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responsible tourism:

Is it time to be responsible? what is responsible tourism and is it right for us?

The Arusha Round Table on

Responsible Tourism Partnerships

For the Implementation of the

Responsible Tourism Certification Scheme

A Stakeholders’ Dialogue Forum 2010

Venue: Arusha Hotel

ARUSHA, Tanzania

Date: 3 June 2010

Language: English

responsible tourism:

Is it time to be responsible? what is responsible tourism and is it right for us?


As the green revolution slowly picks up speed globally, one finds that products on demand will have a market advantage if they carry a green label or brand. This is already well established in the manufacturing, fisheries and agricultural industry with labels such as the Forest Stewardship Council, Marine Stewardship Council, Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade International that provide a brand which certifies that the product was produced in a responsible manner. This concept is now growing in the tourism industry, as tourists are more aware of the issues and will now make decisions on the choice of their holiday depending on the social and environmental implications of the destination or company product that they are buying. The agents that are selling the packages are quick to pick up on this concept. Many travel/ holiday destination agents now have responsible branding and are promoting responsible tourism issues from their sales and operations, such as offering customers the opportunity to offset their carbon on long haul flights, using energy saving bulbs in their offices and making sure their staff have a workplace that does not impair their health.

The stumbling block for many agents will be their product. While they might be clean and green at home, the question is what happens to all the holidays they sell, primarily in developing countries where the regulatory framework is lagging behind the current trends. The provision of local, on the ground accreditation bodies that can evaluate, report and place an appropriate label on the performance of the ground operators and hotels will provide the agents with the mechanisms to market a product that reflects the customer’s social and environmentally responsible principles.

Several versions of these accreditation bodies are already established, with some providing an international brand (e.g. Sustainable Tourism International) and others more local and restricted to particular destination countries (e.g. Ecotourism Kenya’s certification scheme). The international organizations do provide a basic outline that broadly covers the main concerns, however is it possible to cover all key concerns on an international level, or is a more locally focused organization more appropriate to identify certain concerns that only occur locally? For example how are staff in a tourist camp equipped, do they have torches supplied to look out for animals, do they have enough blankets to keep warm in Ngorongoro? Is the company contributing to the local economic development of the village in which it is located?

The establishment of an association that will provide the platform for tourism companies to incorporate responsible practices in the running of their activities, which will also advertise their success through branding will require a careful approach to ensure that it is effective and provides the services that the tourist/ agent require, and which are also within the interests of the ground operator or hotel.

A special dedicated event on Responsible Tourism will be held on Thursday, 3rd June at the Arusha Hotel immediately before the Karibu Trade Fair. The seminar will be concise, topical and with plenty of opportunity for discussion. Each session will have summary hand-outs and additional take-away information.

The objectives of the seminars are:

  1. To provide an opportunity for business people and government representatives to better understand the meaning and elements of Responsible Tourism.

  2. To provide concrete examples of responsible tourism practices and innovations from Tanzanian tourism businesses.

  3. To ascertain if there is a need for the formation of a Responsible Tourism association in Tanzania, and identify the role it will play in fostering responsible practices in the sector (e.g. offer evaluation, accreditation and training on responsible tourism).

The Arusha Round Table on Responsible Tourism Partnerships


Thursday 3 June 2010



Resource Person

8.30 - 9.00 am

Registration of Delegates

9.00 – 9.10

Master of Ceremony Preambles

Richard Rugimbana (TTC)

9.10 – 9.30
9.05 – 9.15 am

Introduction by the Director of Tourism


9.30 – 9.50

RTA Briefing

Drs. Diederik de Boer, Director, RTA

9.50 – 10.20

Key note address

Anna Spenceley

10.25 – 11.20 am

Session 1Responsible Tourism- Understanding the basics of RT

The first presentation will be on the approach of an NGO to push for responsible practices through their Sustainable Pro-poor Tourism programmes. (15 mins)

The second presentation will be on community based tourism as an example of Responsible Tourism. (15 mins)
The last presentation will provide a current example of RT practice in East Africa. (10 mins)
(10 mins Q&A)

Chair: Richard Rugimbana

1. SNV

2. Henry Waruhiu

3. Serena Hotels

11.20 – 11.40 am


11.40 – 12.35 am

Session 2What are the pros and cons of certification and what certification is available in East Africa? What is the state of the global market for RT products?

The first presentation will be on the pros and cons of certification and on the international market for RT products. (10 mins)

A presentation by Ecotourism Kenya will provide a summary of the activities of a certification body in East Africa. (10 mins)

Nicolas Hubert will speak on the Ministry’s ecotourism certification project. Julia Bishop will provide examples of lodges that have been certified, and the future of certification in Zanzibar. (15 mins)

The last presentation will be on the activities of a community based cultural tourism program in Tengeru (10 minutes)

(10 mins Q&A)

Chair: Damian Bell

  1. Harro Boekhaven (Contour Project)

  2. Ecotourism Kenya

  3. Nicolas Hubert (MNRT) & Julia Bishop (ZATI)

  4. Tengeru Cultural Tourism Program

12.40 – 1.35 pm

Session 3What is the current approach to Responsible Tourism in Tanzania?

The first presentation will be on the results of a study carried out in Northern Tanzania that looks at the way tourism partnerships contribute to local development. Three partnership models are considered: i. WMAs, ii. Hunting, and iii. Agreements between tour companies and villages in GCAs and open areas. (15 mins)

The second presentation will provide the perspective of the District/community on its experience working with private companies on community-based tourism initiatives. (15 mins)

The final presentation will be an example of a medium sized lodge and their efforts in RT. (15 mins)

(10 mins Q&A)
Chair: Anna Spenceley

1. Laura Tarimo (RTA/ESAMI)

2. Longido District Tourism Officer / Community representative

3. Kibo Guides / Ndutu Lodge

1.40 – 2.40 pm

Lunch Break

2.40 – 3.40 pm

Introduction + discussion in working groups on:

  1. The pros & cons of creating a Responsible Tourism association

Chair: Damian Bell

  1. Tourism partnerships (community based photographic tourism, hunting and WMA): which model offers a win-win situation for both business and communities?

Chair: Laura Tarimo / Diederik de Boer

  1. Current practices of Responsible Tourism e.g. community-based tourism initiatives, eco-tourism etc.

Chair: Henry Waruhiu

3.40 – 4.00 pm

Coffee/Tea Break (Refreshments)

4.00 – 5.15 pm

Plenary: Group presentations + Q&A

5.15 – 5.30

Forum Wrap up - by Damian Bell

Vote of Thanks/Closing

5.30 - 6.30


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