WTM Africa 2020 is tackling travel sustainability at macro and micro levels this year, by lining up a number of eco-conscious initiatives alongside recognising game-changing sustainability practices in the African travel industry.
Major international events like WTM Africa have an impact on their environments, and the Reed Exhibitions South Africa team is encouraging visitors to this year’s show to be more responsible in the choices they make while they’re in Cape Town – and beyond. “We’re aware that we have thousands of visitors flying in from across the continent – and around the world – which has an environmental impact. We’d like to encourage them to make responsible travel decisions to minimise their footprint,” says Megan Oberholzer, Portfolio Director: Travel, Tourism & Sports Portfolio for Reed Exhibitions South Africa.
In the spirit of Responsible Tourism – and a commitment to protecting the environment which forms the basis of the travel & tourism industry – #WTMA20 will see the inception of a set of sustainability obligations for exhibitors. “The bulk of material waste at WTM Africa comes from the construction and dismantling of exhibitor stands, followed by distributed marketing collateral. The WTM Africa team appeals to exhibitors to ensure that they conceptualise, construct, operate and remove their stands with sustainability, top of mind,” says Oberholzer. “Fabric graphics that can be reused are encouraged instead of vinyl prints and, where recycling bins are available, we ask everyone who visits the show to use them responsibly and support us in our aim of reducing the impact of the event on the beautiful City of Cape Town. WTMA 2020 will also see the removal of bags historically distributed to attendees to hold the collateral they receive on the show floor and we appeal to our exhibitors to think sustainably when it comes to their onsite collateral distributed at the show, and where possible share marketing materials with visitors, electronically.
On a macro level, the Africa Responsible Tourism Awards celebrate six years of inspiring, recognising, celebrating and inspiring enduring responsible tourism experiences the African tourism industry in 2020. The awards rest on a simple principle – that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people. The 2020 Africa Responsible Tourism Awards will be presented to those businesses and organisations which can demonstrate the core Responsible Tourism values of transparency and respect, which are able to demonstrate their impact and which have, or could, inspire others to achieve more.