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Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 11/19 WTM, London Special

November 2, 2019
Harold Goodwin
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  1. The RT Programme at WTM, London 4-6 November
  2. Future-Proofing Travel & Tourism
  3. Decent Work 
  4. Travel Responsibly - Advice for Travellers 
  5. Overtourism 
  6. The Responsible Tourism Awards
  7. The World's Biggest Responsible Tourism Meeting
  8. Biodiversity & Animal Welfare
  9. Dissing Uluru
  10. The Collapse of Thomas Cook Damaged Destinations


Harold Goodwin ATM & WTM's Responsible Tourism Advisor is speaking in Dubai at The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation's sixth annual Knowledge Summit, on November 19-20, 2019 Bearing the theme “ Knowledge: The Path to Sustainable Development”.

1.The RT Programme at WTM, London 4-6 November

We focus on the solutions with a programme designed to help businesses and destinations thrive in increasingly difficult circumstances as the world bumps up against the limits to growth. Our agenda is broader than the traditional sustainable tourism agenda including, for example, child protection, decent work, safety & security and asking what more we should do to ensure that travel broadens the mind. The full WTM Responsible Tourism programme can be accessed here. There are two introductions to this year's programme - it is too big for just one!  Here and Here There is continuing market research evidence of consumer demand - we cover it regularly in RTNews. Intrepid commissioned YouGov to look at Gen Z, those born in the late 1990s.

58% of respondents report that sustainability is an important factor when making travel choices; 38% wanted the opportunity to give back to local communities, 35% would like to see a ban on single-use plastics and 28% would welcome the chance to offset carbon emissions.

Research by booking.com found that 87% of global travellers say they want to travel sustainably, and nearly four in 10 (39%) say they often or always manage to do so. However, 48% said that they never, rarely or only sometimes manage to travel sustainably. As booking.com points out, this suggests “that while promising strides are being made for a greener future, there is still plenty of room to turn intentions into action.” Sustainability is the aspiration; this consumer aspiration is a commercial opportunity.

Don’t miss the opening of the World Responsible Tourism Day and the World Responsible Tourism Awards at 11:00 on Wednesday 6th in the Europe Inspiration Zone.WTM has launched a new Responsible Tourism portal offering easy access to valuable content year-round on solutions to the challenges we face. You will be able to access the 2019 Awards and the judges’ reasons there, from 15:00 on November 6th.
If you are tweeting please use #WTMRT

2. Future-Proofing Travel & Tourism
Five years ago Professor Kevin Anderson opened World Responsible Tourism Day speaking about the implications of climate change for our industry. This year he will be providing an update in the opening of World Responsible Tourism Day.   It is time to cease talking about climate change, in the abstract as science, and to start addressing the threat which increasingly manifests itself, with floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme weather events. more

As Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England has pointed out companies and industries that are not moving towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and go bankrupt.  Extreme heatwaves are forecast to increase by as much as 80% and the Global Commission on Adaptation urges action now. "Adaptation is not an alternative to a redoubled effort to stop climate change, but an essential complement to it. Failing to lead and act on adaptation will result in a huge economic and human toll, causing widespread increases in poverty and severely undermining long-term global economic prospects."

Resilience is a recurring theme in the panels on decarbonisations, cities sites, sustainable hotels, aviation and water. And resilience is at the heart of Monday's session at 13:45 on Taking Responsibility for Safety & Security. Martin Brackenbury will be interviewing German Porras, former Secretary of Tourism For Spain, John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs,  Sri Lanka, Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, Amos Fish Mahlalela Deputy Minister of the Department of Tourism of the Republic of South Africa and Nikki White Director of Destinations and Sustainability at ABTA WTM

The World Responsible Tourism Day panel on Wednesday before the Awards is Decarbonising Travel and Tourism: is the industry doing enough? The BBC's Tanya Beckett will be interviewing Albert Dalmau, Barcelona City Council; Justin Francis CEO Responsible Travel; Madhu Rajesh Director - International Tourism Partnership, Jane Ashton Director of Sustainability, TUI & Saskia Griep Founder and CEO of Better Places

We know that we need to decarbonise our industry, the capital investments that industry makes now in accommodation and aircraft is planned to still be in use in 2050. We have two panels looking at these issues directly.

