There has long been an academic critique of the ways in which our industry commodifies cultures and cultural artefacts. At the heart of Responsible Tourism is the principle that communities should use tourism for their sustainable development rather than be used by it. We aspire to create meaningful connections between hosts and guests, what does that mean for practice? How can we celebrate diversity better?
Judy Kepher Gona
Director and Lead consultant at Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda
Judy is a thought leader in sustainable tourism with over 20 years’ experience championing responsible tourism in Africa and beyond. From setting up Africa’s first ecotourism society to working with communities in tourism and conservation, developing, managing and being an assessor for several sustainable tourism recognition programs, Judy’s contribution to sus-tainable tourism transcends continents.
Experientialist-in-Chief of luxury & experiential travel journal, OutThere magazine
Uwern Jong is Experientialist-in-Chief of luxury and experiential travel journal rooted in diversity, discovery and discernment, OutThere magazine. He was the 2020 Winner of “Editor of the Year” at the Campaign Publishing Awards and led the title to win “Publication of the Year” the 2018 Travel Media Awards. Through OutThere, Uwern also delivers bespoke content creation and creative branding, primarily working with destinations and luxury travel brands, specialising in both luxury and inclusive and diversity-driven content for the modern traveller. He is the Founder of the global LGBT+ Travel Symposium series, helping and training travel brands to be more inclusive in their outreach and Co-Founder of Stockholm LGBT, a members-based destination marketing platform. He is proud to be serving on his second term as a Board Director for IGLTA.
Aziz Abu Sarah
Co-founder of MEJDI TOURS
Aziz Abu Sarah is the co-founder of MEJDI TOURS, a social enterprise that uses travel to create meaningful connections. MEJDI won the intercultural innovation award from the UN and the BMW Group for innovating the Dual Narrative™ concept in travel. Aziz’s educational and conflict resolution work throughout the world has earned him the titles of National Geographic Explorer and Ted Fellow. He was named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Strategic Centre in Jordan. Aziz was also recognized by former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for his work in peace building.
Executive member of Langa Tourism Forum
Siyabulela “Sabu” Siyaka was born, bred, and buttered in the township of Langa within Cape Town South Africa. He was raised around the rich culture and unity within his community, despite the harsh reality of the past. Through his resiliency, he founded Ubizo 2008, which directly translates to “the calling’”. Ubizo is to share the abundance of the townships’ culture and rooted history with the world. As the Vice-Chair of his community’s local government and an executive member of Langa Tourism Forum, Sabu has always and continues to steer his community towards a prosperous and hopeful future by pushing for more social and economic development within Langa.
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.