The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has declared 2017 the year of sustainable tourism. The focus is on the economic, ecological and social objectives pursued by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For many years, ITB Berlin, through numerous initiatives, has campaigned for greater social equality, protecting the environment and human rights. It makes use of its key role to promote a dialogue with companies in an effort to provide economically, socially and ecologically responsible tourism products and services.
In this context, the ITB CSR Day at the ITB Berlin Convention is a driving force. On 10th of March, leading figures in politics, business and science will discuss innovative concepts, best practices and the economic potential of sustainable tourism. The main topic will be ‘Sustainable Food and Beverages in the Hotel Industry and at Tourism Destinations’. Food and drink are vital to life, a part of people’s lifestyle and important in tourism.
At an event moderated by Professor Dr Christine Demen Meier, the chair of Food and Beverages at Écolehôtelière de Lausanne EHL, Olaf Koch, CEO of Metro AG, and Professor Dr Carlos Martin-Rios, assistant professor at Ecolehôtelière de Lausanne, will discuss the future impact of ‘Sustainable food and beverages’ and how hotel managers should address the issue and what obstacles need to be overcome.
Afterwards, a high-level panel discussion with sustainable tour operators, commercial airlines and experts from the German Travel Association (DRV) will debate ‘Climate – Customers – Communication: How Can Sustainable Travel be Marketed Successfully?’. The panel will discuss the best communication methods for marketing tourism, which tools are tried and tested and the best arguments for convincing customers to book sustainable tours.
Under the heading of ’Sustainable Tourism Destinations – The Status Quo and Lessons Learned’, one year after the practical guide to sustainable tourism destinations was launched with the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMUB) and the Federal Nature Conservation Bureau (BfN) at ITB Berlin 2016, the German Tourism Association (DTV) will be summarising developments so far. Panel members will include Jochen Flasbarth, permanent secretary at the Federal Ministry for Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), and Armin Dellnitz, vice-president of the DTV.
The session ‘Luxury Tourism of Tomorrow: Gazing at the Stars at the door plate or under the Open Sky’ will be certain to spark debate. Eike Otto, a tourism and regional development adviser, will be asking Sybille Riedmiller, of Chumbe Island Coral Park Ltd., Zanzibar, how it is possible globally to reconcile luxury tourism with sustainability concepts and whether successful ideas such as the ‘long-run initiative’ can expand into the mass market. A new ‘hot seat’ format will round off the ITB CSR Day. Two opponents will engage in a lively debate on an up-to-the-minute topic: ‘Fanatical climate views versus total denial’.
Awards promote awareness for sustainable tourism
For ITB Berlin, awards for social and ecological responsibility in tourism are also a key theme. The World Legacy Awards, a partnership between National Geographic Traveler Magazine and ITB Berlin, showcase the leading travel and tourism companies, organisations and destinations – ranging from entire countries to small islands and from urban hotels to jungle retreats – driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the global travel industry. On March 8, 2017 at 4 p.m., the winners will be announced onstage at the presentation of the World Legacy Awards in the Palais am Funkturm, the new awards venue of ITB Berlin. On Thursday, the World’s Largest Travel Show will give the finalists an opportunity to present their innovative solutions to an international audience.
Also taking place on Wednesday, at 2 p.m., will be ’Celebrating Her – Global Awards for Empowered Women’, which will be held for the second time. Presented by the International Institute for Peace in Tourism (IIPT) India, the award is supported by ITB Berlin and since 2016 has been given to women who play an outstanding role in promoting sustainable tourism. The presentation ceremony will take place in the Palais am Funkturm on March 8, 2017.
On March 9, 2017, the Thursday of ITB, another festive event will take place in the Palais am Funkturm: the traditional presentation of the international TO DO! Awards of the Study Group for Tourism, a long-standing partner of ITB Berlin and outstanding pioneer of sustainable tourism.