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Corals and reefs: a key topic at the 15th Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals

Dive in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic / © Dominican Republic Tourism Ministry

The Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals is taking place for the fifteenth time at ITB Berlin. ’Corals and reefs’ is the slogan of this unique symposium, which is being held from 4 to 6 March 2020.

At the 15th Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals leading international guest speakers representing all areas of tourism, business and science will share their findings and experiences. This year, under the heading of ’Corals and reefs – The living gardens of the deep in peril’, the symposium in Hall 4.1b will focus on the importance of corals and reefs.

Inspired by the motto, the kick-off of the 15th Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals on Wednesday, the 4th of March, will highlight the wealth of the enigmatic corals and reefs around the world, their biodiversity, resilience and importance to human beings and marine wildlife. Be it either for people not living near the oceans or for just “out of sight, out of mind”, humans are not aware of how their activities are directly or indirectly causing serious problems to corals and reefs. For example, the corals ‒ fascinating, colourful animals ‒ are dying or in the process of extinction because of “black band disease”, “white syndrome”, “bleaching”, other diseases and aggressor species. These degradation effects on them are caused by pollution, overfishing, blast fishing, poisoning, souvenir production, costal development, high water temperature, natural phenomena, reckless diving tourism, local boating, shipping and endless other reasons. At the 15th Pow-Wow for Tourism Professionals, these devastating key issues as well as challenges confronted by corals and reefs when attempting to mitigate their problems, regenerate them and implement a sustainable and responsible tourism and development will be discussed.

On Wednesday, 4 March The pow-wow will be opened by Mariana McGill, Official Consulting Partner of ITB Berlin and founder and managing director of Latin America World Germany, and a keynote speech by Hilary Cox (MBE), formerly North Norfolk district councillor and currently town councillor for Cromer, Norfolk. Afterwards, from 11 to 11.45 a.m., Dr. Catharina Greve, project coordinator for the National Park Coastal Protection and Marine Conservation of the Land of Schleswig-Holstein, will explain how marine life in the Wadden See can be explored in an environmentally friendly manner. From 12 to 12.30 p.m. Marco Giraldo, managing director of TourCert Germany and Peru, will talk about responsible tours offering sustainable travel that protects corals and reefs. Diana Körner will then speak about ’25 years of protecting coral reefs’ as a result of eco-tourism on Chumbe Island Coral Park in Tanzania. Afterwards, the astronomer Dr. Andreas Hänel of the Dark Sky Technical Group, Vereinigung der Sternfreunde e.V., will take a look at the skies and explain how studies have found that increasing levels of light pollution are negatively impacting coral and fish populations.

On Friday, 6 March, the session from 11 to 11.45 a.m. will focus on “The wonderful marine wildlife of the Dominican Republic’ with Petra Cruz, European director of the Tourism Association of the Dominican Republic, Marion Hammerl, president of the Global Nature Fund and Tim Philippus, ‘whale whisperer 2020’, Coral gardens, coral labyrinths, caves, underwater cliffs and shipwrecks are the habitat of a wide variety of animals and in part enjoy protected status as national parks. Whale whisperer Tim Philippus will give an impressive multimedia presentation and take the audience on a tour of the wonders of marine wildlife. Marion Hammerl, who has worked on several nature conservation projects in the Dominican Republic, will provide an insight into the fragile biotope of coral reefs and mangroves, which are among the most world’s most endangered eco-systems, and will explain what is being done to protect them.

Hall 4.1b, Adventure Stage

Photo Copyright: Dominican Republic Tourism Ministry

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