Africa Travel Week
responsible tourism

CATCH-UP: How can tourism create more value for local communities?

Inclusion and reducing poverty are as crucial as tackling climate change and biodiversity loss as post-Covid we struggle to realise the Sustainable Development Goals’ aspirations. We’ve brought together a panel of practitioners to share their experience of how best sufficient we can create sufficient value to raise the living standards of local people in the areas that attract tourists.


Glynn O’Leary
Co-founder and Chief Executive of TFPD

Glynn together with his partners established TFPD in 2006 after they met leaders of the Mier and Khomani San (Bushmen) communities who were owners of a then decaying tourist lodge in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. They experienced first-hand the sense of despondency on the part of the community who described what they had hoped would be a tourism asset, as being “nothing more than a white elephant”. Today, under TFPD’s management, the Khomani San and Mier are the proud and active owners of !Xaus Lodge, an iconic multiple Responsible Tourism Award winning & Fair Trade certified destination.

Dr Salifou Siddo
Chief Executive of SME TradeLinks (Pty) Ltd

Dr Salifou Siddo is a veteran of the tourism industry in South Africa. He is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, in the USA, where he studied Communications as a Fulbright student. Dr Siddo’s career in tourism started in 1998 when he joined SANParks as Head of Communications. After SANParks, he became the founding CEO of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) in 2001 where he served for six years before moving on to take up a directorship at Zatic Group (Pty) Ltd, the tourism investment company behind the development of the Soweto Hotel, the first 4-star hotel in the world famous township.

James Fernie
Founding Director of Uthando

A law graduate from The University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), James started his career as a paralegal at Clifford Chance, a sizable corporate law firm in London. At the end of a two-year stint in the UK, James completed a 6-month traineeship or “Stag” with ECCO, the European Commission Humanitarian Office in Brussels, Belgium. James returned to South Africa in 1997 and qualified as an attorney at Cape Town law firm Francis Thompson and Aspden. A restless desire to travel, coupled with a deep passion for South Africa, saw James change career disciplines and pursue a career in international sales and marketing in the tourism industry.

Adama Bah
Founder of the Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia

Adama Bah has over 40 years’ experience of working in the tourism industry in The Gambia and other West African countries. He spent over 25 years in operational roles in The Gambia’s hotel industry, latterly as a Deputy General Manager responsible for hotel operations and human resources. He then turned to tourism and management consultancy, initially as on a DFID funded pro-poor tourism project and subsequently as a business development and management consultant on the highly successful Gambia is Good agriculture to tourism linkages project.

Rupesh Kumar
State Responsible Tourism Mission Coordinator, Responsible Tourism Mission, Govt. of Kerala

Rupesh Kumar, played an eminent role to develop Kerala as one of the leading Responsible Tourism Destination in the world. He is leading the Responsible Tourism activities of Kerala from the beginning. His selfless work in the sector for the past 15 years helped the Responsible Tourism Movement in Kerala as an alternative tourism model of the state. Rupesh Kumar selected as one of the Sustainable Tourism Leader/Champion by Conde Nast Traveller. He is selected as the Indian Responsible Tourism Leader (Judges Choice Award – 2020) by OutLook Traveller and he is the Out Standing Achievement Award (2020) Winner of WTM Responsible Tourism.


Harold Goodwin
Responsible Tourism Advisor, World Travel Market

Harold puts together the flagship Responsible Tourism programme at WTM London which attracted 4000 participants in 2020 and the programmes run at WTM Africa, WTM Latin America and Arabian Travel Market. Harold has worked on 4 continents with local communities, their governments and the inbound and outbound tourism industry. He is Managing Director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and chairs the panels of judges for the World Responsible Tourism Awards and the other Awards in the family, Africa, India and Latin America.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.