Published on Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ITB Fringe Responsible Tourism Networking Brings in Crowds

The End of a Great Presentation

On the Friday night of the 2009 ITB conference in Berlin 120 people gathered to 'engage, share and inspire'. This meeting of minds was another Fringe Responsible Tourism event, hosted by The Blue Yonder and co-organised by YourSafePlanet . These fringe events began in London two and a half years ago to answer the need for a forum in which grass root tour operators and travel organisations could meet and work together. The result has been a series of fantastic events resulting in responsible business being done and the proliferation of ground-breaking ethical tourism programmes.

The presence of this large group of Fringe members at ITB was resonant of the energy that exists at the grass roots of the tourism industry. What"s more the event took place with the full encouragement and backing of the conference organisers who are increasingly keen to raise the profile of local service providers.

Rika Jean-Francois, CSR Manager at ITB, joined the event and stressed to the audience the importance of such gatherings and of projects that raise awareness of grass root operators. The ITB exhibition included a day devoted to discussions on corporate responsibility and philanthropy in tourism. Panel discussions crucially involved representatives from across sectors and micro as well as macro organisations.

Similarly, of the 25 pitches from Fringe members to the group there was a broad range of themes covered. These included local philanthropic travel, pan-national youth and development work and the commitment of large luxury resorts embracing energy saving technology. The forum was also used by some to launch new initiatives, this including a presentation from Social Tours founder Raj Gayawali on the "Green Circuit" initiative - A concept of a grand "green" circuit in the Indian sub-continent, linking responsible operators in a "green" (travel by land) tour itinerary bringing together common interests of visibility and joint learning.

The next steps after this event are even more inspiring as a networking session will be held in Delhi during April where there will also be a live Web Feed, arranged by Valere Tjolle of the Vision on Sustainable Tourism. Participants from across the globe will be invited to join and participate via their webcams, the only criteria for joining being that the organisation or individual has a clear commitment to responsible tourism in a local setting. We encourage anyone to register their interest - for more details on the Fringe network and the pitches from ITB please contact [email protected] / [email protected]

For the leading edge of grass root responsible tourism watch this space...

Sally Broom

Pitches were made by:

Atmosfair - Dr Dietrich Brockhagen -

Born Free Foundation - Daniel Turner -
Discover Oman/Eihab Travel & Tours - Robby George -
Eko Venturem- Daniel Gruneberg -
Ethical travel portal - Linda Veraasdal -
FH-Eberswalde - Dr Wolfgang Strasdass - - John Dean -
Green Visions - Thierry Joubert -
Help Tourism - Raj Basu -
ITB Berlin - Rika Jean-Francois -
Orange County - Jose Ramapuram -
Oxford Said Business School - Candice Motran - - Marcus Bauer / Susanna Hagen -
SNV Ghana - Birgit Lienhart -
SNV Tanzania - Birgit Steck -
Social Tours / Social Treks - Raj Gyawali -
The Blue Yonder - Gopinath Parayil -
The Centre for Responsible Travel - David Krantz -
The Fazendin Portfolio - Sarah Fazendin -
Tour Dust - Ben Colclough -
Travelmole VISION on Sustainable Tourism - Valere Tjolle - - Ashish Gupta -
Your Safe Planet - Sally Broom -

"Great platform to come together and meet likeminded people." Linda Veraasdal, Ethical Travel Portal

"So many other likeminded people from all sectors of the industry encouraged us to make the interface for RT-communication in our region of the world." Marcus Bauer

"It gave us the opportunity to share our business idea with a diverse group of people from all over the world, each with different perspectives and roles Ashish Gupta Travel to

"The networking event was an important step to link the Bosnian open youth travel network to similar and complementary projects and products around the world"
Thierry Joubert Green Visions

Valere Tjolle

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