WTM hails green initiatives on World Responsible Tourism Day
Thursday 11, November 2010
Sustainable issues took centre stage on Wednesday at World Travel Market’s World Responsible Tourism Day.
Leading environmental campaigner Tony Juniper opened the fourth WRTD at WTM, the premier global event for the travel industry. He urged the industry to change the thrust of its marketing, and spend its billions on ensuring green holidays enter the mainstream.
WTM Chairman Fiona Jeffery told the opening ceremony how WRTD brings the travel industry together from around the world to tackle the problems of climate change, poverty, water shortages and sustainability. She said the global travel and tourism industry is like the “gatekeeper of the world” as it strives to safeguard our planet for our children and grandchildren.
BBC presenter Stephen Sackur grilled Sandals’ Chief Executive Adam Stewart in the ‘HotSeat’ about the resort operator’s green credentials.
Stewart outlined how the Sandals Foundation, set up last year, has been working to build schools and establish ‘peace and justice’ centres in the Caribbean. He said education was vital in the drive to tackle the region’s environmental and social problems. Stewart also warned that the latest hike in Air Passenger Duty could wipe out profit margins for Caribbean hoteliers.
The opening session of WRTD also saw inspiring examples of sustainable travel operators, hotels and projects with the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards.
A 14-room luxury resort in Indonesia – Nihiwatu – won the overall award, and honours were presented to 13 other award winners at the ceremony.
Justin Francis, Managing Director of responsibletravel.com – which organises the awards – said responsible travel is a thriving, booming sector of the industry and the judging criteria get harder each year as more firms enter.
Amanda Wills, Managing Director of Virgin Holidays - in its fourth year as headline sponsor – said investment in responsible tourism needs to be lifelong and meaningful, and written into the DNA of an organisation.
In another WRTD debate, tourism bosses from Florida and Alabama said holidaymakers are returning, following the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year.
As BAA revealed increased passenger numbers for October, its Chief Executive Colin Matthews was at WTM to take part in a debate about the aviation industry’s recovery.
Another airline session focussed on the potential of Turkey, which represents an untapped market of 160 million new low-cost domestic airline journeys.
Speaking in a head-to-head interview, Ali Sabanci, Pegasus Airlines’ Executive Chairman, said only 20 million domestic journeys were currently made by air but another 160 million were undertaken by long-distance bus journeys, often over mountainous terrain.
The potential size of the global LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) market was revealed to be $142 billion.
LGBT marketing agency Out Now today unveiled the statistic today as it outlined some of the findings from the world’s biggest ever global LGBT research study, carried out in 23 countries.
WTM so far has seen visitor numbers significantly higher than at WTM 2009.
The first day of WTM 2010 saw a record number of visitors attend the event under the My Invitations system, which allows exhibitors to invite their key contacts and people with whom they want to conduct business.
Onsite unaudited figures show a 21% increases in visitors with 6,665 senior industry buyers attending WTM 2010 on the first day.
And impressive visitor figures continued on Tuesday with unaudited figures up 18% on the equivalent day in 2009 with almost 17,000 visitors attending.
Meanwhile, Arabian Travel Market outlined how it will enhance its offering for exhibitors.
Marketing Director Nick Boulton explained that a revamped exhibitor profile page will help exhibitors to use every opportunity to promote their business in advance of the event which takes place next May.
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