Responsible travel talk at conference

There is an abundance of evidence demonstrating that a growing number of travellers are paying heed to destinations that practice environmental management, biodiversity conservation, historic restoration and cultural preservation, one of world’s leading sustainable travel watchdogs will tell delegates attending the 14th annual Sustainable Tourism Conference in Trinidad and Tobago from 15 to 19 April.

Martha Honey, the co-founder of the nonprofit research institute, the Center for Responsible Travel, will look at a range of consumer surveys and tourism studies carried out over the last five years and what they have discovered about responsible travel.

In her presentation, “The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends and Statistics,” Ms Honey will present research to support her thesis that as international tourism arrivals continue to grow, so, too, has the interest in socially and environmentally responsible travel. She will also argue that it makes economic sense to engage in responsible tourism practices.

“[The Center for Responsible Travel’s] latest analysis of tourism trends, released in January 2013, finds an increasing recognition among both travel professionals and consumers of the importance of responsible travel, as well as strong evidence that responsible travel is good for the economic bottom line,” she said. “Over the last decade, the centre has periodically conducted similar analyses of tourism trends and statistics. Never before has there been such an abundance of evidence demonstrating that socially and environmentally responsible travel has now entered the mainstream. It crosses age and income groups, different types of tourism, and destinations around the globe.”

Ms Honey, who also is co-director, will present during a session titled, “Rethinking Destination Development, Branding and Marketing for the Responsible Traveller.”

Also down to present at the session is Kristin Dahl of Travel Oregon. Ms Dahl will highlight statewide initiatives designed to enhance, develop and promote destinations within a framework of sustainability. She will touch on Oregon’s statewide Travel Philanthropy Fund, the Sustainable Business Challenge, a destination-based training and development programme called the Rural Tourism Studio, and initiatives designed to foster the growth of cycling tourism and active transportation.

Ms Dahl will also address what it means to be a leader in sustainable development in North America, how tourism organisations can assist developing communities, and how developing in a sustainable manner fosters a positive brand image with visitors.

“I am honoured and delighted to join the [conference] to learn from my colleagues and share about the initiatives we’ve been undertaking in Oregon to enhance our destination, stimulate community vitality through sustainable tourism, and create a positive brand image,” she said.

This session will examine the trends regarding responsible travel and how Caribbean destinations can enhance their product development, branding and destination marketing strategies to attract responsible travellers

Themed, “Keeping the Right Balance: Enhancing Destination Sustainability Through Products, Partnerships and Profitability,” the conference will explore ways the Caribbean can enhance destination sustainability and competitiveness in the current global environment by examining critical issues.

It is being organised by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Tourism.

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