Meet David Andrés Ortegón-Martínez, CEO of KAI Sustainable Coaching

See the Interview at Travelife Website:


Total auditing experience:  12 years

Travelife auditing experience:  2 years

Specialisations: Sustainability, quality management, environmental management, health and safety, sustainable agriculture and forestry

Auditing fields: Accommodation, agriculture, food processing, tour operators, destinations

David has been working with sustainability standards and certification for the past 15 years. He began as an auditor and programme manager, then implemented sustainability programmes at various businesses as a sustainability director and consultant. David’s career has seen him working with a variety of tourism, agriculture and food companies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

His experience working with industrial, government and commercial organisations has enabled him to understand how each sector plays their part in a more sustainable future, but his real passion is for the tourism industry due to the vast reach it has in terms of impacts on communities and the environment. He believes that the tourism sector can remain competitive and profitable provided it embraces the power it has to affect real global change, but this will require a strong and lasting effort, something that will pay significant dividends for economies, societies and the planet.

David says that sustainability should be the pillar of any successful business operation. That means that it is embedded in a company’s strategic plan and part of their vision for being an industry leader. He believes that using sustainability as a management tool has a lot to offer the hospitality sector, but only if it is adopted at the highest levels of any organisation and adapted so that it IS relevant to the specific conditions and needs of each location. That ensures that any goals a business sets are achievable and meaningful.


“…sustainability should be embedded in a company’s strategic plan and be an integral part of their vision for being an industry leader.”

David Andrés Ortegón-Martínez



He has found that the ingrained cycle of continuous improvement in sustainable business operations makes companies more competitive and more likely to survive difficulties. He says that this is because sustainability management, by definition, involves important disciplines such as regular performance measurements, continual adjustments to meet targets and transparent reporting. All of this leaves a business, and their leadership, in a strong well-informed position to respond quickly and effectively to external events and market changes that can hurt organisations that are less dynamic.

David finds visiting new places and sharing points of view with people from different backgrounds to be the most rewarding part of his role as a Travelife auditor. One of the most effective projects he has seen was called ‘Recycling makes Sense’, an initiative developed by a hotel chain in destinations that lacked local recycling facilities. This involved collecting recyclable waste from the homes of resort staff then selling it to raise money for community projects, resulting in the dual benefit of supporting local people whilst solving a waste management problem, all the while instilling a culture of recycling in over 4,000 of the chain’s employees.

 Top tips from David for sustainable living:

Think before you act! All our actions as individuals and companies have positive and negative impacts on our environment and our community, so try to generate positive impacts with your actions.

Each time someone makes a decision to be proactive about sustainability it contributes to a positive impact on our communities and the environment, so try to take an active role where you live.


Preparing for a New Start in Tourism in Ecuador

The Import Promotion Desk (IPD) is supporting the Ministry of Tourism in Ecuador (MINTUR) as it prepares to relaunch tourism in the country. In conjunction with the consulting firm Hotel Resilient, which specialises in risk and crisis management, the health and hygiene concepts for the tourism sector have been adapted to internationally valid standards and a concept for hygiene and safety training has been developed. David A. Ortegón Martínez, CEO of KAI Sustainable Coaching (KSC) took an active part of this project participating in the alignment of the Ecuadorian Protocols and Guidelines for safe Re-opening of Accommodations and F&B establishements with Internationally Recognised Standards and as Training Instructor. In the first three months, more than 400 Ecuadorian tourism professionals have already been trained; an e-learning program has also been launched.



No other industry has been hit as hard by the Covid-19 pandemic as the tourism industry: travel warnings, cancelled flights and closed borders have become the new reality. IPD was unable to complete its plans to present the destinations and travel suppliers of the IPD program at trade shows, nor to organise roadshows or FAM trips to connect European tour operators with companies in Ecuador, Nepal and Tunisia.

Therefore, IPD and its partners looked ahead instead - to the time after the crisis: In a number of capacity-building measures, the IPD experts supported tour operators in their positioning and marketing in order to ensure a successful new start after the crisis. IPD tackled one particular challenge together with MINTUR in Ecuador: it is essential for the restart that guests have confidence in the guarantee of their safety – and with regard to Covid-19, in the health and hygiene concepts of the tourism providers. The project therefore involved the professional establishment of internationally recognised Covid-19 hygiene protocols in the hospitality and food & beverage sector and their successful implementation across the industry. A fundamental element in the success of the project was broad implementation of the processes throughout the diverse tourism industry in Ecuador. At the same time, the training concept had to consider the special pandemic conditions in order to avoid spreading the virus.


