RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 05/ 2021

  1. If not now, when?
  2. Addressing Overtourism 
  3. Madhya Pradesh Webinar on Regenerative Tourism 
  4. Living with Covid-19
  5. Biodiversity and Telling the Wrong Stories About Africa, WTM Africa 
  6. Inclusive Tourism: Growing the Local Economic Impact
  7. Progress in Aviation?
  8. Sustainable Hospitality Handbook Booking.com
  9. 100% Pure Future—New Zealand Tourism Renewed
  10. Miscellany

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  1. If not now, when?
    As US President Joe Biden asserted this is the “decisive decade” for tackling climate change. “Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis… The need for action is increasingly urgent. The longer we procrastinate the more damage we shall do and the greater the cost. more
    The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported on 27 May that there is about a 40% chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level in at least one of the next five years – and these odds are increasing with time. WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas. “Increasing temperatures mean more melting ice, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather, and greater impacts on food security, health, the environment and sustainable development,” more
    An Inconvenient Truth: Net-zero is a dangerous trap the bath analogy works because even if we reduce the flow into the bath, the bath can still overflow. As long as emissions are added to our atmosphere faster than they are removed then concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase and climate change worsens.  Collectively the research scientists Dyke, Watson and Knorr have spent more than 80 years thinking about climate change.  "… the idea of net-zero has licensed a recklessly cavalier “burn now, pay later” approach which has seen carbon emissions continue to soar."
    WTM, as part of its forthcoming Platform for Change, has published Time for Effective Action to Remove Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation.
    The European Union has recognised that it now needs to adapt to Climate Change "setting out the pathway to prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. While the EU does everything within its power to mitigate climate change, domestically and internationally, we must also get ready to face its unavoidable consequences. From deadly heatwaves and devastating droughts to decimated forests and coastlines eroded by rising sea levels, climate change is already taking its toll in Europe and worldwide."
  2. Addressing Overtourism
    Barcelona
    has launched a new app to enable visitors to avoid congestion, visitors and residents alike can access real-time information about how busy the tourist sites are and the availability of tickets. The new app aims to prevent congestion at tourist sites and offer alternatives to visitors. The Observatory of Tourism in Barcelona has published its report on the results of the Survey on the profile and habits of tourists visiting Destination Barcelona during 2020 Turisme de Barcelona launched its campaign “Barcelona like Never Before”, to reposition Barcelona with a story about the recovery and re-boot of the city after its closure.
    Geotourist
    has an app that enables you to present and explain your places to the world, their platform enables you to provide interpretation, disperse visitors away from honeypots, bring tourists to unknown places, celebrate local history and culture, wildlife and landscapes, and discover the studios of artists and artisan workshops. The only limits are your time and imagination.
    In Hawaii  there was a move to cut the tourism promotion budget, defeated by councillors arguing that “We want our tourists when they come to come and be pono [righteousness] and responsible tourists. And when we take away this money, we are not going to be able to articulate that message,” said Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz, citing recent examples of bad behavior, or cluelessness about dangers, from visitors at Waipio Valley and Four Miles park."
    In Tahoe Jesse Patterson, chief strategy officer with the League to Save Lake Tahoe says “People leaving litter or other things behind, crowding places that are already crowded, parking and traffic issues related to that which become safety issues when you’re on a highway, near a cliff or on a boat for the first time ever with a bunch of other people on boats for the first time ever.” A travel pledge has been launched: “Demonstrate mindful travel. Be fire safe. Become a steward of Lake Tahoe,”  Shared stewardship with residents and visitor alike taking responsibility. “Locals play just as much of a part in this,” notes Devin Middlebrook, Mayor Pro Tem of the city of South Lake Tahoe. “We are also recreating. We are also going out and driving our cars around the Tahoe Basin. It’s not a visitor’s problem. It’s an ‘everyone’ challenge that we’re all working to solve.”
  3. Madhya Pradesh Webinar on Regenerative Tourism
    Webinar Registration
  4. Living with Covid-19
    Global coronavirus cases continue to rise, deaths have also been rising, however official figures may not fully reflect the true number in many countries. As the World Health Organisation constantly reminds us, a global pandemic requires a world effort to end it – none of us will be safe until everyone is safe. There are still many destinations around the world reliant on tourism for nationally significant numbers of livelihoods and precious foreign exchange, which dare not open their borders. For the less developed countries learning to live with Covid is a major additional burden. Most of the world remains unvaccinated. The BBC has an interactive web page with graphics showing the continuing rise in cases and progress with vaccination.

