The World Travel Market experience – Responsible Tourism

Last week I have attended for the first time the World Travel Market in London, one of the most important and largest event for the travel and tourism industry. I was particularly interested in seminars and events focused on responsible tourism.

World Travel Market (WTM) has been very interesting because for the first time I attend the event as professional, not as student or organiser.

The keywords of my experience are seminarsnetworkingmotivation.

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Seminars

Today I want to share with you few reflections about the seminars I have followed. I decided to attend seminars because I wanted to know what is going on in the sector, what my colleagues are doing and even more important who they are.

In my opinion a young professional at the very beginning of the career needs to meet a wide range of colleagues: experts working in the field for long time but also same age professionals.

There are several benefits on attending seminars:
– different range of professionals follow the seminars and it is possible to chat with them starting the networking side with a common subject
– ask advice to the panel if you are developing similar projects
– understand the process of interesting initiatives, have the opportunity to ask more details about projects to designers and experts working in the field
– discover new ideas and solutions to be adopted in daily work or for individual projects

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What I have learnt from the seminars

– During the first seminar the panel has given the public suggestions how to increase the local economic impact of tourism, my favourite initiative is

mzansistore.com an eMarketplace with “a difference” has been introduced by Deidré Luzmore. They provide local South African creative designers with a shop front where they can showcase their entire product range. They give them the tools and e-Commerce training they need to make their business a success and promote the brands under the same social media, on blog and newsletters.

– The second seminar gave the public interesting point of view to consider, how can you use Responsible Tourism to drive sales? is a good question and I like the Justin Francis suggestion:

Don’t confuse the way we design holidays (responsibly)
with the reason people buy them (authentic experience)
& the way we market them (experiences)

WTM

 – I choose to follow a third seminar: Better Wildlife tourism, whose responsibility? This is a topic I want to develop more here on STW.

The lesson I learnt is unfortunately very sad, we need to give wild animals economic value, through tourism, if we want to protect them. In many regions of the world animals are more value dead than alive, just to give you an idea I share a couple of examples from one attendee, confirmed by the panelist:

– dolphins are eaten and considered an excellent dish
– rhinoceroses and elephants bones are value more than gold or cocaine

Travelers can support conservation tourism and ecotourism activities that enable the local community to choose wildlife protection over destruction.

Interesting has been also the point of view from great Geoff Manchester, Co founder of Intrepid and one of the great keynote speakers I had the pleasure to meet last year in Noosa (Australia) as organiser of Global Eco Conference 2o13 . Intrepid has chosen to stop to promote elephant riding since 2012 and I am happy to share the best way to enjoy a wildlife experience: without touching. Check out Intrepid Travel’s Why We No Longer Ride Elephants article

I’ll be back soon talking about “networking”

Stay tuned :)

Sara

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