It was the first time that the European Travel Distribution Summit had a charity stand in their exhibition hall. Some attendees where surprised to see The Butterfly Tree exhibiting and many congratulated Eye for Travel for including us. Fellow exhibitors showed a keen interest offering a link to our website, some gave donations of software and money and several offered to promote the charity.
The seminar, which I hosted, was aimed at getting more companies involved in Philanthropic Travel and responsible tourism initiatives. Too many do not have any kind of corporate social responsibility programs and Gyonne James from Tourism Concern discussed this issue along with exploitation in the tourist industry. Victoria Bolton of Charity Challenge told the audience how their company helps to reduce world poverty through fundraising expeditions while Mark Nall, Chief Executive of Everyclick explained how businesses and individuals can generate money for charities by using their search engine.
The travel industry has a huge capacity to raise funds for NGO’s and charities especially through the internet. Tour operators need to make their tourists aware of the poverty surrounding their luxury resorts, in the developing countries they are visiting. Hoteliers must provide clean water, health and education for local communiteis as well as becoming ‘eco’ friendly. It is essential that this industry awakens to its responsibilities, using their marketing skills to promote awareness and help to reduce world poverty.