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Responsible Tourism News – July 2015

July 28, 2015
Harold Goodwin
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Professional Masters in Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism News is a newsletter of record carrying the 10 most important Responsible Tourism stories of the month. Please forward to those you think may be interested – you can subscribe here. If you wish to contribute a story email harold@haroldgoodwin.info or post it on our RTNews Facebook page.

1. New research on destination impacts in Cyprus published

The Travel Foundation, TUI and PwC have worked together to pilot PwC’s Total Impact Measurement and Management framework on eight hotels used by TUI in Cyprus. The study measured and valued a wide range of economic, fiscal, social and environmental impacts. The positive economic and tax benefits were by far the greatest impact - amounting to €84 per guest per night - far exceeding the negative environmental (-€4) and social (-€0.2) costs. However, this is a one-year (2013) snapshot and does not take account of the construction of the hotels. In addition, many environmental and social impacts will accumulate over a longer timeframe. Greenhouse gases (GHG) were the most significant environmental cost - although this represents less than 0.01% of total GHG emissions in Cyprus. GHG impact more than doubles if flights to/from Cyprus are included.

2. Poverty reduction through Village Ways tourism in Binsar, India

In Binsar 58% of households are defined by the government as living below the poverty line (BPL), 81% of families and 20% of individuals are involved with Village Ways, the benefits are well spread across the communities. This spread is deliberate. It is important that the benefits from engaging with tourism are equitably spread and that this is seen as additional income, no other employment or livelihood options have been displaced by tourism. Village Ways generates 14% of Binsar’s income, although this varies between 31% in Satiri and 14% in Matkanya. Significant but not sufficient to create dependency nor to encourage households to abandon, neglect or reduce their other livelihood activities. More

3. Blood Lions

Aggressive farmers and most within the professional hunting community resent his questioning, but the highly profitable commercialization of lions is plain to see – cub petting, volunteer recruitment, lion walking, canned hunting, trading and the new lion bone trade are on the increase. And all are being justified under the guise of conservation, research and education. The film shows in intimate detail how lucrative it is to breed lions, and how the authorities and most professional hunting and tourism bodies have become complicit in allowing the industries to flourish. More

The Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa is reconsidering its position on canned lion hunting recognising that public opinion is moving against them and that “with some airlines and shipping lines refusing to transport hunting trophies, PHASA has to face the fact that the lion issue is putting at risk not only the reputation of professional hunting in South Africa but its very survival.”

4. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Tourism

The United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda will be held from 25 to 27 September 2015, in New York. As the Millennium Development Goals conclude, a new era of global development commitments is to be launched with the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals. All countries, not just developing countries, have the opportunity to adopt a new sustainable development agenda to address the three principal challenges that remain: (1) poverty eradication, (2) reducing inequality and (3) ensuring sustainability. Tourism is mentioned three times in the Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals, countries, cities and companies will all be able to declare their intent to contribute to the SDGs and report their progress over the next 15 years.

5. The Precautionary Principle and Unpleasant Surprises

James Hansen is the lead author on a paper still under peer review warning of the risks of super storms with just a 2 °C rise in temperature – the supposedly safe limit. “It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilisation,” the paper states. May climate scientists disagree, but at the New Scientist points out these claims do not reflect the views of most of climate scientists.
Michael Le Page in New Scientist concludes: “There have already been surprises. There is growing evidence, for instance, that much of the extreme weather around the planet in recent years is a result of changes in the behaviour of the jet stream as the poles warm. No one predicted this. … the mere possibility that he might be should make us all pause for thought. We are still gambling that we can get away with continuing business as usual without reaping the consequences in our lifetimes. It’s a high-stakes gamble that could go horrifically wrong.” More A recent paper in Global Environmental Change has shown that several IPCC projections have been too conservative. More

6. Angry protests against government plans to open the Galapagos to foreign investment in luxury tourism and hotels

There have been reports in the media of riot police with tear gas on the streets of the islands, with residents believing that the Ecuadorian government is more interested in exploiting the wealth of the islands than preserving them. The Ministry has responded that there are 20 infrastructure projects under evaluation by the Governing Council, none of them are mega-projects and none have yet been approved. More

7. UNWTO argues that Tourism should receive more ODA

Tourism is a high-impact economic activity in trade in services, a major job generator and a priority area for the vast majority of both LDCs and MICs. Yet, financing remains an important hurdle for tourism to really deploy its development potential. The sector is still clearly underrepresented in aid flows, representing in 2011 only 0.5% of total AfT disbursements and 0.13% of total ODA. These values are far from the 5% share of trade that tourism represents in emerging and developing economies.

8. Thailand recognises that arrivals figures are not all that counts

The planned strategy calls for the upgrading and rebranding of five clusters of our major tourist destinations to the extent that they will become quality tourist spots instead of being cheap, quantitative ones in the eye of foreign visitors. The authorities in charge of tourism promotion campaigns will no longer set a target on the number of world foreigners to visit Thailand in a year as had been the case in the past several years but will focus on the upgrading of the country' s major destinations as quality tourist spots. More

9. Countering negative stereotypes of Africa

The user-generated campaign on Twitter, supported by UNWTO, sharing the hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou is promoting tourism and demystify perceptions.

10. Harold Goodwin has joined the Board of the Travel Foundation

He has joined to assist with the Foundation’s renewed focus on destinations and partnerships.

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