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WTM London 2020

September 29, 2020
Harold Goodwin
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WTM London – the event where Ideas Arrive – and Travel Forward – the travel and hospitality technology event co-located with WTM London – are working closely with partners and experts to ensure a safe and successful experience at ExCeL London (2-4 November 2020). On 2nd November the UNWTO and WTM will partner with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which is representing the global travel and tourism private sector at the event for the first time in its history, making it the UNWTO, WTTC & WTM Ministers’ Summit. more

Responsible Tourism at WTM, London

The interviews, talks and panels can be found here

On 4th November on World Responsible Tourism Day, we have a number of sessions 

11:30 World Responsible Tourism Awards We have recorded interviews with some of the Highly Commended, but regrettably not all. There were many Highly Commended, 21 in all and 39 Commended. This reflected the many ways in which so many tourism businesses and organisations saw a need and responded to it. The Awards will be posted at 15:30 GMT on November 4th on  responsibletourism.wtm.com/Awards2020

11:45 Sir Tim Smit, the Co-Founder of the Eden Project gives a keynote address explaining why responsible business and Responsible Tourism make good business sense.

This is followed by a series of short conversations with leaders in Responsible Tourism.

12:00 Wolfgang Neumann, Chair of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, talks about this new charity, A rebranding of the International Tourism Partnership, the world's leading hospitality groups reaching out to the industry as a whole to make faster and more far-reaching progress on the broad responsibility agenda.

This is followed by interviews with Martin Brackenbury (12:15) and Justin Francis (12:30) talking about the panels on November 10th.  Martin is chairing the panel reflecting on the pandemic and what we are learning about resilience from it.  Justin is on the biodiversity panel and in the final session on November 11th drawing together solutions to create an agenda for action to Make Tourism Better.

Harold Goodwin recorded an interview with Taleb Rifai a couple of weeks ago in which we discussed how we can make tourism better for communities, travellers and our sector? Taleb drew attention to the opportunity created by the crisis, the challenge of creating a resilient industry benefiting the communities the tourists visit and the importance of measuring the yield from tourism rather than obsessing about international arrivals.  As Taleb points out, domestic tourism enables citizens to explore and value their own country. It is an economic and social good. more

An interview with JoAnna Haugen from Rooted at 13:45 addresses the ways in which narrative is essential in the storytelling process of any travel experience. The interview focuses on how this can make for better guest and host experiences, creating a better world of tourism for all.

This first series of interviews concludes with interviews with TUI's Charlotte Weibe about the company's work in Responsible Tourism at 13:00, and at 13:15 with Costa Rica's new Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura Sancho about the country's work on Responsible Tourism and how they are pioneering a certificate for sustainable tourism.

At 16:00 there is an interview with Garry Wilson now CEO of EasyJet Holidays about how the company has been coping with Covid, the future of leisure travel by air and of course why taking your business in a responsible direction makes perfect sense.

At 16:30 ABTA's Clare Jenkinson discuss their recently published Tourism for Good report provides a framework for action, to rebuild a responsible and resilient tourism industry, fit for the challenges we face and a contributor to the global good.

World Responsible Tourism Day ends with Harold Goodwin at 16:50 talking about the programme on 10th and 11th November.

On 10th & 11th November, there are 8 live panels and 4 on-demand pre-recorded - details below 

WTM Conference Programme

The UN’s Secretary-General has written in a policy brief on COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism of the crisis as “.. an unprecedented opportunity to transform the relationship of tourism with nature, climate and the economy. … to ensure a fair distribution of its benefits and to advance the transition towards a carbon-neutral and resilient tourism economy.

The UK’s Prince of Wales, opening Climate Week, spoke about the scale of the challenge we face:

“The borderless climate, biodiversity and health crises are all symptoms of a planet that has been pushed beyond its planetary boundaries.  Without swift and immediate action, at an unprecedented pace and scale, we will miss the window of opportunity to ‘reset’ for a ‘green / blue recovery’ and a more sustainable and inclusive future. In other words, the global pandemic is a wake-up call we simply cannot ignore. “

We have been ignoring it for decades, hoping presumably that someone else would deal with the problems, as the prince remarked: “ I have long observed that people tend not to act until there is a real crisis. …. that crisis has been with us for far too many years – decried, denigrated and denied.  It is now rapidly becoming a comprehensive catastrophe that will dwarf the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.”

We cannot shield humanity from the impacts of environmental destruction. As individuals, we can take steps to isolate ourselves and keep COVID-19 at bay; we can mitigate against climate change by moving away from coasts to higher land. But one thing we have learned from the pandemic is that while we can through individual action avoid or lessen some of the impacts of COVID-19 we cannot isolate ourselves from consequences for the societies in which we live, work and play.

