The inaugural edition of the forthcoming World Travel Market (WTM) Africa will bring wider issues of responsible tourism to the forefront during its leading event program. World Travel Market Africa, taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, is launching its very own WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Program, and it will form a key component of the education sessions taking place over the two days of the show.
The comprehensive and thought-provoking Responsible Tourism Program will be brought together by industry leader and organizer of the WTM Responsible Tourism Program in London, Professor Harold Goodwin of the Manchester Metropolitan University. With a pan-African cast of speakers including amongst others Fabrice Leclercq, CEO T.R.I.P. GHANA, AGAMS Group and Heidi Van der Watt, Director ICRT South Africa, they will offer a lively debate and will share case studies and best practice advice.
The WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Program kicks off on Friday, May 2, with a topical debate on whether Responsible Tourism is good for businesses, local communities and economies and how principles of Responsible Tourism can be used for business advantage. This panel debate which includes Fabrice Leclercq of T.R.I.P. GHANA and Heidi Van der Watt of the ICRT will focus on the business case for responsible tourism and case studies using examples from Africa with an aim to inspire, push the boundaries, raise questions and highlight good practice.
The Responsible Tourism Program will continue on Saturday 03rd of May with a session focusing on Environmental Responsibility. Looking after the environment can benefit not only our surroundings but also the bottom line of any business and ensure that a destination is maintained for long term business benefits. With travelers increasingly aware of the impact they have on the environment, businesses that offer environmentally responsible options can often see tangible benefits. The expert panel will include Wilfred Cheval, Dyer Island Cruises and Marine Dynamics and Dr. Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner, Zeitz Foundation and both will offer insights into their work and success stories.
Concluding the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Program is an interesting and insightful debate on Social Responsibility and notably and importantly child protection. There is increasing awareness of the child protection issues which arise in the travel and tourism sector and at WTM in London last November the Responsible Tourism Awards showcased what is being done to combat the sexual exploitation of children. The industry is addressing issues of neglect and abuse of children travelling with their friends and relatives, child labor, trafficking, orphanages and the sexual exploitation of children. The panel will feature amongst others, Anne van der Tuuk of inbound tour operator – Abang Africa Travel, who believe that the industry should stand strong together to protect, create awareness, prevent and protect and Andre van der Marck of Khiri Travel (Thailand). With extensive experience and a wealth of interesting case studies to share the session is a must-attend for anyone interested in the issue of child protection within the travel and tourism industry.
WTM Africa Exhibition Manager Polly Magraw commented on this latest innovation: ‘Responsible Tourism is a key focus for the whole World Travel Market portfolio of events and we are extremely pleased to be able to expand this Program at WTM Africa, especially as the continent is home to many Responsible Tourism success stories. I am confident that the Responsible Tourism Program will offer everyone at WTM Africa the chance to be involved in engaging and practical debates covering issues that at WTM Africa we feel are core to the continued development and growth of tourism on the African continent’. To find out more about the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Program and to take part visit in the African Travel Week click on www.wtmafrica.com and register to attend.
Source: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent