ITB Berlin: Sustainability forms the basis for success

  • Published by Vedat

Social and ecological responsibility in tourism is a key subject at ITB Berlin this year, where numerous events are again being used to address various aspects of sustainability and socially responsible travel.

itb-berlin-verticleThe programme in the Adventure & Responsible Tourism Hall 4.1b includes discussions and papers dealing with human rights, travel for the deaf and developments on the Caribbean island of Haiti three years after the disastrous earthquake. This year environmental protection and social responsibility have also been taken into consideration in the production of the ITB Berlin catalogue and ITB Quickfinder, which have been printed using a climate-neutral process with the aim of supporting a geothermal project in this year’s partner country, Indonesia.

Dr. Martin Buck, Director Competence Centre Travel & Logistics Messe Berlin: “For many years ITB Berlin has recognized the importance of corporate social responsibility. As a result of a growing awareness among travellers the next few years will see increased demand in this sector. This is a development that we, as the world’s largest travel trade show, reflect and actively promote through our events by featuring various aspects of the subject on our agenda.” The compensation derived from climate-neutral printing of the ITB Berlin catalogues is being used by ITB Berlin in some innovative ways this year, which include the support that it is providing for a geothermal project on the Indonesian island of Java. By supporting this climate protection project valuable jobs are created there, local people are being trained in new technologies, the availability of electrical power is being improved and support is also being provided for a school for the benefit of girls in particular. On Friday, 8 March, this year’s partner country is presenting some other ecological and sustainable projects on the small stage in Hall 4.1.b. In addition the ITB Berlin Convention is offering some fascinating insights into the innovative “STREAM project” (Sustainable Tourism through Energy Efficiency with Adaption and Mitigation Measures in Pangandaran).

A fresh impetus and details about sustainable tourism

This year the eighth Pow Wow for tourism experts in Hall 4.1b will focus on “Earth’s Wetlands & Geoparks – Celebrating Earth Heritage, Sustaining Local Communities”. Marking the tenth anniversary of the Adventure & Responsible Tourism hall the English-language presentations there will feature workshops, panel discussions and papers dealing with wetlands, wildlife watching and biodiversity. Mariana McGill, founder and general manager of Latin America World, one of the co-organizers of the Pow Wow from its earliest days on behalf of ITB Berlin, will be launching the programme at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 6 March. Dr. Tobias Salathé, Senior Advisor for Europe, Ramsar Convention Secretariat, is one of the leading experts on wetlands and he will be describing how sustainable tourism can provide a way of preserving these sensitive ecosystems. Geoparks are another important aspect of the eighth Pow Wow this year and this subject will be presented by Prof. Dr. Nicolas Zouros, Coordinator, European Geoparks Network, along with other prominent representatives of this organization and of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A number of parks from different parts of the world will be presenting their own eco-friendly concepts. Another of the topics will be the protection of animals living in the wild. This year’s Convention & Culture Partner of ITB Berlin, Azerbaijan, will be providing details about its own sustainable tourism concept.

And there will be plenty of other opportunities to find out more about corporate social responsibility in tourism. Taking place for the third successive year on the main stage on 6 March will be an event organized by German Tourism Watch on the subject of human rights in tourism. The main stage will also be the venue on 7 March for representatives of the political party “Die Linken” in the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, when the slogan for their discussions will be “Travel for Everyone”. On 8 March details will be provided about climate-neutral school trips.

Barrier-free travel and child protection

Travel organized by the deaf for the deaf will be featured at 12.30 p.m. on Friday, 8 March, on the small stage, using a fascinating project in Tanzania as an example. This will be followed by a paper on “Accessible Tourism in India”, which is aimed at making the Taj Mahal accessible to everyone. Barrier-free travel is also one of the topics covered by the ITB Berlin Convention: on 8 March, the ITB Destination Day, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO, will introduce the Keynote Panel on Barrier-Free Tourism.

Important advice about child protection is provided on the combined stand of ECPAT, whose initials stand for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes, in Hall 4.1, where there will also be details about the Child Protection Code. ITB Berlin supports these multi-stakeholder initiatives, which are intended to help the tourism industry to develop measures to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. On the morning of Friday, 8 March, this initiative will be represented on the stage, and in addition the ITB Berlin Convention will be addressing this important topic during the CSR Day, on 7 March.

Information about emissions compensation is available on the small stage on 8 March when a paper will be presented by Atmosfair, the compensation partner of ITB Berlin, and the participants in the panel from Lufthansa and Forum Anders Reisen. The MyClimate Awards will be presented in Hall 4.1 on the same day.

Valuable contacts can be made at the traditional ITB International Responsible Tourism Networking Event on Friday at ITB starting at 6 p.m. The Blue Yonder, the ITB Responsible Tourism Partner, is inviting entries to a social media competition: between now and 20 February “Inspiring Stories” about travel destinations can be submitted on Facebook. The three winners will be presenting their stories live during the ITB Berlin Networking Evening. For two days, also in Hall 4.1b, The Blue Yonder will again be holding its successful “RT Clinics”, where experts will be offering suggested courses of action on specific topics. Blue Yonder is hoping to interest visitors in a new project promoting responsible tourism. In Hall 4.1 Der Reiseveranstalter is creating an interactive “Alphabet of Responsible Tourism from A to Z” and everyone is invited to get involved to produce an international, joint vision of the future.

This year the Study Group for Tourism is attending ITB Berlin once again with a wide and varied programme. On 6 March the main stage in Hall 4.1 will be the venue for the presentation of the ToDo! Awards, for outstanding international projects in the field of socially responsible tourism. On 9 March the TOURA D’OR Film Prize will be presented to filmmakers dealing with the subject of sustainable tourism. In addition the Study Group for Tourism will be presenting its latest publications in the series known as “Sympathie Magazines”. Over the years “Zwischenrufe”, an event organized by the Study Group for Tourism, has acquired an outstanding reputation and this year it is being held as part of the ITB Berlin Convention for the first time, when its subject will be crisis-stricken Greece.

Once again the ITB Berlin Convention will feature papers and discussions about various aspects of corporate social responsibility during the ITB CSR Day on 7 March 2013 in Hall 7.3, Europa Room.

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