Meet Penny Spoelder, a sustainable tourism expert with more than 30 years of experience in tourism planning, destination development, sustainable tourism, and project delivery.
Penny is a Senior Associate with TRC Tourism. Penny leads planning and sustainable development of some of the world’s most notable destinations and has worked extensively with government and industry in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific, Asia, and the Middle East.
Penny led the development of the Pacific Tourism Organisation’s (SPTO) Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework and is currently working with the SPTO on the development of the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Standard. Penny has also led projects in Niue, the Cook Islands and is currently working with several development agencies across the Pacific on recovery, resilience and sustainable tourism. She has also won numerous awards for designing and delivering sustainable tourism projects.
Penny believes the pandemic and recent climate related events have exposed many of the tourism economy’s structural weaknesses across the region. “For the tourism sector to be resilient, the industry must be capable of adapting, learning from, and responding to change. This means empowering industry, businesses, and communities to tackle climate and other related crisis through education, training, awareness raising, access to information, and international cooperation”.
“Governments that recognise that the tourism industry can be part of the solution will result in better outcomes for the industry and the community in the long term” she said.
Penny also highlighted the need for significant investment in sustainable tourism and crisis planning with a focus on building resilience to enable Pacific communities to manage multi-dimensional shocks and compounding risks – and survive and thrive in the face of an uncertain future.