According to Justin Francis, chief executive and co-founder of www.responsibletravel.com, telling stories is key to spreading the message of responsible tourism.
Francis believes that the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) can play a key role in facilitating responsible tourism. He is scheduled to speak at PATA’s 60th Anniversary and Conference, which will be held on April 9-12, 2011 at the China World Hotel in Beijing,
“People have stopped asking ‘what’ (what is responsible tourism?) and ‘why’ (why should I do it?) and have started asking ‘how’. However, there is a long way to go,” Said Francis. “We need to follow in the footsteps of the food and fashion sectors which have embraced the idea of the ‘local’ and telling the story behind the products they are selling.”
With international arrivals predicted to hit 530-million by the year 2020, the Asia-Pacific region is set to become the fastest growing tourism area in the world. As such, PATA said it is critical that the message of responsible tourism is both heard and acted upon within the Asia Pacific region.
“Tourism without limits threatens the very essence of what people are flocking to see in the first place – the culture, the environment, the people. Long-term damage from tourism without a responsibility plan is a lose-lose for all concerned,” added Francis.
Taking the theme ‘Building Tourism: Past, Present, Progressive’, PATA said its 60th Anniversary and Conference is the focal point of a year-long campaign of events and activities being held to celebrate its milestone year.
PATA estimates that the conference will “bring together more than 1,000-delegates from all aspects of the travel-and-tourism sector and will include a program focusing on some of the most critical issues facing industry members, including distribution challenges, changing demographics, aviation, responsible tourism and technology innovations.”