Responsible tourism is resilience

Responsible tourism is resilience

The sudden changes caused by pandemics in 2020 forced us to reconsider innumerable times the ceremony format of WTM – Latin America Responsible Awards, initially scheduled to April/2020.

This was a challenging process for us, obviously, our expectations with the first edition of this award for Latin America was huge – a such serious theme with lots of insightful cases in our continent to bring to the show in São Paulo. To imagine a way to tell these stories to our audience amid the collapse caused by COVID-19 has become something awkward once the priority for the tourism industry was to survive in a world without trips.

We begin 2021 afraid of a dated event; our 14 nominees all over the continent have not experienced the same reality from the time our jury gathered themselves on February 18th, 2020 to elect the winners. Then, I decided to access their websites and social media in early January. This year could not have started any better: I learned that to adopt more responsible tourism practices is to show up like a resilient person.

The focus on respect to biosafety of the communities from the host places caused the tourism programs were entirely changed for most of the nominees, such as Awake Travel, Travolution and – prioritizing the domestic market, showing destinations for their own locals with a local perspective.

Others have adapted themselves and started investing in alternatives like the Complexo Turístico Itaipu offers virtual programs about their impressive facilities and the Awamaki, which reinforced their history through the handcraft making the traveler feel at home in the company of socks, scarves and even protective masks made by the women benefited by the professional qualification and empowering programs – enjoy it, all handcrafted products can be bought online and are delivered all over the world.

Destination like Costa Rica, the Reserva Biológica Huilo Huilo and Corredor Pájaros Pintados in Uruguay follow the opportunity to show their attractions for their own people – which strengthen the self-identification feeling and natural resources preservation.

The resilience is even more inspiring in the initiative cases where, in face of the pandemic challenges, suitable to biosafety protocols and keeps operating regularly, such as Brasil Food Safaris, the Sítios WAO and Fundación Teatro del Lago. For La Mano del Mono it joined to other initiatives in Mexico during the social isolation to create the “Turismo del Futuro” project, calling the trade to “build together the future of our dreams”; and Fundación Puntacana has started to assist the communities from the place where it operates to soften the effects of pandemic.

So that the winners of the first edition of Latin American Responsible Awards are dully acknowledged by the efforts for taking the responsibility for the impacts caused in tourist destinations, we are going to held an online ceremony to award the winners on April 29th, 2021. At that date, we are going to congratulate our industry that was resilient in face of the challenges in 2020 and resumed the responsible tourism schedule, promoting all finalists of the WTM Latin America Responsible Tourism Awards.

Save the date, we count with your participation, wherever you are in Latin America. Remember that the WTM Latin America 2021 is scheduled to August 03 to 05, when a new edition of the responsible tourism panel will be held.

The opinions expressed in this text are the author’s opinion and do not necessarily reflect the position of WTM Latin America.

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Has an MSc in Responsible Tourism from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK and was the founder of Inverted America, a consultancy and travel agency for responsible tourism working throughout South America. He was a founding member of “Muda!” (Brazilian Collective for Responsible Tourism), is a member of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) and ICRT Brasil, and a specialist in social project management for PMD Pro.

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