Responsible Travel Week, Day #7: Sunday, February 17
2013 is the fifth year for Responsible Travel Week (February 11-17) and Planeta.com’s 13th year of innovative conferencing. We expect our global conversation to take a great leap forward thanks to inspired participation.
Day #7. This is the official close of Responsible Travel Week. Thanks to everyone who has participated. This has been our best RT Week in five years with more engagement on Facebook, more tweets on Twitter, more ‘small steps’ by various participants who were brave enough to create accounts on social web channels. It’s easy once you know how to do it, but the first step … seems difficult if you don’t have encouragement.
Allow us to speculate a bit on the future of travel and tourism. Why shouldn’t it be more responsible, interpreting that as a win-win for locals and visitors?
During the International Year of Ecotourism the traveling public were largely ignored as valued players during official policy making events. For example, the Quebec Ecotourism Declaration did not include travelers as stakeholders. A serious omission, n’est-ce pas?
But so are locals. We don’t value their ‘experience’ when evaluating the impact of travel and tourism. Rarely have I been invited a tourism conference that included the viewpoints of regular travelers or locals.
A few years ago the Conde Nast World Savers Awards was critiqued because one of the winners was a lodge that had been excluding local indigenous people from using the watering holes. The facility had a swimming pool for guests but water for locals … not until there was public criticism.
We need a more holistic approach when it comes to evaluating practices – sustainable or not – and hopefully our communication can improve to the point where visitor and local input is more valued in the value chain.
I believe that the social web is an excellent tool, but by no means the only one needed to accomplish this task. We need opportunities for conversation, for social bridging, for providing feedback to tourism pros so that travel is individually and collectively more empathetic.
Finally, a technical note. We’ll be segueing from the hashtag #rtweek2013 to #rtyear2013. Use this as you see fit on Google+ and Twitter to keep our conversations moving forward. Take heart from the Maori Proverb (Whakatauki): “It’s fine to have recollections of the past but wisdom comes from being able to prepare opportunities for the future.”
Elsewhere on the Web
A special note of thanks to Planeta editors who have helped update the following resources:
- Responsible Travel in Cape Town
- Child Protection
- Who’s Who in German-Speaking Europe
- Finno-Ugric Culture
- Indigenous Peoples Week
- Peru Slang
- Sámi People
- World Parks Congress
- Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group