World Responsible Tourism Day
World Travel Market (WTM) is a leading global event series for the travel and tourism industry. The flagship event takes place at Excel in London each November, with additional regional events in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
For many years, WTM London has organised World Responsible Tourism Day, with the support of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. This is the world’s largest industry event focused on efforts to make the industry more responsible and sustainable. Each year leading figures from the industry, along with representatives of civil society and key organisations, gather to discuss the key issues facing the sustainable development of tourism. Many of these issues are directly reflected in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which was the focus of a key panel discussion at the 2016 event.
In 2016 there was a panel on the SDGs during which TUI, the International Hotel Group, Exodus and Transfrontier Parks Destinations presented their impacts measured against the SDG targets.
Tourism is also mentioned specifically in three of the SDGs:
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all - states that "By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products."
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable Consumption and Production patterns - calls for the world to "Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products.";
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development - says there is an essential role for tourism, to "by 2030 increase the economic benefits of SIDS and LCDs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism".
In addition to these goals, tourism is able to support every other SDG - from action on climate change to improving gender equality and protecting biodiversity - and this year, marking the fact that 2017 is also the UN International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development, World Travel Market's responsible tourism programme will have dedicated panel sessions dedicated to examining what the industry can do to meet its commitments across a range of the goals.
The World Travel Market Portfolio includes responsible tourism seminars at WTM London, Arabian Travel Market, WTM Latin America and WTM Africa. These seminars are part of the Events Programme for each show.
Furthermore, this year, the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards, which are held each year at WTM London, will also focus on how tourism can meet the SDGs, with the categories changed for 2017 so as to reflect this, with three categories each focusing on one of the three SDGs 8, 12 and 14 where tourism is explicitly mentioned, and one for tourism companies and organisations who are delivering on any of the other 14 goals.
Throughout the year, WTM published a weekly blog on responsible tourism, with expert commentary on the industry's efforts to be more sustainable - there is regular focus here on the SDGs.