WTM London's responsible tourism programme 2017

Tackling Overtourism and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals key themes for WTM London's responsible tourism programme 2017

World Travel Market London has announced that the two key responsible tourism themes this November will be what the travel industry should do about the emerging phenomenon of Overtourism; and how it should set about meeting the United Nations's Sustainable Development Goals.

Over the last year or more, the word Overtourism has increasingly been used to describe a situation where destinations feel either that there are too many tourists, or where the impact of tourist development is negatively affecting their home without providing enough benefits in return. From Barcelona to Thailand, Venice to Berlin, cities and regions are now beginning to take matters into their own hands, regulating against shared economy providers like airbnb, protesting against cruise ships, limiting the number of people allowed into certain fragile areas. As tourism continues to grow by around 4% each year, such responses are a direct challenge to its ongoing expansion.

This year's event will gather representatives from some of the destinations most affected and those who have actively sought to address the issue, to explore a range of challenges and responses, such as whether more regulation is needed, how to involved local people more collaboratively into development that directly affects them, or if it is time to set limits to growth. This is not an issue that can wait. As the Secretary Tourism, India, Mr Vinod Zutshi said at WTM London 2016: "We have to study carrying capacity of destinations and ensure there is not too much tourism for a destination to bear."

Secondly, to mark 2017 being declared by the UN as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, several sessions during the Responsible Tourism Programme will focus on how the industry meets the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were agreed in 2015. In particular, the event will look at the three goals in which sustainable tourism is explicitly mentioned - 8,12 and 14.

Goal 8 looks to "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all." Goal 12 is to "Ensure sustainable Consumption and Production patterns". And Goal 13 looks to "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development." Leading experts from industry and civil society will meet to discuss these and the other goals, to explore examples of best practice from across the sector and discuss whether the industry is doing enough to meet its commitments.

WTM London responsible tourism expert Professor Harold Godwin said: "Overtourism is becoming a critical issues in the travel industry. Many destinations are employing a variety of different strategies to limit tourism to improve the experience for both tourist, locals and the environment."

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises of six leading B2B events across four continents generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The six events are;

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media embark on ExCeL - London every November generating around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts. http://london.wtm.com/. Next event: 6-8 Nov 2017.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM attracts around 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5bn over the four days. http://arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com/. Next event: 24-27 April 2017.

World Travel Market Latin America now in its fifth edition, attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates US$ 370 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 5,900 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. http://latinamerica.wtm.com/. Next event: 4-6 April 2017.

World Travel Market Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa's leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. http://africa.wtm.com/ Next event: 19-21 April 2017.

WTM Connect Asia facilitates more than 1,800 quality meetings bringing together pre-qualified Chinese, South East Asian and international travel buyers with suppliers of South East Asian and international travel product. The event's pod format allows for an exclusive one-to-one ratio closed community experience for exhibitors and Hosted Buyers who do business in and around South East Asia. http://connectasia.wtm.com/. Next event 17-19 May 2017 -Penang, Malaysia.

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) now in its 20th edition, is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. More than 600 golf tourism suppliers join 350 pre-qualified buyers and 100 international press for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments, exclusive networking opportunities and invaluable industry and trend updates. Taking place in a different destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from over 65 countries. http://igtm.wtm.com/. Next event: 11-14 Dec 2017 - Cannes.

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