    In an effort to take the nationalist politics out of the discussion of Covid-19. Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead has argued that "No country should be stigmatised for detecting and reporting variants, the UK Kent variant is now Alpha, the South African variant is Beta, the Brazil variant, Gamma and the India variant Delta. full list
    None of the transition to living with Covid-19 is going to be easy. There are reports in the mainstream press of more than 1,200 vendors operating in the UK and worldwide, offering false documents for as little as £25. more  Border staff ‘catching 100 fake Covid certificates a day’ at UK border. more  People thinking about travelling internationally need to answer at least six questions: 1) Am I fully vaccinated? 2)  What are the local entry requirements? 3) Can I visit the attractions I want to see? 4) What’s the current COVID situation at my destination?  5) Where will I get a COVID test? 6) Can I quarantine after returning? 7) Can I afford the cost and time to quarantine? 8) Where should I sit on the plane? 9) Can I get adequate insurance? Caroline Bologna has asked whether it is ethical to travel internationally before the world is vaccinated? 
    The UNWTO has published a series of Inclusive Recovery Guide – Sociocultural Impacts of Covid-19,  I: Persons with Disabilities; 2  Cultural Tourism 3: Women in tourism 4: Indigenous Communities  download them here 
  5. Biodiversity and Telling the Wrong Stories About Africa, WTM Africa
    Tourism and Biodiversity: Friend or Foe?
      Africa is still blessed with much of the world’s charismatic megafauna, the Big 5 and a host of other species which tourists will pay top dollar to see. There can be no doubt that at least some of Africa’s biodiversity is highly valued. Too highly valued perhaps. Some species are worth more dead than alive as trophies, for decoration or “medicine”. As Shaun Vorster pointed out “When it comes to protecting our biodiversity, it is not about zero impact. It has to be about mitigating negative impact and making a positive impact in communities, be it economic, social or ecological.”
    We tell the wrong stories about Africa. We are a storytelling species. Storytelling matters; it creates meaningful connections, we need to do it better. We need to have more diversity in the experiences and stories we tell. Only through storytelling can we realise the ambition of Responsible Tourism to provide “more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues.”We need to think about the stories we tell in the itineraries and places we recommend and market.  We need to take responsibility if travel is to broaden the mind rather than reinforce prejudices.
  6. Inclusive Tourism: Growing the Local Economic Impact
    Joanna Haugen points out in Rooted,  there is a new emphasis on going local learning about and understanding "the nuances of locality in the destinations tour professionals work is an important first step in promoting offerings that meaningfully and intentionally support the people who live there." In Kerala the "West Coast Canal to be made Tourism Water-Highway" as many as 50 tourism spots will be created along the banks, local cuisine, culture, folk arts and handicrafts will be promoted so that local community reaps the benefit. At WTM Africa there was a panel discussing: How can tourism create more value for local communities?  "Let tourism create more value for local communities"
  7. Progress in Aviation?
    The International Energy Agency has just published NZE Net-Zero by 2050: a road map for the global energy sector. "The NZE assumes that aviation growth is constrained by comprehensive government policies that promote a shift towards high‐speed rail and rein in the expansion of long‐haul business travel, e.g. through taxes on commercial passenger flights" - there is more detail pp.135-6.
    In February Julian Allwood, professor of engineering and the environment at Cambridge University wrote to the Financial Times. to argue that the only way the UK can get to net-zero by 2050 is with a substantial period of no aviation at all. Rather than relying on new technologies, the sector should work to reduce emissions using existing technologies. Back in 2019 Absolute Zero warned: "All current aviation activity will be phased out within 30 years, which creates an extraordinary opportunity for other forms of international communication (for example using the technologies of today’s gaming industry to transform today’s backwards-looking video-conferencing), for the travel and leisure industry to expand more localised vacations and for developments in non-emitting mid-range transport such as electric trains and buses".
    Joanna Haugen in Sustainable Brands quotes Dr. Giulio Mattioli, faculty of spatial planning in the Department of Transport Planning at TU Dortmund. “Alternative fuels and propulsion systems may well help with climate mitigation but it will probably be a long time before they are deployed at a scale that makes a difference..... “The aviation industry has a long history of exaggerating how soon new clean technologies will be available, and how much they will help in reducing emissions, in order to deny the fact that travel-demand management measures will also be necessary.”
    A team of researchers at the University of Oxford have revealed what they say is a cost-effective and efficient way of producing jet fuel from carbon dioxide, using an inexpensive iron-based catalyst. The Oxford researchers believe the new method could produce a competitively priced fuel that could potentially eliminate the high emissions burden of air travel. more
  8. Sustainable Hospitality Handbook Booking.com
    Booking.com's 2020 survey found that demand for sustainable accommodation is growing year on year:  82% of global travellers identified sustainable travel as important to them and 70% say they’re more likely to book accommodation if they know it’s eco-friendly – even if they weren’t looking for an eco-friendly property in the first place. Half of those surveyed believe there are not enough sustainable travel options available to them, and 38% don’t know how or where to find such options. Booking.com has just published a Sustainability Guide which they describe as "the first step on our shared journey to change the travel industry together."
  9. 100% Pure Future—New Zealand Tourism Renewed
    Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on New Zealand tourism. But the industry was already troubled by unchecked growth and questionable governance that has put pressure on the environment, infrastructure and communities. To thrive, the tourism sector needs to radically rethink its role in our natural environment, society and economy. Its greatest opportunities lie in tackling its greatest liabilities...  Video
  10. Miscellany

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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 02/ 2021

  1. The Critical Decade: we are in clear and present danger
  2. Climate Change is a Cumulative Problem 
  3. Biodiversity Loss is Bad For Us Too
  4. Covid-19 will be part of the new normal
  5. Resilience and Responsibility 
  6. Perfect Storm: Climate Change and Tourism
  7. International Women's Day
  8. OECD Manual: Sustainable & Inclusive Tourism
  9. 2021 India Responsible Tourism Awards & Ethical Travel Awards
  10. Miscellany 


The next edition of RT News will be out at the beginning of April

The Responsible Tourism Hub provides quick links to curated material on Responsible Tourism.
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  1. The Critical Decade - we are in clear and present danger
    Tom Clancy popularised the phrase "clear and present danger" when he used it for his 1989 political thriller. It was the US Supreme Court Justice Holmes who formulated the “clear and present danger” test in a case heard in 1925 asserting that it is a "question of proximity and degree." It was back in February 2010, over a decade ago,  that UN Secretary-General told the UN Environment Programme’s Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum that that "climate change is a clear and present danger."  In 1972 the Club of Rome published Limits to Growth which used a computer simulation to forecast the consequences of the exponential economic and population growth with a finite supply of resources.In 2016, a report published by the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Limits to Growth concluded that "there is unsettling evidence that society is still following the 'standard run' of the original study – in which overshoot leads to an eventual collapse of production and living standards". Download  There is still debate about the limits to growth, debates about individual elements of the science on climate change, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, pollution and what Kate Raworth has conceptualised as Doughnut Economics.

