World Travel Market’s Responsible Tourism Programme will include some of the biggest names in travel - including Tui, Thomas Cook, Kuoni, Virgin Holidays and ABTA.
This year’s programme stretches across all four days of the event for the very first time, with Tuesday’s programme including some of the industry’s largest and most respected organisations.
Tuesday’s opening event, ‘Increasing the Local Economic Impact of Tourism’ sees Jane Ashton, director of group sustainable development at TUI Travel, joined by Jo Hendrickx, sustainable destinations manager at Thomas Cook and Heidi van Der Watt, director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism in South Africa.
Each of the panellists will describe how case studies from their own experiences have ensured opportunities for local suppliers and producers.
The following session features ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer, who is joined by Rebecca Hawkins, director of the Responsible Hospitality partnership and Rachel McCaffery, head of sustainable tourism, The INTASAVE Partnership and CARIBSAVE.
They will be discussing their experiences of ‘Reducing Energy and Water Consumption - Good for the Environment and Good for the bottom line’.
This emphasis on how practical sustainability makes companies more resilient and profitable runs through the day, with the next debate, ‘How can you use Responsible Tourism to increase sales’, gathering together three people ideally placed to provide the answers: Justin Francis, chief executive of responsibletravel.com, Victoria Bacon, head of communications at ABTA, and Rachel O’Reilly, head of communications at Kuoni Travel UK.
In the afternoon, the issue of wildlife tourism’s relationship with and responsibility for captive wild animals, such as those found at dolphin shows and elephant rides is on the agenda.
All of Tuesday’s Responsible Tourism sessions will take place in one room - South Gallery 19&20 - chosen to make it as easy as possible for people visiting the show to access from the main halls and listen to and challenge the experts gathered.
World Travel Market, conference and events manager, Charlotte Sutton, said: “The number of big name companies taking part in the World Responsible Tourism Programme this year demonstrates how the issue is moving up the industry’s boardroom agenda.
“I am delighted Tui, Thomas Cook, Virgin Holiday and Kuoni are prepared to share their responsible tourism experience and expertise with the global industry at WTM. The programme is a must-attend event for all those interest in responsible tourism.”