>Monday 12:30-13:30 The Challenge of Building Sustainable Hotels. Four experts discuss how with the separation of ownership from operations we can ensure that more sustainable hotels are built. The panellists are Allan Agerholm, Chief Hospitality Officer, CEO of BC Hospitality Group, Dimitris Manikis, President and Managing Director EMEA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Madhu Rajesh Director - International Tourism Partnership at Business in the Community and Eric Ricaurte Founder  Greenview.

>Wednesday 14:30 - 15:30 The Future of Aviation As other industries reduce their carbon emissions aviation will account for ever-larger shares of global emissions.  We have brought together a panel of experts to share their views about the prospects for the decarbonisation of air travel.  Peter Castellas CEO Tasman Environmental Markets, Neil Cloughley  founder of Faradair, Angela Foster-Rice, Principal Aerial Consulting, LLC, Chicago, Justin Francis, CEO Responsible Travel, Chris Lyle Chief Executive, Air Transport Economics


3. Decent Work
Tourism and hospitality are labour intensive, with 8% of the global workforce employed in the sector. As the ILO has pointed out there are many highly skilled well-trained professionals employed in the sector. However, there are also many women, young people and migrant workers employed on casual and part-time contracts, receiving the minimum wage – or less. For some who only want to work part-time, or who because of family responsibilities can only work part-time, the tourism and hospitality sectors provide flexible employment. Tourism and hospitality provide opportunities for people who would otherwise be excluded from work contributing to their social inclusion and personal development. more

On Monday 4th at 17:00 in the UKI & International Inspiration Zone, North Hall, EU 2080 we shall be celebrating ITP’s youth employment programme, the Youth Career Initiative (YCI), which to date  has supported over 6,000 young people, with 86% of graduates either going on to find a job or going into education.  Come and join us in this celebration of RT in action.

On Wednesday 6th there are two sessions on Decent Work. At 13:30 Kevin Curran Vice-Chair of Unite London Hotel Workers Branch and Kate Nicholls, CEO, UK Hospitality will be discussing how employment in hospitality be made more rewarding either by increasing pay or offering better progression opportunities within the sector or into other sectors? details
At 14:15 we look at some great examples from Hilton. Intrepid and ITP's YCI, of our industry reaching out to give the vulnerable and excluded a helping hand into employment and promotion. details

4. Travel Responsibly - Advice for Travellers
WTM has decided to provide a web portal for Responsible Travel advice. The choices we make about where, how, and when we travel affect the quality of our experience and the impacts we have in our destination, on the people we encounter and their natural and cultural environment. There is generic advice and advice on child protection, flying, places & tips, volunteering and wildlife and habitats. It is a work in progress, take a look and if you have material you would like linked there contact us. There is also advice for the industry on how to move on from discredited orphanage visits. 

5. Overtourism
In the Times of Malta, a correspondent asks "Isn’t it time to begin a soul-searching exercise about how we can make our tourism industry more sustainable, not just on an economic level but also on a social level? and points out that" It is an illusion to believe that niche quality tourism can coexist with mass tourism. In a small, overpopulated destination, they are mutually exclusive. We are still a mass tourist destination. Our sales are mainly generated through the online booking systems provided by low-cost airlines and rented residential accommodation like Airbnb. At WTM, London last year we recognised Barcelona's success in addressing the challenge of overtourism and this year they are explaining how they have successfully used technology to manage illegal hosting and how they are managing overtourism at Park Güell alongside presentations on managing overtourism at the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland. The Responsible Tourism Partnership has just published an updated report on Managing Tourism in Barcelona detailing the latest developments as the city leads the way in tackling overtourism. Meanwhile in the UK Airbnb has reported in its accounts that it has been contacted by HMRC over "tax laws or regulations impacting the company's business", and that "the company is also subject to tax inquiries and proceedings concerning its operations and intra-company transactions," it added "Some of these matters may result in litigation." more


6. The Responsible Tourism Awards
On World Responsible Tourism Day the 2019 World Responsible Tourism Awards will be presented by Tanya Beckett of the BBC. This year the judges decided to make two Judges' Awards as well as the category winners and the coveted overall winner award. The judges' reasons are published and the Gold Winners are interviewed on stage, the judges' reason will be published here at 15:00 on 6th November.  The judges recognised some emerging leaders and they have been announced along with the reasons. The India Awards are closed and will be announced in Delhi in January. The WTM Latin America Awards are open until 15th December and will be presented in Sao Paulo in April. There is a new Responsible Tourism Day at WTM Africa in Cape Town on 6th April when the 2020 Africa RT Award winners will be announced. In April, at ATM in Dubai, the ATM Responsible Tourism Awards will be announced to be awarded for the first time in 2021.