    We have 'known' since 1972 that although we see ourselves as having dominion over nature and our planet which we can exploit for our benefit, individually and collectively, we have known since we first saw those Apollo photographs of  Earth in 1968 that our planet is finite. It is not infinite. Urgent action is required to tackle the connected global threats of climate change and biodiversity loss, and mounting inequality. We have had decades of procrastination and prevarication. This is now the critical decade, we have delayed action for decades refusing to adopt the precautionary principle and paid lip service to sustainability.

    We face a perfect storm of threats to ecosystems, systems which we rely on for human health, welfare and prosperity. We express more concern about the scale of the financial debt burden we leave to future generations, paper debt, than we do about the real material consequences of the greenhouse gas emissions we are bequeathing our children and their children. A debt that will make human life more and more difficult to sustain.

  2. Climate Change is a Cumulative Problem
    Climate change results from the accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. The science now is irrefutable, the burning of fossil fuels since the industrial revolution has increased the quantity of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere to a level where we are changing our climate. Our pollution is changing our climate and making our planet less habitable for ourselves and many other species. We are bequeathing the consequences of our pollution to our children and their children's children. The CO2 we are putting into our atmosphere now will take generations to be removed by natural processes. Getting to zero carbon emissions by 2050 is not the point. We need to cut now the number of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere.

    The UK track recorded reveals the scale of the problem. In the 2008 Climate Change Act, the UK Pledged to cut net emissions by 80% by 2050. The Act established the Climate Change Committee (CCC) as an independent, statutory body. Back in December 2020 it published its Sith Carbon Budget for the period 2033 to 2037. Meeting the Budget’s requirements will require a cut of 78% in emissions by 2035. All new cars, vans and replacement boilers to be zero-carbon in operation by the early 2030s. UK electricity production must then reach net-zero by 2035, in line with the National Grid ESO’s vision, and the majority of existing UK homes will need to be retrofitted in some way also.The CCC has deliberately front-loaded the targets reduce the cost of the transition, as technologies would mature sooner and investors would have the policy certainty needed to provide support at scale. more The Stern Report on the Economics of Climate Change, in 2006 a decade and a half ago, made very clear that delay increased the cost of mitigation and adaptation.As Anderson, Broderick and Stoddard  have pointed out the mitigation plans of even ‘climate progressive’ nations, in this case, the UK and Sweden, fall far short of Paris-compliant pathways given the international community’s obligations accepted under the Paris Agreement and "the small and rapidly dwindling global carbon budget."Like Covid-19 climate change kills people, although generally not “us”.In January, the UN Secretary-General reported that extreme weather and climate-related hazards had killed more than 410,000 people in the past decade, the vast majority in low and lower-middle-income countries. A paper last month in Science Advances reports that vulnerabilities are seen across human and natural systems, including both wealthy and poor communities, and both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and a higher probability of extreme weather events many in areas with large human populations, high human vulnerability, and/or high biodiversity.It is a rare thing for the industry to call for stronger regulation. Last month the Fuelling Flight Project which includes NGOs and major airlines (AirFrance, easyJet, Finnair, IAG & KLM) pointed to 'the risk of massive capital investments in things that increase emissions compared to fossil fuels and/or that become stranded assets’ and called for ‘future proof sustainability requirements’ higher than the ones in the European Commission’s Renewable Energy Directive including ‘clear exclusions of unsustainable feedstocks and pathways such as biofuels from dedicated cropland and PFAD [Palm Fatty Acid Distillate]’.The group, including airlines,  has called for higher sustainability standards before SAF is prioritised and ramped up. As they assert: “Competition for limited resources, particularly in relation to international transport, will not solve the global climate challenge.”

    In February David Attenborough gave a stark warning on climate change to the  UN and called for co-operative international action -sadly in a world experiencing a resurgence in nationalism.

    There is plenty of reason to be concerned. The New York Times has reviewed the scientific research being undertaken into changes in the Gulf Stream, currents swing west from Africa, ultimately influencing weather patterns from Caracas to Miami to Europe. The Gulf Stream propels the heat of the Caribbean past Cape Hatteras before bending toward the British Isles. The fear is that melting Greenland ice will tip the delicate balance of hot and cold that defines not only the North Atlantic. "Without this current — a heat pump on a planetary scale — scientists believe that great swaths of the world might look quite different."

    And some reason for optimism. The most recent  Climate Action Tracker reports that in the last few months of 2020, about 35 countries plus the EU27 submitted an updated or second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC, unfortunately, 10 did not increase the scale of their ambition/ Insert imageJustin Rowlatt, the BBC's chief environment correspondent has expressed optimism pointing to COP26, the fact that counties including Chia are committing to more substantial cuts, the falling costs of renewables, the changes businesses are making and low-interest rates could facilitate a major drive top build back better. A fortnight earlier. Matt McGrath, Rowlatt's colleague at the BBC, filed a story with the headline "'Not enough' climate ambition shown by leaders." Things may be changing but it is too early to tell.

    BP plans to cut oil and gas production by 40pc this decade and push BP further into renewable energy, amid growing public clamour to tackle global warming. Charles de Gaulle airport has abandoned plans for a new terminal.UNDP has conducted a major international survey in 50 countries - the Peoples' Climate Vote. 64% of people said that climate change was an emergency – presenting a clear and convincing call for decision-makers to step up on ambition. Not surprisingly, The highest level of support was in SIDS (74%), followed by high-income countries (72%), middle-income countries (62%), then LDCs (58%). Making companies pay for pollution had high support in seven of twelve high-income countries, led by the United Kingdom (72%) and Canada (69%).

