Responsible Tourism at WTM Virtual

Responsible Tourism at WTM Virtual

The pandemic has caused WTM London to go virtual. WTM London this year is carbon neutral – well nearly. Our computers, networks and servers all use increasing amounts of electricity – much of which is still generated using fossil fuels.

There is no need to travel to London nor to find board and lodging away from home. You can participate from anywhere in the world over the extended hours, the only carbon emitted will be from the electricity your use of the internet consumes, and some of that is renewable. The speakers have not flown to London either.

World Responsible Tourism Day this year is in London Travel Week on Wednesday, November 4th, running from 11:30 to 13:30 GMT  and then a second session from 16:00 to 17:00 GMT. There are eight live sessions at WTM Virtual 10 & 11 November, all focussed on solutions.

WTM World Responsible Tourism awards logo

The Responsible Tourism programme on Wednesday 4th begins with the World Responsible Tourism Awards at 11:30; we have recorded interviews with some of the Highly Commended, but regrettably not all. There were many Highly Commended, 21 in all, and 39 Commended. This reflected the many ways in which so many tourism businesses and organisations saw a need and responded to it.

At 11:45 Sir Tim Smit, the Co-Founder of the Eden Project gives a keynote address explaining why responsible business and Responsible Tourism make good business sense.

This is followed by a series of short conversations with leaders in Responsible Tourism.

12:00 Wolfgang Neumann, Chair of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, talks about this new charity, A rebranding of the International Tourism Partnership, the world’s leading hospitality groups reaching out to the industry as a whole to make faster and more far reaching progress on the broad responsibility agenda.

This is followed by interviews with Maritn Brackenbury (12:15) and Justin Francis (12:30) talking about the panels on November 10th.  Martin is chairing the panel reflecting on the pandemic and what we are learning about resilience from it.  Justin is on the biodiversity panel and in the final session on November 11th drawing together solutions to create an agenda for action to Make Tourism Better.

I recorded an interview with Taleb Rifai a couple of weeks ago in which we discussed how we can make tourism better for communities, travellers and our sector. Taleb drew attention to the opportunity created by the crisis, the challenge of creating a resilient industry benefiting the communities the tourists visit and the importance of measuring the yield from tourism rather than obsessing about international arrivals.  As Taleb points out, domestic tourism enables citizens to explore and value their own country. It is an economic and social good.

An interview with JoAnna Haugen from Rooted at 13:45 addresses the ways in which narrative is essential in the storytelling process of any travel experience. The interview focuses on how this can make for better guest and host experiences, creating a better world of tourism for all.

This first series of interviews concludes with interviews with TUI’s Charlotte Weibe about the company’s work in Responsible Tourism at 13:00, and at 13:15 with Costa Rica’s new Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura Sancho about the country’s work on responsible tourism and how they are pioneering a certificate for sustainable tourism.

At 16:00 there is an interview wioth Garry Wilson now CEO of EasyJet Holidays about how the company has been coping with COVID, the future of leisure travel by air and of course why taking your business in a responsible direction makes perfect sense.

At 16:30 ABTA’s Clare Jenkinson discuss their recently published Tourism for Good report provides a framework for action, to rebuild a responsible and resilient tourism industry, fit for the challenges we face and a contributor to the global good.

World Responsible Tourism Day ends with Harold Goodwin at 16:50 talking about the programme on 10th and 11th November.

The theme is: How can we make tourism better for communities, travellers and our sector? 

11th November: 4 live panels Resilience & Covid 19; Build Back Better;  Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe? And Decarbonising Aviation.
12th November: 4 live panels Responsible Tourism in India; Racism in Tourism; Certification and Consumer Choice & Can we make tourism better – a manifesto for change.

There are on-demand panels on employing the differently-abled, the Chinese experience of inbound and outbound tourism, and animal welfare.

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Harold is WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, he puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracts 2000 participants each year 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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