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Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 07'1/2020

July 18, 2020
Harold Goodwin
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  1. Covid-19 the Good, the Bad and the Ugly 
  2. The Good: the WTM RT Awards in the Year of Covid-19
  3. Covid the New Normal? 
  4. Covid-19: The Bad
  5. Covid-19: The Ugly 
  6. Racism in Travel and Tourism 
  7. Is aviation going to deal with its dirty fuel?
  8. Overtourism
  9. Resilience requires preparedness
  10. Miscellany

There is now so much news that from July Responsible Tourism News will be published fortnightly on or around the 15th and at the end of each month.

Responsible Tourism Hub provides quick links to curated material on Responsible Tourism 

  1. Covid-19 the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
    Covid-19 is a global pandemic but it is unevenly spread around the world, in some countries the worst has passed for now, in other the situation is worsening. As we shall see some tourism has returned with ugly consequences. The Covid-19 pandemic is still growing. CNN reports as we go to press that "The United States recorded more than 67,000 new cases on Tuesday, in the highest one-day jump so far as states see infections surge. Florida alone has more cases than all but eight entire countries. In Africa, The Gambia has no tourists and in South Africa, all leisure travel is prohibited, the country is closed to international visitors and there is a ban on interprovincial travel. Many countries past the peak of the pandemic, at least for now, are reopening. Headout has built a  Global Travel Reopening Dashboard that is monitoring the real-time status of 800 top tourism landmarks around the world, with live updates on re-openings and safety measures for the top 800+ landmarks around the world and an interactive map of 100 countries with corresponding travel regulations, quarantine rules, and case trends help them review and decide their next travel destination. This is a mammoth undertaking and some time lags are to be expected.  The BBC has a useful page on where it is now possible to holiday in the UK. 
    A YouGov poll (29 June to 9 July)  has revealed the unwillingness of people to travel abroad and to allow in foreign tourists. The picture is inevitably complex.  For example, only Italians were broadly supportive of allowing in other Europeans – with the exception of Britons – although they are heavily opposed to allowing in Chinese and American tourists. People in France, Spain, Italy and Germany are all more likely to oppose British tourists coming for this summer than they are tourists from other European countries. People across Europe tend to be most worried by American and Chinese tourists, however. American tourists are the most opposed in all countries surveyed (except Sweden where they come second to Chinese tourists, and Finland where they come second to Swedes). Overall 61-79% of people in each country oppose allowing American tourists spending time in their country this summer. The YouGov researchers concluded that "the vast majority of people who might normally consider going somewhere on holiday are refusing to do so specifically because of coronavirus.." Take a look at the detailed data on the YouGov website

YouGov polled Adults in GB between 2 - 3 July and found that while 45% expect to travel in the UK in the next six months. Nearly two-thirds of the public (64%) would not feel safe travelling by plane currently, up from 40% on 8 June. There is a similar unease about other types of international transport. Over half of Brits (55%) say they’d feel unsafe travelling by train. Only 12% of those over 65 are considering travelling abroad,  75% say they feel uneasy about flying, an increase from 47% on June 8th. more

The ugly relates to the British and Germans in Spain, see item 5.

2. The Good: the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards in the Year of Covid-19
Covid has revealed the importance of tourism. When it stopped the contribution which tourism made, until the crisis, to the livelihoods of local people and the maintenance of wildlife and habitat became all too apparent. Some tourism businesses have taken responsibility and used their assets and their relationships with travellers, agents and suppliers to support communities and conservation. This year the World Responsible Tourism Awards have been refashioned to address the Covid-19 crisis. We are looking to recognise and commend those who have seen the impact of the crisis on communities and wildlife and responded.

The Awards close at midnight on August 3rd, it will take no more than 15 minutes to nominate yourself or another business or destination and you can make multiple nominations. Nominate here.

