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In Spain it is mandatory to reserve 2% of jobs for people with disabilities. Confortel has gone considerably beyond this requirement: of the 500 people who work in its hotels, 10% have some kind of disability. And in two of its hotels they have gone even further and created a ‘Special Employment Centre’ where 70% of the staff are disabled in some way. At Confortel Suites Madrid, for example, 55% of the staff have physically disabilities, 33% sensory (i.e. visual and auditory), and 12% mental. It’s a remarkable example of how inclusive is possible for a hotel to be.

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Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP) Education Programme

Categories: Cultural Heritage, Human Capital Development, Intercultural Dialogue, People and Places
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The Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP) Education Programme is an industry philanthropic program started by American Express in 2006. It is now supported by 11 global corporations and several thousand local businesses, and used by 440,000 students from 5,000 secondary schools spread across 12 member countries.

A central component is an emphasis on developing students’ respect for their culture, heritage and environment, along with those of other cultures too. Although not every student will go on to work in the travel industry, the vast majority will end up as tourists. Thanks to the training provided by GTTP, they will all be more aware of the issues that will confront them.

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Mountain Shepherds Initiative

Categories: Asia, Human Capital Development, People and Places, Private Sector, South
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Founded in the Himalayan region of Nanda Devi in 2006, the Mountain Shepherds Initiative has trained up more than 70 youth, both boys and girls, to work in responsible adventure tourism. Those that stay with the initiative can own shares in the company – so far 12% of the total equity is owned by the youth, and the percentage is growing each year. Recently the group has begun to share its model with other similar communities spread across the Himalayas, helping sustain these remote and inaccessible villages, while also ensuring the preservation of the natural heritage that surrounds them.

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By taking tourists to visit Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, Reality Tours & Travel breaks down negative stereotypes and shows visitors how the area is the heart of small-scale industries like embroidery and leather tanning in Mumbai. 80% of the company’s profits go to development projects through its sister NGO, Reality Gives, which range from computer classes to a girls football program, and I Was a Sari, a women’s empowerment scheme that turns old saris into designer products. In the seven years since it started Reality Tours & Travel has spent US$134,000 on such projects, and recently expanded to working in New Delhi with the Sanjay Colony slum as well.

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Red Sustainable Travel

Categories: Americas, Central, Community, Fauna, Human Capital Development, People and Places, Planet
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At Magdalena Bay in Mexico’s Baja California, an innovative tourism start up called Red Sustainable Travel is using responsible adventure tourism to persuade fishermen to change from practices that are killing sea turtles, and seek alternative livelihoods in ecotourism instead. Some 185 local people have been trained in the principles of sustainability and business management and US$120,000 has been generated in community salaries from employment in sustainable tourism. It’s still early days for the company, but for the turtles of Magdalena Bay, it’s already a case of better Red than dead.

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The traditional skill of tracking is an indigenous art form which the Tracker Academy has revived. A need was recognised not just in South Africa, but across its borders too and so the Academy was born out of The Peace Parks Foundation , an organisation set up to enable cross border conservation. They recruit from rural communities, offer full bursaries and have a 97% employment rate for graduates. Each a source of pride for principal trainer Renias Mhlongo: “We had a dream to find people who are not educated, bring them into the bush and teach them about nature and tracking.” Not only has this dream come true, but the vision to become cross border custodians of wildlife has too.

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Lao People’s Democratic Republic may be landlocked, but all doors are open for tourism. However, three quarters of population still works in subsistence agriculture, so education in tourism is fundamental. A need catered for by the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH). Set up in 2008, it has two arms: A diploma in Tourism for undergraduates and The Passport to Success for industry professionals. Supported by Luxembourg Development’s (LuxDev), which offers bursaries and funding, it is Laos’ biggest industry training program with over a thousand people studying customer services, food and beverage operations, management and communications. If only every Passport Control was as successful. LANITH makes it look easy.

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Sustainability is a mantra that beats quietly throughout Chepu, an off grid eco-lodge on Chiloe Island, built with sustainable materials. The owners constantly reinvest in eco technology not only to improve their footprints but also to educate guests. Herein lies the innovation. They have installed sensors in water and electric sources, and disseminate usage data to tablets in each bedroom. Guests can, therefore, see their resource usage as well as their Eco Limits – ie. maximum daily resources per person. Eco guests are ‘rewarded’ with a tree being planted in Patagonia or the financial equivalent as a refund. Individual usage is also shown on a screen in the main hallway for all to see. Because at Chepu, sharing is caring.

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Central College Nottingham and The Institute of Travel & Tourism of The Gambia (ITTOG)

Categories: Academia, Africa, Cultural Heritage, Europe, Human Capital Development, Human Rights, Intercultural Dialogue, North, People and Places, West
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High level training is the main tool for embedding sustainable tourism in any destination. It is also the remit of this partnership between Central College Nottingham and The Institute of Travel & Tourism of The Gambia (ITTOG), initiated in 2008. They have a shared mission statement for “Success through Learning”, with Gambian students benefiting from a curriculum created by Central, and UK students undertaking sustainable tourism master classes in The Gambia every year.

Subjects include sustainability, poverty reduction, human rights and social justice which, considering the lack of training in Gambia until then, has had quite an impact. Consequently, ITTOG’s 411 graduates are seguing smoothly into employment, thanks to its growing reputation for excellent, sustainable tourism training.

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Celebrating 50 years in business, Abercrombie and Kent (A&K) is world renowned for quality safaris and attention to detail. The local communities are never considered, however, a mere detail. They are integral. By establishing Destination Management Companies worldwide, and hiring more than 2200 local staff, they know that conservation and community go hand in hand. For example, A&K have always recognised the rights and needs of Kenya’s Maasai people, and run community based projects, support schools and wildlife conservation projects for Maasai children, sponsor wildlife, conservation and health seminars and have been awarded Gold Eco-Rating by Eco Tourism Kenya. Not just details, these A&K programmes have become templates of best practice in community engagement and conservation.

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Africa; Kenya; Masai Mara; Olonana; Tree Planting Ceremony

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Peter Ngori, director of A&K in Kenya, plants a tree in the Masai Mara with help from FOC community scouts at the Talek Environmental Learning Center.

Kenya; Masai Mara; Maasai Woman

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Afrcia; Kenya; Masai Mara; Sanctuary Olonana game drive with elephant

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