Responsible Tourism Developments May 2019

  1. Responsible Tourism Awards Feature in the Barcelona Election
  2. Biodiversity Loss, Tourism can make a difference
  3. RTD15: Overtourism and Post-Conflict Tourism
  4. New Airport at Machu Picchu
  5. Fairer and More Inclusive Tourism
  6. Plastics: Galapagos, Capri, Tanzania
  7. Sustainable Destination Partnership: Sydney
  8. Overtourism leads to deaths on Everest and a strike in Paris
  9. Airbnb proposes a new tourism tax model for Amsterdam
  10. Extinction Rebellion Plans to Close Heathrow

1. Responsible Tourism Awards Feature in the Barcelona

In the Barcelona city elections in May Ada Colau’s En Comú party used their World Responsible Tourism Award in the election campaign. It is a mark of the success of the city’s initiatives to tackle the challenges of overtourism that tourism was not a significant election issue this year. more Apply before 31 July

2. Biodiversity Loss, Tourism can make a difference
Earlier this month the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). They reported that,
“…around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss. Without such action there will be a further acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, which is already at least tens to hundreds of times higher than it has averaged over the past 10 million years.”

There is truth in the adage “seeing is believing”, and we saw its strength in the impact of the Blue Planet II exposé of plastic pollution. Wildlife and nature-based tourism are a significant part of our industry. Through the wildlife and nature experiences we offer tourists, our clients and guests, we have a unique opportunity to show them the changes which are occurring.

We don’t need to preach but we do need to show and explain. I well remember the impact that seeing the decline in the mangroves in Belize had on my understanding of climate change and biodiversity loss and the examples of successful interventions to restore them. There are now many examples of businesses which have reversed unsustainable agricultural land and deforested areas turning them back to wildlife and creating sustainable livelihoods through tourism.

In this year’s World Responsible Tourism Awards the judges are looking, in the Best for Wildlife and Nature Conservation category, for examples of tourism enterprises which have made a tangible difference to the conservation of nature which is locally significant. The judges will take into account the size of the business and the scale of the demonstrable impact – we shall level, as best we can, the playing field between large initiatives and smaller ones.

3. RTD15: Overtourism and Post-Conflict Tourism
The 15th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations is being organised in Northern Ireland by the National Trust.
Giants Causeway, Derry and Belfast 23-25 September with an optional extension in Belfast 26-27 September.

The Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim has more than 1.5 million visitors a year, Northern Ireland’s flagship destination. They have begun a major programme of research designed to enable them to manage success – some of that research will be ready to share at the conference. Parc Guell in Barcelona and the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s top visitor attraction, are similarly addressing the challenge of coping with success.

The Good Friday Peace Agreement signed in 1998 resulted in the creation of Tourism Ireland, an all-island organisation set up to market the island of Ireland abroad as a tourist destination, along with Tourism Northern Ireland they have successfully generated a remarkable increase in visitors. Tourism has been a significant part of the peace dividend.

Working with Mejdi Tours based in Boston (USA) we have planned a day of visits and talks in Derry to discuss post-conflict tourism and to enable you to experience it. Mejdi are leaders in socially conscious tourism and the originators of the Dual Narrative Tour ™. They are the world’s leading experts on post-conflict tourism now operating tours in 20 countries.

4. New Airport at Machu Picchu
In 2018 Machu Picchu received 1.5 million visitors, nearly double the limit recommended by UNESCO. Work has already begun on a new airport in Chinchero, the Inca city that is the gateway to the Sacred Valley in Peru. The new airport will increase visitor numbers at Machu Picchu damaging both the site and the visitor experience. The new airport makes both arriving and leaving easier – reducing length of stay Peru’s revenue per visitor.

Image result for chinchero airport construction

5. Fairer and More Inclusive Tourism
The idea of Fairbnb is now three years old, it plans to take 15% on bookings, half the commission goes to non-commercial meeting spaces, community centres or social housing. more

In East Africa, the International Labour Organisation has committed to supporting efforts to create decent work and improve labour productivity with targetted training focussing on the role of tourism as a catalyst for jobs, inclusive socio-economic development and poverty reduction in rural areas and will pay particular attention to gender equality issues. more

6. Plastics: Galapagos, Capri, Tanzania
Plastic in paradise: the battle for the Galápagos Islands’ future, can the Galapagos be made plastic free.

In Capri tourists now face steep fines of up to €500 (£430) should they be caught using non-biodegradable plastic bags, single-use plastic plates, cups, straws and cutlery. more
Tanzania has banned the use of plastic bags joining 13 other countries in Africa although illegal use continues. more

7. Overtourism leads to a strike in Paris
We live in a finite world nowhere can absorb ever-increasing numbers of visitors, this applies to tourism too.

On Everest queues on the mountain have contributed to deaths. Robin Haynes who died on Mount Everest said ‘delays could be fatal’ just hours before he collapsed near the summit.

more

In Paris, security staff at the Louvre walked out on 27th May. The striking employees argue that the 20% growth in visitor numbers since 2009 has resulted in an “unprecedented deterioration in visiting conditions, and obviously working conditions”. The staff “refuse the transformation [of the museum] into a cultural Disneyland.” They are demanding an increase in visitor services staff and the rapid adoption of a new cap on the number of visitors permitted to enter the museum. more

8. Sustainable Destination Partnership: Sydney
Founded in June 2018 with 40 founding members, now representing almost half of Sydney’s hotel rooms, the majority of well-known cultural and entertainment venues and key industry associations and supporters. Informed by the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision, the partnership is working on projects that will reduce environmental impacts while saving money and attracting new customers. It has developed programs on single-use items, food waster, sustainable procurement and shared targets and indicators to measure and report progress. more

9. Airbnb proposes a new tourism tax model for Amsterdam
Airbnb cannoned this month that it has collected over €25m in tourism tax since 2015. It reports that it has collected and remitted more than €910 million ($1 billion) in tourist taxes in more than 400 jurisdictions around the world.

Airbnb wants to increase tourism tax in crowded areas for all overnight guests – whether they stay in a hotel, bed&breakfast or home – to encourage visitors to stay outside the city centre. They argue that this would reduce the pressure on the city centre and support the ambition of the City Government to better spread tourism. Airbnb also wants to involve more citizens in the spending process and let Amsterdammers decide how to spend this important tax revenue – approximately €80 million per year. more

10. Extinction Rebellion Plans to Close Heathrow
Extinction Rebellion activists are threatening to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones. They plan a one-day demonstration in June and then 10 further days in July – unless the government cancels plans for expanding the airport. more

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Harold Goodwin blogs regularly on the  WTM Responsible Tourism Blog
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