Walking the halls of hope and despair, WTM 2014 (from Conscious Travel)

I was lucky enough to attend both the ATTA sessions mentioned in this piece. They were inspirational.

The problem of constantly chasing growth is common to all industries, but Tourism directly values assets such as culture , nature , escape , tranquility, which are the most vulnerable to volume growth. The case was made very convincingly for a new approach, to consider the travel companies as a community, not as an industry, and to value quality experiences over quantity products.

In the Western Balkans we have a chance to get this right , we must do.

ConsciousTourism

World Travel Market 2013, ExCel, London, ExCel, London

I confess I have never been wild about the World Travel Market – its central hall was the site of my personal “Road to Damascus” several years ago when I experienced the full extent to which tourism has become an industrial production and consumption machine.

I admit to being overwhelmed by the sheer scale, busyness and sterility of the event where products are pushed and deals done; brochures and media stuffed into plastic bags then discarded; and sustainable clichés fall like feathers from the upper galleries onto the hard selling activity in cubicles on the shop floor.

Walking the central hall this year I felt a visceral inner and outer tussle between despair and hope.

The number of “responsibility” seminars was, encouragingly, greater than ever before but still totally outnumbered and out attended by sessions devoted to trends, technology, social media, and market segments. Within the responsible tourism stream, the same…

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