WTM Africa backs Responsible Tourism Initiatives

Posted: May 5, 2014 in travel & tourism

WTM Africa 2014The inaugural World Travel Market (WTM) Africa, billed for the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from May 2 to 3 this year is following in the footsteps of its sister event World Travel Market by bringing Responsible Tourism to the forefront, not only through the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Programme which offers a number of educational sessions, but also through its support of selected charities and initiatives.

Through this support, the WTM Africa will be hosting the first ever Responsible Tourism Speed Marketing Session on Saturday 3 May, on the Show Floor. This new event will allow small companies with a focus on responsible and sustainable travel and experiences to showcase their products and services in a relaxed environment.

Organised by Heidi van der Watt, Director: International Centre for Responsible Tourism – South Africa, the session is a first at an industry trade event in South Africa.

Commenting on the launch Heidi van der Watt stated “The tourism businesses taking part in the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Speed Marketing session offer immersive experiences that enable visitors to engage with Cape Town’s ordinary citizens, discover local haunts, and explore her natural and cultural heritage with an insider’s eye. The generous support of Reed Travel Exhibitions gives a voice to businesses that are beacons of economic hope for the communities they operate in, the natural environment they help to protect or the creativity, arts and cultures they showcase. We salute the WTM Africa team on a bold and forward-thinking decision to sponsor the first ever Responsible Tourism Speed Marketing event in Africa.”

Also in line with WTM Africa’s commitment to supporting Responsible Tourism in its many facets, is the official partnership with charity partner, The Code, an industry-driven, multi-stakeholder initiative with the mission to provide awareness, tools and support to the tourism industry to combat the sexual exploitation of children in contexts related to travel and tourism. The Code represents one of the first initiatives to define the role and obligations of tourism companies with regard to the issue of child sex tourism. The goal of The Code is to work with travel and tourism companies to combat this crime.

By endeavouring to meet the criteria of The Code, tourism companies can integrate child protection into their business operations. In this way, they will uphold their commitments towards sustainable and ethical tourism by taking tangible actions to help protect children from sexual exploitation. The local representative for the Code in South Africa is Fair Trade Tourism, who will also be present at WTM Africa promoting the work of The Code as well as other Responsible Tourism initiatives.

“Fair Trade Tourism, as the local representative for the Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct (The Code), is proud to partner with World Travel Market (WTM) Africa in raising awareness of this imperative to protect children from child sex tourism, as part of our vision to provide global leadership for Fair, Participatory and Sustainable Tourism”, says Kathy Bergs, MD: Fair Trade Tourism

In addition, the WTM Africa Responsible Tourism Programme Social Responsibility: Child Protection panel will cover a wide range of child protection issues arising in the travel and tourism industry and will give the chance to hear from key industry figures including representatives from Abang Africa, Khiri Travel, Thailand and African Impact.

WTM Africa has also partnered with charity Tusk. Tusk is a small, dynamic organisation with over twenty years of experience initiating and funding conservation, community development and environmental education programmes across Africa. Since its formation in 1990, Tusk has raised over £20 ($30) million for a wide range of projects across the continent. The charity has earned a reputation for being financially efficient, with an average of 80% of the net funds raised reaching the field.

Tusk currently supports 53 field projects in 18 African countries that not only work to protect wildlife, but also help to alleviate poverty through sustainable development and education amongst rural communities who live alongside the wildlife. As the ever-expanding human population and its demand for more land brings increasing conflict with wildlife, Tusk’s aim is to forge an inextricable link between the preservation of Africa’s natural heritage and the future of its land, culture and people. The charity’s holistic approach recognises that the long-term future for wildlife is dependent on education and sustainable development.

“We are very pleased to be able to partner with selected charities and show support for Responsible Tourism initiatives as part of the inaugural WTM Africa. Responsible Tourism has long been a focus for our sister event, World Travel Market and is something that we at WTM Africa consider to be crucial for the future of the global tourism industry and are always keen to show our support for such endeavours,” comments Polly Magraw, WTM Africa Exhibition Manager.

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