A hotel can create a COVID secure environment but the guest needs to travel safely to the check-in counter and feel safe to explore the neighbourhood along with locals and other travellers. In our sector, we are all dependent on what others in our industry are doing; and on the effectiveness of the safety measures taken in the public realm in destinations. There are very significant limits to what individual businesses can do to assure potential clients that it is safe to travel.

The Prince of Wales has called for a ‘Marshall-like Plan for Nature, People and Planet’. We are perhaps more modestly asking ‘Can we make Tourism Better?’ with eight live and 4 on-demand panels, with an opportunity for Q&A, and some additional on-demand material seeking to answer this fundamental question.

1. Resilience & Covid-19 10th November 10:30-11:30

The pandemic has been particularly challenging for the travel and tourism industry dependent as we are on the confidence and ability of people to travel from home to someone else's places. The pandemic has caused border closures and quarantines, and internal travel, hospitality and leisure industry restrictions which have resulted in devastating losses of employment and business revenue. Safety, confidence and trust have become central to restarting travel and tourism. WTTC and destinations have developed protocols for the new normal. It is now widely recognised that the pandemic will be with us globally for a while; we must learn to live with it and manage risk.  The tourists, whether travelling for leisure or business, have to feel confident about their safety from home, through the airport, on the plane or train and on arrival through the airport to their accommodation – and of course back again. And they have to be confident that quarantine will not be imposed on them in the destination or on their return. When they reach their destination, the tourist needs to feel safe to leave their accommodation and visit attractions. The tourist has to find the risks acceptable throughout their journey – the tourist has to be assured that the risk from the premises or transport, the employees, other travellers and the local population is acceptably low.

Moderator Martin Brackenbury
Inge Huijbrechts
Global Senior Vice President Responsible Business and Safety & SecurityRadisson Hotel Group
Malcolm Bell CEO and Marketing Director VisitCornwall
Jeff Poole Senior Vice President – Advocacy, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC)
Khadija Rejto Managing Director - International Policy and Government Affairs The Commons Project
Ignasi de Delàs Deputy General ManagerTurisme de Barcelona

2.Build Back Better 10th November 12:00-13:00

The S-G of the UN has spoken of the crisis as 'an unprecedented opportunity to transform the relationship of tourism with nature, climate and the economy.... to examine how it interacts with our societies and other economic sectors; to measure and manage it better; to ensure a fair distribution of its benefits and to advance the transition towards a carbon-neutral and resilient tourism economy.' In this panel, we'll look at the different ways in which five destinations are seeking to change the way tourism works to take the opportunity provided by Covid-19 to build back better for communities and their environment.

Moderator Harold Goodwin
Caroline Bremner
Head of Travel Research Euromonitor
Olaf Schlieper Innovations ManagerGerman National Tourist Board
Riddell Graham Director of Industry and Destination DevelopmentVisitScotland
Christopher Warren Founder My Green Butler
Sisa Ntshona CEOSouth African Tourism

3.Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe 10th November 14:00 – 15:00

Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. Biodiversity loss is one of two inextricably linked existential crises which confront us. Post Covid-19, how can we reset tourism's relationships with na

ture to contribute positively to conservation and contribute more significantly to the livelihoods of the communities who bear the opportunity costs of maintaining the wildlife and other species that the tourism industry sells? Tourism is also heavily dependent on the ecosystem services provided by nature -  food, water and energy. WTFL and WTM Responsible Tourism believe that stewardship is not only about zero impact or mitigating impact; it must also be about making a positive contribution  – economic, social and ecological. This round table discussion will focus on the positive steps the sector can take to make a substantial contribution to the conservation of biodiversity. We shall look at how tourism compares with other industries and at what policymakers, accommodation providers, tour operators and guides can do to take responsibility for ensuring that tourism makes a positive contribution to the maintenance of biodiversity. more

Moderator Shaun Vorster
Aradhana Khowala
CEO & Founder Aptamind Partners
John Scanlon
CEO and ChairElephant Protection Initiative Foundation, UK Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund
Shannon Guihan Chief TreadRight & Sustainability OfficerThe Travel Corporation
Justin Francis 
CEO Responsible Travel
Ariella Kageruka Head of Tourism and Conservation Department, Rwanda Development Board (RDB)

4. Decarbonising Aviation  10th November 15:30 – 16:30

The aviation industry is our sector's Achilles' heel. Flying is not the problem; the emissions from the fuel that aviation runs on is the issue. While more and more industries and nations reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and commit to reduce these to zero by 2050, aviation lags far behind. If the aviation sector fails to achieve zero emissions flight, this will harm our industry and cause problems for destinations like Seychelles, the Caribbean and The Gambia. Fortunately, there are solutions as a WTM hosted symposium on Decarbonising Aviation clearly showed back in June. The current fleet can fly zero-emissions on synthetic e-fuels and hydrogen, fuel cells and electric propulsion pave the way for zero-emission aircraft in the future. Airbus has announced that they will have 'zero emissions' hydrogen-fueled aircraft in the air by 2035.