  3. Biodiversity Loss is Bad For Us Too
    Revenues from tourism matter to conservation
    , the Coivd-19 pandemic has demonstrated how important revenues from tourism are to the conservation of habitat and species.  Ecotourism is not good enough: We must take responsibility and distance ourselves, and our industry, from the ‘take only photographs, leave only footprints’ ethic. Tourism needs to put resources into conservation and benefit local communities to recompense them for the opportunity costs of living with wildlife and we need to work harder to counter the illegal trade in wildlife. moreUNEP has just published Making Peace With Nature: "A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies”. They argue that we must improve our relationship with nature, understanding its value and putting that value at the heart of our decision- making" - we need to stop being at war with nature.This is a high-level report with only five references to tourism.Costa Rica is promoting an international coalition that seeks to establish codes so that interactions between tourists and wildlife are safe and ethical. In Agra, Wildlife SOS has launched a campaign to promote responsible and cruelty-free wildlife tourism in India. Domestic cats, lions, tigers, mink, dogs and gorillas can catch Covid-19. The majority of gorilla selfies that researchers found on Instagram violated social distancing rules meant to keep the endangered great apes safe.

    In the UK some areas saw a huge increase in “wild toileting”. Cash-strapped councils, which have no obligation to provide toilets, have been shutting them for years and relying on shops, pubs and cafes to fill the gap. Closed during the pandemic the shortage of public toilets in the UK was revealed.  The Clifton Downs in Bristol have suffered heavy damage in the past year as hoards of visitors flock to the popular spot for fresh air and exercise during the pandemic. Walkers have churned up the grass and vans parked on grass verges have caused two drains to collapse. “The amount of trampling/wear and erosion to the ground has gone from being only in a few key places and at certain times of the year, to be in all parts of the Downs throughout the year.

  4. Covid-19 will be part of the new normal
    Living with pandemics.
    For the future of travel and tourism, we need the world to be much better equipped to deal with pandemics as they emerge. Those countries with recent experience of epidemic diseases have generally been more successful than those which have not. We have learnt to live with and manage influenza; hopefully, we will learn to live with and manage Covid-19 too. The development of broad-based vaccines is likely critical to maintaining the open borders essential to our industry. Otherwise, we may face uncertainty with periodic panic, lockdowns and forced quarantine as a regular hazard for travellers and holidaymakers.This pandemic has revealed just how vulnerable travel and tourism is to diseases spread by people. Although it is also clear that those countries that locked down effectively and quickly had fewer deaths, the travel and tourism sector were still hit hard.With flights cancelled and travellers facing quarantine abroad or on return some become stuck overseas. UKOther nationals have been hit much harder. There are nearly 40,000 Australians stuck overseas because of government caps on international arrivals, transit-country restrictions and expensive and cancelled flights. Although the roll-out of vaccines in the richer countries is proceeding apace there is real concern about how quickly vaccines will get to poorer countries.

    On Feb 24, 2021, 600 000 doses of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Ghana. 2 days later, 500 000 doses of the same vaccine landed in the Ivory Coast. The West African nations are the first countries to receive the product as part of the COVAX initiative, a joint endeavour between WHO, Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which aims to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccines are equitably distributed around the world. Demand for the vaccines will far exceed supply this year and there are growing concerns that poorer countries will get left behind. Even if everything goes according to plan, countries relying on COVAX alone cannot expect to vaccinate more than 20% of their population. more

    In the meantime travel agents in the UK are reporting that they have clients who are still travelling despite the lockdown. In a TravelMole poll of agents, almost 35% said their clients were travelling on business but a further 30% said some clients were taking leisure trips, even though this is against the law. The UK government has tightened regulations on foreign travel. Travellers leaving the UK will have to show a  new permit proving they are travelling for essential reasons in a move to stop Easter holidays being taken abroad. In Kent, there is concern about Airbnb hosts in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay rent rooms out for illegal breaks. Images of large crowds and overflowing bins on Whitstable seafront were shared widely on social media, prompting calls for “spectacularly selfish” visitors to be stopped from flocking to the coast.

  5. Resilience and ResponsibilityWhen there is a "clear and present danger" resilience matters.

    In three decades BlackRock has evolved from an eight-person start-up to a global company trusted to manage more assets than any other investment manager delivering long-term value for the clients and shareholders. Their latest report, Sustainable investing: Resilience amid uncertainty,  reaffirms their view that: "Combining traditional investing with environmental, social, and governance-related (ESG) insights to improve[s] long-term outcomes ... Companies with strong profiles on material sustainability issues have potential to outperform those with poor profiles. In particular, ... companies managed with a focus on sustainability should be better positioned versus their less sustainable peers to weather adverse conditions while still benefiting from positive market environments."For five decades we have mouthed sustainability, paid lip service to it, some have done more and taken responsibility to develop sustainable businesses and destinations. But most have not. We cannot collectively claim that we sustainably utilised resources in a way that avoids depleting them for future generations. We have failed collectively to take responsibility to meet the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and mounting inequality that were foreseen by natural and social scientists, but we have failed to act. The 1987 Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, defined sustainable development refers to development that meets our current needs without hindering the ability of future generations to meet theirs.  We have substantially failed to achieve this at the system level. So now have to cope with the consequences of climate change, biodiversity loss and limits imposed on resource availability by our finite planet.

    In the UK, Sir John Bevan, the chief executive of the Environment Agency said on 23rd February speaking to the annual conference of the Association of British Insurers that: "Much more extreme weather will kill more people through drought, flooding, wildfires and heatwaves than most wars have." He went on to say "The net effects will collapse ecosystems, slash crop yields, take out the infrastructure that our civilisation depends on, and destroy the basis of the modern economy and modern society."

