International Hospitality Industry Conference Focus on NGOs

October 10, 2011

The 7th International Hospitality Industry Conference was recently held in Riga, Latvia at which several dignitaries were in attendance which included Mr Artis Kampars, Latvian Minister of Economics.

Speaking at the conference was Mr Marcis Liors Skadmanis of the Latvian British Chamber of Commerce, an organisation that has been actively involved in aiding and promoting trade and commerce between Latvia, the UK and world wide. Mr Skadmanis, who initiated World NGO Day which in 2010 was accepted as an official resolution by members of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum and as a lawyer specialising in NGO legislation, concerned his speech with non governmental organisations (NGOs) which have been an outstanding success for their respective countries tourism trade.

Mr Skadmanis sited instances including Conservation Volunteers in Australia, Slovenian Association for Mental Health (SENT) in Slovenia and Kéroul in Canada. Each of these three organisations has been awarded the United Nations World Tourism Organisation 2011 Ulysses Prize for Innovation in Non-Governmental Organisation. He also spoke about Alpine Pearls from Austria which was awarded the Destination Stewardship Award as part of the 2011 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards organized by the World Travel & Tourism Council. Another NGO Mr Skadmanis pinpointed was Tourism Concern who published in 2000 ‘The Good Alternative Traveller’s Guide’ and in 2009 ‘The Ethical Travel Guide.

What all of these NGOs have in common is creating ethical solutions for peoples and situations previously overlooked by large governmental organisations. These NGOs have had a positive effect on their local communities and environment.

‘This is only a small selection of success stories proving a partnership and collaboration with non-governmental tourism organizations is essential, financially rewarding for the private and public tourism organizations and rewarding in general for the tourist,’ said Mr Skadmanis, ‘NGOs can only make the tourism industry stronger and at times of financial uncertainty across the world, its our responsibility to make our local tourism industry stand out.’

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