On Tuesday, November 7th there is a Responsible Tourism Conference at WTM London this year, which ends with a celebration of 21 years of panels and presentations at the London trade show. Come along to network with those who have been taking responsibility for making tourism more sustainable. Come along and join us for the celebratory networking event at 5:00 PM. You can find full details of the conference programme, which is free to attend, on the Responsible Tourism Partnership website with links to the WTM London show site.
As in previous years, we focus on solutions.
The WTM Responsible Tourism programme plays an important part in broadening the sustainability agenda and encouraging businesses and destinations to take responsibility. This year, we’ll be celebrating 10 years of Responsible Tourism at WTM Africa in Cape Town and Responsible Tourism features in the ATM and WTM LAT programmes.
In the words of the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations agreed at a side event to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, Responsible Tourism is about taking responsibility for achieving sustainable tourism and “creating better places for people to live in and for people to visit.” Last year, the Cape Town Declaration was updated drawing on two decades of taking responsibility to create the 2022 Responsible Tourism Charter signed on Magna Carta Island.
Responsible Tourism is not about philanthropy, it is about doing business differently, in the words of Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter. Responsible Tourism makes business sense. The conference kicks off with Shannon Guihan Head of TreadRight from The Travel Corporation and Garry Wilson, CEO at easyJet Holidays in conversation about why Responsible Tourism makes business sense. There are a host of reasons it is not just that, a Booking.com’s 2023 research shows, that 745 of travellers want travel companies to offer more sustainable travel choices.
We have examples from India (Kerala and Madhya Pradesh) and Africa (South Africa) which show how the industry can create shared value. Transfrontier Parks Destinations has partnered with two communities, the Mier Community co-owners of !Xaus Lodge with the Khomani San Community and the Batlokoa ba Mota Traditional Community, owners of Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge, both part of post-apartheid land restitution settlements. In Kerala, villages initially rebelled against tourism development but by developing producer cooperatives and Village Life Experiences the state has shown how tourism can bring sustainable development by adding an additional market opportunity for local producers, artists and performers. Madhya Pradesh, inspired by Kerala’s success has worked to develop village tourism.
Greenwashing is a challenge; consumers are savvier and regulators are clamping down. Our panel will discuss how tour operators, accommodation providers and the many small businesses that comprise the tourism industry can communicate the good they do and honestly report their declining, negative impacts. How far can Positive-Impact Tourism contribute to making the case for continuing, even accelerating growth?
In 2015, overtourism emerged as an issue in the municipal elections in Barcelona. On all seven continents, overtourism is now an issue for local communities, travellers and holidaymakers alike. How can destinations manage and reduce the negative impacts and enhance the positive?
The problem is not flying; the problem is the greenhouse gas emitted from burning fossil fuels. There are many destinations with no prospect of domestic tourism and few if any, alternative ways of earning foreign exchange. They are aviation-dependent. The aviation industry forecasts rapid growth and promotes SAF from waste, biofuels and power-to-liquid, but what part will hydrogen play? We have a panel of experts from Cranfield, Rolls Royce, Airbus, Bristol Airport and easyJet. This is your opportunity to hear about the Hydrogen solution. There are real grounds for optimism.
The Tuesday conference closes with the launch of a new Technology for Responsible Tourism website, a work in progress presenting a wide range of technologies from cooling buildings to upcycling and sequestrating plastic waste.
Don’t miss the drinks reception and an opportunity to network, meet old friends and make new ones.
There is an additional session on Wednesday 8th, a panel discussion about how we bring all the parties together – media, conservation, destination management and national tourism offices – to achieve Responsible Tourism—breaking barriers to deliver better more sustainable holidays and more profound experiences.
Full details of the Responsible Tourism Conference programme are available here.