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3 Nov, 2017

This university leads in world’s first essay competition on Tourism and SDGs

Fifty-four multinational students from the University of Monterrey, Mexico, have taken the lead in sending their submissions to the world’s first essay competition on how Travel & Tourism can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Launched on Sept 21, 2017, the UN International Day of Peace, The Olive Tree Awards essay competition invites young people under 30 all over the world to submit essays of up to 1,200 words and win prize money totaling US$4,000.

Thanks to their savvy Profesor Dr. Blanca Alejandra Camargo Ortega, the University of Monterrey students ranging in age from 19 to 25 have submitted essays bursting with great ideas and creative solutions but also voicing deep frustration about the messy state of the world being bequeathed to them by the current generation.

Writes one student: “Today’s tourism must change, not because it is wrong or harmful, but because it needs to be less demanding and more helpful.”

Writes another: “Even though we are neighbors to one of the most developed countries in the world, we have huge universities, and where we even have one of the richest men in the world, we still find ourselves with many marginalized regions in poverty, with hunger, with deficiency of basic services such as water, electricity, gas, without any medical services, bad education, poorly paid jobs, and even with a maleness based culture.”

A quick reading of the essays yields some immediate observations.

Students who have travelled the world are much more savvy about the challenges ahead. They are also worried about wider issues such as corruption, over-usage of natural resources, racism, the poor state of national and global leadership, and more.

These concerns are in sharp contrast to the monotonous range of “building-the-business” topics discussed at travel industry conferences, a clear indication of the deep disconnect between what millennials really want and what the mainstream travel & tourism industry thinks they want.

Clearly, the focus on “millennials” as being merely mobile phone-toting customers and start-up entrepreneurs is way off the mark. Once the prize-winning essays are published, the biggest contribution of this landmark competition will be to disrupt and overhaul the content matter of industry conferences to make them more relevant to the concerns of the future generations.

I compliment the academic faculty and students of the University of Monterrey for taking the lead in this project, and encourage other university professors, especially in Asia, to motivate their own students to follow suit.

The prize money of US$4,000 is being generously donated by Mr. Sonu Shivdasani, CEO and Commercial and Creative Lead, Soneva Resorts, winner of multiple Awards for Sustainability and Lifestyle Travel, and one other prominent benefactor from the Islamic world who preferred to remain anonymous.

“The Olive Tree” publication itself is sponsored by Jetwing Hotels of Sri Lanka, the Macao Government Tourist Office, Asian Overland Services (and its subsidiary unit Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa).

Pls click here for details on how to submit an essay: https://www.travel-impact-newswire.com/2017/09/us4000-prize-money-for-first-global-essay-competition-linking-travel-tourism-to-un-sustainable-development-goals/.