Leaders in Responsible Tourism at WTM London

Leaders in Responsible Tourism at WTM London

Every year many of the world’s leaders in Responsible Tourism gather at WTM London and participate in the Responsible Tourism programme which forms a major part of the show, culminating in World Responsible Tourism Day with the presentation of the World Responsible Tourism Awards.

There are 18 finalists this year – all of them Leaders in Responsible Tourism. The Gold, Silver and ones-to-be-watched will be announced along with the coveted Overall Winner Award. There is a reception afterwards where you can congratulate and quiz the finalists. The Awards are presented on Wednesday 7th, in a programme which commences at 11:00 and includes a keynote from the South African Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom and the BBC’s Tanya Beckett interviewing Helen Caron, TUI Group Purchasing Director, Inge Huijbrechts, Global Senior Vice President of Radisson Hotel Group and Susanne Becken of Australia’s Griffith University about how much progress we’ve made.

Sustainable tourism is the objective – economic, social and environmental sustainability. But sustainability will only be achieved when individuals in businesses and destinations work with others to take responsibility make sustainability part of business as usual. This year we have 23 sessions and 67 speakers, the world’s largest Responsible Tourism event. All the speakers are leaders in Responsible Tourism ready to share their knowledge and experience and to answer your questions.

Overtourism, the antithesis of Responsible Tourism, is being discussed more and more in mainstream media, less so in the travel trade press. There are now the first reports of travellers being deterred from visiting Venice. On Monday at 12:30 we have leaders of tourism in Amsterdam, Barcelona, London and New York being interviewed by Martin Brackenbury about Coping with Success in Major Cities. On Tuesday at 12:30 in Platinum Suite 4 senior leaders from Barcelona will be sharing their experience of managing overtourism – we all have much to learn from them. There is a new Working Paper reporting what they are doing and why.

The programme is thin on environmental responsibility this year – there will be more focus on carbon, water and the food chain next year. But this year we have sessions on water, plastics and wildlife and animal welfare.

Social and Economic responsibility are high on our agenda with an important session on Child Protection, empowering African women entrepreneurs and Inclusive Tourism countering Disadvantage & Disability. Economic responsibility is featured in a session on creating shared value, employment and decent work and both feature in the session on indigenous tourism.

The business case for taking responsibility features across all the panels including Responsible Tourism in China and the session on storytelling and communicating Responsible Tourism, which is a strong link to the growing demand for experiences. Flanders has just published a stimulating report on how they are using experiential tourism in their marketing, and they are on the panel.

For the first time we have a session on Business Taking Responsibility for Security, Health and Safety and Tourism Investing in Africa’s Future: The Gambia and Uganda. We have a diverse panel discussion on partnerships for change.  How can we best work together to realise the ambition of sustainability and using tourism to make better places for people to live in?

The programme of Responsible Tourism events is available online and there is a two page printed version ideal to bring to the show.

There is much here in the not to be missed category.

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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.

One comment

  1. Ron Mader says:

    As always, the programs sounds like quite the showcase of what does and does not work in travel and tourism. Looking forward to the live and recorded videos and the tales from those who are practicing responsible travel during their visit to London. We will preview and recap the findings on Planeta.com.

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