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Responsible Tourism Developments May 2018

June 5, 2018
Harold Goodwin
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 1. World Responsible Tourism Awards 2018
 2. Loving them to death? Overtourism & protected areas
 3. Real Progress on Child Protection 
 4. Tourism going plastic free?
 5. The "sharing economy" & homelessness
 6.  Overtourism: cities and beaches
 7.  Wildlife: welfare and communities losing out
 8.  Water - becoming a major issue
9.  Aviation and emissions, some progress but too few being responsible

10. Building resilience in the face of climate change 

 1. World Responsible Tourism Awards 2018
These prestigious awards have been running since 2004, there are five categories this year. The judges can only select the best from among those who enter.   Consider entering and encourage others to do so. You can enter here or nominate a worthy winner here.

  • Best for Wildlife [conservation & welfare]
  • Best for Employment Conditions
  • Best for Local Economic Benefit
  • Best for Communicating Responsible Tourism [a marketing or change making campaign]
  • Best for Managing Success [addressing overtourism]

 2. Loving them to death? Overtourism & protected areas
September 16-18 a small research-oriented conference bringing together those involved in managing tourism in national parks and protected areas, conservationists, tourism businesses, guides and researchers to discuss the management and conservation challenges and the research needs. It is a quarter of a century since the EUROPARC Federation published Loving them to death? in 1993. The report was a siren call for the dangers posed to wildlife and habitat in Europe’s national parks and protected areas. The challenges were great then, they are larger now. more

3. Real Progress on Child Protection
TUI has responded to the various campaigns against child trafficking and has taken action to ensure that their programmes do not contribute to the exploitation of children. In the Group’s Anti-Slavery Statement they acknowledge that “Active recruitment of children into orphanages for the purpose of profiting through foreign aid and volunteerism is a form of child trafficking and modern slavery.” “In response to a campaign to counter child trafficking in orphanages”, TUI has acted to ensure that no orphanages are offered in TUI excursions. The 2018 Service Manuals for Destination Experiences prohibit orphanage visits and school visits during school hours.
Global Good Practice Guidelines on Child Welfare and the Travel Industry have been developed by Friends-International's ChildSafe Movement.  and published by GAdventures

 4. Tourism going plastic free?
A pilot whale has died off southern Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags. In Bali, 20,000 people are reported to have come out to clean the beaches. Responsible Travel has produced a plastics free holiday guide and is offering no single-use plastic holidays. "For a trip to appear in our ‘No single-use plastic’ section you must not find single-use plastic in the room in your accommodation, on transport organised by the tour operator or restaurants included in the itinerary. Same goes for organised activities. Examples of single-use plastic that have been eliminated on these trips include bags, cutlery, plates, wrappers, laundry bags, toiletries and many more."

 5. The "sharing economy" & homelessness
A glance at Thrifty Nomads' "ultimate list of sharing economy services for travel" reveals the range of opportunities available to tourists in the sharing economy.  But companies like Airbnb are having some big negative impacts. A local homeless charity in Galway, Ireland, believes that Airbnb is contributing to the homelessness crisis. In the same week that just 118 homes in all of Galway were advertised for rent on the website daft.ie, there were a total of 2,212 active Airbnb rentals across Galway City and County. Of these, 52% were the full properties and 38% were being let full-time, according to data collated by AirDNA, which analyses public information about Airbnb’s listings. Airbnb contests the research reporting that In Galway last year, the typical host on Airbnb earned €5,100 and hosted for less than 4 nights per month – showing that it is only occasional activity. More.

A piece in the Financial Times made the positive case for Airbnb: ‘It’s a cash machine. It’s magical. You are paid to go on holiday’. In San Diego, California, there is a campaign linking vacation rentals with homelessness.

For more on the ways in which short-term vacation rentals affect local housing go to


 6.  Overtourism: cities and beaches

Amsterdam has launched an Enjoy & Respect campaign.

