While the main focus of World Responsible Tourism Day is the events taking place at Excel in London, supporters around the world are staging their own events to mark the day. From Brazil to Burma, Athens to Andalusia, the range of responses should inspire anyone working for a more responsible tourism industry.
Some are starting by changing the way they come to work. South East Asian Khiri Travel will involve both travellers and staff across the six countries of Khiri Travel‘s operation. Office staff will be using public transport instead of their personal vehicles for the day and will also be initiating other activities to help the environment and promote responsible tourism. For Khiri Travel’s clients across the 6 countries of operation, each will receive an ‘Earth Bag’, a fabric tote bag locally produced in each country of operation, printed with the WRTD and Khiri Logo to raise awareness and promote sustainable tourism.
Others are opening up their activities to a wider audience by making certain responsible tourism events and activities free for the day. Coffeebeans Routes in South Africa is running a free to the public open tour, with shuttles to a selection of Cape Town’s key township-based and citizen-led initiatives. In the UK’s Lake District Ullswater Steamers is offering a free cruise to everyone who arrives by public transport. In Greece, Alternative Athens is stepping out on two free walking tours to show people another side of the Greek capital, with and Alternative Athens City Walk and a Street Art Tour.
Some companies are focussing on spreading the word about the role of responsible tourism. Sumak Travel will be posting a series of blogs to look at post World Cup situation in Brazil. CubanAdventures is taking all their groups to volunteer on the local organic farm before enjoying a lunch with the locals and passing by a local special school where we can spend some time and bring along some greatly needed supplies for the students. Brazil’s Cooperbom Turismo and their partner the Private Reserve of Natural Heritage are organising a visiting day at the Natural Reserve where children and visitors can engage with a programme of environmental education activities, including an “Adopt a tree” project.
Portugal’s Inspira Santa Marta hotel is also heading into the gardens, and will be holding an initiative at Lisbon Botanical Garden in partnership with the National Natural History and Science Museum to promote the conservation of local biodiversity through a spot of gardening on the day, and then insuring regular maintenance for the following year. Picking up the pace somewhat, Run Cape Town is taking participants on a running tour of Gugulethu township finishing up with a braai. All proceeds from the run will go to a local sports team for children in Gugulethu.
Finally, several have chosen to ensure their actions leave a lasting legacy of positive impact. Nicaragua’s Montecristo River Lodge is planting 50 new trees on its property. Over in Spain, Horizonte Paralelo are planning a ‘clean-up’ hiking trip to the Andalusian Mountains. In Costa Rica, Il Viaggio Travel are also looking to clean up, and are planning a Home town ‘Clean-Up’ with the City Hall, bringing together representatives from private and government institutions to clean the city streets. And in dusty Dubai, luxury safari operator Platinum Heritage have invited partner schools to join it in cleaning up the desert, while also ensuring that through the course of the day that students learn about desert conservation, the dangers of animals consuming plastics and other waste products, while also getting the chance to bear witness to the beauty of the desertscape.
Are you or your company doing something to mark World Responsible Tourism Day? If so, let everyone know in the comments below.