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ITB Berlin focuses on ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017’

World’s Largest Travel Trade Show focuses on the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017’ – forward-looking projects and a new impetus for social responsibility in tour

World’s Largest Travel Trade Show focuses on the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017’ – forward-looking projects and a new impetus for social responsibility in tourism on the stages in Hall 4.1 and at the ITB Berlin Convention
A fresh impetus for CSR in tourism: the United Nations has declared 2017 the ’International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’.

Economically, ecologically and socially responsible tourism has always been an important topic at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. This year the lectures, panel discussions and seminars are more wide-ranging than ever. The ITB Berlin Convention and the programme of stage events in Hall 4.1b will feature forward-looking topics, including on climate protection, sustainable food and beverages in the hotel industry and at tourism destinations, as well as child protection and human rights.

“Sustainability has long ceased to be a trend. It has become a firmly established topic at ITB Berlin. The Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development declared by UNWTO provides an opportunity to get the necessary industry changes under way. The aim is to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its sustainability goals in the context of tourism. This year, ITB Berlin will again be making its contribution towards greater responsibility and sustainability“, says Rika Jean-François, CSR commissioner, ITB Berlin.

From 8 to 10 March 2017 at the 12th Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals in Hall 4.1b, lectures, panel discussions, workshops and networking events will present and debate up-to-the-minute topics. They include climate protection and nature conservation, geoparks, wildlife tourism, astro-tourism and socially responsible tourism. On day one the key topic will be ‘Gazing into the night skies’ sparkling diamonds – A journey through the vast universe’. Experts will explain the consequences of increasing light pollution due to artificial light sources. Keynotes, examples of best practices and a chat show will offer ideas as to how the international travel industry can act in a sustainable and responsible manner. Botswana, this year’s partner country of ITB Berlin, is a destination where the night-time skies are free from artificial illumination and pollution. This African country is also well known for its wealth of animal species and for the largest rhino resettlement programme in southern Africa, whereby animals are relocated to remote areas to protect them from poachers. On the Thursday of ITB tourism experts from Botswana will have information on the Race for Rhinos project on the stage in Hall 4.1b.

Also taking place on 9 March will be a round table discussion on implementing human rights in the hotel industry and a panel discussion on protecting children’s rights in tourism. On the same day in the CityCube Berlin the 32nd Meeting of the World Tourism Network on Child Protection will also take place. The UNWTO World Tourism Network on Child Protection is a platform where tourism stakeholders can discuss concrete ways to prevent child exploitation and the challenges in this context.

CSR at the ITB Berlin Convention – a topic that concerns everyone

At the ITB Berlin Convention social responsibility with all its aspects has been a topic for many years. On 8 March, day one of the ITB Destination Days, the Convention & Culture Partner of ITB Berlin 2017 will host the ’Green Panel of Slovenia’. Experts from Slovenia will explain the country’s transition, in record time, to its new recognised status as the first green destination. Botswana has set another example of how sustainability can drive tourism. On 9 March, day two of the Destination Days, the Botswana Forum will provide information on ’Nature conservation and sustainable tourism’ and the country’s pioneering role in wildlife protection. On Thursday, 9 March at ITB, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will be organising a day on the subject of sustainable tourism. UNWTO will be extending an invitation to attend several tracks on social responsibility.

The ITB CSR Day also provides an important impetus for sustainable tourism. On 10 March, leading figures from politics and science will discuss innovative concepts and the economic potential of sustainable tourism. The main topic will be ’Sustainable Food and Beverages in the Hotel Industry and at Tourism Destinations’. Climate change and effective sustainable tourism measures will also be on the agenda. A discussion round on how freethinkers around the world can reconcile luxury tourism with sustainability concepts will take place under the heading of ‘Luxury Tourism of Tomorrow: Gazing at the Stars at the Door Plate or under the Open Sky’. The ITB CSR Day will conclude with a lively discussion on ’fanatical climate views versus a denial of facts’ which, taking the cruise industry as an example, will attempt to dispel some preconceptions.

Awards for sustainable tourism concepts

On 8 March, for the third year running, the presentation will take place of the World Legacy Awards, a partnership between National Geographic and ITB Berlin. This year, for the first time, the ceremony will be held on the stage at the Palais am Funkturm. The winners in five categories will be leading tour operators and travel companies, organisations and destinations which are driving the transition towards sustainable tourism in the global tourism industry. On the Thursday of ITB the five winners of the World Legacy Awards will take part in a panel discussion at the ITB Berlin Convention, with members of the audience able to ask questions.

Also taking place at the Palais am Funkturm on Thursday, 9 March will be the presentation of the international TO DO! Awards given by the Study Group for Tourism and Development. This year, the winners of this prestigious competition sponsored by ITB Berlin are from Myanmar and Uganda. For the first time, in cooperation with the Round Table on Human Rights in Tourism and Studiosus Reisen, and under the patronage of the German UNESCO Commission, the study group will present a TO DO! Award in the Human Rights category. The winner is UNITE – the union, London, UK.