  6. Perfect Storm
    We hear a bewildering amount about how businesses are reducing their carbon emissions. Confusion is a powerful tool in the hands of those wanting to continue with business as usual. There has been much chatter about greenhouse gas emissions having reduced during COVID-19 lockdowns. The continuous data set collected at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, reveals that even with the impact of Covid-19 we have not dented the growth in greenhouse gas emissions, for all the talk, their scientists report that the rate of growth is accelerating.Back in December Antonio Guterres pointed to our folly: “Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal. Nature always strikes back – and it is already doing so with growing force and fury. Biodiversity is collapsing. One million species are at risk of extinction. Ecosystems are disappearing before our eyes,” he said. This is the bad news. The good news is that  “Human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help to solve it.” Last month the UN Secretary-General reported that extreme weather and climate-related hazards have killed more than 410,000 people in the past decade, the vast majority in low and lower-middle-income countries. moreThe IMF has recently published a Working Paper: Perfect Storm: Climate Change and Tourism  The IMF points out that: "While the world’s attention is on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change remains a greater existential threat to vulnerable countries that are highly dependent on a weather-sensitive sector like tourism. The paper concludes that as "extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe over time,.. Caribbean countries need to pursue comprehensive adaptation policies to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change."
  7. International Women's Day
    This edition of RT News is being published on International Women's Day  This year's theme is #ChooseToChallenge, challenge brings change.  We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Wildlife conservation has, until recently, been a male-dominated profession – but the landscape is beginning to change.  The International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) estimates that men outnumber women by 100:1 in front-line conservation. In Botswana, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda women form a larger proportion of the conservation workforce and they are being promoted into leadership positions. Progress is being made but not fast enough.The Fifth Sustainable Development Goal is to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls". 54% of the tourism workforce worldwide is female but they are often predominantly in low-skilled or informal work. Women "have felt the economic shock to tourism caused by COVID-19 quickest and hardest. UNWTO has produced a Series of Recommendations for an Inclusive Response to ensure that women are not left behind." more  Turisme de Barcelona is launching a Women’s Itinerary through Ciutat Vella and a viral action in social media with different working women’s voices on VisitBarcelona's website to highlight the important role of women in the tourism sector promoting equal opportunities.
  8. OECD Manual: Sustainable & Inclusive Tourism
    The paper published in January focuses on five main pillars of policy solutions, and best practices, to help destinations rebuild and flourish in this dramatically changed policy
    context for tourism development. Recommended policy solutions aim to: i) rethink tourism success, ii) adopt an integrated policy-industry-community approach, iii) mainstream sustainable policies and practices, iv) develop more sustainable tourism business models, and v) implement better measurement to better manage. The report presents 9 case studies on destination strategies to support a sustainable and inclusive recovery. The 9 case studies are Austria (Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park), Colombia, Finland, France (Corsica), Japan (Kyoto), Mexico, New Zealand (Bay of Plenty), Spain (Benidorm) and Switzerland.
  9. 2021 India Responsible Tourism Awards & Ethical Travel Awards

    Ethical Traveller describes the purpose of their awards: "Our goal is to encourage practices and mindsets that help create a safer and more sustainable world. Our Ethical Destinations Awards are given to the 10 that have shown the greatest improvement over the past year. They must also offer unspoiled natural beauty, great outdoor activities, and the opportunity to interact with local people in a meaningful, mutually enriching way." more

The 2021 India Responsible Tourism Awards were presented in Konark, Odisha. The winners and the judges' reasons can be found on the Responsible Tourism Partnership website.

 

10: Miscellany

 

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The URL www.rtp.education takes you directly to the RT Hub, which provides easy links to Responsible Tourism on the WTM websites and RT Partnership.

RT News carries the top ten stories on RT – the are many more links to RT stories here.

Sponsored by @WTM_WRTD
WTM Monthly RT Newsletter

RT News Video Channel

 

Responsible Tourism Partnership one of "5 Meaningful Voices In The Push For Responsible Tourism"

 

 

 

Other Responsible Tourism Newsletters

GreenAir
The Sustainabilist UAE
Responsible Cape Town
Climate Change in 7 charts

Responsible Traveller, South Africa
Encounter Africa

Subscribe to WTM’s RT Update here 

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Harold Goodwin’s Responsible Tourism Blog
Harold Goodwin blogs regularly on the  WTM Responsible Tourism Blog
Twitter: @goodwinhj  & @WTM_WRTD #RTourismNews

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Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 05/2020

  1. Reputation Matters: Taking Responsibility in the face of Covid-19
  2. The World Responsible Tourism Awards in the Year of Covid-19
  3. Climate Change is as big a threat as Covid-19
  4. What future for Aviation?
  5. The Economic Impact of Covid-19
  6. Recovery - time to press the reset button?
  7. Immunity Passports?
  8. Resilience relies on others, it cannot be achieved by tourism alone
  9. Covid-19 will not be the end of overtourism
  10. The Covid-19 pandemic threatens wildlife too 

This month sees the launch of a new Responsible Tourism Hub providing quick links to curated material on RT. 

WTM Responsible Tourism Awards

1. Reputation Matters: Taking Responsibility in the face of Covid-19

Covid-19 and Tourism

Successful travel companies invest time and money in customer service to offer a quality experience knowing that repeat business and referrals are driven by people's perceptions of the business. These are very difficult times for the sector with demand having collapsed. UNWTO reported that by the end of April 100% of destinations had restrictions on international arrivals and domestic tourism. Tour Operators have delayed payments to suppliers and procrastinated over consumer refunds, a voucher is of little use to customers who have lost their incomes, the vouchers can't be used buy food.  James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid, penned an open letter recognising that there are aspects of the crisis that they had not handled well. "For any customers who feel disappointed with our response to their enquiries during this time, who feel as though we have taken their trust for granted, or who feel like we’ve let them down, I hear you, and I apologise." He has taken responsibility, apologised and taken action. People remember how you deal with problems - reputations are built and damaged by the ways companies deal with their customers and suppliers in crises.

