What is ICRT West Africa?
As an integral part of an international network of responsible tourism proponents, the International Centre for Responsible Tourism-West Africa (ICRT-WA) operates as a charitable organisation, running a wide range of programmes, courses, workshops and conferences to help stakeholders keep abreast of responsible tourism issues. Based in The Gambia, the ICRT-WA, which is associated with the ICRT at Leeds Beckett University and Manchester Metropolitan University is sometimes able to source grants, awards, scholarships and fees to citizens of African nations so that they may participate and benefit from activities promoted, managed or sponsored by the Centre.
ICRT-WA (which began its life as ICRT-The Gambia) is a tourism organisation that promotes an ethical approach to tourism by all its stakeholders.
In 2004 SST-Switzerland provided funding to run the first Responsible Tourism Management course. The application was supported by Dr. Harold Goodwin, the Director of ICRT.
ICRT-WA focuses on academic training that is tourism-related, relevant and significant to changing the way tourism affects communities, individuals and the environment, particularly in developing countries.
Specifically ICRT-WA supports and maintains Responsible Tourism training programmes as a subject area for students of contemporary developmental studies.
A brief history
Reacting to the urgent need for a holistic approach to utilize the changing face of international tourism as a catalyst for positive social transformation and environmental protection and improvement in The Gambia, an advisory committee came into being to implement two short courses within the Responsible Tourism MSc programme at the University of directed by Dr. Goodwin.
ICRT-West Africa has taken on a regional dimension with more emphasis on encouraging West African countries to export their world tourism products while at the same time making sure that all stakeholders play by responsible tourism ‘rules’of. From a regional and local perspective, this provides the best hope for countries where tourism exists that has the potential for social and environmental transformation but where Responsible Tourism principles are either under-utilized or misapplied, resulting in more losers than winners.
In 2007 a Tourism Trade Fair (dubbed MBOKA (2007) was organised by the Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Tourism (ASSET) of The Gambia and ONITS, its national equivalent in Senegal. The theme of the Trade Fair was to encourage Responsible Tourism Development in the two countries. The success and moral appeal of the idea behind the fair inspired the advisory committee of the ICRT-The Gambia to go on a re-branding exercise. Thus the idea of ICRT-West Africa was born, moved by the simple but persuasive concept of sharing local RT successes with other countries in the region.
ICRT West Africa's objectives