By involving the consulting firm Hotel Resilient, IPD has acquired an expert in risk management within the hotel industry. In close cooperation with MINTUR, the specialists revised existing Ecuadorian protocols and guidelines for the safe reopening of the hotel and hospitality industry. The goal was to maximise the effectiveness of Ecuadorian protocols and build trust by aligning them with internationally recognised standards.

In order to ensure broad communication of the new concept, a „training of trainers“ approach was developed. This allowed locally trained trainers to inform many tourism businesses and their employees about the newly developed hygiene measures and safety protocols as efficiently as possible and support them in the implementation process. The training was offered in both English and Spanish and was accessible as an online tool in even the more remote regions of Ecuador.



Employees of the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Board as well as the hotel association AHOTEC rolled out the information and training campaign on the new hygiene protocols for the tourism sector. In addition to employees of the ministry and the hotel association, a large number of regional tourism authorities and tourism service providers were reached. In the first three months, around 400 tourism professionals were trained.

The targeted development of training competencies at MINTUR and AHOTEC ensured that in the long term the training courses could be offered locally and, if necessary, quickly adapted to new challenges. The e-learning tool also provides access to the training even for tourism companies in remote regions, such as the Amazon and Galapagos.


Preparando un nuevo comienzo en el turismo en Ecuador.

La Oficina de Promoción de las Importaciones (IPD) está apoyando al Ministerio de Turismo de Ecuador (MINTUR) en sus preparativos para relanzar el turismo en el país. En colaboración con la consultora Hotel Resilient, especializada en la gestión de riesgos y crisis, se han adaptado los conceptos de salud e higiene del sector turístico a las normas de validez internacional y se ha desarrollado un concepto de formación en higiene y seguridad. David A. Ortegón Martínez, director general de KAI Sustainable Coaching (KSC) tomó parte activa en este proyecto participando en la alineación de los Protocolos y Directrices ecuatorianos para la reapertura segura de alojamientos y establecimientos de F&B con las normas reconocidas internacionalmente y como instructor de formación. En los tres primeros meses, ya se ha formado a más de 400 profesionales del turismo ecuatoriano; también se ha puesto en marcha un programa de aprendizaje electrónico.



Ningún otro sector se ha visto tan afectado por la pandemia de Covid-19 como el sector turístico: las alertas de viaje, los vuelos cancelados y las fronteras cerradas se han convertido en la nueva realidad. En 2020, IPD no pudo completar sus planes de presentar los destinos y los proveedores de viajes del programa IPD en ferias comerciales, ni organizar roadshows o viajes FAM para conectar a los operadores turísticos europeos con empresas de Ecuador, Nepal y Túnez.

Por lo tanto, el IPD y sus socios miraron hacia adelante, hacia el tiempo posterior a la crisis: En una serie de medidas de desarrollo de capacidades, los expertos de IPD apoyaron a los operadores turísticos en su posicionamiento y comercialización con el fin de garantizar un nuevo comienzo exitoso después de la crisis. IPD abordó un reto concreto junto con el MINTUR en Ecuador: es esencial para la reanudación que los huéspedes confíen en la garantía de su seguridad, y en lo que respecta a Covid-19, en los conceptos de salud e higiene de los proveedores de servicios turísticos. Por lo tanto, el proyecto consistió en el establecimiento profesional de protocolos de higiene Covid-19, reconocidos internacionalmente, en el sector de la hostelería y la alimentación y en su aplicación con éxito en todo el sector. Un elemento fundamental para el éxito del proyecto fue la amplia implantación de los procesos en toda la diversa industria turística de Ecuador. Al mismo tiempo, el concepto de formación debía tener en cuenta las condiciones especiales de la pandemia para evitar la propagación del virus.


Con la participación de la empresa consultora Hotel Resilient, IPD se ha asociado con expertos en gestión de riesgos dentro de la industria turística. En estrecha colaboración con el MINTUR, los especialistas revisaron los protocolos y directrices ecuatorianos existentes para la reapertura segura de la industria hotelera y de los establecimientos de A&B. El objetivo era maximizar la eficacia de los protocolos ecuatorianos y fomentar la confianza alineándolos con las normas reconocidas internacionalmente.

Para garantizar una amplia comunicación del nuevo concepto, se desarrolló un enfoque de "formación de formadores". Esto permitió que formadores entrenados localmente informaran a muchas empresas turísticas y a sus empleados sobre las nuevas medidas de higiene y los protocolos de seguridad de la forma más eficaz posible y les apoyaran en el proceso de aplicación. La formación se ofreció tanto en inglés como en español y fue accesible como herramienta en línea incluso en las regiones más remotas de Ecuador.