7. The World's Biggest Responsible Tourism Meeting
WTM London is the largest Responsible Tourism event in the world with 21 RT events over three days, RT provides 20% of the content. This year for the first time there is a Responsible Tourism Café [EU580], a place to meet liked minded professionals. Budge’s hard-hitting How Many Elephants Exhibition is there, along with a constant screening of RT videos and  Water-to-Go with their brandable, reusable water filter bottle that provides safe drinking water anywhere in the world by eliminating harmful contaminants from any non-saltwater source. If you are interested in getting branded filter bottles for your company and clients, Water-to-Go will be running a competition at the show to win 50 branded bottles.
On Monday 4th at 17:00 in the UKI & International Inspiration Zone, North Hall, EU 2080 we shall be celebrating ITP’s youth employment programme, the Youth Career Initiative (YCI), which to date  has supported over 6,000 young people, with 86% of graduates either going on to find a job or going into education  Come and join us in this celebration of RT in action.

8. Biodiversity & Animal Welfare
Biodiversity loss is one of the two existential threats to our species. As Greta Thunberg told the UN  "We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth..... How dare you?"  Dr Matthew Walpole of Fauna and Flora International is moderating a panel on Tuesday 5th November suggesting ways in which  the travel industry contribute to the conservation of wildlife and habitats and Tom Moorhouse from Zoology at Oxford will be looking at welfare issues along with Richard Vigne from Ol Pejeta, Pippa Hankinson from Blood Lions, Nick Stewart from World Animal Protection and Andy Donnelly from the Galapagos Conservation Trust. TripAdvisor has stopped selling tickets to attractions that breed or import captive whales and dolphins and the South African  Tourism Services Association has just issued guidance for the industry on Evaluating Captive Wildlife Attractions and Activities.

9. Dissing Uluru
One of the core Responsible Tourism values is respect. Anangu man Rameth Thomas grew up in Mutijulu, a community very near Uluru. From his home, he can see the 348m (1,140ft) rock - taller than the Eiffel Tower - rising from the desert. "That place is a very sacred place, that's like our church," he told the BBC.Mr Thomas adds tourists should respect it as a place of lore. "I've been telling them since I was a little boy: 'We don't want you to climb the rock,'" he says. "All of our stories are on the rock. People right around the world... they just come and climb it. They've got no respect." 

To make the ascent, visitors walk past signs at the base of Uluru saying "please don't climb" in several languages. People cite various reasons for continuing on; some say they simply don't give thought to cultural sensitivities, or that the climb is on their bucket list." more
The name for tourists here is minga,’ says Peter Wilson, his eyes fixated on the faint line of posts running along the rock in front of us, faint specks visible moving alongside them. ‘Minga means “ants”.’ Finally on 26th October the climb was closed to tourists, only after there had been a "last chance to see" rush. more

10. The Collapse of Thomas Cook Damaged Destinations
Destinations are vulnerable to economic collapse in their source markets, particularly when they are dependent on one operator or source market.  In The Gambia, Thomas Cook accounted for 30% of arrivals over a calendar year and 40% over the winter months. In the second half of 2019. The Gambia expects to lose $26.8m (arrival fees and discretionary spend). The Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation reported that some 1.3 million autumn and winter visitors will be unable to fly Spain. As those trying to rebook their holidays have discovered it is the cost of flights that is the problem, there is plenty of reasonably priced accommodation available. In the Canaries, the government predicted that 400,000 Thomas Cook holidaymakers won’t make it to the archipelago this winter. Turkey’s Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED) has warned that the country could miss out on up to 700,000 tourists a year. more

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