Responsible Tourism at WTM London

Responsible Tourism at WTM London

As Juliette Losardo, WTM London’s exhibition director, said back in September:

“Building a robust and responsible future for travel and tourism is a priority, and World Travel Market London aims to unite the global travel industry with that shared objective.

Through the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards, we recognise and showcase businesses doing the most to develop and implement responsible practices. Our focus is on raising the issues and spreading knowledge about practical solutions.”

In the last few years WTM London has emerged as the largest annual Responsible Tourism event with an extensive programme of panels and interviews and the Responsible Tourism Awards. WTM has promoted Responsible Tourism since it launched its Responsible Tourism Day back in 2007.

The World Responsible Tourism Awards have been presented at WTM London since 2004 and are now in their 19th year. Three sets of regional awards have already been presented for AfricaIndia and Latin America at the Awards ceremony. On Monday, November 7th, 26 businesses and destinations from 21 countries will be recognised in the Rest of the World regional awards and the Global Awards. This year, there is an overall winner in the WTM Global Awards. A list of those being recognised on November 7th this year is online hereCome along to the presentations on the Future Stage, 14:00-14:45 and come to congratulate those being recognised at the Global Responsible Tourism Awards Reception on the Sustainability Stage, 17:00-18:00.

This year will be focused on the business case for taking responsibility to contribute to making better places for people to live in, and to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. There is now a clear commercial advantage in taking responsibility. Booking.com’s 2022 report revealed a 10% increase in demand for sustainable products over 2021 with 81% of travellers asserting that sustainable travel is important to them, with 50% saying that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more sustainable travel choices. 70% of global travellers say that they would be more likely to choose a sustainable accommodation “whether they were looking specifically for one or not.” Booking.com’s 2021 report revealed that 49% still believe there aren’t enough sustainable travel options available, with 53% saying they get annoyed if somewhere they are staying stops them from being sustainable, for example, by not providing recycling facilities.

This year, our focus is on the business advantage of responsible tourism, demonstrating to potential clients that you are working to become more sustainable, and as COP27 opens, we have a panel on decarbonisation. Full details of the Responsible Tourism programme at WTM this year can be found here.

On the panel on global warming, decarbonisation and avoiding greenwashing, we have industry speakers from easyJet, Intrepid, The Travel Corporation, wellbeing resort in Romania and bus tour operator.

Our programme kicks off with a panel on ‘Why Responsible Tourism Makes Business Sense’ with business leaders from Contiki, Transfrontier Parks Destinations, ABTA, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and Charlotte Wwiebe, Group Sustainability Director, TUI.

The BBC’s Tanya Beckett is moderating a panel on ‘Growing Consumer Demand for Responsible Tourism’ with speakers from Booking.com, YouGov (they have the market research), easyJet and My Green Butler, exploring how to engage the traveller and holidaymaker.

One of the key challenges is using sustainability in your marketing without looking like you are just one among many greenwashers. On the panel, we have sustainability marketing experts Xavier Font, Tim Williamson from Responsible Travel, and speakers with experience in China outbound, Kerala, TUI and boutique hotels.

Diversity is both a responsibility and a business opportunity. An inclusive approach in employment and the consumer offer makes business sense. We have panelists from West Africa, India, Brazil, and the Travel Corporation.

There are also two in-depth conversations with Shannon Guihan from The Travel Corporation and Treadright and Garry Wilson from easyJet Holidays about the business case and their plans for the future.

As I have written previously, India is now the world’s leading destination for Responsible Tourism – Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra all have Responsible Tourism presentations at WTM London – full details here.


Take your place at WTM London

Register your interest for the leading travel and tourism event, taking place at ExCeL London from 6–8 November 2023. Don’t miss any new trends – secure your spot today!


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Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracted 4000 participants in 2020 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 Latin America. 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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