Responsible Travel at World Travel Market

 World Travel Market 2013, ExCel, London, ExCel, London

The world's top travel industry representatives will soon be descending on London's Excel Centre. The responsible travel agenda at World Travel Market (WTM) gets bigger every year, with 2014 being no exception.

WTM is massive, but fear not, here's our run through of top events for those interested in responsible tourism. Look out for International Tourism Partnership's Head of Programmes, Fran Hughes discussing  how reducing water and energy consumption is good for the bottom line on Tuesday and Green Hotelier will be covering the Responsible Travel Awards live on Wednesday. We're at WTM all day Wednesday so please get in touch if you'd like to catch up!

Monday 3rd November:

15:30 - 16:30 Partnerships for Better Tourism in Destinations
A discussion amongst industry leaders about how partnerships between outbound tour operators from originating markets can co-operate with destination management organisations and the inbound industry to make tourism better. Responsible Tourism is about using tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places to visit? What can these partnerships achieve? What are the major challenges? How can they best be addressed? A review of experience and thoughts on how to manage tourism better...

Tuesday 4th November:

10:00 - 11:15 Increasing the Local Economic Impact of Tourism
Location: South Gallery 19&20
Tourism has established itself as one of the world’s leading economic sector, a powerhouse for economic development. However, local communities often feel excluded when the employment opportunities do not materialise and little is sourced locally. We’ll look at four cases where specific interventions ensured that there were jobs for locals or opportunities were created for local producers of goods and services to sell to tourists and tourism businesses.

11:30 - 12:30 Reducing Energy and Water Consumption – Good for the Environment and the Bottom Line
Location: South Gallery 19&20
Resource efficiency makes sense for the bottom line and for the environment, costs are rising and climate change is impacting on the distribution of water. Flooding and drought both result from changes in weather patterns and climate. Carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is a major cause of the rise in average temperatures that we are experiencing in destinations. We’ll hear from four panellists who understand the business case for reducing energy and water consumption and hear why it matters for our sustainability.

 13:00 - 14:00 How can you use Responsible Tourism to drive sales?
Location: South Gallery 19&20
Responsible Tourism is good business, but how you market and present the product matters. It’s not about hair shirts and cold showers; it is about the quality of the experience, about engagement and authenticity. It is about using Responsible Tourism to create value for the consumer, to give them an experience they won’t forget – but be warned, beware greenwashing. Four industry leaders will talk about how they use Responsible Tourism for market advantage.
14:30 - 15:30 Everyone Deserves a Holiday: Social Inclusion
Location: South Gallery 19&20
The UN Declaration on Human Rights asserts that everyone has the right to rest and leisure and to travel. The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics promotes a universal right to tourism for families, young people, seniors and people with disabilities. We’ll address the barriers which prevent people taking a holiday and discuss ways in which the disadvantaged can be offered a holiday experience – what can the industry do to create these opportunities and create great experiences for those with disabilities?
15:45 - 16:45 Better Wildlife Tourism – Whose Responsibility?
Location: South Gallery 19&20
Wildlife viewing has always been a big attraction for tourists, game viewing in Africa and Asia, bird watching and diving. In recent years people have sought closer encounters and, with increasing interest in marine life, we have seen the growth of swimming with dolphins and shark cage diving. The panellists will offer their expert opinion about how the demands of tourists for ever closer encounters can be met responsibly and without damaging the wildlife they seek to encounter.

17:00 - 18:00 How Much Responsibility Should Tourism Take for Animal Welfare?
Location: South Gallery 19&20
It is often said that UK outbound operators get more letters about animal welfare than about any other ethical issue. This panel provides an opportunity to hear from the industry about how they see their responsibility for animal welfare and from some of the campaigners. This panel focusses on domesticated and captive animals. To what extent should tourists expect to be able to impose their views about animal welfare on other cultures with different attitudes to the treatment of animals?

Wednesday 5th November

10:00 - 12:00 World Responsible Tourism Day Opening and World Responsible Tourism Awards
Location: WTM Global Stage - AS850
Stephen Sackur will interview Colin Bell, Africa’s Finest & Charlie Mayhew, Chief Executive, Tusk Trust
What can the tourism industry do for the conservation of Elephants and Rhino? Conserving elephants and rhino in the wild is a struggle. No one who heard Charlie Mayhew, founder and chief executive of Tusk, speak at WTM in 2012 will forget the power of his speech or the images of the cruelty of poaching. We heard how poaching has  reached catastrophic proportions sweeping through the continent, decimating wildlife and destroying national and local economies, including the tourism industry.
World Responsible Tourism Awards
The World Responsible Tourism Awards are a global search for and celebration of the most inspiring and enduring responsible tourism experiences in the world. Now in their 11th year, the Awards will this year celebrate achievements in 12 categories reflecting some of the most important issues in responsible tourism today - including cultural heritage, accessibility, animal welfare and conservation. Join us for the celebration as part of WTM World Responsible Tourism Day. For more information on the Awards, including the categories and the judging panel, click here.

14:00 - 15:00 River & Lake Cruising
Location: SG 13-14
Cruising, on rivers, lakes, canals, lagoons and backwaters raises some particular issues of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Floating hotels and hotel boats enable tourists to enjoy some remarkable scenery and to get close to communities with potentially positive and negative impacts. What does responsible inland cruising look like? What are the best practices?

15:45 - 17:00 The Responsible Tourism Debate: Child Protection
Location: Platinum Suite 3&4
Child protection was put on the WTM agenda in 2011 when we heard about the internal trafficking of orphans in Cambodia to populate orphanages which attract significant donations from tourists, making this a lucrative business opportunity for the unscrupulous. We have since had panellists discussing the issues of child labour; the sexual exploitation of children; the safety of young people gap yearing abroad; and the issues of child abuse and neglect which arise in outbound families. We have discussed child protection on panels at WTM Latin America and WTM Africa and this year’s debate is about whether the tourism sector should and could do more to protect children.

Motion: This House believes that the tourism industry could do a good deal more to take responsibility for child protection and urges it to do so. We’ll take a vote at the beginning and end of the session

Thursday 6th November

11:00 - 12:00 Employment Conditions in the Tourism Industry
Location: SG 21-22
There are very large numbers of people employed in travel and tourism around the world, the sector directly employs 3% of the global workforce and if indirect and induced employment is included then estimates as high as one in every eleven jobs worldwide are common. Last year we focussed on the training programmes the sector provides and progression, there is a good story to tell for a sector which offers a route into employment and career opportunities for so many. But the industry struggles to shake off the image that these are not real jobs, they are often dismissed as low paid, dead end jobs. This panel will discuss what proportion of tourism jobs are decent jobs and consider what might be done to improve the situation.

12:30 - 13:30 How to Choose a Responsible Volunteering Opportunity Abroad
Location: SG 21-22
There has been considerable debate in the industry and amongst consumers about the provision of volunteering opportunities abroad. This year we are focussing on helping the potential volunteer, and schools, colleges and universities which promote volunteering opportunities, to identify opportunities which meet the expectations and needs of volunteers and communities, which do not exploit communities or volunteers, and which are safe.

For more information go to 

Leave a Reply