World Travel Market has announced a number of high-calibre speakers for its first panel sessions for World Responsible Tourism Programme, including TripAdvisor. The quality of eco-certification has come to the fore this year and the issues will be discussed with TripAdvisor Responsible Travel Director, Jenny Rushmore.
TripAdvisor has this year launched its Greenleaders scheme, which aims to identify hotels and B&Bs that are committed to green practices such as recycling, water efficiency and alternative energy.
Andrew Nicholas, Green Tourism Business Scheme, Managing Director, and Dr Xavier Font from Leeds Metropolitan University International Centre for Research in Events Tourism and Hospitality, are also involved in the panel session entitled: What does certification contribute to responsible tourism?
According to Dr Font, a key challenge is: “To assess if there are on-going benefits from continuous certification, after lessons are learned in the first couple of years, because currently certification is not delivering the marketing benefits that should be expected from it.”
The session takes place on Tuesday 5th November 2013 at 12pm in South Gallery Rooms 21 and 22.
Maximising Local Development
Another session taking place that day is: Responsible Tourism Approaches to Maximise Local Economic Development. It brings together four global experts to examine how tourism can address one of its most pressing challenges if it is to avoid exacerbating social tension. Only by ensuring communities in the destinations benefit sustainably from the presence of tourism will it play its role in delivering the Millennium Development Goals.
Nowhere is this felt more sharply than Africa, and one of this event’s panelists is Glynn O’Leary, Owner of Transfrontier Park Destinations in South Africa. With the ever-growing poaching menace being centred at parks at the South African borders, Glynn’s insights into how to bring development alternatives that mean local villagers are less tempted by poaching couldn’t be more timely.
Glynn said: “Unemployment in rural communities is at critical proportions with people desperate to earn an income to provide for their families. Poaching sadly is one such source. Through our involvement in local tourism development we create sustainable livelihoods and an awareness of the value of conservation. This we believe contributes to a realisation among local communities of the need to combat poaching.”
Joining Glynn on the panel will be Richard Hearn from Village Ways in India, Roberto Daniele from Oxford Brookes, and WRTD’s own responsible tourism expert, Dr Harold Goodwin.
The session takes place on Tuesday 5th November at 12pm in South Gallery Rooms 19 and 20.
Simon Press, Reed Travel Exhibitions, Director, World Travel Market, said: “WTM’s Responsible Tourism Programme is the most popular part of the overall seminar sessions with participants increasing every year. This year’s programme looks set to be the best yet as it tackles a number of key issues including certification and how local communities can benefit from tourism.”
Several other debates and events will be announced during the coming weeks. This year the main theme is water, with the other key themes being volunteering, child protection, disability and carbon emissions.
The WTM World Responsible Tourism programme of events, seminars, presentations and debates spans three days – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, although the main focus is on World Responsible Tourism Day, the biggest day of responsible tourism action in the world, on Wednesday 6th November 2013.