Gap Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip will be the keynote speaker at the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference 2010 (ESTC 2010), in Portland, Oregon, between September 8th and 10th.

The ESTC is North America’s largest and only conference focusing on sustainability in the tourism industry and will assemble more than 500 business leaders, tourism professionals and community stakeholders to discuss practical ideas and solutions to sustainability challenges facing the sector today. The conference’s ultimate goal: reinforcing the role of tourism in building a more sustainable future for the travel industry. Gap Adventures is an Expedition-Level Sponsor for the ESTC, along with the official ESTC Voluntourism Partner Planeterra Foundation.

We love changing people’s lives through travel and I believe ESTC is a perfect forum to help us advance that goal,” said Tip, in a prepared statement. “We’ve proven time and again through initiatives like our voluntourism projects that sustainability and travel needn’t be mutually exclusive. Smart travel that respects local ecosystems, economies and communities not only provides a more exciting experience for our travelers, it’s simply the right thing to do.”

For the first time, ESTC will also be joining forces with the Planeterra Foundation to provide opportunities for conference delegates to roll up their sleeves for the local community. Delegates will have a chance to volunteer at Portland-area landmarks such as the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge and the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center, in an effort to highlight the increasing importance and relevance of voluntourism.

“These practical sessions in the field will give delegates an opportunity to participate in a hands-on voluntourism experience and gain an understanding of how giving back to the people and places they visit provides a richer traveller experience,” said Planeterra director Richard G. Edwards.