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Social enterprises in tourism provide a vital impetus for sustainable development

The speakers speak on stage

The importance of social enterprises in tourism is unbroken

Back in 2019 Prof. Dr. Claudia Brözel of the University for Sustainable Development in Eberswalde joined forces with ITB Berlin, the Berlin Travel Festival and Travel Massive to launch and develop a competition for social enterprises in tourism. This globally unique competition is being held this year for the fifth time. To start it off Prof. Claudia Brözel presented new partners in this project and new members of its jury on Wednesday on the Hybrid Stage at ITB Berlin, and also joined with international experts to provide details about the significance of social enterprises in tourism.

Speaking from the USA, Prof. Carole Carlson of Brandeis University explained the many different and positive effects that tourism brings. It leads to cultural exchanges and economic growth, creates employment and offers career opportunities, provides opportunities to get involved as volunteers, donors and sponsors, and is a driving force in the worldwide spread of innovations. “In this way tourism supports almost all 17 sustainability objectives of the United Nations”, Carlson explained. She also pointed out that all the providers of tourism services can contribute to meeting the sustainability objectives of the UN in the accommodation and hospitality sectors, transport, tour operators and all the other service providers in all areas of tourism.

Prof. Carole Carlson presented one exemplary and innovative social enterprise from each of these areas. From the catering and hotel sector she presented STREETS International, a social enterprise that enables disadvantaged orphan children in Vietnam and Cambodia to obtain training in catering. She gave an outstanding example from the transport sector, Ebikes4Africa, whose e-bikes in Namibia can be charged up using solar energy.

Among tour operators she chose Ancestral Teacher, a social enterprise in South America which facilitates meetings with indigenous peoples in order to share in their knowledge. In the field of tourism services she selected Valueable, an organisation that was originally set up in Italy and is now active in eight European countries, enabling over 300 people with learning difficulties, especially with Downs syndrome, to find employment in the hospitality sector.

Since 2019 an important motivation for social enterprises has been provided by the "Social Entrepreneurship Competition in Tourism", which is being held this year for the fifth time. Entries are being invited from relevant enterprises from 1 April. This year the jury for this award has been expanded to include representatives of Amadeus and Audrey Mourguiart, Head of Social Innovation for Amadeus, reported in Berlin that her company has also set up a programme to promote innovation, under the name Travel4Impact. Anyone who is interested can apply for the fourth and current round of awards during the coming weeks.