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Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism: WTM Virtual Special 10 & 11 November

November 9, 2020
Harold Goodwin
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The next edition will be out at the beginning of December
The Responsible Tourism Hub provides quick links to curated material on Responsible Tourism 

This year's WTM, London is virtual, there is no need to travel to London nor to find board and lodging away from home. You can participate from anywhere in the world over the extended hours, the only carbon emitted will be from the electricity you and the internet consumes, and some of that is renewable.
Register here.

The full programme of live, on-demand and catchup panels and interviews is available here.

  1. World Responsible Tourism Awards winners have been announced 
  2. Resilience & Covid 19
  3. Build Back Better
  4. Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe?
  5. Decarbonising Aviation 
  6. Responsible Tourism in India
  7. Tourism and Racism 
  8. Certification and Consumer Choice
  9. Can we make tourism better – a manifesto for change.
  10. Miscellany 


1. World Responsible Tourism Awards winners have been announced
The 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. It is not Business as Usual, and the crisis is likely to continue for some time.
This year the judges decided to commend businesses and destinations which are taking responsibility and addressing the challenge of Covid-19 and to Highly Commend and Commend businesses and destinations. The judges wanted to recognise those who have taken responsibility and addressed the many challenges of the pandemic.

2. Resilience & Covid 19

On Tuesday 10th at 10:30, we look at Resilience & Covid-19 looking for solutions to how we get travel moving again, how we learn to live with the coronavirus and reflecting on what we have learned over the last year about resilience. Safety, confidence and trust have become central to restarting travel and tourism. WTTC and destinations have developed protocols for the new normal. It is now widely recognised that the pandemic will be with us globally for a while; we must learn to live with it and manage risk.  The tourists, whether travelling for leisure or business, have to feel confident about their safety from home, through the airport, on the plane or train and on arrival through the airport to their accommodation – and of course back again. And they have to be confident that quarantine will not be imposed on them in the destination or on their return.  WTM Virtual Link

92 UNWTO Member States participated in the first meeting of the Committee for the Development of an International Code for the Protection of Tourists. This initiative seeks to achieve a more fair and balanced share of responsibilities among all tourism stakeholders in the post-COVID-19 world. more

Barcelona is represented on this panel. It has long recognised that it has an overtourism problem and has been addressing it for several years. "Barcelona has created an ambitious project which aims to reclaim public space for its residents, starting with La Rambla, which it intends to turn into a cultural hub. Speaking about this new plan, Rabassa said, ‘Ciutat Vella can be a role model of how to move from a monoculture to something more diversified that employs and caters to the needs of residents through creating jobs in culture, technology, ecology and sustainable initiatives’. more

3. Build Back Better

The S-G of the UN has spoken of the crisis as 'an unprecedented opportunity to transform the relationship of tourism with nature, climate and the economy.... to examine how it interacts with our societies and other economic sectors; to measure and manage it better; to ensure a fair distribution of its benefits and to advance the transition towards a carbon-neutral and resilient tourism economy.' In this panel, we'll look at the different ways in which five destinations are seeking to change the way tourism works to take the opportunity provided by Covid-19 to build back better for communities and their environment. Tuesday 10th at 12:00 WTM Virtual Link

ABTA's recent report on Tourism for Good can be downloaded here 
In April 2019 Booking.com reported that "Over half (55%) of global travelers report being more determined to make sustainable travel choices than they were a year ago, but barriers include a lack of knowledge and available or appealing options when trying to put this into practice... almost three quarters (72%) of travelers believe that people need to act now and make sustainable travel choices to save the planet for future generations. While results were relatively consistent across ages, almost three-quarters (74%) of 46-55 year olds believe most strongly that this is needed".

You can find more about Germany's Feel Good campaign here.
Scotland is one of the destinations participating in this panel, Malcolm Roughhead, CEO of VisitScotland, talks about managing Coivd-19 and building back better.

4. Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe?

At 14:00 the panellists are addressing the question Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe? WTM Virtual Link

There are a wealth of interviews here seeking to answer the question Biodiversity, ecosystem services and tourism – conflict or symbiosis? How can the relationship be improved – what are the solutions?  There are two panels on animal welfare available on demand

There are further interviews and background to the issues here 

5. Decarbonising Aviation 

The aviation industry is our sector's Achilles' heel. Flying is not the problem; the emissions from the fuel that aviation runs on is the issue. For too long aviation has resisted change, insisting that there is no alternative. Now there is. On this panel we have Airbus, they've just announced hydrogen-powered flight by 2035; the founder of Universal Hydrogen; the Carbon Strategy Director, Heathrow Airport; and easyJet's, Director of Flight Operations. From Jamaica, we'll hear about why aviation matters and why it needs to decarbonise and Noel Jopsephides of tour operator Sunvil, will explain why aviation needs to change.