How quickly will the airlines take up zero-emissions flight?  How should the travel and tourism sector respond if aviation, a major supplier, fails to adopt clean technology fast enough, presenting a significant risk to our industry in general and the many destinations dependent upon it?  How can we best encourage the aviation industry, manufacturers, airports and airlines to make rapid change? Is the tourism industry willing to accept some additional cost and able to force its supplier to adopt the best technologies? Will polluting aircraft still be flying in 2050? How do we speed the introduction of zero-carbon flight?

There is a series of interviews on decarbonising aviation here

Moderator: Harold Goodwin
Matthew Gorman
Carbon Strategy Director, Heathrow Airport
Noel Josephides, Chairman, Sunvil Holidays, ABTA Chairman from 2013 to 2019 and currently chairs The Association’s Membership Committee
Captain David Morgan Director of Flight Operations, easyJet
Jason Chua, COO & Co-Founder, Universal Hydrogen Co.
Keith Bushell, UK Stakeholder Manager, Environmental Affairs, Airbus
Ayesha Constable Climate Change Adaptation researcher and practitioner, Jamaica

5. Responsible Tourism in India 11th November 10:30 – 11:30

India is rapidly emerging as a leader in Responsible Tourism. The strapline Incredible India accurately conveys the geographic and historical variety of natural and built heritage which India offers the tourist and the rich diversity of living cultural heritage which surrounds any visitor to the sub-continent. In 2008 Kerala adopted Responsible Tourism and developed an approach which ensured that the local communities benefited through Village Life Experiences and producer cooperatives. Madhya Pradesh has followed with a state policy, and other states are looking to follow. The new national tourism policy of the Ministry of Tourism endorses Responsible Tourism. India is now arguably leading the world in adopting a Responsible Tourism approach. In this round table panel, we shall hear from policymakers about their experience with Responsible Tourism and about what it has to offer.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin
Sonia Meena,
Additional Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, Government of Madhya Pradesh
Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Government of Maharashtra
Rani George Secretary to Government of Kerala, Kerala Tourism
Vinod Zutshi, IAS (Retd.), Former Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

6. Racism in Tourism    11th November 14:00-15:00 WTM Virtual Link

The Black Lives Matter movement has been galvanised by the overtly violent and deadly policing of Black people, but sadly this is not unique to the US.  Racism exists in all societies, through overt discrimination, unconscious bias, incorrect assumptions, and microaggressions. Similar to every other sector, the tourism industry is a product of structural or institutional racism -- and it has affected the way we do business. In this panel, we want to discuss the ways in which racism affects our sector through employment practices, product design, marketing and promotion in the source markets, and through host-guest interactions in destinations. How can we best take responsibility to address this?

There is a series of interviews on Tourism and Racism available here 

Moderator: Alex Temblador
Keith Henry,
President and CEOIndigenous Tourism Association of Canada
JacqueRae Hill, Flight Attendant, Southwest Airlines
Uwern Jong, Experientialist-in-Chief, OutThere
Martinique Lewis, President and CreatorBlack Travel Alliance / ABC Travel Network
Fazal Bahardeen, CEO CrescentRating

7. Certification and Consumer Choice 11th November 15:30 – 16:30

The pandemic has focused traveller's minds on safety, and new certifying labels have quickly emerged.   A key ambition of sustainability labels has been to ensure that those tourism businesses which adopt a range of sustainable practices are rewarded as consumers choose them in preference to others. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council was created to establish a consistent baseline across schemes. Understanding that issues vary from place to place and that the credibility of the label(s) can be undermined each time a guest spots bad practice in a certified "sustainable business" – we discuss where certification is today and what it holds for the future. Are there too many schemes? What strategies could deliver more transparent consumer information? What can be done to improve certification and drive the sustainability agenda forward? How will health and safety shape sustainable tourism? This panel discussion tackles some of these issues and identifies successes, challenges, and how certification can help make tourism more responsible.

