Just back from Brazil and Chile, where there is a great deal happening in Responsible Tourism. WTM Latin America has had its launch show in Sao Paulo and it launched with a Responsible Tourism programme as part of the show. There were well-attended panels on the role of certification and government in taking responsibility for making tourism more sustainable; on the benefits of greening hotels and the challenges of sustainable tourism in protected areas. There was also a one day symposium for tourism academics and others attending the show on Responsible Tourism in Latin America and they decided to launch a Brazilian International Centre for Responsible Tourism.
During the panels we heard about lots of good practice in South America and there was enthusiasm for growing the programme next year, there are good ideas for next year’s panels and some of those who contributed in WTM Latin America will, I hope, be in London for the WTM Responsible Tourism programme.
Latin American RT pioneers
Alexandra Petermann spoke on the Protected Areas panel about Huilo Huilo, formerly a logging operation they have changed focus and are now a leading nature-based torus experience. Wiiner of a Responsible Tourism Award at WTM last year, they have created jobs for the community, men and women, by developing a tourism destination and conserved a large area of forest.
Over 100,000 hectares of pristine rainforest has been conserved since the project started in 2000 and the owners have been instrumental in changing the way in which they and the entire local community secure their living from the forest. Originally an area of logging, the reserve has changed the emphasis to conservation and the development of sustainable tourism.
Jose Fernandes Franco talked about their Parque dos Sonhos during the Braztoa panel in the Responsible Tourism symposium. This is an adventure hotel offering a plunge into nature. Their Park of Dreams Adventure Complex gathers 14 open air activities providing experience for all – including a really impressive range of facilities which can be enjoyed by people with disabilities alongside their families and friends. This is a destination resort offering a set of very unique experiences, it is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable and a very successful business.
As well as being at WTM Latin America, I was in Chile looking at tourism development in the Sub-Antarctic and Antarctica – but that is another story.