Month: November 2014

Green pledges bear fruit in Mexico

Sustainable Tourism Expo

Terry Brown, our new Destination Officer, recently visited Mexico, meeting local and regional government, NGOs, hotel associations, hotel representatives, tour operators and local entrepreneurs.

The focus of the visit was the 7th Sustainable Tourism Expo (formerly known as ‘Green Expo Riviera Maya’), which is a platform to bring together green businesses, local producers and the tourism industry.

“One of the things many people were enthusiastic about was connecting Maya communities to the tourism industry, involving commercialising Maya crafts and tours to jungles, communities, and ‘cenotes.’ ‘Cenotes’ are natural wells which lead to beautiful underground rivers.”

As part of this event The Travel Foundation presented 11 awards to tourism businesses, NGOs and local businesses who fulfilled their ‘commitments to conservation’, made the previous year. See this video (in Spanish) to find out more about the successful green pledges.

We were pleased to see the Abejitas Melipona honey cooperative ‘Much Kaab’ and the Pitahi ‘jungle jams’ group proudly presenting their products at the expo. The groups attracted lots of interest in their products, achieving so many direct sales they had to send for more stock.

Both groups also now have commercial agreements with various hotel chains thanks to the Green Pledges initiative and hard work of our Programme Coordinator in Mexico, Yuri Flores.

“It was great to meet so many people from the region that are passionate about sustainability and are working towards preserving what is such a beautiful destination alongside the massive projected growth of tourism along the Riviera Maya, an area which already receives over 4 million visitors a year.”

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Good Tourism = Great Stories

2014 WTM find your story header

At this year’s World Travel Market, the Travel Foundation held a series of ‘advice clinics’ to help organisations identify the best ways to communicate their sustainable practices, and to market their destination by using authentic stories relating to its heritage, culture, environment and, above all, its people.

WTM 2014Along with experts from Leeds Beckett University and TTG, we offered advice on how to communicate these stories effectively. TTG will feature some of the best stories in an upcoming print edition. Tourism organisations that care for destinations through responsible practices will be able to offer the best stories and customer experiences, so destination and product marketing is one way to highlight the value of all that responsible tourism seeks to achieve.

“We hope that through this marketing and ‘story-led’ approach we will make sustainable tourism practices more relevant, accessible and valued,” said Travel Foundation Head of Communications Ben Lynam. “There are some amazing tourism products out there, and it just takes a journalistic eye to develop the potential stories.”

Trials conducted by the team led by Dr Xavier Font at Leeds Beckett have shown how using persuasive communication techniques can make sustainability messages customer-relevant, increase participation and reinforce the sense of having made the correct product purchase.

In total 17 organisations visited the advice clinic, including hotel owners, tour operators and destination authorities.