Employees of the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Board as well as the hotel association AHOTEC rolled out the information and training campaign on the new hygiene protocols for the tourism sector. In addition to employees of the ministry and the hotel association, a large number of regional tourism authorities and tourism service providers were reached. In the first three months, around 400 tourism professionals were trained.

The targeted development of training competencies at MINTUR and AHOTEC ensured that in the long term the training courses could be offered locally and, if necessary, quickly adapted to new challenges. The e-learning tool also provides access to the training even for tourism companies in remote regions, such as the Amazon and Galapagos.


Los empleados del Ministerio de Turismo y de la Junta de Turismo, así como la asociación hotelera AHOTEC, pusieron en marcha la campaña de información y formación sobre los nuevos protocolos de higiene para el sector turístico. Además de los empleados del ministerio y de la asociación hotelera, se llegó a un gran número de autoridades regionales de turismo y proveedores de servicios turísticos. En los tres primeros meses se formaron  400 profesionales del turismo.

El desarrollo específico de las competencias de formación en el MINTUR y AHOTEC garantizó que a largo plazo los cursos de formación pudieran ofrecerse localmente y en caso necesario, adaptarse rápidamente a los nuevos retos. Además, la herramienta de aprendizaje electrónico permite el acceso a la formación incluso a las empresas turísticas de regiones remotas, como el Amazonas y las Galápagos.

KSC Miembro de Tres Iniciativas Internacionales por la Sostenibilidad.

La Situación Global Actual ha resaltado fuertemente la necesidad que tenemos, tanto Individuos como Organizaciones, de trabajar en Equipo a través de Alianzas Estratégicas que potencien el impacto positivo de nuestras Acciones e Incrementen el Alcance de nuestros Proyectos.

En este contexto, KAI Sustainable Coaching ha venido trabajando durante los últimos meses en el desarrollo de la Plataforma de aprendizaje  Sustain-Ability Online Academy, que recientemente presentamos al público en el mes de Julio y que ya cuenta con más de 25 alumnos de diferentes Nacionalidades.

De forma paralela al desarrollo de esta iniciativa, nuestra organización se ha unido a tres iniciativas de Desarrollo Sostenible que les presentamos a continuación:

•Red Internacional de Promotores de ODS
•Future of Tourism

Cada una de estas iniciativas pone en manifiesto nuestro compromiso por el Desarrollo Sostenible de Destinos, Comunidades & Empresas de América Latina & El Caribe y es una invitación abierta para quienes decidan hacer parte de ellas.

Les invitamos a conocer cada una de ellas

Red Internacional de Promotores de ODS.

Los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS) desarrollados en la Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible representan principios básicos para poner fin a la pobreza, proteger el Planeta y garantizar que todas las personas gocen de paz y prosperidad.

Los ODS fueron aprobados en el 2015 por todos los Estados miembros de las Naciones Unidas (ONU), representan 17 objetivos y 169 metas con horizonte al año 2030 acompañado de indicadores para monitorear y evaluar el aporte y cumplimiento de los mismos. Los objetivos y metas mundiales planteadas están relacionados con los desafíos ambientales, sociales, políticos, institucionales y económicos con que se enfrenta nuestro mundo en la actualidad. 

No dejar a nadie atrás es el propósito principal de la Nueva Agenda de Desarrollo, todos los ODS están orientados a centrar esfuerzos y promover alianzas para lograr cambios positivos y sin precedentes en beneficio de las personas, la sociedad y el Planeta en un contexto de paz, justicia, inclusión e igualdad.

La Red Internacional de Promotores ODS es la alianza que congrega a todos los Promotores ODS; articulando esfuerzos, acciones, herramientas, experiencias y conocimientos para impulsar y acompañar con aportes concretos el cumplimiento de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible.

Nuestra Misión como Promotores de los ODS consiste en: Concienciar y masificar el conocimiento de los 17 Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible, integrando y realizando acciones para su cumplimiento, fomentando la participación y el compromiso de diferentes sectores y actores de la sociedad.

Te invitamos a conocer más sobre esta iniciativa en:


#TurismoReset: Manifiesto para la regeneración del sector turístico.


#TurismoReset es una comunidad compuesta por profesionales de distintos perfiles, procedencias e intereses, que reflejan la transversalidad del sector turístico. Un colectivo que se ha unido bajo el objetivo común de pensar y trabajar por un nuevo modelo de desarrollo turístico, acorde a los desafíos que presenta esta nueva coyuntura. Una visión de trabajo que sea verdaderamente sostenible y responsable, capaz de afrontar los grandes retos a los que se enfrenta no sólo el sector, sino la sociedad en su conjunto.

