Enhancing the Tourism Experience for Guests and Hosts

Enhancing the Tourism Experience for Guests and Hosts

Responsible Tourism is about using tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. 2017 is the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Development through Tourism. WTM is launching a new feature of WTM London, showcasing some of the ways in which tourists can engage positively with local communities purchasing local goods and services, contributing to the conservation of natural and cultural resources and valuing their community.

One of the core values of Responsible Tourism is respect between travellers or tourists, the guests, and the host communities. The language of hosts and guests is aspirational, but tourism is a social activity. It is what we make it. As Krippendorf pointed out in his seminal work, The Holiday Makers, ‘every individual tourist builds up or destroys human values while travelling’. We all make choices about how we travel. Responsible Tourism is about taking responsibility and recognising that tourism is what we make of it. We can use Responsible Tourism to enhance the experience, to make it more real and authentic. The Responsible Tourism approach works best when it engages the consumer, enabling the traveller, the holidaymaker, to have a better experience, and the community to have tourism on better terms.

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Three of the characteristics of Responsible Tourism articulated in the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations are that it:

  • generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well-being of host communities
  • provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues;
  • and is culturally sensitive, engenders respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence.

At WTM this year we have three conversations taking place on the Responsible Tourism Stand, each focused on the key question: How can we make tourism better for local communities and for the the ‘guests’? The aim is to put together from these conversations some best practice guidance about how to enhance the guest experience and make tourism better for hosts and guests alike.  Come along and engage in the conversation – make your voice heard.

The sessions all take place on the Responsible Tourism Stand AF100. Come along to meet leading local tour operators, their source market partners, members of local communities and national government and tourist board leaders.

Monday 7th November 13:00-14:30 India: Enhancing the Tourist Experience

Wednesday 8th November 13:30 – 15:00 Enhancing the Tourist Experience in Africa

Wednesday 8th November 15:30 – 17:00 Guides – educators and cultural brokers

How do we best enable tourists to have positive encounters with local communities, their culture and environment? How do they see their responsibility? What do they think makes a good guide? How do they ensure that encounters are respectful, that hosts and guests create great memories and that the tourists have a great experience? Some short talks, some video and a conversation.

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Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracts 2000 participants each year and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Ireland. Harold works with industry, local communities, governments, and conservationists and undertakes consultancy and evaluations for companies, NGOs, governments, and international organisations. He is also a Director of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he is an Emeritus Professor, and Founder Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism promotes the principles of the Cape Town Declaration which he drafted.

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