The summit, which brought together experts in the fields of ecotourism, finance, planning and policy, among others, was convened so that community leaders could discuss concerns and solutions to many of the common problems that all coastal cities share.
Hastings sat and spoke on the Innovating Tourism panel, alongside other experts in the fields of tourism and hospitality. He was able to share the experience that Gasparilla Island has had, and the lessons being learned about sustainable tourism.
He also had the opportunity to give a presentation on the topic of “strategic partnerships in conservation, education and commerce” on the opening day of the summit.
The offer came after publicity surrounding the 2012 “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament reached C.J. Reynolds, Executive Director of the International Ocean Institute - USA. The tournament’s message of conservation, education and sportsmanship and its importance relating to local and regional commerce made Hastings program perfectly aligned with the tourism track.
“Responsible angling, combined with education on conservation, is the next generation of sport fishing and that will help create a sustainable fishery which in turn will help fuel a healthy economy,”Hastings said. “We believe that the mission of proper stewardship of our natural resources begin with us but are futile unless we include and engage our young people to continue the path to a healthy coastal marine environment.”
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