Rachel McCaffery has established Give Them a Break to set up “holidays for heroes” and thank key workers across the UK for their efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. Park edge communities in the Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Area in Uganda have been hard hit by Covid-19 and the loss of tourism earnings. They are raising money through social media campaigns, establishing food banks and making masks and soap for their own needs and to sell locally and abroad. more In Cornwall St Ives, Falmouth and Truro roads have been closed to traffic and pedestrianised to facilitate social distancing. North Tyneside Council sent a letter to local residents informing them of proposals to close a number of streets with “a challenging combination of narrow footpaths, small premises and high demand” from July 1 - "in time for the start of the busy summer season". Norfolk County Council has given local authorities permission to implement road restrictions in 13 towns until December. Oxford and Cambridge widened pavement areas, introduced one-way flows and widened cycle lanes and footpaths. more

3. Covid the New Normal?
The World Health Organisation warned this week that there will be no return to the “old normal for the foreseeable future”. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO, said on 14th July that the pandemic is going to “get worse and worse and worse” unless the basics of infection control are followed. He went on “Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction,”  “The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.” on Sunday 12th the globe hit yet another grim milestone: 230,370 new cases were reported worldwide, a record-breaking increase. The United States, BrazilIndia and South Africa reported the largest rises in cases, according to the WHO’s daily situation report.  80 per cent of new cases were in just 10 countries, and 50 per cent in two. The latest dates from the WHO clearly shows the growth in cases in the Americas and the decline in Europe.
By the 15th Coronavirus cases were surging in Latin America, the continent had officially declared a total of 144,758 deaths, passing the 144,023 recorded in the United States and Canada. It now stands second only to Europe, where 202,505 people have died. more

Travel for leisure, business, work and study spread the pandemic. Areas which have so far had relatively few cases, often remote rural areas with limited health facilities, are understandably concerned about an influx of potentially infectious visitors.  Scottish Highland councillor Niall McLean put the issue bluntly: “This area got off lightly during lockdown, but that makes opening up even more worrying. It was the local communities that kept themselves safe and supported each other, and they don’t want to risk their health, and possibly lives, for economic gain.” more

Travel and tourism bodies in Kerala "have leaned towards domestic and local tourism -- identifying unexplored places in the state, encouraging and generating interest in the same among Malayalis and offering the same experiences at lower rates -- thereby sustaining the distressed sector. Bordeaux has used "tips for responsible tourism" to relaunch the destination: slow tourism, "accommodation that is respectful of the inhabitants of Bordeaux", responsible eateries, local and ethical shops, limiting waste and Enjoy an eco-responsible lifestyle."

The majority of citizens in Germany fear that summer holidays will cause the number of corona infections to rise again. 69 per cent believe that this will lead to a significant increase in the number of infections in Germany, according to the current ZDF "Politbarometer", which was published on 10th July  The Isle of Wight is  launching a Visitor Charter inviting visitors to help the community to contain the virus "by doing everything you can to have a safe and enjoyable visit."

4. Covid-19: The Bad
In Africa, a crisis which is depriving holidaymakers of their holidays is depriving hosts of their livelihoods. The Gambia has closed its borders and its tourism industry to halt the spread of Coronavirus. In South Africa Coronavirus cases have passed 280,000, with 4,172 deaths by 14th July. The government has restricted inter-provincial and international travel in order to contain the virus, but this has had a major impact on the tourism sector which is not expected to come out of lockdown until April 2021 at the earliest. more  South Africans are currently only allowed to fly domestically for business purposes, with international travel only allowed for repatriation and medical evacuations. The tourism, sector has been hard around the world, in Africa, and South Africa in particular, many rural jobs are in tourism supporting extended families otherwise dependent on subsistence farming, the industry and local communities face a crisis if tourism does not reopen soon. The trade-offs between health and livelihoods are complex, difficult and frightening - there are so many losers. These are "impossible choices facing the reopening of economies in southern Africa." more