Nos encontramos ante una situación en la que la unión se hace imprescindible. Al mismo tiempo, se echa en falta una mayor pluralidad de visiones y opiniones en el debate público en el sector, en relación con la mejor salida a la crisis. En este contexto de incertidumbre, conviene no sólo tener en cuenta el corto plazo y actuaciones en clave coyuntural, encaminadas a recuperar los niveles anteriores lo antes posible. Es imprescindible tener también una mirada más amplia, una necesaria visión a largo plazo, en clave estructural, que entienda y corrija aquello que no se estaba haciendo bien en muchos destinos. En este sentido, #TurismoReset se ha convertido en un espacio para la colaboración y el diálogo, reforzando relaciones entre actores y trabajando de manera colectiva en la búsqueda de soluciones regenerativas de la industria.

Te invitamos a conocer más sobre esta iniciativa en:

Future of Tourism.


Hemos firmado los Principios Rectores lanzados por la Coalición del Futuro del Turismo recién formada por: The Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), Destination Stewardship Center, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares y the Travel Foundation, junto con el Consejo Global de Turismo Sostenible (GSTC). Estos principios describen una visión audaz para el camino a seguir del turismo y, como signatarios, nos comprometemos a colocar las necesidades del destino en el centro del nuevo futuro del turismo y hacemos nuestra parte para crear un mañana mejor. Te invitamos a conocer más sobre esta iniciativa en  #FuturodelTurismo


KSC Member of 3 International Initiatives for Sustainability.

The Current Global Situation has strongly highlighted the need we have,  as Individuals and Organizations, to work as a Team through Strategic Alliances that enhance the positive impact of our Actions and Increase the Scope of our Projects.

In this context, KAI Sustainable Coaching has been working in recent months on the development of the Sustain-Ability Online Academy  learning platform, which we recently presented to the public in July and which already has more than 25 students of different Nationalities.

In parallel to the development of this initiative, our organization has joined three Sustainable Development initiatives that we present here below:

•International Network of SDG Promoters
•Future of Tourism

Each one of these initiatives shows our commitment to the Sustainable Development of Destinations, Communities & Companies in Latin America & the Caribbean and is an open invitation for those who decide to be part of them.

We invite you to know more about each one of them:


International Network of SDG Promoters.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represent basic principles to end poverty, protect the Planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The SDGs were approved in 2015 by all the member states of the United Nations (UN), they represent 17 objectives and 169 goals with a horizon to the year 2030 accompanied by indicators to monitor and evaluate the contribution and fulfillment of them. The global goals and targets are related to the environmental, social, political, institutional and economic challenges that our world is facing today.

Leaving no one behind is the main purpose of the New Development Agenda, all the SDGs are aimed at focusing efforts and promoting alliances to achieve positive and unprecedented changes for the benefit of people, society and the Planet in a context of peace , justice, inclusion and equality.

The International Network of SDG Promoters is the alliance that brings together all the SDG Promoters; articulating efforts, actions, tools, experiences and knowledge to promote and accompany with concrete contributions the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Mission as SDG Promoters  consists of: Raising awareness and increasing the knowledge of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, integrating and carrying out actions for their fulfillment, fostering the participation and commitment of different sectors and actors of society.

We invite you to learn more about this initiative at: 

#TurismoReset: Manifesto for the regeneration of the Tourism Sector.



#TurismoReset is a community that brings together a wide variety of professionals from the tourism sector, as a sample of  the transversal nature of the industry, united under the common goal of rethinking and working for a new tourism model which is  truly sustainable and responsible with the capabilities of responding to the global challenges faced not only by the sector, but society as a whole.

We are facing a situation in which unity becomes essential. At the same time, there seems to be a lack of diversity when it comes to visions and opinions in the public debate in relation to the best way to overcome this crisis. In this context of uncertainty, we need not only to take into account the short-term and conjuncture related actions channelled into returning to the previous situation as soon as possible; it is also essential to have a broader look, a necessary long-term vision that helps understand and correct the mistakes perpetrated  in many destinations. In this sense, #TurismoReset has become a space for collaboration and dialogue, strengthening relationships between stakeholders and working collectively in the search for regenerative solutions in the industry.

We invite you to know more about this initiative at:


Future of Tourism.


We’ve signed the Guiding Principles launched by the newly formed Future of Tourism Coalition - the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), Destination Stewardship Center, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares, and the Travel Foundation, with the guidance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). These principles outline a bold vision for tourism's path forward and as a signatory, we commit to place destination needs at the center of tourism’s new future and do our part to create a better tomorrow.

Learn more at #FutureofTourism


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