Responsible Tourism News May 2014

Professional Masters in Responsible Tourism

Time to nominate your winners for the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014

Llegó la hora de indicar los ganadores de la premiación World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014

Chegou a hora de indicar os vencedores da premiação World Responsible Tourism Awards 2014

We are looking for the leaders, the innovators and the outliers, the people setting the pace, the people that the judges believe others should be emulating.

This year there are eleven categories – there will be an overall winner and a People’s Choice as well. New categories include animal welfare, beach tourism, city hotel, short film and best for people with disabilities: new this year we are looking for examples which will inspire change. This is about a great deal more than wheelchair access. The judges are looking for a tourism attraction or facility making holiday experiences accessible and enjoyable for all, making everyone equally welcome whatever their physical or mental challenges.

Read more        Nominate           Take responsibility, take part. Nominate

Privatizing the Greek Coast

The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) is reported to be inspecting various popular Greek beaches with a view to them being sold as private property. Some of the beaches on the list for potential sale are: Yalova in Messinia, Tsampika and Agia Agathi in Rhodes, some of the most beautiful beaches in Halkidiki, Agios Prokopios in Naxos, Galissas in Syros and the accessible beach in Irakleia in the Cyclades. Read more

A draft law prepared by the Finance Ministry on coastal development in Greece will do away with long-standing prohibitions against building on the seafront and open the way for beaches to effectively be privatized. It is reported that the new law will also remove the right of citizens to access the sea-front. This is a right clearly enshrined in the Greek constitution which deems the shoreline as public property which citizens have a right to access. The bill would allow private companies to obtain exclusive right of use of beaches requiring only that conditions are imposed ‘which will secure the public’s access following reasoned balancing of the interests which are facilitated or impaired.’
Read more

The Economist has a low opinion of zero hours contracts

The UK government has launched a consultation of zero hours contracts, the leader of the opposition has promised a crackdown if the Labour Party wins the next election. According to a snapshot taken by the Office for National Statistics in January 2014 1.4m UK jobs were based on zero hours contracts. The Chartered Institute of Personnel Development has reported that 4% of workers in the UK could have been forced to accept zero hours contracts. Their survey showed that nearly half (48 per cent) of employers in the hotel, catering and leisure sector had used zero-hours contracts. Read more

Press reports suggest that not all companies in hospitality and leisure in the UK operate zero hours contracts – successful businesses which do not use zero hours contracts include Whitbread, Café Rouge, Bella Italia Mitchells & Butlers and Stonegate. Read more

The Economist is critical “the recovery will not cause unwanted zero-hours contracts to disappear. Some workers will never have much negotiating power: they are constrained by geography, family commitments and lack of competition for their skills among a small number of big employers. Zero-hours contracts make it easier for employers to abuse their labour-market power. Some use them to avoid statutory obligations such as sick and maternity pay. Workers are penalised for not being available when requested. And some contracts contain exclusivity clauses which prevent workers from taking additional jobs. These can harm other employers as well as workers, and actually reduce labour market flexibility. That, at least, is worth doing away with.”  Read more

Liverpool Conference: Mind the Gap – Addressing the Tourism Divide

VisitEngland, Tuesday, 10 June 2014 from 10:30 to 16:15 ,Liverpool, free
The conference will focus on the opportunities and challenges facing the regional growth of tourism around the country. Headline speakers include: The Lord Shipley OBE, Deputy Chair, Regional Growth Fund Independent Advisory Panel, Helen Grant MP, Tourism Minister and Evan Davis, Economist, Journalist & BBC presenter. With London booming, where does that leave the rest of England? Experts from destinations, transport and the tourism industry will debate how we can work together to address the widening gap between the capital and the rest of England. Read more 

Where next for the Olympics and FIFA?

Problems in Sochi with the Winter Olympics and in Brazil and Qatar with the FIFA World Cup following on the strikes in South Africa before and after the FIFA World Cup in 2010 raise the issue of who can now afford to stage such lavish sporting events. The main beneficiaries appear to be FIFA and the International Olympic Committee rather than the host countries. The Guardian reported that from Krakow to Stockholm, cities are pulling out of holding the 2022 Winter Olympics. Read more

Bogus Orphanages are now an issue in the mainstream media

Over the last few years a number of NGOs and companies have campaigned about orphanage tourism, raising awareness about how the money donated by tourists and paid by tourism businesses for orphanage visits has encouraged internal trafficking in children. The headline on the story in The Guardian ran “Nepal’s bogus orphan trade fuelled by rise in ‘voluntourism’ – Poor parents routinely duped into sending children to homes where owners use them to extract money from foreign visitors.” Read more

The Phnom Penh Post carried a report on 26 May that the American director of the Hope Transitions Christian orphanage in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district was in court accused of abusing boys after they were brought to stay at the orphanage. All were under 15 years of age at the time of the alleged assaults. Are any tourism businesses still supporting this orphanage? Read more

The sexual exploitation of children is not just a developing country issue

16 victims between the ages of 12 and 16 were released in Kent (the country I live in in England) following raids on an “organised criminal network” believed to be behind child sexual exploitation in the Slovakian Roma community have resulted in 22 arrests in Kent. Read more

If you want to keep up with the Child Protection issues in tourism there is very active Facebook group

Campaign against the keeping of dolphins and whales in captivity for entertainment

reponsibletravel.com’s campaign against the keeping of dolphins and whales in captivity has received mainstream press publicity and travellers appear to be expressing concern on ethical rather than welfare grounds. Read more

The Daily Mail has covered the issue too: “Free Willy! Eighty-six per cent of tourists no longer want to watch killer whales and dolphins performing tricks in captivity”. Read more

Free Tibet campaign broadens its boycott campaign about labour rights in international hotels in Tibet 

The Free Tibet campaign has broadened its campaign against the compliance of international hotel groups in Lhasa (Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Starwood, Wyndham and Shangri-La) with an instruction from the police to report all Tibetan guests from certain politically-sensitive areas to the security forces. Read more

Charity Treks, Charity Holidays – are they charitable?

The BBC magazine has been questioning why “walks to Everest base camp, skydiving, and other high-octane experiences” should be regarded as charitable – the main beneficiaries are often the holiday makers and the companies which arrange the trips. “It is arguable venturing up Machu Picchu or cycling around Australia are not charity events, they are activity holidays. Gemma Carter, a nurse from Wolverhampton agrees. ‘A friend asked for sponsorship to swim with sharks,” she said. “As far as I’m concerned, that is asking me to pay for her hols.’” Read more