Meeting partners and local heroes

Meeting partners and local heroes

Kate and I are not great ones for trade exhibitions. We normally don’t quite feel we “fit”. However, World Travel Market (shorthand: WTM) is a must for us every year. Why, you may ask:


First – there are the Responsible Tourism Awards … and you’ve no doubt noticed that we won best volunteering organisation last year! Thanks to those of you who nominated us this year … but we decided not to stand for 2010 awards. We felt that 2010 has been a year of consolidation for us and we believe that to really justify a win, we need to be able to document a new initiative. Maybe next year – so please keep those nominations coming!

Read about all the winners here.

Second – it’s a great opportunity for us to meet up with our overseas partners: established and new.

This year we had great meetings with our Indian partners, Anita and Mandip from Ibex – and we were so pleased to have the opportunity to meet the Deogarh hosts to the volunteer programme, the Rawat’s family. It was a good opportunity to smooth some wrinkles out of the current programme and also learn more about new programmes we are hoping to launch early in 2011. If you would like us to send you information on the new project please email

We also met up with Quinn and Ricardo from CREES, our partners in Peru – their enthusiasm (and youth?) is awesome! Quinn and Ricardo are working on expanding our programme in Peru – looking for business and admin skills, so again, let Kate know if you would like to be kept up to date.

Adama, from our partners in The Gambia, Faces & Places, was over for WTM as well. He is quite the busiest man I know – but we did grab a couple of meetings and he told us that a new member of staff called Lamin has joined them to manage the day to day process for the volunteer programme. We were able to finalise some details on the pre school project too.

We also spent a few hours with our newest local partner in Cambodia – we will be recruiting volunteers to work in Seam Reap in 2011 – education, business, health care. Again, email Kate if you would like a heads up on these projects.

Wednesday 10th November was World Responsible Tourism day . Kate and I have been attending since 2006 and it was really heartening to see how important responsible tourism is becoming to many operators. Take a look at the spotlight magazine which highlights some of the great work being done by the tourism industry (we are pretty proud that no less than 4 of the articles highlight work by our local partners!)

The awards ceremony, as ever, was inspirational – read about all the winners here. I must find time to visit NihiWatu and I fancy Fiji too!

Wednesday evening we went to the ICRT party … always a great occasion and chance to catch up with all sorts of live wires in the RT world. It’s a mixture of ICRT alumni, UK tour operators, press and overseas operators – all of whom are passionate about responsible travel – i.e. making better places for people to live in and people to visit. We also had an opportunity to catch up with John from Explore who is the company director at I’ve been working with to develop the Explore volunteer trips.

Adama, Anita, Mandip and Ricardo were at the party too – I love it when local partners can meet up and compare notes.

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