Responsible Tourism in Destinations – introduction

The International Conferences on Responsible Tourism in Destinations

Responsible Tourism is about taking responsibility for, and action to, address the social, economic and environmental issues of sustainability that arise in destinations. It is in destinations that tourists and local communities interact in the local, natural and socio-cultural environment. It is in destinations that tourism needs to be managed in order to minimise negative impacts and to maximise positive ones.

South Africa was the first country to adopt an explicitly Responsible Tourism strategy, challenging the stakeholders to take responsibility for developing forms of tourism that would benefit the new South Africa. In 2002, when the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development took place in Cape Town, Harold founded the Responsible Tourism in Destinations (RTD) series of conferences, with the first International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations taking place in Cape Town in August 2002 as a side event to the world summit.

It was this international conference, attended by 280 delegates from 20 countries, which passed the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations and which founded a movement which challenges all stakeholders to engage with the issues that arise in destinations.

In 2008 RTD2 was held in the Indian state of Kerala, and every year since an RTD conference has been held in a different destination, with Harold co-chairing with the local host organisation. The Responsible Tourism Partnership is the rights holder for this series of conferences.

Hear why Jane Ashton Director of Sustainable Development, TUI Group regards the RTD conferences as so important video

The Responsible Tourism in Destinations (RTD) venues: