The SDG world café – an informal virtual exchange of ideas on sustainable tourism

Sustainable tourism
On 22nd September, the SDG world café brought together participants from 30 different countries for a virtual networking event. 84 stakeholders from the Swiss and international tourism sector gathered in an informal setting to exchange questions and recommendations on 17 different sustainability-related topics. The SDF world café was organised by Swisscontact through the project Swiss SDG Tourism Dialogue.

“Behind every number, there is a person” (UNWTO) – the SDG world café not only provided an open space but facilitated an exchange in which each participant’s knowledge and opinion mattered and got acknowledged.

For the first time ever organised in Switzerland in a virtual format, the event organisers translated the known workshop format “world café” into a global setting, specifically oriented at sharing knowledge, insights and inspiration across and beyond borders.

The informal setting (no Webinar speeches, no PowerPoint presentations!) encouraged people from the tourism industry from all around the world to discuss, interact and actively exchange on a selected topic of relevance to sustainability and tourism. The SDG world café thus provided a unique platform for stakeholders to directly interact with each other, organised around 17 virtual tables.

The SDG world café was organised by the Swiss SDG Tourism Dialogue, which strives towards more sustainability in tourism through information, knowledge exchange and collaboration. Key activities include:

Breaking “sustainability” down into specific tangible topics

Guided by table-specific key questions, participants discussed sustainability and tourism in relation to consumer behaviour, destinations, human resources, human rights, infrastructure, resilience, value chains, to name just a few table topics.

Broad anchoring across stakeholder types and continents

The list of participants included tourism stakeholders in charge of tourism development and management in developed, emerging and developing countries. The event's table hosts also presented a broad mix of private and public sector representatives, academia, non-governmental organisations, and civil society. 18 partner organisations from Albania, Cambodia, Colombia, Germany, Guyana, Kosovo, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom moderated the discussions.

Virtual networking brings together stakeholders from the Swiss tourism sector (both incoming and outgoing) and international development cooperation

The Swiss SDG Tourism Dialogue

Since 1959, Swisscontact is committed to implement long-term projects for inclusive growth. Within the framework of the project Swiss SDG Tourism Dialogue, which runs from January 2020 to December 2021, Swisscontact organised the SDG world café with the purpose of facilitating its participants to

  • Meet people from around the world online
  • Exchange experiences and recommendations in an informal setting
  • Update on news and best practices in sustainable tourism

The Swiss SDG Tourism Dialogue is an initiative financed by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO, and co-financed by its consortium partners, FHGR (University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons), ecos, gutundgut, myclimate, SRV (Swiss travel association), STV (Swiss tourism federation) and the Swiss Parks Network, and its consortium leader, the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation (Swisscontact).

Sustainable Tourism
Swisscontact has been working on tourism and hospitality development for more than 20 years across more than 20 countries. Development cooperation requires customised inclusive solutions. Swisscontact provides expert advisory services, hands-on training, and applied research.