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Responsible Tourism Developments October 2017

November 1, 2017
Harold Goodwin
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1. The WTM London Responsible Tourism Programme 6-8 November 
2. The exploitation of Children in orphanages and trafficking 
3. Climate Change and Our Health
4. Overtourism - the antithesis of Responsible Tourism
5. The 2017 WTM Responsible Tourism Awards
6. Controversy in South Africa around human-wildlife interaction 
7.  Responsible tourism mission officially launched in Kerala
8.  Balearic tourist tax doubles
9.  A close up on animal cruelty 
10. Flying from Newcastle to London via Menorca.


World Responsible Tourism Day this year is Wednesday 8th November, don’t forget to complete the online survey and tell us what you think the major Responsible Tourism issues are. Complete the very brief survey here. 

  1. The WTM London Responsible Tourism Programme 6-8 November
    There are  28 sessions over the three days, the full programme is here. The sessions cover many of the issues which Responsible Tourism addresses: carbon, water, overtourism, certification, engaging travellers, place management, human rights, pollution, slum tourism, travel writing, human wild animal interactions, the future of the Responsible Tourism Awards, transforming tourism, accessibility for all and marketing. There are also sessions on China, Bwindi in Uganda and Kumarakom in Kerala, India. Fifteen years on since the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations in 2002 we are reflecting on how much progress has been made and set the agenda for the next five years. More
  2. The exploitation of Children in orphanages and trafficking
    There are panels on children, trafficking, human rights and orphanages, both on Tuesday. At 11:45 we have a panel which will explain how tourism grows market demand for orphanages resulting in “paper orphans”, often trafficked children. The speakers will explain why the industry should neither be marketing orphanage tourism nor be encouraging or facilitating visits to orphanages. If we do then we encourage the “orphaning” of children, unintentionally or not. At 15:15 we’ll be looking, with the Border Force and an expert panel, at what the industry can do to prevent our infrastructure being used to traffic people into slavery. There was a recent House of Lords meeting on the issues – the resulting agenda for action will be reported during this session in the Responsible Tourism Theatre. There is a new resources page on orphanage tourism here.
  3. Climate Change and Our Health
    The Welsh government puts the welfare of the Welsh people and their children and grandchildren at the heart of their sustainability strategy in the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Reporting in The Lancet medical journal the 2017 Report of the Lancet Countdown concludes that the human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible and that Climate change undermines the foundations of good health, affecting populations around the world, today. Whether through extremes of weather, the spread of infectious disease, or threats to food and water security, these effects are disproportionately felt by those who are most vulnerable, and people in low- and middle-income countries. The World Meteorological Organization has warned that concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are at a record high and the UN reports that not enough is being done to reduce emissions and that we may be heading for a rise in average global temperature of 3°C.
  4. Overtourism - the antithesis of Responsible Tourism
    Overtourism is the antithesis of Responsible Tourism. This year we have sessions on coping with success on Scottish islands and the Brackenbury panel interview, in the Responsible Tourism Theatre on Monday, is addressing the challenge of overtourism with a particular focus on Barcelona and Venice. This year’s Ministers’ Summit at WTM is also addressing overtourism. The issue is going to affect more destinations and become acuter. After all, overtourism occurs when we fail to make tourism sustainable when we fail to take responsibility. Next year’s WTM London will have coping with success and the challenge of overtourism as the major themes.  Harold Goodwin has just published a report on  The Challenge of Overtourism
  5. The 2017 WTM Responsible Tourism Awards
    There are twelve finalists for the Awards this year. The winners will be announced on World Responsible Tourism Day, Wednesday 8th November, and the Awards will be presented. Many submissions reported against a wide range of SDGs way beyond those which specifically mention tourism (SDGs 8, 12 &14). The Awards this year focus on the SDGs but they will be announced in the following categories, Best for AccommodationBest for Carbon ReductionBest for CommunicationBest Community InitiativeBest for Poverty Reduction and Best Tour Operator. All twelve finalists are leaders in  Responsible Tourism, no less than five of the twelve leaders are from Africa. The winners will be announced here at 13:00 on Wednesday 8th.
  6. Controversy in South Africa around human-wildlife interaction
    The Campaign Against Canned Hunting and the Blood Lions film and campaign have drawn attention to the ethical, conservation and aesthetic issues which arise when wildlife and humans mix. We have a panel at WTM London on Can wild animal interactions ever be responsible?  with  Nick Stewart from World Animal Protection, David Ville from Thomas Cook and Tom Moorhouse from the Department of Zoology, Oxford University. We shall be trying to shed more light on the issues around wild animal and human interaction from a scientific perspective and differentiating between ethical and aesthetic concerns. Fair Trade Tourism South Africa has certified the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre  a wildlife awareness and rehabilitation centre which has ceased all guest animal contact and  in mid- 2017 and a strict “no-selfies”, “no disrespectful posing” with animals and “no guest contact with Hazard Category 1 animals” protocol was implemented across all programmes. Tenikwa’s new no-contact policy was validated by an independent auditor during Fair Trade Tourism’s comprehensive audit process. More
  7. Responsible tourism mission officially launched in Kerala
    The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has launched the world’s first Responsible Tourism Mission to lead Kerala Tourism through people-friendly, local community-friendly and environment-friendly, initiatives ensuring rural development, employment opportunities and women empowerment. The pilot project in Kumarakom began in 2008 and it has delivered very significant benefits to the local community.  There is a session on Kumarakom at WTM London on  Monday 6th (13:00 AF580). There has been a census of tourism impacts, negative and positive, in Kumarakom. Download a copy here.
  8. Balearic tourist tax doubles
    Balearic tourism minister Biel Barceló and finance minister Catalina Cladera confirmed tourist tax will double in 2018 to two euros per person per day spent in accommodation. The tax, initially introduced in July of 2016, will apply to all levels of star-and-key-rated hotels as well as cruise ships, regardless of the duration of stay. Barceló believes this will raise revenue of 120 million euros in 2018. More
  9. A close up on animal cruelty
    World Animal Protection has published a new report, ‘A close up on cruelty: The harmful impact of wildlife selfies in the Amazon', reveals the alarming trend of taking selfies with wild animals for Instagram and other social media.
  10. Flying from Newcastle to London via Menorca
    A day in the sunshine and still £40 cheaper than going by rail - watch the video.


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