On July 8th,  Andrew Buerckner, Director at Platinum Travel Corporation / UNIGLOBE Global Solutions has bravely come out and admitted that he is struggling. "Some days, I’m struggling to drag myself out of bed; to find purpose in what I’m doing; to concentrate past midday..... Last week, I sat in on a meeting with some key players in the global travel industry. We never made it to our agenda, though, because one of our colleagues on the call broke down long before we could get there. And I understood exactly how they felt. The trouble is, I’m not sure how many people outside the travel industry really get it. There’s a level of naivety amongst even my closest family and friends about just how bad things really are." Andrew is only openly reporting what a lot of people are feeling. Read more of his concerns here. Wildlife tourism makes a very significant contribution to the cost of conserving habitat and wildlife. As Johan Robinson, Chief of the Global Environment Facility Biodiversity and Land Degradation Unit at UN Environment has pointed out the benefits of biodiversity and natural areas are universal, the costs of protection are high and disproportionately borne by the poor communities living with wildlife. The absence of tourists and tourism revenues increases the vulnerability of wildlife to poachers.  more

5. Covid-19: The Ugly
This is The Sun newspaper's headline on the YouGov survey results on 9th July. "BRITS may not be welcome in Europe after all as a new survey finds them at the bottom of the list for tourists countries are happy to welcome. People in France, Spain, Italy and Germany have all expressed concerns about UK tourists due to the alarming coronavirus rate in the country."
As Magaluf reopened drunk British holidaymakers were not wearing masks and jumping on cars'

One angry local raged on social media: “Total chaos in Punta Bellena. Hundreds of sons of b***ches from Great Britain. No face masks on, jumping on top of cars, drunk, drinking alcohol in the street. A disaster. Where’s the police? A f**king disgrace.” The anti ‘trash tourism’ decree approved in January was intended to restrict the promotion and sale of alcohol in specific areas of the Balearic Islands including Magaluf and San Antonio on neighbouring Ibiza.  The legislation requiring bars to close at 02:00 appears to have fuelled the ugly behaviour. more
Only a few days earlier  Iago Negueruela, the Balearic minister for the economy, labour and tourism. has said that "There won't be that kind of mass tourism because those places are not going to open; it's a clear message." We have "already started a process and it is irreversible. The pubs won't open this year. We are no longer going to receive or tolerate that kind of tourist, who can be a risk for themselves and others." The law against "tourism of excesses" that was introduced at the start of the year, banning pub crawls and happy hours. He was optimistically asserting that the "... hotel sector has already staked out its preference for quality and not just numbers, but the perception does not always accompany the reality. Even in Magaluf, a transformation has been taking place, with a focus on five-star hotels, its beaches and gastronomy." "Some elements of this crisis might be temporary, like face masks," says Andreu Serra, tourism chief for the Mallorca Council island administration. "But this is also an opportunity to improve our care of tourists, by using technology to control numbers so we know when beaches will be full, and generally boosting hygiene in all hospitality areas."  The local council has responded by closing the strip in Magaluf for two months. more

6. Racism in Travel and Tourism
"It is not about marketing slogans or campaigns in my view, but about the proactive actions each of us personally take and hold ourselves accountable for," Carnival chief executive Arnold Donald, one of the few black executives in the industry, wrote in an email. "There is an opportunity here for all of us to do more - and do much better - looking closely at our diversity and inclusion results across the board and challenging ourselves as individuals to take actions that can make a difference." more
Auliana Poon, writing from the Caribbean, has powerfully contrasted their experience with that of Blacks in America. As Auliana points out "For people who have been born in the Caribbean, it is truly a privilege. To live in a free and democratic society, where education and health are free; where the environment is pristine; and the air is fresh. But we are not yet in the clear. Because we are unable to create enough jobs; our major export is people (the brain drain); islanders do not worship the ground we were born on, dreaming about America instead; we do not eat what grows in our backyard or in the sea (preferring Kentucky Fry Chicken instead and allowing the Chinese and Japanese to rape our waters and sea beds); and we do not love who we are, wishing we were whiter."  Read more here.Jacqueline Ngo Mpii founded Little Africa in 2014, a tour company, publishing house and cultural agency based in Paris.. She offers walking tours in la Goutte d’Or, also known as ‘Little Africa’, a working-class neighbourhood that has been branded a ‘no-go zone’ by some cultural commentators. This densely populated, lively pocket of the north of Paris lies to the east of the Montmartre hill, but while (in non-pandemic times) tourists arrive by the bus-load to visit the neighbouring Sacré-Coeur, the vast majority never set foot there. more
Forbes Magazine carried an inspiring story about Beks Ndlovu, a Zimbabwean who founded African Bush Camps  in 2006,  a  'black leader, in a white-dominated industry.' As he says "Our industry needs to reshape itself for an inevitable future which can only serve us better. We need to be able to attract people of colour into more senior positions to give us the diversity we need to form perspectives and make decisions as a collective culture. I would like to see more industry initiatives and funds that support and groom new African leaders and ambassadors of conservation for the future. The transformation should not just be with our staff but our target market – from locals to foreign black travellers – they should be encouraged to travel and experience our amazing continent." more

