WTM® Africa takes responsible tourism to a new level with Fair Trade Tourism

WTM® Africa 2016
WTM® Africa 2016

“Only with knowledge comes understanding” ….Chardonnay Marchesi, GM WTM Africa

WTM® Africa, Africa’s leading B2B inbound and outbound travel event, were the first in the travel and tourism industry to benefit from Fair Trade Tourism’s new initiative to train stakeholders to raise awareness on how the industry can play its part in protecting children.  As the South African Local Code Representative for The Code (short for “The Tourism Child Protection Code of Conduct – The Code.org”) Fair Trade Tourism intends to roll out the management and staff training programme to a limited number of travel and tourism industry stakeholders during the period September 2015 – June 2016.

Hosted at Crown Plaza The Rosebank, the WTM® Africa team from Thebe Reed Exhibitions spent the day on Friday 28 August, learning about the extent of the global problem of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, and have taken on the commitment to:
1. Establish a policy and procedures against sexual exploitation of children;
2. Train employees in children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation and how to report suspected cases
3. Include a clause in contracts throughout the value chain stating common repudiation and zero tolerance policy of sexual exploitation of children
4. Provide information to travellers on children’s rights, the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and how to report suspected cases
5. Support, collaborate with and engage stakeholders in the prevention of sexual exploitation of children

“As responsible travel industry professionals it is our duty to ensure that we are as informed as possible about the issues that impact our continent.  Only with knowledge comes understanding, and I am happy to say that our team learned so from the experience.  It was a truly humbling and so educational.  WTM® Africa is committed to responsible tourism practices and our involvement with Fair Trade Tourism and The CODE serves to re-enforce this stance.  We encourage our peers in the industry to get involved too” said Chardonnay Marchesi, General Manager at Thebe Reed Exhibitions for WTM® Africa.

Netsai Sibanda, Regional Development  Manager of Fair Trade Tourism explains that developing countries are among those which are most affected by this sever violation of children’s rights.  While tourism is not responsible for crimes against children, there is a clear connection between the tourism industry and these deplorable crimes.  All manifestations of these crimes are occurring in South Africa and tourism infrastructure can often play an inadvertent or international role in these crimes against children.  Tourism in South Africa is and can be used as both the mechanism for gaining access to children and the venues in which sex crimes are perpetrated.  Offenders use all forms of tourism services, including accommodation, transport, entertainment, travel agency and tour services to facilitate these sexual crimes against children.

“Fair Trade Tourism is very proud to announce that it has kicked off its 2015 – 2016 capacity building and awareness-raising campaign on protecting children from child sex tourism with successful training of the WTM® Africa team in Rosebank on 28 August 2015).  WTM® Africa’s commitment to this initiative, proudly supported by ECPAT Netherlands is certainly noteworthy, and we look forward to working with the team in the build up to and during WTM® Africa 2016!” said Ms Sibanda “We are encouraged to see that leading industry stakeholders are showing an interest and we look forward to rolling this initiative out by training other travel professionals very soon”