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Ecological and social responsibility at ITB Berlin

Socially responsible tourism is a major topic at ITB Berlin. In addition to the ITB CSR Day at the ITB Berlin Convention and the National Geographic World Legacy Awards, numerous events on sustainable tourism will be taking place in Hall 4.1. From 9 to 11 March experts and exhibitors will be meeting in the Responsible Tourism and Adventure Hall for a unique symposium. Under the heading of a ’Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals’, topics dealing with responsible tourism, climate protection and sustainability will be examined. The slogan of the eleventh edition of this event is ‘Cherishing Earth’s water resources – The blue planet amidst water abundance and scarcity’.


Artists representing the Maldives, the official partner country, will open the Pow-Wow. Afterwards, Peter Südbeck, director of the Wadden Sea National Park, will deliver a keynote speech on the significance of the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea, which stretches along the German, Dutch and Danish coast for over 500 kilometres. Peter DeBrine, a UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism programme specialist, will highlight the potentially positive impact of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on local economies and their prospects for sustainable tourism. Afterwards, a documentary entitled ’The UNESCO’s World Heritage Marine Programme – A journey to three exceptional World Heritage Marine Sites’ will be shown. In the film the Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen in her role as a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) goodwill ambassador talks about the programme’s biggest successes. In Hall 4.1 numerous interactive events and a photo exhibition will also be placing the spotlight on UNESCO World Heritage Marine sites.


Moosa Zameer Hassan, deputy director general of the tourism ministry of the Maldives, will give a talk about special climate protection measures for islands and show a video on water management. Water will also be the focus of several other sessions taking place the same day. Thus, visitors can find out more about extracting water, a vital human resource, in the Pamir Mountains and the western Balkans, and about the Water Footprint project promoting resource awareness in hotels. Other topics include water resource management as practised by nomads in Mongolia, the Massai Mara in Kenya and the Mapuche in Araucania in Chile. Further lectures will take listeners on a trip to Lake Baikal in Russia, along the route of the Trans-Siberian railway and to the island of Cozumel in Mexico. Day two of the Pow-Wow will kick off with a discussion on participatory tourism in Myanmar. Afterwards, Glenn Jampol, chairman of the Global Ecotourism Network (GEN), will talk about the aims and responsibilities of this organisation which was set up in 2015. The presentation will conclude with ITB Berlin officially signing up as a member of the Ecotourism Network. A further session with ECPAT, a partner of ITB, will dwell on the subject of protecting children against sexual exploitation in tourism and yet another, with TourismWatch, on defending human rights. This will be followed by a discussion on cycling tours with EuroVelo, the European Cycling Network. Afterwards, Evaneos from France will present itself to visitors as a model of sustainable tourism in combination with e-tourism.


Focus on climate protection

’Time to act!’ is the watchword at the myclimate discussion on the Paris world climate agreement. Wybcke Meier, CEO, TUI Cruises; Peter-Mario Kubsch, CEO Studiosus Reisen; Franzjosef Schafhausen, head of Climate Protection Policies European and International Affairs, and head of AG Emissionshandel of the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety; and Stefan Baumeister, director of myclimate, will be discussing the agreement’s message to the industry and appropriate best practices. Over the course of two sessions Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, director of IceWisdom, Greenland, and Dr. Friede Weiße, chairman of Polar Routen e.V. Germany will be taking a close look at hiking in Greenland and nature conservation in the Arctic. Afterwards, Ronald Sanabria, director of Sustainable Tourism, Rainforest Alliance, will draw attention to successful projects in South America in order to illustrate how sustainable tourism and farming can help to protect waterways, rainforests, coastlines and the relevant eco-systems. At the third annual Short Film Showcase ITB Berlin and GLP Films will be showing award-winning short films on sustainable tourism projects and destinations around the world. The day’s events will conclude with the Green Destination Global Top 100 Awards.


The Friday of ITB will open with an interactive yoga session. Raj Gyawali, founder and director of Socialtours, will explain how, through yoga, one can help to generate donations and raise awareness for children’s rights. Afterwards, Dr. Dietrich Brockhagen, managing director of Atmosfair, a partner of ITB Berlin, will report on new energy sources in Nepal. Visitors can listen to impressive accounts about the abundant marine wildlife in the UNESCO Global Geopark on Lanzarote and the Chinijo archipelago and about Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, one of the world’s longest designated coastal roads. There will be three sessions examining socially responsible behaviour in connection with wildlife. Thus, Pippa Hankinson, the director and producer of the documentary Blood Lions, and Dr. Simon Morgan, director of Wildlife ACT, from South Africa, will be showing excerpts from this film which criticizes the breeding of lions for trophy hunting. Further sessions will focus on the preservation of cultural and biological diversity and conservation of water resources in countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Portugal with its diversity and opportunities for enjoying an authentic experience away from mass tourism will also feature and will be examined from six different angles.


This year, the Responsible Tourism Clinics of The Blue Yonder, a partner of ITB, will have information on specific support for reducing the effects of natural disasters and on Compassionate Kozhikode, a project in southern India.


Successful development projects

Numerous discussions and inspiring events on the topic of CSR will also be taking place on the big stage in Hall 4.1a. Thus, on Wednesday the subject will be tourism development in Albania, with a focus on social and ecological responsibility. A high-ranking panel discussion with Brot für die Welt/Tourism Watch will take a look at the ’Agenda 2030’ and its development goals for sustainable tourism. On Thursday, Botswana’s Minister for the Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, the Hon. Tshekedi Khama II, will open an event organised by the GIZ on voluntary work in Africa. On Friday, Nada Roudies, the general secretary of the Moroccan tourism ministry, will be among the experts presenting successful joint development projects involving sustainable tourism in the luxury market in Morocco. Nepal, which is still suffering from the aftermath of the spring 2015 earthquake, has set up numerous new sustainable programmes for rebuilding the country, proof that it is able to receive tourists again.


On Saturday, in cooperation with Futouris e.V., Coffee Circle, purefood – Lycka Frozen Yogurt and United against Waste, the relief organisation Welthungerhilfe e.V., a partner of ITB, will be looking at food waste in tourism. Dr. Xavier Font, director of Respondeco, School of Events, Tourism & Hospitality, Leeds, UK, will be offering a training course on how to market sustainable tourism and an authentic experience. In 2016, for the first time, the awards of the International “TO DO! International Contest Socially Responsible Tourism” organised by Studienkreis für Tourismus will be taking place in Hall 19 in the Palais am Funkturm. This prestigious competition, a pioneer in this field, has been held since 1995 and has been supported by ITB Berlin ever since. This year’s award-winners are from India and Mexico. They were exemplary in their efforts to involve local residents in sustainable tourism practices, providing them with alternative sources of income and strengthening their understanding of their own culture and traditions. Information on more events on sustainability is available at www.itb-berlin.de/en/Visitors/Events/. 

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