Last month's RT News carried examples of companies and destinations maintaining meaningful connections with their client base. Ilha Blue, recognised in the 2020 Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Awards, is working during the pandemic to keep their people safe, to use the time to create new experiences and to imagine and create the future they want – more women in their workforce, leadership on environmental issues, new more transformative travel offerings and increased connectivity with their global network of friends/volunteers/travellers. They are doing good and telling their clients and agents about it.

The impact of Covid-19 on holidaymakers is that they don't get a foreign holiday and in many countries any holiday. Of course only a minority ever have a holiday year after year, a holiday is in a fundamental sense a luxury good. In the destinations large numbers of people are put out of work, in larger companies, able to access government funds, they may be furloughed, but the vast majority of tourism is delivered by SMEs, micro enterprises and sole traders. As Justin Francis has argued there is far less welfare support for those who lose their livelihoods in developing countries, there are altruistic and self-interested reasons to act. "The developed north relies on many less developed countries to deliver travel "product". Recovery here requires it there – we need to rebuild together."

Fair Trade Tourism South Africa has pointed out that the "crisis has shone a light on many of the unFair Trade dynamics in the sector and the pause over the coming weeks gives us all time to reflect, to assess, and to redefine how we want travel and tourism to look going forward; to acknowledge the impacts we have; and to unpack the trade dynamics that need to be addressed. It has given us time to remember that humanity comes before commerce and that we need to look out for each other however we can." They list many businesses which have launched fundraisers to offset lost income (and tips) for their staff Coffee Shack Backpackers  & Umlani Bushcamp, stepped up their philanthropic efforts  Uthando (Love) SA , Spier has continued to support its partnerships with local communities, Sani Lodge Backpackers,   Isibindi Africa Lodges is raising funds to purchase and deliver masks, sanitisers and food parcels to its neighbours. Bulungula Lodge completely repurposed the lodge, it was closed to travellers and converted into a Safe Home for the elderly and those deemed most vulnerable. Ubuntu Beds has united hospitality businesses (and their empty beds) with the healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.

South Africa has so far very effectively addressed Covid-19 with a lockdown and a ban on international arrivals and inter-province travel. it has close to 20,000 confirmed cases (close to 4,000 of whom have recovered) and under 200 deaths. But the lockdown has a price. Tourism was seen as an important employer in post-apartheid South Africa, a relativity labour intensive employer which could create employment in urban and rural areas. The travel bans have resulted in real hardship particularly for the community owned lodges often built on restituted land.  Trans-frontier Parks Destinations (TFPD) is approaching clients, operators and agents who sell community owned lodges to contribute to relief funds incentivised by entry into a draw for a fully-inclusive stay and a guaranteed discount on their next booking. !Xaus Lodge is the pride and joy of the local ‡Khomani San and Mier communities, Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge is owned by the Batlokoa community in Phuthaditjhaba.

There are opportunities to do good, and build reputation, in the originating markets too.  Airbnb has encouraged its property owners to offer  healthcare staff and first responders places to stay that allow them to be close to their patients – and safely distanced from their own families. In Los Angeles 300+ hotels have volunteered more than 30,000 rooms to the LA County Department of Public Health and other agencies as temporary shelter to support the region’s COVID-19 response, stepped up their philanthropic efforts.

Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel has pointed to the "new community spirit fostered under the crisis, particularly about how we are all looking out for each other and the vulnerable" and expressed the hope that travel consumers "reward travel companies who can demonstrate they care about local residents, culture and environments throughout their entire operations (not just through token donations to charity)." He reports that the consumer feedback on Responsible Travel demonstrates that "customers find a deeper connection with places and more authentic experiences as a result of tourism designed together with local communities."

2. The World Responsible Tourism Awards in the Year of Covid-19

World Responsible Tourism AwardsThe ambition of the Awards has always been to recognise businesses and destinations which are making tourism better and to spread good practice – to educate, inspire and challenge others to do likewise or do more. In this year when the world faces a global pandemic, it seemed inappropriate to continue with the World Responsible Tourism Awards as usual. Its is not Business as Usual, and the crisis is likely to continue for some time. This year the judges have decided to commend businesses and destinations which are taking responsibility and addressing the challenge of Covid-19.

This year we shall be taking recommendations from anyone keen to tell us about destinations, businesses and other organisations or individuals which are using tourism, or tourism facilities, to address the challenge of Covid-19. To nominate your own business or one you know to be taking responsibility go the Awards page. Remember we can only choose from amongst those that are nominated 

3. Climate Change is as big a threat as Covid-19

The global pandemic has, at the time of writing taken the lives of 280,000, it will likely to take many more. It is an urgent crisis. But Covid-19 is not the only crisis confronting us. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, pointed out on Earth Day, that the toll taken by the virus is both "immediate and dreadful". But the crisis is also a wake-up call, "to do things right for the future." He argues that "Public funds should be used to invest in the future not the past." The subsidies to businesses which damage our environment must cease and polluters must pay for their pollution. Climate risks must be at the heart of all public policy. Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England, has pointed out that 'We can't self-isolate from climate change'.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that the world will use 6% less this year - equivalent to losing the entire energy demand of India. Analysis by Carbon Brief, suggest that emissions this year will fall by 4-8%, saving somewhere between 2 and 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas. The drop in oil consumption has been fives times larger than in the 2009 recession. more  In the UK the government's Committee on Climate Change has advised that investment should be in broadband rather than roads, that unemployment should be tackled by creating green jobs and pointed out that: "Many sectors of the UK economy do not currently bear the full costs of emitting greenhouse gases. Revenue could be raised by setting or raising carbon prices for these sectors.”.  Different countries will move on from Business As Usual to different degrees - the choices societies and their governments make will affect the climate we all share.

