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Responsible Tourism at WTM Latin America

August 5, 2017
Harold Goodwin
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The Responsible Tourism Seminar programme  WTM Latin America celebrates the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

WTM Latin America opens the door for Latin America tourism and travel trade celebrating - and working for - the sustainable development goals in the industry. With 3 different sessions on the UNWTO’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, initiatives, tools and results were made available so the Latin American trade take responsibility for impacts in destinations.

The Responsible Tourism Seminar started with the presentation of Ms. Sandra Carvão, chief of Communications and Publications at UNWTO. The audience had the chance to learn the initiatives the organisation brought in this special year for the promotion of Sustainable Development, with many online tools both the trade and the traveller can join and take the responsibility for local sustainable development.

The session benefited from  the speech of Mr. Frederico Levy, director of sustainability at the Brazilian Tour Operator Association - BRAZTOA, who presented the projects the association has been developing to promote sustainable tourism among its members, like the BRAZTOA Sustainability Awards, the SEEDS Program (Semeando a Excelência do Desenvolvimento Sustentável, or Sowing Excellence for Sustainable Tourism) a series of seminars with specialists who bring solutions for positive local impact for the association’s members.

The second day of Responsible Tourism Seminars at WTM-LA brings South American World RT Award winners.

The second seminar on Responsible Tourism at WTM-LA, in São Paulo, brought to the audience the first World RT Awarded initiative in the continent, Caiman Ecological Refuge, in the Brazilian Pantanal. Mr. Roberto Klabin (owner of Caiman Refuge) presented on how this jungle lodge acts for the conservation of the biodiversity, showing reasons for having got the Silver Award in 2008.

Mr. Klabin was followed by the presentation of the 2016 World RT Awards Overall Winner, Tren Ecuador. Ms. Ana García Pando (General Manager at Tren Ecuador) brings the experience with traditional communities along the railway where Tren Ecuador takes its travellers, confirming the positive social and economic impact is an efficient action towards poverty reduction.The session also counted with the participation of representants from Bonito (Best Destination for Responsible Tourism, 2013) and Campo dos Sonhos (Best for People with Disabilities and Overall Winner, 2014), showing the importance of the WTM World RT Awards for the trade and sharing effective solutions for a more responsible travel and tourism industry.

Animal Welfare was the topic for the 3rd day for Responsible Tourism Seminars at WTM Latin America Mr. Roberto Vieto, Wildlife Manager at World Animal Protection – Latin America brought the Program “Wildlife: Not Entertainers” showing the trade the urgency on taking the responsibility for the use of animals as attractions across the globe, specially in major ecotourism destinations such as in Latin America countries. Their program aims to educate travellers on their holidays, bringing useful information to help protect animals from mistreatment.Mr. Vieto was followed by two Brazilian cases in which organisations use tourism as a strategy for environmental education and conservation of wildlife. The first to speak was Mr. José Henrique Becker, biologist at Projeto TAMAR, an NGO that brings tourists to their 8 bases spread along the Brazilian Coast to educate on the issues related to sea turtles in the country. With the support of visitors, TAMAR has helped release on seas over 25 million baby turtles, protecting their nests and working on the issues of fishing, maritime pollution and hunting.Mr. Pedro Nassar (Coordinator of the Community-Based Program at Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development) then presented the case of jaguars in the Amazon. Together with local riverine communities and Uakari Floating Lodge, the jaguar researchers at the Institute developed a scientific program for travellers that helps raise awareness in local communities of the importance of the conservation of the species, qualify selected teenagers to become local researchers on jaguars and funds the Jaguar School, an environmental education basis for locals to learn more about the local biodiversity and the threatens on specific species. Along with having the chance to spot jaguars in the wild, visitors fund all those initiatives with positive local impact.The seminars drew good good audiences with 40 to 50 on the frist day, 50-60 on h second and 25 on the thired day.Interest is clearly growing in Resonsible Tourism in Latin America.All the sessions were moderated by Gustavo Pinto .

Filed by Gustavo Pinto
Founder and director at Inverted America Journeys
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