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RETOSA brings member countries together to map out Sustainable Tourism future

The 1st Annual Sustainable Tourism Development Conference, hosted by RETOSA in partnership with the Sustainable Tourism Partnership Program (STPP), is taking place since yesterday at the CedarWoods Hotel in Johannesburg where it will later today conclude.

The conference aims at becoming the catalyst to trigger a lasting Sustainable Tourism dialogue within the Southern African region. Member States will share Sustainable Tourism knowledge and experiences, gain exposure to international best practices, as well as utilize the forum as a means of generating annual progress reports to ascertain levels of development and implementation of Sustainable Tourism within Member States.

The conference is targeted at stakeholders within Sustainable Tourism, namely, SMMEs, the private sector, public sector, tourism boards, ministries, NGOs, and Sustainable Tourism experts.

The conference has been structured in a workshop format, with panel discussions and interaction between participants being at the core of the proceedings. Some of the key topics being addressed are as follows:

• Community-Based Tourism (CBT) in Southern Africa
• Fair Trade in Tourism and Quality Standards
• TFCAs (Transfrontier Conservation Areas) Development in Southern Africa
• The State of Sustainable Tourism: Focus on both the Private sector and Public sector
• Climate change resilience and mitigation measures, and natural resource management
• Optional site visit/tour on the last day of the conference

The Sustainable Tourism Conference has garnered support from all corners of the world, and some of the key speakers and organizations being represented at the conference are outlined below:

Ms. Megan Eplar Wood – Director of International Sustainable Tourism Initiative, Harvard University
Dr. Anna Spenceley – International Sustainable Tourism Specialist
Dr. Sue Snyman – Regional Coordinator, Wilderness Safaris
Dr. Geoffrey Manyara – Senior Regional Tourism Advisor, UNECA
Ms. Caroline Ungersbock – CEO of Sustainable Tourism Partnership Program (STPP)
Professor Kevin Mearns, UNISA

In addition to the above-mentioned aim of the conference, the delegates will be engaged in conducting the necessary gap analysis in order to gain greater insights into the main opportunities and benefits of Sustainable Tourism development as well as barriers that are preventing Member States and private sector stakeholders from implementing a holistic Sustainable Tourism agenda.

The conference is supported by a wide range of partners led by UNWTO.

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