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