Read this blog on the WTM Hub for the background on decarbonising aviation

How quickly will the airlines take up zero-emissions flight?  How should the travel and tourism sector respond if aviation, a major supplier, fails to adopt clean technology fast enough, presenting a significant risk to our industry in general and the many destinations dependent upon it?  How can we best encourage the aviation industry, manufacturers, airports and airlines to make rapid change? Is the tourism industry willing to accept some additional cost and able to force its supplier to adopt the best technologies? Will polluting aircraft still be flying in 2050? How do we speed the introduction of zero-carbon flight? the panel is at 15:30 on Tuesday 10th November  WTM Virtual Link

Ian Care is an award-winning innovator who has provided technical, project and innovation leadership, acclaimed by and delivering £multi-million benefits for Rolls-Royce plc. Harold Goodwin conducted a series of interviews with him recently - Ian is a man who thinks outside the box to find practical solutions. Watch the interviews here. 

6. Responsible Tourism in India

India is rapidly emerging as a leader in Responsible Tourism. The strapline Incredible India accurately conveys the geographic and historical variety of natural and built heritage which India offers the tourist and the rich diversity of living cultural heritage which surrounds any visitor to the sub-continent. In 2008 Kerala adopted Responsible Tourism and developed an approach which ensured that the local communities benefited through Village Life Experiences and producer cooperatives. Madhya Pradesh has followed with a state policy, and other states are looking to follow. The new national tourism policy of the Ministry of Tourism endorses Responsible Tourism. India is now arguably leading the world in adopting a Responsible Tourism approach. In this round table panel, we shall hear from policymakers about their experience with Responsible Tourism and about what it has to offer. Wednesday 11th November 10:30  WTM Virtual Link

7. Tourism and Racism

Alex Temblador chairs the panel on Tourism and Racism on Wednesday 11th at 14:00.  WTM Virtual Link

There is a host of interviews on tourism and racism available playlist here  There are further resources here.

8. Certification and Consumer Choice

On Wednesday 11th at 15:30 the panel included GSTC representatives discussion the future development of certification  A key ambition of sustainability labels has been to ensure that those tourism businesses which adopt a range of sustainable practices are rewarded as consumers choose them in preference to others. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council was created to establish a consistent baseline across schemes. Understanding that issues vary from place to place and that the credibility of the label(s) can be undermined each time a guest spots bad practice in a certified "sustainable business" – we discuss where certification is today and what it holds for the future. Are there too many schemes? What strategies could deliver more transparent consumer information? What can be done to improve certification and drive the sustainability agenda forward? How will health and safety shape sustainable tourism? This panel discussion tackles some of these issues and identifies successes, challenges, and how certification can help make tourism more responsible. WTM Virtual Link

9. Can we make tourism better – a manifesto for change.

This year's Responsible Tourism programme ends with a panel on Wednesday at 17:00 reflecting on this year's WTM Responsible Tourism sessions and to consider how we move forward to make better tourism for travellers and holidaymakers; for destinations and for the communities who live there; and for businesses in the source markets and destinations.  What principles should inform the way we recover our industry and work to use tourism to make better places for people to live in? What role should governments play?  How do we practically make tourism better?  WTM Virtual Link

10. Miscellany 

  • There is a panel on Responsible Tourism in China available in the on demand programme at WTM Virtual.
  • IATA reports that international passenger demand was down 88.8% in September, capacity was down 78.9% and the average load was 43.5%.
  • Flight Radar graphs commercial passenger flights + cargo flights + charter flights + some business jet flights.
  • The New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce is an independent public private partnership to lead the thinking on the future of tourism in New Zealand. The main purpose of the Taskforce is to advise on what changes New Zealand can make to the tourism system, so that tourism enriches both New Zealand and the wellbeing of New Zealanders. The Taskforce will provide an initial report on the future of tourism in New Zealand in December 2020, with final recommendations and steps for implementation in April 2021.

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.

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