4. What future for Aviation? 

The Future for Aviation

The demand for jet fuel is down 65% year on year to April; in Europe flights are down 90%, in the US ~50%. Airbus still has a very healthy order book. "By April 30th, Airbus’ gross orders in 2020 totalled 365 aircraft. After cancellations the net orders stand at 299 aircraft. " It's ".. backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 30th April stood at 7,645."  The Lufthansa airlines group intends to reactivate 80 aircraft in June. Heathrow Airport has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme against a block on its plans for a third runway. The aviation sector is frustrated by airport closures, travel bans, social distancing and quarantine regulations but despite the calls for greener business they are preparing for a return to business as usual. The aviation industry remains our sector’s Achilles’ heel. Although some governments have pushed back on bailouts the sector has secured a great deal of funding with few environmental requirements. Greenpeace, Transport & Environment, and Carbon Market Watch using publicly available data have joined together to maintain a regularly updated, airline bailout tracker. Take a look.

The dependency of aviation on government bailouts creates an ideal opportunity for governments to encourage and fund a step change and to develop new technologies which could provide sustainable jobs through green technology. The French government has adopted a progressive approach, their rescue of Air France is contingent on a reduction in domestic flying and Air France becoming "the most environmentally respectful airline". "When you can travel by train in less than two and a half hours, there is no justification for taking a plane." M. Le Maire, France's Minister of the Economy and Finance, said the coronavirus crisis provided an opportunity to "reinvent our model of economic development to ensure it is more respectful of the environment". 2% of the fuel used by Air France's planes will have to be derived from alternative, sustainable sources by 2025 and by 2030 the airline would have to cut its carbon emissions by half per passenger and per kilometre from 2005 levels. more

5. The Economic Impact of Covid-19

These are extraordinary times, a return to business as usual looks improbable. The IMF is predicting that the ‘Great Lockdown’ will result in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis. They say that there is considerable uncertainty about what the economic landscape will look like when we emerge from this lockdown. For tourism to be possible, the lockdown has to have been lifted at the same time in the source market and the destination. And the traveller needs to be confident that their destination is safe and that there is no risk of being trapped in the destination by a lockdown in the destination or at home. There are likely to be further lockdowns and compulsory quarantine for travellers whenever coronavirus spikes. The travellers will also need to be confident that the risk of catching the virus travelling to the airport, on the plane, coach, train or cruise liner is low. Fear will remain a major deterrent, and travel insurance may continue to be unavailable or too expensive for cover for risks associated with the pandemic, including being quarantined abroad. more

The International Labour Organization estimates that as many as 1.6 billion of the world’s two billion informal economy workers are affected by COVID-19 lockdown and containment measures and face the "dilemma of choosing between dying from hunger and dying from the disease." In the US the cruise industry has been denied bailouts, seen as a consumer luxury industry which is not fundamental to the American economy and an industry which is largely registered abroad avoiding paying tax in the US. New Zealand quickly locked down when Covid-19 arrived and managed to reduce its coronavirus cases to zero in seven weeks. It is now planning a travel bubble, or corridor, including Australia and some Pacific Islands to enable travel and tourism to begin again. At the beginning of May Skyscanner surveyed 2,200 people across three continents and found that travel "remains a priority once restrictions are lifted – with 33% travelling ‘more than ever’ once it’s safe, 31% travelling more cautiously and 22% more domestically."

6. Recovery - time to press the reset button?

There are reports of Airbnb bookings rebounding in  TexasColoradoTennessee, and Alabama all ended lockdown policies in late April. In South Africa, one of the few African countries with a significant domestic market,  Lee-Anne Bac, Director of Strategic Development and Advisory at BDO, is advising that "the industry needs to relook and gear towards catering and marketing to the domestic market" cautioning that "This means having more affordable products in the tourism industry. And, in order for it to be more affordable, there needs to be more flexibility.”

Confronted by the common challenge of restoring normal life without increasing infection rates, countries have responded in ways which reflect their circumstances, culture and their government structures. Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Kerala, Milan and York are all in different ways talking about pressing the reset button. more  Justin Francis has pointed out that the "vast majority of people who work in tourism, reputedly 1 in 12 globally, work in small or micro businesses (restaurant staff, taxi drivers, hotel room service and front desk, curio and craft sellers, guides for museums, etc) and not global corporations. "The economic impacts on them and their families should not be ignored". Jeremy Smith has asked whether tourism can be radically transformed and avoid generating xenophobia, racism, and individualism: "Acts of altruism and support for host communities must continue to be our defining characteristics in the months to come." He goes on to quote Guillaume Cromer who has asked: Instead of putting money back into the machine like we used to, couldn’t we… support citizens who are struggling to go on holidays?