Moderator: Harold Goodwin
Lee-Anne Bac,
Director,  Strategic Development and Advisory, BDO Advisory Services
Kelly Bricker,
Professor and Chair Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism - The University of Utah
Andrea Nicholas,
Chief Executive & Co-Founder, Green Tourism
Eric Ricaurte,
Founder & CEO Greenview

8. Can we make tourism better? 11th November 17:00 - 18:00

An opportunity to reflect on this year's WTM Responsible Tourism sessions and to consider how we move forward to make better tourism for travellers and holidaymakers; for destinations and for the communities who live there; and for businesses in the source markets and destinations. For the first time since mass tourism developed international and domestic travel has been perceived as hazardous by governments, local communities and travellers alike. There is also some evidence that tourists are more concerned about sustainability, and the demand for experiential travel grows. Covid-19, climate change, biodiversity loss and racism are all issues for tourism, and the challenge of overtourism remains, in places more acute because of raised awareness of the impacts of tourism when it ceased and the fear of tourists bringing Covid-19 with them. What principles should inform the way we recover our industry and work to use tourism to make better places for people to live in? What role should governments play?  How do we practically make tourism better?

Moderator: Harold Goodwin
Jane Ashton
Sustainability Director, easyJet PLC
Manda Brookman
Director, Permanently Brilliant
Justin Francis
CEO Responsible Travel
John Swarbrooke
Director J and S Consultancy Limited
Eugenio Yunis
Advisor to the Board of Directors FEDETUR, the Chilean Federation of Tourism Companies


available from here 

Inclusive Employment for differently-abled people and the disadvantaged

Diversity matters at Lemon Tree Hotels. They now have 20% of staff who are differently-abled people and ODIs, Opportunity Deprived Indians. Their barrier-free employment strategy is at the heart of their CSR programme, but not of their marketing strategy. Aradhana Lal explains how without compromising on service quality they can successfully employ: the speech and hearing impaired; the orthopedically handicapped; acid attack survivors; those with Down’s Syndrome and autism; those from below the poverty line; widows and abandoned or abused women; orphans and abandoned girls; and transgender people. You are sure to learn from Aradhana about how to do it and her practical enthusiasm is infectious.

Harold Goodwin in conversation with Aradhana Lal, Vice President – Brand, Communications & Sustainability Initiatives, Lemon Tree Hotels


Responsible Tourism in China
A round table discussion about the development of responsible visitor experiences in China and the importance of mutual respect and encouraging understanding between people. Chinese people are rapidly becoming adventurous travellers at home and abroad. The range, quality and depth of the tourism experiences available in China is growing rapidly as China responds to the growing demand for experiential travel.
Moderator: Harold Goodwin
Jinfeng Zhou China Biodiversity and Green Development Foundation
He Shengkang Counselor of  World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Secretariat
Sam Braybon Bespoke Travel Company
Brian Linden  Linden Centre
Nic Linton China Less Travelled

Animal Welfare

Building back better – meaningful change for wild animals in tourism
The travel industry has been severely impacted by Covid-19. Wildlife exploitation is at the heart of a pandemic which has left animals in tourism vulnerable and come at a great social and economic cost. There has never been a more urgent need for the travel industry to fundamentally address its relationship to wild animals and look to phase out support for captive wildlife entertainment.

In this panel, we are considering how the travel industry can take meaningful action to make a better world for the individual animals involved in tourism. Reducing demand for wildlife entertainment and supporting genuine wildlife-friendly experiences instead is critical – for animals, people and planet. The panel reflects the range of issues, the diversity of the organisations working on them and the ways in which the tourism industry can support long-term change.
Moderator: Nick Stewart, Global Head of Campaign, World Animal Protection
Dr Louise de Waal, Campaign Manager, Blood Lions
Rob Lott, Policy Manager, Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Dylan Walker, CEO, World Cetacean Alliance
Jeldryn Vargas Rodríguez, Sustainability Manager, Swiss Travel Costa Rica
Mikel Freemon, Head of Animals, Airbnb

Build Back Better for Animals Together
Tour operators and Destination Management Organisations, as stakeholders in destination stability and economic wellbeing, are repeatedly asked to act towards ensuring animal welfare and public health. It is important to take actions that consider community needs and concerns. This session advocates the importance of collaboration between corporates, NGOs, and communities to bring about meaningful change for all.
Moderator: Daniel Turner,  Director, ANIMONDIAL
Katherine Polak, Four Paws
Sothea Ek, Four Paws
Michaela Wells, Ape Action Africa
Anastasia Miliou, Archipelagos Marine Conservation Institute
John Telfer, Explore Worldwide
Wipanee Leewairoj, Diethelm Travel Group

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