The three-day programme includes content workshops, networking opportunities, and evening functions.
The Sustainability Village, a new and unique walk-through hub, will feature a variety of eco-focused pop-up exhibitors, each showcasing what they do through interactive displays and communicating how they can assist other businesses in prioritising the environment and the support of local communities.
The pop-up exhibitions include Growing Paper, Painted Wolf Wines, How Many Elephants, E’Yako Green, and Uthando among others."We love the opportunity to create functional bags and other items out of pre-used materials and to share our work at WTM Africa. We hope we can inspire companies and teams to feel, think and live the art and business of sustainable tourism," says Carey Moran, owner of E’Yako Green.
Growing Paper, specialising in 100% recycled plantable and biodegradable handmade paper products, will not only be a featured pop-up within the Sustainability Village but are also the innovative minds behind the event’s vegetable seed badge holders/pouches. Each attendee will also receive a recycled PET lanyard.
The RX Global team, the organisers behind WTM Africa, intend to reclaim any collected badges in various collection boxes and plant the 'Growing Paper' in a community garden, helping residents start and nurture a sustainable food source for their families.
"As consumers become increasingly aware of the impact of their choices, they’re looking for eco-friendly alternatives in all aspects of their lives, including their travels," comments Roxanne Schumann, founder of Growing Paper.
"We are thrilled to be participating in the Sustainability Village at WTM Africa and believe our product is an innovative solution aligned for the industry. By incorporating this socially and environmentally meaningful solution into their supply chain, tourism businesses can show their commitment to sustainability, provide unique experiences for their guests, and promote their brand positively and memorably,” she adds.
The launch of the Sustainability Village follows a sustainability pledge from the show’s event organiser RX Global. The UN Sustainable Development Goals guide RX Global's Sustainability Pledge. The company is committed to minimising any negative environmental impact while continually seeking ways to contribute positively to sustainable development. Attendees are encouraged to visit the village to sign their own similar pledge.
Along with attending the Responsible Tourism conference and exploring the sustainability village, visitors are also encouraged to attend the Responsible Tourism Awards, which will be hosted on 4 April, spotlighting various travel suppliers and their sustainability stories and successes.
"It's so important to celebrate the work being done and showcase the options available to the industry. There are many easy changes suppliers can make to better serve their clients and the environment," comments Olivia Gradidge, RX global marketing manager – travel and tourism. "After all, aside from the gratification that comes with doing their part, prioritising the wellbeing of our planet sends a much stronger message to a supplier’s clients than any marketing approach ever could," Gradidge concludes.