ITB Berlin 2012: CSR in tourism: a long term topic at ITB Berlin
CSR in tourism is becoming an increasingly important issue. Nowhere is this more accurately reflected than at ITB Berlin. All areas of corporate and social responsibility are hot topics at the world’s leading travel trade show. More issues are now being covered than ever before. They include accessible tourism, human rights, seals of approval, geoparks, rainforests and over-exploitation of resources. Corporate social responsibility has been top of the agenda at the ITB Berlin Convention for many years. The Destination Days (7 to 9 March 2012), MICE Day (7 March 2012) and Mobility Day (9 March 2012) will all be addressing aspects of climate change and sustainable tourism. In a noteworthy keynote speech Felix Finkbeiner will talk about the future of transport, for example. In front of an audience the 14 year-old initiator of the “Plant for the Planet Children Initiative“ will set out the next generation’s expectations. For many years the ITB CSR Day has been driving discussion forward. On 8 March 2012 there will be lectures and panel discussions attended by tour operators, technical colleges, the hotel industry and non-profit organisations who will be debating sustainability certificates and accessible tourism. Among the main events will be a panel discussion entitled “Human rights in Tourism“ with members of the German Tourism Association (DRV), Tourism Watch and Studiosus.
New exhibitors and a big programme of events in Hall 4.1
CSR is the main theme of the ECO & Adventure Hall (4.1), where lectures and events on sustainable and socially responsible tourism await participants on each of the three days of the show reserved for trade visitors. At an event moderated by Mary Amiri, a well known travel journalist and TV personality, international tourism experts will be holding discussions at the seventh pow-wow for trade visitors. The main topic on day one will be rainforests, accompanied by an outstanding photo exhibition. The images are from the eponymous documentary called “Pearls of the Rainforest – a Peace Park in the Centre of America “, which was filmed on Lake Nicaragua in Rio San Juan, in the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve on the Caribbean coast. Day two will feature workshops and lectures on geotourism, geoparks, geo-travellers and geo-destinations, and on day three experts will highlight the benefits, challenges and trends involved in responsible tourism.
Following their successful launch at ITB Asia the Responsible Tourism Clinics are due to take place at ITB Berlin for the first time. In Hall 4.1, at the stand of The Blue Yonder, a partner of ITB, experts will be offering practical tips and responding to questions on how to put sustainable tourism measures into practice. Visitors can find out about the development of innovative products from India and South Africa.
ITB Berlin stands for CSR
This year ITB Berlin is again supporting reconstruction in Haiti, the charity fund Aidshilfe Berlin and the Child Protection Code. Last year ITB Berlin was the world’s first trade fair to sign the code of conduct pledging to protect children against sexual exploitation in tourism. What is more, ITB Berlin offers all visitors to the show and exhibitors an opportunity to improve their carbon footprint through compensation payments. Together with Deutsche Bahn ITB Berlin recommends climate-friendly travel packages to the show, available at www.itb-berlin.de/en/AboutITBBerlin/TravelInfo.
By compensating all business flights through Atmosfair ITB Berlin supports a project in the Indian province of Karnataka, an emergent tourism region: small biogas plants run on local cow dung are replacing firewood and paraffin. This significantly helps improve women’s and children’s health and reduces the currently high volume of logging.
ITB also lets exhibitors and visitors support this project. At the Atmosfair counter at the south entrance they can calculate and compensate their carbon footprint.
All events to do with CSR at ITB Berlin 2012 are presented in a programme which is available at every information counter on the exhibition grounds. A flyer can also be downloaded at http://www.itb-berlin.de/en/SocialResponsibility/. Inside the Convention programme, all events on sustainability in tourism at the ITB Berlin Convention are marked with a CSR icon and are chronologically listed on the internet at CSR Convention Program.