"The city government of Amsterdam has announced a range of measures aimed at easing the number of tourists and reversing what they see as the “Disneyfication” of the city. The numbers of tourists visiting the Dutch capital (population 800,000), has surged from 11 million in 2005 to a projected 18 million this year. Residents say the influx has changed Amsterdam’s character for the worse, and made everyday life difficult owing to the constant congestion and soaring rents. Reforms announced by the city government, a cross-party coalition, include banning Airbnb-type short-term rentals from the busiest neighbourhoods; halving the number of allowable letting days to 30 a year; banning cruise ships from docking in the city centre; and placing new limits on “fun rides” – tours on Segways and in horse-drawn carriages, beer bike rides and boozy boat trips." From The Week link

Responsible Travel has published a trailer for their new documentary film, coming out in June 2018... and there is a wealth of material on overtourism on their site

"Once a pristine Thai paradise, the secluded bay made famous by the Leonardo DiCaprio movie "The Beach" has been exhausted by mass tourism. Now it's getting a break."  Maya Bay, on Phi Phi Leh Island in the Andaman Sea has been closed following a six-month closure of popular Boracay Island, in the Philippines, whose waters President Rodrigo Duterte described as a "cesspool." More

A closure is one way of dealing with the consequences of overtourism, time restrictions, segregation, taxation, reducing accommodation, dispersal & distribution are all options none of them is pain-free. More responsible behaviour by tourists is a less painful solution and Iceland has created a video and pledge on becoming more responsible. However, the research shows that consumers expect the producers - businesses and destinations - to make tourism sustainable. More

 7.  Wildlife: welfare and communities losing out
Annette Hubschle and Andrew Faull of the University of Cape Town’s Institute for Safety, Governance and Criminology, warn: “In the current environment, the perception that wild animals are valued more highly than black rural lives is difficult to dismiss”.The University of Sheffield’s Professor Rosaleen Duffy and Hannah Dickinson add: “Private militaries are not capable of addressing the complex reasons why poaching persists. These include poverty, a desire for status and coercion of vulnerable communities by organised wildlife traffickers. Conservation armies can’t fix any of the above. At worst they alienate the very communities needed to make conservation work.” More
Thomas Cook sells more than 10,000 day trips to SeaWorld in Orlando. It has failed an animal welfare check. Thomas Cook has stopped promoting SeaWorld on its website and given bosses three months to deal with the issues raised. more

 8.  Water - becoming a major issue
In the Western Cape, the Department of Water and Sanitation reports that the Western Cape’s dam levels are nowhere near what's needed to break the drought, despite days of rainfall in parts of the province. Residents and visitors alike have to continue to live the 50-litre life. Cape Town's Deputy Mayor, Ian Neilson, says that there is "a real threat that if we cannot lower usage further, then even tougher restrictions could be imposed by the national department.” more 
In Shimla in the Himalayas "aquifers run dry because of overuse brought on by development, over-population, much of it fuelled by resort tourism, depleting forest cover to favour land use and erratic rainfall patterns due to climate change." The Pioneer reports that "the only way out for Shimla is to reduce tourist pressure for the time being. Or till the water sources are refilled and recharged." "Residents and environmentalists appealed to tourists to stay away from Shimla till the paralysing water crisis tided over the hill station, reported NDTV."

 9.  Aviation and emissions, some progress but too few being responsible
ICAO has finally come out with a carbon reduction scheme for international aviation (CORSIA), based on voluntary offsetting. The height of its ambition is "carbon neutral growth". As Matthew Lithgow argues aviation contributes 4.9% of global warming, CORSIA only begins in 2021. There is a perverse incentive to ramp up emissions until then. And the scheme is voluntary.  Offsets are often questionable. Lithgow points out that a recent EU study found that 73% of potential offsets in 2013-2020 within the UN's Clean Development Mechanism were likely to be non-additional: not real offsets.
Contrast ICAO and most scheduled airline efforts to reduce emissions with that of TUI. TUI is renewing its fleet to become more economical and environmentally efficient.  TUI has ordered  70 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft which are intended to replace aircraft currently in service. The Boeing 737 MAX is particularly cost-saving and emission-efficient. The 737 MAX has 14% lower kerosene consumption and therefore 14% lower carbon emissions compared to the aircraft of this size previously operated by TUI fly. The aircraft has also a 40% smaller noise footprint supporting its airlines' commitment to sustainability. more

10. Building resilience in the face of climate change
For Queensland's tourism businesses and communities, climate change is both a risk and an opportunity too
big to ignore. Increasing costs of extreme weather events, changes to natural resources, and the transition
towards a decarbonised global economy are all highly relevant to tourism.
A strategic plan, underpinned by ambitious actions, will support Queensland's tourism industry to respond to climate risks and opportunities. the Building a resilient tourism industry: Queensland Tourism Climate Change Response Plan (Tourism Sector Adaptation Plan) provides a roadmap for the tourism industry to respond proactively to climate change, and to lead the way as a steward for the environment and a key contributor to community wellbeing.

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