The opportunities that innovation opens up for tourism and the importance of promoting initiatives in the field of sustainability and ethics will constitute the main topics of the activities to be organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at FITUR 2016, with the support of the Fair. FITUR, whose 36th edition will be held from 20 to 24 January in Madrid, constitutes a global meeting point for tourism professionals.
Innovation in tourism is the theme of the annual UNWTO Awards. 2016 marks the twelfth edition of this initiative, which gathers tourism success stories from all around the world. The UNWTO Awards Gala Dinner and Ceremony, and the Forum that precedes it on 18 January, represent an opportunity to exchange best practices and to build synergies. The Forum will feature presentations by all the Awards finalists.
Social responsibility and sustainability will be given special attention in UNWTO’s programme at FITUR, with the 2nd International Conference on ‘Nearly Zero Energy Hotels’, the UNWTO/ONCE Foundation Seminar on Accessible Tourism and the presentation of the UNWTO/Global Compact Spain project ‘Responsible Tourism: A Commitment by All’. The initiative aims to promote social responsibility among companies and business associations in the tourism sector as well as to foster their real and lasting commitment to the ethical principles that underpin responsible and sustainable tourism.
Business opportunities in Africa and tourism development in the Middle East
Business and investment opportunities in Africa will be the focus of the VII Tourism Investment and Business Forum for Africa – INVESTOUR, an initiative of UNWTO, FITUR and Casa África, which will be held on the second day of the fair (21 January). The event will count on the participation of various African tourism ministers as well as of representatives of the Spanish Government. The private sector will also participate in the initiative, which includes two round tables and a B2B session. The first round table will address the challenges of investing in Africa, while the second will discuss strategies for increasing the competitiveness and tapping into the potential of tourism in Africa both the regional and global levels.
The Middle East will also receive a special attention within UNWTO’s activities at FITUR. A Ministerial Round Table on Tourism Development Policies and Strategies in the Middle East and North Africa (21 January), to be held in conjunction with Casa Árabe, will discuss strategies for promoting sustainable growth in times of crisis.
Other initiatives by UNWTO during FITUR include the 2nd Conference on Shopping Tourism, organized by UNWTO in cooperation with FITUR, and the presentation of the ‘Global Forum on Food Tourism’. Organized by UNWTO in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, the event will take place in Lima in April 2016.