Telling stories is key to spreading the message of responsible tourism, said Justin Francis, chief executive officer and co-founder of www.responsibletravel.com.
Francis, who will be speaking at PATA’s 60th Anniversary and Conference, 9-12 April, 2011 at the China World Hotel, Beijing, believes that the Association can play a key role in facilitating responsible tourism.
Said Francis: “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. 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.”
And, as the fastest growing tourism area in the world (PATA predicts international arrivals will hit 530-million by the year 2020), 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’s 60th Anniversary and Conference is the focal point of a year-long campaign of events and activities being held to celebrate PATA’s milestone year.
The conference is expected to bring together more than 1,000-delegates from all aspects of the travel-and-tourism sector and will include a programme focussing on some of the most critical issues facing industry members, including distribution challenges, changing demographics, aviation, responsible tourism and technology innovations.