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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 05/ 2021

June 1, 2021
Harold Goodwin
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  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
    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.
    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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