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An open letter to the ICRT Alumni from Harold & Xavier,
The number and range of people who have completed an MSc in Responsible Tourism at UKC, Greenwich, Leeds and Manchester Metropolitan now exceeds 400, the influence of this group is significant, and many of them are effectively achieving change. However, the very size, diversity and success of the alumni has reduced the significance of the alumni to its members.
We discussed the future of the alumni in Manchester at RTD8 and those present clearly wanted the alumni to be turned into a membership organisation with a stronger sense of identity and a membership fee. We have considered this option carefully but we do not think that sufficient numbers would pay a membership fee to support the provision of the kind of services which members would expect.
This is in part because other forum and networks which we use are so much bigger and more dynamic.
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On Linked in we have two groups
ICRT International Centre for Responsible Tourism: Supporters Group 1,242 members
The ICRT Members Group has 86 members – all the members of this group have received a message though Linked In inviting them to join the Supporters Group and informing them that the Members Group will be closed and deleted.
What does this mean for the ICRT?
The ICRT is a strong identity and we do not want it to whither. For example in the latest edition of Annals of Tourism Research, Grimwood et al write
"… this paper serves as timely reminder for researchers and practitioners involved in responsible tourism. With the growing international interest in responsible tourism, various centres of knowledge have been established that construct and disseminate powerful, morally laden ideas about what it means to be responsible in tourism. The International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) is one example. Founded in 2002, the ICRT emphasizes postgraduate teaching and research designed to encourage all stakeholders—planners, operators, tourists, local communities—‘‘to take responsibility for making the changes necessary to make tourism more sustainable’’ (ICRT, 2014).
Its network consists of several organizational branches worldwide, allies with global authorities such as the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the World Travel and Tourism Council, and operates an annual international conference and peer-reviewed journal. A discursive perspective sheds important light on how such an influential body regulates what is true and/or known about responsible tourism, what qualifies as being ‘appropriate’ or ‘normal’ for consideration, and what (and whose!) interests and values are being mobilized across the globe and experienced locally. Such critical inquiry is integral given responsible tourism’s dedication to equitable and ethical relations."
Neither of us knows these academics, nor had we realised that we might have influence with the WTTC!
We had further discussions at WTM with those leading the local ICRTs and we have decided that the ICRT website will become the hub site for the local ICRTs.
The ICRT www.icrtourism.org will evolve over the next few months.
We hope that you will see the logic of these changes and remain active in what is a rapidly growing network – the next new ICRT is likely to be established in Arabia – the inaugural meeting will be at the Arabia Travel Mart in early May.
With best wishes
Xavier Font and Harold Goodwin