ITB Berlin to focus on CSR!

Published on : Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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CSR Day at the ITB Berlin Convention focuses on strategies for sustainable tourism and examples of best practices – discussions on climate change, gender equality and the successful marketing of sustainable tourism products – trade visitors can attend the ITB Berlin Convention free of charge.

CSR features prominently at the ITB Berlin. On 7 March 2013, the major think tank of the world’s leading travel trade show will again be holding its own CSR Day and highlighting strategies, best practices and the market potential of sustainable tourism. Topics include tourist encounters with local residents, conflicts over water, a vital human resource, and protecting children from sexual exploitation. At the ITB Berlin Convention practical experts and leading scientists will be discussing and providing information on the latest developments in the field of corporate social responsibility. A trade visitor ticket is valid for admission to the ITB Berlin Convention.

Commenting, Dr. Martin Buck, Director of the Competence Center, Travel & Logistics, Messe Berlin said: “Over the last four years we have used the CSR Day at the ITB Berlin Convention to place the topic of sustainable tourism centre stage. This is our response to the growing importance of corporate social responsibility. The wide range of topics shows that CSR has long ceased to be a niche market, rather it has become an integral part of the global travel industry’s modern corporate philosophy.”

Tourism think tank features CSR

On 7 March 2013, Dr. Kelly S. Bricker, University of Utah, Chair of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council GSTC and Chair of The International Ecotourism Society TIES, will kick off the event with a keynote on “Sustainable Tourism and ‘Millennium Development Goals’”. This will be followed by a discussion on gender equality and women at senior management level. Another topic is the effect that strategic decisions made by female management have on tourism products. This year’s Studiosus meeting is about “holiday encounters“. The discussion round will be talking about how to balance the expectations of tourists and local residents in a socially responsible way. Among the panel members are travel blogger Johannes Klaus, Gopinath Parayil, founder of The Blue Yonder India, Peter Strub, Managing Director, Studiosus, as well as Dr. Dietlind, Laßberg, Deputy Chairman, Tourismus und Entwicklung e.V. Dr. Stroma Cole, Senior Lecturer, Geography and Environmental Management, University of the West of England, will be speaking about the potential conflict between tourists and local residents over water, a vital human resource, and its availability.

The German State of Baden-Württemberg is showcasing itself as a best practice example of a certified sustainable destination. Wolfgang Baur, Head of Nature Conservation and Tourism of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Rural Areas and Consumer Protection, and Angela Giraldo, Managing Director of KATE – the Contact Agency for Development and the Environment – will be explaining how the certification system works and whether it can be applied to other federal States. Another discussion round will debate the “Child Protection Code of Conduct: the challenges and problems of putting it into practice.“ The speakers at this event are Inge Huijbrechts, Director Responsible for Business, Rezidor Hotel Group, Matthias Leisinger, Chair of the Board of Directors, The Code, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Kuoni Travel Ltd., Bo Viktor Nylund, Senior Advisor CSR, PFP, UNICEF, and Jennifer Seif, Local Code Representative South Africa, Executive Director, Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA). ITB Berlin has signed the Code of Conduct and supports its implementation worldwide.

Dr. Roger Wehrli, Lecturer and Head of Research of the Institute for Tourism Management, University of Lucerne, will be explaining how to market brands in order to improve sales of sustainable products and will be releasing the findings of an international empirical survey at ITB Berlin.

The ITB Destination Days will also be focusing on CSR topics. On 8 March 2013, a keynote panel will be addressing the subject of “Barrier-free tourism for everyone: the quality and success criteria for ensuring the marketability of destinations.“ Other events on the same day include Kaza, which involves five nations in southern Africa and is recognized as a beacon project furthering development cooperation. Tourism is making it possible for one of the world’s largest nature conservation projects to attain sustainability goals as well as economic and peace objectives. Ministers from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia und Zimbabwe will be reporting on this groundbreaking project. Bärbel Schäfer, a well-known TV presenter, will be moderating the panel discussion.

At the ITB Berlin Convention a ceremony will also be taking place to honour Germany’s commitment to the KAZA beacon project. Those attending will include Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, together with African guests. This will be followed by a discussion round with Futouris on the topic of KAZA. Germany’s tourism industry channels its support for sustainable tourism through the Futouris Initiative. Along with Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz and Prof. Dr. Ines Carstensen, Managing Director, Futouris, Jens Hulvershorn, Director Marketing & Sales, Gebeco, Victor Siamudaala, Executive Director, Kaza Secretariat and Thomas Wollenzien, Director for Southern and Central Africa, KfW Bankengruppe will be discussing the ways in which Futouris and private industry can develop strategies and measures to promote tourism in Africa and the challenges they face. This will be followed by the ceremonial signing of a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of the Kaza Initiative in the presence of the Kaza Secretariat and Futouris (working title).

The example of the Hizir Treetop Camp in Turkey, founded and managed by Ahmet Yazman of Sarikiz Gida Turizmve Danismanlik Tic. Ltd. Sti., demonstrates that luxury and sustainability can still go hand in hand. Egypt’s tourism minister, the Hon. Hisham Zaazou, will be providing an insight into the country’s Green Star initiative. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has examined ways of measuring and controlling sustainable tourism and compiled a criteria list, implementation concept and monitoring system that will be presented at the ITB Workshop on 8 March 2013.

Source: ITB-Berlin.

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