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Keep responsible tourism on the agenda, urges WTM chairwoman

Governments and travel companies should not turn their backs on responsible tourism because of the economic downturn, the organiser of World Travel Market has said.

Addressing tourism ministers at a United Nations World Tourism Organisation summit at WTM on Tuesday, Jeffery said: “We are faced with an economic cyclone and it would be easy to run for shelter but it would be wrong.

“Recession is like a heart attack – shocking, but curable. Climate change, sustainability and poverty are terminal conditions. The world is on the critical list – and that is not doom and gloom, it is the truth.”

Jeffery told the ministers: “We have had talks about talks and declarations ad infinitum. Action is what is needed. Tourism can be pivotal in helping poverty but climate change could destroy tourism.”

The comments echoed Jeffrey’s speech at a Captains of Industry lunch on Monday, where she told industry heads: “Travel businesses do not just exist in isolation and should not be simply for making money. Corporate social responsibility must be an intrinsic part of today’s business agenda.”

She told the audience on board the ship Sturgeon moored alongside WTM conference centre ExCeL: “Responsible tourism is about the future of our world and of our children and their heritage. On World Responsible Tourism Day [on Wednesday] we will be encouraging companies not to let responsible tourism take a back seat.”

“Travel has weathered recession and troubled times before and emerged stronger. Responsible tourism can help the bottom line,” she added.

  • The Captains of Industry lunch is held each year in aid of water charity Just a Drop.
  • WTM hosts World Responsible Tourism Day on November 12

* More WTM 2008 coverage at travelweekly.co.uk/wtm2008

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