viktória Kundi, head of the Tourism and Hospitality Department at Széchenyi István University, who obtained her master's and her doctoral degrees at the institution, stated that sustainability requires a change in our behaviour and stepping out of our comfort zones. "We must learn how to travel sustainably, and education should start in preschool. Similarly, we should teach how to organize sustainable travel," she emphasized, adding that their students learn about sustainability through various training programmes.

(Photos: József Bankó/Paradignow Photography)


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