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ITB CSR Day: Practical advice for greater social responsibility in tourism

This year’s ITB CSR Day at the ITB Berlin Convention will be addressing topical issues in connection with sustainable tourism, the refugee situation, climate change and how tourism can further peace. On Friday, 11 March in the New York 3 Room in Hall 7.1a, lectures and discussions will be providing trade visitors with new ideas and suggestions for greater social and ecological responsibility in tourism. Trade visitors can attend the international travel industry\'s leading think tank free of charge.

 

Rika Jean-Francois, in charge of CSR at ITB Berlin, will open the ITB CSR Day 2016 with a keynote panel on ’Climate change: the challenges facing the world’s tourism industry’. Around the world, tourism contributes to climate change and suffers from its effects. The panel will deal with questions regarding the further development of transport systems and energy efficiency in the hotel industry. Following a successful launch last year, National Geographic and ITB Berlin will be presenting the World Legacy Awards again in 2016, which will take place on 9 March at the ITB Future Day, part of the ITB Berlin Convention. Afterwards, at the CSR Day moderated by Costas Christ, chairman of the National Geographic World Legacy Awards and editor of National Geographic Traveler, both the award winners and judges will discuss how the winners have managed to become pioneers of sustainable tourism.

 

This year’s Studiosus discussion will focus on human rights in tourism. The key topic is how the federal government’s national action plan on business and human rights affects the tourism industry, and the new challenges facing this sector. Among those taking part in the discussion will be Christoph Strässer, member of German parliament and the federal government’s commissioner for human rights policy and humanitarian aid, Dr. Nicole Häussler, advisor on sustainable tourism, Myanmar, and Peter-Mario Kubsch, managing director of Studiosus Reisen. They will also be examining the responsibilities of tour operators. The journalist Tanja Samrotzki will moderate the event.

 

The panel discussion on ’Sustainable tourism destinations: sustainability standards and systems, practical recommendations and implementation’ will be celebrating a first. With the support of the Federal Ministry of the Environment the German Tourism Association (DTV) has put together a practical list of criteria for German tourism destinations. At the ITB CSR Day this manual will be presented to members of the German and international tourism industry for the first time. Martin Balaš, a consultant at BTE Tourismus- und Regionalberatung, Dirk Dunkelberg, deputy general manager of Deutscher Tourismusverband, Dr. Stefanie Pfahl, divisional head at the Federal Ministry of the Environment, and Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rein, managing director of BTE Tourismus- und Regionalberatung, will be explaining how tourism regions can make use of this opportunity to successfully compete in the sustainable tourism market.

 

The shortage of specialists which the tourism industry has been suffering for some time has been positively influenced by the refugee situation. Under the heading of ’Specialists needed – the refugees are coming. What does this mean for the tourism industry?’, Matthias Beyer, managing director of mascontour GmbH, will be talking to Norbert Fiebig, president of DRV, and Christian Wiesenhütter, deputy managing director of IHK Berlin, among others, about how to integrate refugees in the German employment market, the opportunities and challenges, and about cases that have set an example in the hotel industry. A hotel director who has employed a refugee will recount his experiences.

 

Women are not only important tourism industry customers, they also occupy a central role. The presentation of the first ’Celebrating Her – Global Awards’ is proof of this. After an introduction by Ajay Prakash, president of IIPT India & Chief Executive Nomad Travels India, and keynote speeches by tourism ministers, including the Hon. Alain St. Ange, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Seychelles, IIPT India will provide impressive examples of best practices managed by women. The winners will have suggestions on how to successfully develop tourism services.

 

The ITB CSR Day 2016 will conclude with a look towards the future and the topic of ’Travelling for peace’. Aziz Abu Sarah, founder of Mejdi Tours and a multiple award-winning keynote speaker, will examine how tourism can help to prevent violent conflicts and illustrate how peace initiatives and business success can be combined in the travel industry. 

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