WTM World Responsible Tourism Day (November 10, 2010) Celebrates Sustainable Travel

World Responsible Tourism Day aims to promote sustainable travel around the world. World Travel Market (WTM), with the help of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), will support this event in London. World Travel Market is an annual event for travel professionals that coincided with World Responsible Tourism Day.

The 2009 World Responsible Tourism Day, supported by BBC World News, welcomed over 1,500 sustainable travel enthusiasts. One highlight of the event was Virgin Holiday's Responsible Tourism Awards, presented by Justin Francis of Responsible Travel and Amanda Wills, managing director of Virgin Holidays. The overall winner was Whale Watch Kaikoura. An additional 13 awards were given, including "Best for Poverty Reduction" (Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique) and "Best  Small Hotel" (Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, Laos).

This year, WRTD will host the Virgin Holiday Awards again, and the event will likely be bigger than last year. Ecotourism Australia and Skibound will join for the first time (in the four years since the first celebration of WRTD). Sustainable travel advocate Tony Juniper, editor of National Geographic's Green Magazine, will give the leading remarks on the morning of WRTD 2010.  For over 25 years, Juniper has been a sustainable spokesperson and activist.

Journalist Stephen Sackur will question Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resort International, about the company's sustainable travel practices. Stewart will be in this year's "Hot Seat". Stewart is also responsible for the Sandals Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Caribbean resort chain. Sackur, a BBC presenter, will return to the stage in the afternoon to discuss the Gulf of Mexico Oil Disaster with Lee Sentell, Director of Alabama Tourism and Chris Thompson, CEO of Visit Florida.

Later, the Minister of Tourism from Kenya, Najib Balala, and the Minister of Tourism form the Maldives, Dr. Ahmed Ali Sawad will meet with Taleb Rifia, UNWTO Secretary-General. They will discuss current social and economic problems and examine how to support sustainable travel in the future.

World Responsible Tourism Day will push several objectives to inspire change in the travel industry. WRTD will educate attendees about responsible tourism, discuss how to make destinations more sustainable, and encourage major players in the industry to support responsible travel. Essentially, WRTD hopes to highlight the value of sustainable travel and spread the good word.

Photo Credit: World Responsible Tourism Day