7. Is aviation going to deal with its dirty fuel?~
This looked like good news "robust climate action", safeguarding CORSIA. When you read the press release you quickly understand that the 'safeguarding' is to save the scheme not to save our planet.  On June 30th the Council of ICAO to change the baseline which was to be based on the average of 2019 & 2020 emissions. It will now be based on 2019. As Chris Lyle of Canadian-based Air Transport Economics and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society has pointed out "Aviation bailouts during Covid-19 have been made as a matter of urgency, with few being conditioned. Some payouts have been subject to consumer protection provisions but only a very few to climate targets, even if then on the basis of cash now for commitment in a different time scale, such as carbon net-zero by 2050."

8. Overtourism
The contrast between tourism pre-Covid-19 and during the lockdown is stark. The feature writers are writing about the challenge of managing overtourism, the issue has not gone away. Recently in The Guardian Christopher de Bellaigue, a journalist and author who has covered the Middle East and South Asia since 1994, wrote a long read: "The pandemic has devastated global tourism, and many will say ‘good riddance’ to overcrowded cities and rubbish-strewn natural wonders. Is there any way to reinvent an industry that does so much damage?" The end of tourism?
Covid-19 will not bring the end of overtourism. In the UK a major incident was declared on England's south coast as services were ‘completely overstretched’ as visitors defied advice to stay away. The local authority was was forced to instigate a multi-agency emergency response to tackle issues ranging from overcrowding on the beaches, traffic gridlock and violence. Security guards had to be used to protect refuse collection teams. Council leader Vikki Slade said they were "absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches". "The irresponsible behaviour and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe. We have had no choice now but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response," she added. The council said it issued a record 558 parking fines. more

9. Resilience requires preparedness
While there are some grounds for optimism that an effective vaccine may be developed and be widely available this is not certain and it will take time. Those countries which locked down quickly and had test, trace and isolate up and running rapidly avoided large numbers of deaths and hospitalisations. Many of those countries had recent experience of previous epidemics and had maintained their preparedness.  The pandemic is still growing globally and further spikes and local lockdowns are occurring, a second wave remains a real risk.  Destinations and tourism businesses need to ensure that they are prepared for another.
Our World in Data researches and publishes regular updates on the Covid-19 pandemic, visit their site for updates.  The data on positive tests tells us something about the prevalence of the virus in the population. The daily data on new confirmed cases clearly shows that pandemic is far from beaten. Source: Our World in Data

10. Miscellany
The 70 best and worst firms for travel refunds: new MSE survey – Virgin and Loveholidays join Ryanair at the bottom
Seychelles Tourism Minister Didier Dogley wasted no time, and mixed no words, stating no cruise ships will sail in our out of Port Victoria until 2022, at the earliest. The move, effective immediately cuts a significant angle of tourism out of the Seychelles tourism economy, but the minister believes there are safer, better ways to recover them.
SDGs Key to (Re)Building Tourism with an Eye Toward the Future available on Sustainable Brands
Barcelona has launched a new Live Barcelona Market Place
Visit Durango in Colorado is conducting a countywide resident sentiment survey and they are adopting Responsible Tourism. "To begin our own journey of responsible tourism and what that means for the Durango area, we have created a Responsible Tourism Pledge: . This pledge helps educate visitors about Leave No Trace, fire safety and other issues important to our community. We want to get to the crux of the issues and make real change." more
Great Green Wall 21 African countries are joining together to build a 4,750-mile wall of trees


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