Decision makers from all sectors of the Middle East travel industry are being asked to place a bigger emphasis on sustainability this year and create a strong regional voice to drive green tourism initiatives.
These are among the key objectives of World Green Tourism Abu Dhabi, the first commercial conference and exhibition specifically for the sustainable tourism sector.
With the second edition taking take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 5-7 December 2011, organisers Streamline Marketing Group said it will provide global experts and travel trade professional alike with a platform to tackle key challenges, including the task of meeting growing demand for more responsible tourism destinations.
“This is a unique opportunity for the Middle East travel trade to come together and increase regional learning on sustainability and its growing significance,” said Streamline Director, Nick Webb. “At the same time, there is an opportunity to establish a regional voice on green tourism and for the travel industry to work together to identify the best way forward.
“It is acknowledged that there is a great deal of work to do in this region to establish a more sustainable tourism infrastructure in line with modern demands and expectations, and this can be the year in which we take significant steps forward.”
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Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) who won World’s Leading Tourist Board 2010 at last years World Travel Awards, and the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi are headline sponsors of the event, which is held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, ADTA’s Chairman.
Given its unique format, coupled with the presence of influential speakers, delegates, exhibitors and visitors, the event has a major capacity to increase sustainability learning while creating significant commercial opportunities.
Conference delegates, consisting of leaders in hotel management, tour operators, regional governments and NGOs, will also gain valuable insights on how to tackle challenges such as the difficulty of marketing a resort, city or region as a responsible tourism destination.
The range and variety of products and services now offering solutions in sustainability, from technology and engineering advances to ‘green’ cleaning solutions and energy saving devices, will be in sharp focus at the exhibition, which will be divided into three zones.
The first zone - Green Abu Dhabi - will focus on the UAE capital’s approach to developing a sustainable tourism infrastructure, and highlight initiatives such as the ADTA’s ‘green’ hotel guidelines, in which new properties are rated on their environmental footprint.
Other zones will be dedicated to sustainable destinations and green suppliers, giving the event significance for a broad cross section of the travel market amid increasing awareness that responsible tourism is the industry’s largest growth sector by demand.
Conference speakers will include high-level industry decision makers, among them global heads of hotel chains, airlines, travel merchandising and distribution companies, as well as leading government and NGO figures and environmental experts.
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Lively debate is anticipated throughout as experts discuss conference themes such as the business case for sustainable tourism, the challenges of upgrading tourism facilities, and preparing green tourism champions by attracting local young talent, a key ingredient in establishing any city or region as a sustainable destination.
The conference will also analyse the importance of formulating a national green tourism strategy, and look at what major industry players are doing to advance the sustainability agenda, and why it makes business sense.