The eighth international Responsible Tourism in Destinations (RTD8) conference takes place in Manchester on April 3-5.
Elise Allart, sustainable tourism manager at the Dutch tour operator TUI Nederland, is among the speakers at the event.
She will be delivering a keynote speech on April 4 on the responsibilities of tour operators in ensuring child protection.
She took time out of her busy schedule to speak with Blue & Green Tomorrow.
What does TUI Nederland do?
TUI Nederland is market leader in the Dutch tourism sector, with a turnover of €1.5 billion (£1.26 billion). Every year, TUI brings more than 1.5 million guests to destinations worldwide. TUI is committed to delivering the guests a quality holiday which respects people and nature.
In 2013, TUI was the first large travel organisation worldwide to receive the Global Sustainable Tourism Council-recognised Travelife certified standard for tour operators, and was the overall winner for the World Responsible Tourism Award 2013.
What does sustainable tourism mean to you?
Sustainable tourism are holidays that respect people and nature.
What is wrong with mainstream (or unsustainable) tourism?
Tourism – mainstream or specialist – can be harmful for destinations when it is managed in an unsustainable way. However, if managed to its full potential, you have an instrument in hand to protect nature and alleviate poverty.
What more could be done to make holidaymakers aware of their sustainability footprint when travelling?
Holidaymakers are our ears and eyes in the holiday destinations. They can be part of a solution to improve an unsustainable situation. Most of the time, as soon as people leave their holiday destinations they ‘forget’ to inform the tour operator about unethical or unsustainable situations.
For instance, if holidaymakers see in the destination that a child or youngster is sexually abused by another tourist, they should mention this to the relevant authorities and tour operator so action can be taken.
TUI Nederland has won awards for its work against the sexual exploitation of children in Brazil. What made you pick this issue out specifically?
In 2002, TUI Nederland signed the Child Protection Code to protect children from the sexual exploitation in the tourism industry. I wanted to do something more and truly trying to make a difference in combating this issue and changing people lives.
In our collaboration with Plan International, we went far beyond our supply chain and were also able to initiate a national campaign in three airports on this issue.
What do you see of the future of sustainable tourism?
If the travel industry would join forces more with developing organisations and governments among others, we can make a sustainable difference in the future of destinations and in the future of people.
For the full agenda at RTD8 and more information on how to attend this essential event, see here. Spaces are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.
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