Integrating social, cultural and sports dimensions in bridging the North-South divide through sustainable tourism development

Catherine Rubbens, Director Responsible Business, The Rezidor Hotel Group S.A.

No biography available at this time.


Rubbens’s presentation covered the responsible business program of the Rezidor Hotel Group, while discussing specifically how to bridge the North-South divide, case studies of best practice and other initiatives.

Responsible business is taking responsibility for the health and safety of guests and employees, respecting social and ethical issues internally as well as in the community and reducing our negative impact on the environment (control-reduce-change-neutralize).

The Rezidor Hotel Group works to bridge the North-South divide by providing new jobs and economic opportunities to the local population, thereby contributing to the Millennium Development goals, addressing basic needs such as access to products and services, nutrition, education, hygiene, mobility, communication, work and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Rubbens’s models of best practice included awareness-building activities, fund-raising, donations, conservation, re-use and renewable energy.


Ginger Smith, Professor and Academic Chair, Presten Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality Tourism and Sports Management, New York University

Dr. Ginger Smith is Academic Chair and Professor, Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, New York University, New York, NY, USA. In this position, Dr. Smith reports to the Divisional Dean and oversees academic programs, instruction, and student support services for the Tisch Center. Dr. Smith received a BA in honors humanities and English from Stanford and Cornell Universities, MA from the University of Delaware in public communication, and Ph.D. in international relations from the School of International Service, The American University, Washington, D.C.


PURPOSE: Compare international mega-sports event case studies; highlight development and sustained growth of Special Olympics (SO) – 2007 Shanghai and 2008 Ireland World Games
PROPOSITION: Achievements in conflict reduction and increased knowledge exchange following international sporting events; strategic value of sports-related business in facilitating dialogue and promoting peace – national/local government collaboration with private sector
EXAMPLE: Special Olympics – 2007 Shanghai World Summer Games
Represented unified global event; free “Healthy Athletes Screenings” – vision, dental, hearing, physical therapy assessments to identify previously unknown health issues; global Policy Summit; world-wide leaders from government, academia, health care, sports, business, and philanthropic organizations; discussed challenges faced by those with special needs
KEY FINDINGS: Positive effect of sports on development of children and adults across cultural divides; instrumental in promoting dialogue for collaboration; stakeholders supporting events – local community contribution and employment; local/national/international government engagement; spur positive corporate sponsorship support for future mega-sporting events; impact of international sports leaders and organizations measurable

“Today, the commerce of sports is expanding not only the number of international mega sporting events but also the strategic value of sports-related business in the promotion of international dialogue and advancement of world peace. The support of and participation in sports can transcend political, socio-cultural, and economic barriers globally. As spectators and athletes come together on a scale larger than ever before national and local governments must collaborate with the private sector to develop and implement policies in support of sustainable forms of tourism that benefit local communities, nations, and international alliances alike…”