This year's Responsible Tourism Programme at WTM 2014 is due to feature world-renowned travel and tourism names, including Tui, Thomas Cook, Kuoni, Virgin Holidays and ABTA.
Conference & events manager, WTM, Charlotte Sutton commented: "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 interested in responsible tourism."
For the first time, this year's programme spans all four days of the event. Tuesday's opening event, 'Increasing the Local Economic Impact of Tourism' is to see director of group sustainable development, TUI Travel, Jane Ashton joined by sustainable destinations manager, Thomas Cook, Jo Hendrickx and director, International Centre for Responsible Tourism in South Africa, Heidi van Der Watt. The panellists will underline personal case study experiences that have ensured opportunities for local suppliers and producers.
The following session is to feature chief executive, ABTA, Mark Tanzer, who will be joined by director, Responsible Hospitality partnership, Rebecca Hawkins and head, Sustainable Tourism, The INTASAVE Partnership and CARIBSAVE, Rachel McCaffery. These speakers are to discuss their experiences of 'Reducing Energy and Water Consumption - Good for the Environment and Good for the bottom line.'
The Responsible Tourism Programme will then feature a debate covering the topic of 'How can you use Responsible Tourism to increase sales.' This will be discussed by CEO, responsibletravel.com, Justin Francis; head of communications, ABTA, Victoria Bacon; and head of communications, Kuoni Travel UK, Rachel O'Reilly.
In the afternoon, wildlife tourism's relationship with and responsibility for captive wild animals will be discussed by responsible business manager, Virgin Holidays, Mirieme Hill and sustainable tourism manager, ABTA, Simon Pickup. Both will be joined by representatives from two NGOs, working on behalf of captive animals.
The programme also tackles issues around accessibility and opportunity at a session titled: 'Everyone Deserves a Holiday: Social Inclusion,' featuring speakers from Virgin Holidays, Campo dos Sonhos in Brazil and ABTA.
All of Tuesday's Responsible Tourism sessions will take place in the South Gallery 19&20.