Published on : Wednesday, February 16, 2022
“We need to take responsibility for the positive and negative impacts that tourism has on destinations, and that’s because we want to have better places to live in and visit – in that order. And when we say “we” that means the entire industry, including tourists.” These words are from Simon Mayle, director of WTM Latin America, a B2B tourism event in Latin America that will be taking place this year between 5 and 7 April in the blue and white pavilions of Expo Center Norte in São Paulo.
The premise, which was presented and defended by Mr. Mayle on behalf of WTM Latin America, is part of the prerogative of the World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio worldwide and was adopted in pioneering fashion almost 20 years ago at WTM London.
The theme of Responsible Tourism has always been present in editions of WTM Latin America, whether in its conversation rounds, its panels of specialists, or the debates involving various players. It became even more relevant in 2019 with the launch of the Responsible Tourism Award, the awards for the first edition (2020 results) of which were presented virtually and exclusively in the first half of 2021.
Considering how important the topic has become during the pandemic, WTM Latin America this year will dedicate an auditorium exclusively to debating responsible tourism in the fullest and most complete way. In all, there will be more than 10 different sessions with experts and debaters.
The agenda for this topic will also include the presentation ceremony of the second edition of the Responsible Tourism Award, which places the continent firmly on the map in terms of its recognition globally. It does so by seeking to discover, recognize and promote examples of good practices in the Latin American region, including initiatives that include everything from child protection and community benefits to greenhouse gas emissions and reductions in single-use plastics.
The panel of judges for this edition will comprise 18 specialists who will analyse each of the cases registered in the following categories: “Decarbonisation of the travel and tourism industry”; “Support for employees and communities during the pandemic”; “Destinations that support more sustainable post-COVID reconstruction”; “Increased diversity in tourism: How inclusive is our industry?”; “Reducing plastic waste in the environment” and “An increase in local economic benefit”. There will be three finalists in each category, including the winner.
“For some time now, tourism has been taking many forms. Suppliers and visitors alike have come to understand that destinations are more than just fun and consumption. These places, which are coveted by many, have their residents, nature, and history, and everything must be respected and preserved”, says Gustavo Pinto, WTM Latin America’s adviser for responsible tourism and the Award coordinator, stressing that “there’s no going back from the change in behaviour we want”.
It is forecast that WTM Latin America 2022 will bring together some 500 exhibitors from more than 40 countries, in addition to 8000 visitors. Registration will open on 16 February and visits will be by way of prior registration and the presentation of proof that the visitor is fully vaccinated.