Developed & Implemented by Robert (Bobby) Chappell

Vail, Colorado - Sustainable Destination Development

Vail, Colorado is an iconic mountain resort community that was founded specifically as a tourism destination with an ethos of environmental conservation. Through a unique partnership of the Town of Vail, Vail Resorts, and the US Forest Service, the destination has reached new heights is sustainable destination development becoming the first GSTC-Certified destination in the United States.


  • The multi-year sustainable destination strategy (managed through Sustainable Travel International) included:

    • community engagement and visioning workshop

    • GSTC-recognized sustainability standards for businesses and destination managers

    • multi-level certification program for businesses and auditor training workshops

    • online management system (Quickbase) to monitor implementation of standard

    • development of multiple destination management plans

    • destination certification

Ocean Cay Marine Reserve - Environmental, Social, Health, and Safety Management System

MSC Cruises, a premier cruise line sailing to destinations around the world, is now embarking on the development of Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, an island destination for day trips for its passengers in The Bahamas.  This ambitious project by MSC is transforming a former industrial sand mining site into a sustainable island oasis and protected marine reserve scheduled to open in 2019.  My team was hired to develop a holistic sustainability management framework for MSC Cruises and all aspects of the island destination.   

  • The  development of the multi-phase Environmental & Social Management System included:

    • ensuring adherence to multiple international sustainability management standards (International Finance Corporation (IFC) Environmental & Social Performance Standards; ISO 9001, 14001, 18001; GSTC; et al.)

    • evaluated environmental risks and conducted social impact assessments 

    • identified areas of influence and facilitated stakeholder engagement programs 

    • developed Environmental, Social, Health, and Safety (ESHS) Management Plans including drafting policies and procedural documents

    • developed comprehensive ESHS monitoring and reporting program

    • upcoming projects include:  sustainable procurement guidelines, tour operator training, interpretation programs, and eco-certification for the tourism attraction

G Adventures - Supply Line Assessment

G Adventures is the world's largest independent adventure travel company offering over 700 itineraries in over 100 countries.  G prides themselves on the positive impacts they create in local communities but they had never actually done a study that proved that was the case.  The G-Local assessment gathered insightful information from over a 1000 of their global suppliers across a spectrum of sustainability topics.  Evidence showed that 91% of their spending went directly to locally owned businesses who employed local staff and support community initiatives.  


  • The eighteen-month supply line assessment (managed through Sustainable Travel International) included:

    • interviewed G executives to gain an understanding of core values they wanted to measure

    • composed a diverse selection of indicators for the assessment survey

    • developed online survey (Qualtrics) to deploy to thousands of global suppliers

    • defined verification methodology using local guides to validate survey responses 

    • conducted thorough analysis of data responses and created unique index scoring

Panama - National Certification Program

Panama, the biological land bridge between North and South America has 21% of its terrestrial land as a protected areas but most of these have not open to recreation and tourism.  The Panamanian government sees this as an opportunity to increase ecotourism within the country but also understands the importance to ensure positive impacts are maximized and negative impacts are minimized.     


  • The ten-month standards / certification program development (managed through Sustainable Travel International) included:

    • multiple rounds of stakeholder engagement with government, business, and NGO partners

    • composed criteria for multiple sectors with an emphasis on ecotourism 

    • defined multi-level certification program accredited by national standards association

    • drafted training manuals and workshops for program administrators, businesses, and auditors 

World Bank - Tourism Hotspots for Development

The Global Tourism Team at World Bank were extremely active in the promotion of the United Nations declaration of 2017 Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development (#IY2017, #Tourism4Dev).  As such, they have published several Knowledge Series publications on the topic.          

  • The four-month research and tool development included:

    • developed concept, conducted research, and acted as contributing author for the "20 Reasons Sustainable Tourism Counts for Development

    • developed a methodology and prototype tool to be used by private investors and development funders to identify tourism hotspots where interventions have the greatest potential to maximize positive impact on socio-economic development and environmental conservation.   

GWU - Ecotourism Footprint in the Mediterranean 

The International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS) at The George Washington University is a world-class research and education center that has been a thought leader in sustainable tourism development and education for over 25 years.   IITS was contracted to develop a monitoring system to help measure and improve ecotourism impacts within Protected Areas of the Mediterraneanis in partnership with International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Global Footprint Network, and WWF.      


  • The eight-month monitoring program development included:

    • supporting the development of socio-economic criteria and environmental indicators to quantify a footprint of tourism activities

    • drafted conclusive report highlighting destination monitoring best practices

    • developed governance model for community monitoring program

    • designed and developed online monitoring platform (Google Suite)

GMIST - Oregon Study Tour 

Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism (GMIST) designs international study missions for destination managers and tourism business operators from the Eastern Canadian Providences.  These programs allow participants to enjoy a destination like a visitor but also work directly with local stakeholders to understand how they develop and implement sustainability development strategies.         


  • Responsible for developing itinerary and travel arrangements which included:

    • planned a six day travel itinerary and interpretative agenda with unique accommodations, a variety of excursions, transportation, meals, learning experiences and peer-to-peer networking

    • connected participants with Travel Oregon (state tourism authority), Columbia Gorge Tourism Association (regional DMO), local experts, and tourism operators

    • hosted a group of 17 tourism professionals throughout the trip 

© 2020 by Tourism Impact Services, L.L.C.