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Planning for RTD5 in Canada, June 2011
In planning to attend the 5th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations (RTD5) to be held in Edmonton, Canada on the 27 -29 June 2011 I was thinking about the RTD4 last year in Oman and what a fantastic experience it was.
As responsible tourism individuals and also as members of the ICRT community we have to be ambassadors and activists for the Responsible Tourism movement.
My experience in Oman was that it was an ideal environment to be able to:
Sharing ideas – I particularly enjoyed the session led by Xavier and Harold where ICRT members, alumni and supporters from around the world got together at the end of one of the days to discuss how we can work together as an RT global community and continue to build momentum for the responsible tourism movement. There we were some 30 individuals in the room all with a passion for RT and all with their own experiences and ideas to bring to the table. Although we get the opportunity when studying the masters at ICRT to share our ideas and experiences, for someone like me who lives outside the UK and is not able to attend a lot of the monthly Alumni sessions in London or Leeds, having the opportunity to share ideas in Oman with people who are actively involved in RT globally was hugely beneficial.
Learning from others – one of the great things about attending an ‘international’ conference is having access to such a wide and varied global responsible tourism audience. To be able to hear firsthand what people are doing in the field of responsible tourism and how responsible tourism is interpreted by so many was again hugely beneficial. The speaking sessions were fairly short however they were incredibly varied in quality and content. In Oman I not only learnt some really positive things but also learnt a lot about what not to do and the mistakes that people are making. It’s pretty amazing over the course of 3 days to have access to such a wide variety of RT professionals and to learn so much from their individual experiences.
Being an activist – to be able to speak at the conference in Oman to a global audience not only provided me with an opportunity to raise my own profile in the RT field but more importantly provided me with an opportunity to speak about one of my passions - Tourism in UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s not every day you get an international captive audience with whom you have 30 minutes to be able to influence and encourage change. In addition we also had the opportunity to influence the key areas of Oman’s RT Policy by attending the brainstorming sessions.
Networking – most of us are super busy that sometimes it’s difficult to expand your professional network globally – we often become regional or country centric and in some cases continent centric. Oman was brilliant in expanding my global network – after 9 years of living and working in Sri Lanka my professional network had become very Sri Lankan centric. Attending the conference in Oman provided the perfect opportunity to meet people from all over the globe and over the course of the 3 days I was able to cement relationships with individuals and organizations that would not have been possible from a distance.
So on that note there was no way I am going to miss RTD5 - I am all booked and ready to attend. I look forward to meeting more of you in Canada.
Libby Owen-Edmunds – Current ICRT Student
For details of the conference