Each year we bring our REMOTE Immersion to a new destination, always with a deep concern about the impacts we leave there. More than introducing our Community to the destination, our purpose is to introduce the destination to the world through responsible tourism. We are aware that, in addition to tourism, events must assume their role in reducing negative impacts, enhancing the positive ones and tackling climate change.
As we visit remote and more sensitive places, keeping our event small is also part of our commitment to not disturbing that community’s daily life. Over the years, we have prioritized local sourcing and support for small businesses as well as boosting the visibility of local cultures. Since 2019, we’ve been hosting the REMOTE Legacy (Legado REMOTE), a series of free talks led by invited experts and open to the host community. This is our way of encouraging an exchange of knowledge, fostering innovation and giving back to the destination.
But we know we must do more. This year, to advance our sustainability actions, we joined forces with Regenera NGO, the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador and the Fundación Municipal Turismo para Cuenca. Our aim is not only to make the REMOTE Immersion a more sustainable event, but also to enhance the positive impacts for both the destination and attendees. This is an ongoing process of learning and experimenting which we intend to reassess and improve every year together with our hosts.
We’re bringing the theme The Joy of Life: healthy experiences for travelers, hosts and the planet to our REMOTE Talks & Seeds and we hope our guests and Community members also inspire changes for a better world.
“We listened to our local partners and providers to understand how we could help them advance their sustainability practices. We then developed a strategy based on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Criteria, which was adapted to the destination,” explains Jorge Moller, director and founder of Regenera NGO. “It was really rewarding working with the Cuencanos, who are passionate about sustainability,” celebrates Moller. Governance and coordination between the public and private sectors in Cuenca were essential so that all actions could be put into practice.
Our sustainability strategy addresses seven key areas (air transportation, ground transportation, venues, accommodations, gastronomy, tour operations and destination) and is divided into five pillars:
Promoting training and awareness
Owners and staff of 25 local businesses are participating in the online sustainability training session How can I add sustainable value to my tourism experience?, led by Regenera NGO. They’re also getting access to a sustainability library for self-training. And we’re working on communicating good sustainability practices, before and during our event, with messages aimed at the local community, entrepreneurs, government and REMOTE Immersion participants. We believe that communication is an essential tool for awareness, mobilization and action.
During our Immersion, we invite the residents of Cuenca to attend REMOTE Legacy (Legado REMOTE), a series of free talks that inspire and promote sustainable tourism. REMOTE Legacy takes place on October 18th, at 8:30 AM, at Teatro Sucre, and will feature lectures by speakers Jorge Moller, director of Regenera NGO and the GSTC, Victoria Reed, hotelier and architect at Viva Arquitectura, Timothy Dhalleine, photographer, filmmaker and content creator for EcoCamp Patagonia, and Dimitri Poffé, activist and founder of Explorer for Huntington.
Driving the economy and promoting lasting impacts:
We are bringing together over 200 tourism professionals from all over the world in Cuenca for five days. More than 30 local providers and small business owners are involved in our event, whether providing accommodations and food or hosting our immersive activities. But we want our impacts to be enduring. Our delegates take home the important mission of also promoting the destination of Cuenca in a responsible way.
As part of our sustainability strategy, we’re evaluating the impacts that each service provider has on the local economy and also encouraging more local fair purchases among businesses. We believe that businesses can also become more competitive by improving their sustainability practices.
From the beginning, one of our aims with the REMOTE Immersion has been to promote innovation in Latin America independent tourism, not only within our Community but at the host destination. By gathering diverse innovative and pioneering hoteliers and tourism professionals and encouraging current debates with REMOTE Talks & Seeds, we understand that we’re fostering an important exchange of ideas and experiences.
Our sustainability assessment and management process with local providers is also bringing creativity and innovative solutions to tourism in Cuenca. And our sustainability team is designing a strategy to make visible the value of good quality water in Cuenca and motivate its preservation.
Reducing our environmental footprint
We’re striving to reduce the environmental impact of our event by eliminating single-use plastics, purchasing locally, reducing water and energy consumption and offsetting carbon emissions. Through our training with local entrepreneurs, we’re encouraging them to do the same and provide services with minimal carbon footprints. Our goal is to urge REMOTERS to also embark on this sustainability journey and do their part to mitigate impacts.
Integrating and leveraging local cultures
Cuenca’s culture will undoubtedly play a prominent role throughout our event. Together with the Fundación Municipal Turismo para Cuenca, we have carefully curated traditional activities and workshops on crafts and local knowledge to integrate the experiences offered to REMOTERS. This includes a spiritual ceremony with families of the Turi parish, a jewelry workshop with local goldsmith Fausto Ordóñez, visits to the celebrated toquilla straw hat Museo y Fabrica Homero Ortega and the studio of world-renowned pottery artist Eduardo Segovia, and a workshop about the ancient Ikat fabric technique. In our visual and communication material, we’re promoting the interpretation of the local culture and encouraging REMOTE Cuenca participants to also immerse themselves in the enchanting world of Cuenca’s arts, traditions and crafts.
Be a conscious REMOTER too!
Without support from you, REMOTERS, we will not succeed in this journey toward sustainability. We are over 200 strong and each one of us can make important impacts with small actions. That’s why we invite you to also be a responsible traveler in Cuenca (and, of course, everywhere else!).
Let’s remember that we’re entering people’s homes. This is a city where amazing people live. Respect their culture, heritage and moments of privacy and ask permission when taking pictures of people. Be open to new experiences. Things might not be the same as at home, but you’re here to discover the new! Take the opportunity to celebrate local food, crafts and everything that is authentic to Cuenca. Besides having a more genuine experience and ensuring that your money stays in the community, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing regional products.
Don’t forget to reduce your environmental impacts by carrying your reusable water bottle and REMOTE eco bag with you at all times. Let’s avoid unnecessary waste, including food. The obvious is also important: turn off lights and air conditioning when leaving the hotel, take shorter showers, avoid changing towels and dispense with needless room cleaning.
Finally, we invite you to offset the carbon emissions from your flights. Doing so is not enough, but it is an important step in fighting climate change!