7. Immunity Passports?

In the UK the PM has confirmed plans to force all international arrivals, including returning holidaymakers, to self-isolate.  A position described by Oliver Smith in the Telegraph as "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted". Passengers arriving from abroad will have to provide an address where they will put themselves in quarantine for two weeks, enforced by spot checks and fines. This will not apply to arrivals from the Republic of  Ireland, the Channel Island and the Isle of Man, part of a common travel area, and very probably France.‡ It is not clear if this will apply to passengers who transit through Paris or Dublin. Airlines UK, UK-registered airlines have responded: “This [quarantine] proposal will effectively kill international travel to and from the UK and cause immeasurable damage to the aviation industry and wider UK economy. Nobody is going to go on holiday if they’re not able to resume normal life for 14 days, and business travel will be severely restricted. It will also make it all but impossible for aviation to resume any time soon, thereby setting back the UK’s economic recovery still further.” There can be no leisure travel with quarantine rules in place, and very little business travel.

In the US the TSA is reporting on covid-19 precautions at airports and the numbers of staff who have tested positive, airport security requires a degree of proximity. Until there is a vaccine or effective treatment Covid-19 will constrain international and even domestic travel. Temperature checking cameras are in place at many airports and Heathrow is experimenting with their introduction. Testing at the airport immediately prior to departure may be an option, as is testing on arrival, the Advance Passenger Information system could be used to communicate the results and the testing service could be paid for by the traveller. It is not clear how a refund would be secured if a passengers was denied boarding or how a traveller tested positive on arrival would be treated. Travel insurance is unlikely to cover the Covid-19 risk.

Authorities in Greece, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands have talked about antibody-based passports to enable safe entry for tourists. In the UK Onfido, submitted written evidence on “the role of Digital Identity in Immunity Passports” to the Science and Technology Committee. There are major human rights and medical problems with this approach.  Thus approach would create a perverse incentive for infection in order to acquire antibodies and move about. The World Health Organization advises "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection." And " People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice. The use of such certificates may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission."

The Daily Telegraph reports that President Macron has threatened to impose a two-week quarantine on Britons visiting France, after the Government announced it had similar plans that could begin as early as next month. This would have resulted in a two week quarantine wither side of the Channel. Downing Street and the Elysée are reported to have  issued a joint statement agreeing quarantine measures would not apply between France and the UK "at this stage”. “The Prime Minister and the President agreed to work together in taking forward appropriate border measures. This co-operation is particularly necessary for the management of our common border, No quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage; any measures on either side would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner.”

8. Resilience relies on others, it cannot be achieved by tourism alone

Tourism relies on source markets, domestic and international, to generate customers with money, time and freedom to travel; on safe and reliable transport being available to facilitate travel; and the destination needs to be seen as safe to visit.  There are only a few risks that tourism can address alone - the pandemic has demonstrated how reliant tourism is on the resilience of the source markets and destinations and the transport infrastructure. Businesses, DMOs and NTBs can take some steps to 'shock proof" the industry locally and to find alternative markets if one collapses, but resilience requires a much broader approach and collaboration.

Kerala has developed greater resilience in the wake of recent extensive flooding, and they were quick to bring Covid-19 under control. RT has been successful in Kerala in large part due to the strength of state and local government. Domestic tourists will arrive first, but the industry in Kerala can do little to hasten their arrival or that of the international visitors, many of whom repeat. Belize has, at the time of writing, had 18 cases of Covid-19 and 2 deaths. Their primary source market is the US (75%), where Covid-19 has not plateaued. They are encouraging domestic tourism and hoping to open for international guests from July with a Covid-19 test on arrival.

9. Covid-19 will not be the end of overtourism

In the growing literature on overtourism there is much emphasis on international tourism but domestic tourists too contribute to overtourism. In Cornwall in the UK  accommodation is already reported to be 85% booked for July and August. Even during the lockdown in the UK there have needed to be campaigns to discourage people from visiting beauty spots. more

Holidaymakers who previously have holidayed abroad can't, they will holiday at home. In the Huangshan mountain park in Anhui province on Saturday April 4 there were "thousands of people crammed together, many wearing face masks, eager to experience the great outdoors after months of travel restrictions and strict lockdown measures." Before 08:00 park managers  took the unusual step of issuing a notice declaring that the park had reached its 20,000 person daily capacity. more

In the UK the announcement by the PM of a relaxation of the rules on travelling for recreation has resulted in a plea for people have been told to stay away from beauty spots and beaches amid fears relaxed rules allowing longer car journeys would leave areas "inundated with visitors". Some rural areas, including Cumbria and the Lake District, have had relatively high rates of infection and tourism bosses in those areas urged people not to visit. more

10. The Covid-19 pandemic threatens wildlife too

Jane Goodall has pointed to the importance of ensuring that the chimps are not exposed to Covid-19. In the last month's RT News we carried the example of Ol Pejeta's fund raising initiative to support the work of the conservancy. World Animal Protection is campaigning to raise funds to care for over 2,000 elephants in the tourism camps in Thailand closed by the pandemic. Across Africa  the closure of safari tourism, due to the coronavirus pandemic, is decimating the industry, and leading to an increase in poaching as people struggle to stay alive. more

 


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Responsible Tourism News is a newsletter of record carrying the 10 most important Responsible Tourism stories of the month. 8,000 people subscribe to receive it every month.  Please forward to those you think may be interested – you can subscribe using the box on the right. If you wish to contribute a story email harold@haroldgoodwin.info or post it on our RTNews Facebook page.

You are receiving this email because you have been receiving RT News for some years or have subscribed online more recently. Your name and email address is kept securely by our agent and used only to send you a copy of RT News. We will never sell or give your mailing address to any other organisation. Every edition of RT News sent by email comes with an unsubscribe function so if at any time you wish to cease receiving RT News please unsubscribe. Our mailing list contains only your name and email address.

If you have any queries please email harold@responsibletourismpartnership.org

Harold Goodwin’s Responsible Tourism Blog
Harold Goodwin blogs regularly on the  WTM Responsible Tourism Blog
Twitter: @goodwinhj  & @WTM_WRTD  #RTourismNews

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