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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 01/2023

January 13, 2023
Harold Goodwin
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  1.  2023WTM Global Responsible Tourism Awards open for India, WTM Latin America and WTM Africa.
  2. 1st Global Responsible Tourism Summit 25-27 February 2023 Kumarakom, Kerala
  3. Symposium on Technology for Responsible Tourism 1-4 March Calicut, Kerala
  4. Climate Change Loss & Damage in Europe
  5. The Hydrogen Transition Gathers Pace 
  6. Tourism and Anthropogenic Climate Change Damaging Wildlife 
  7. Government action in France and Belgium to reduce emissions
  8. Achieving Sustainability: Regulation and Benchmarking
  9. Bude, building resilience against climate change 
  10. Miscellany

This newsletter and the website are now available in 20 languages - see the box top right.
The 2022 Responsible Tourism Charter points out that responsibility drives sustainability lists the major issues which need to be addressed and asserts the importance of transparent reporting is essential to demonstrating what is being achieved and avoiding greenwashing.  

1. 2023WTM Global Responsible Tourism Awards open for India, WTM Latin America and WTM Africa.

This is your chance to be recognised as a leader in Responsible Tourism and to put your company on the world map. Those awarded Gold in the regional awards are automatically entered into the Global Awards presented at WTM London in November. Free to enter, the 2023 Awards are split into four regions: Africa, India, Latin America, and the Rest of the World. Each region’s winners will also go forward to compete in the Global Awards at WTM London 2023.

The Responsible Tourism Awards are an opportunity for businesses and destinations to demonstrate their commitment to responsibility and sustainability. An accolade like this can bring significant business benefits, including increased awareness and competitive advantage. We encourage all eligible businesses to enter.

>Africa: open until 28th February Enter here 
Africa Travel Week is calling all sustainability champions, changemakers, movers, and shakers to enter the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards 2023 as applications are now open for entries.
> India: open until 30th June Enter here
The ICRT India Awards are being promoted with the support of Fairfest Media ( TTF and OTM) and will be presented at BLTM - Business + Leisure Travel and MICE at the Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi 29-30 September. The Gold winners in each category will automatically be entered into the WTM Global Responsible Tourism Awards.
> Latin America: open until 30th January 30th  Enter here
The finalists who will receive the “Gold” and “Silver” Awards and the “One to Watch” will be announced in the first week of March and the awards ceremony will take place during WTM Latin America in April 2023. and encourage those ventures and projects that deserve to be awarded and can inspire everyone to promote increasingly responsible tourism."
> Rest of the World - launching  shortly

2. 1st Global Responsible Tourism Summit 25-27 February 2023 Kumarakom, Kerala

The Responsible Tourism Mission (RT Mission) of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, was launched in October 2017 with the vision of creating a Sustainable Tourism State. The Mission encourages the adoption of Responsible Tourism principles and practices by the tourism industry and other stakeholders. It was inspired by  2002 Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations.

Having organised the two major conferences on Responsible Tourism in Kerala in 2008  and 2013, the Responsible Tourism Mission is proud to announce the first Global Responsible Tourism Summit to be held in February 2023. The focus of this summit is to bring together Responsible and Sustainable Tourism specialists and practitioners from different parts of the world to learn and exchange their experiences and to revise the 2008  Kerala Responsible Tourism Declaration.

The 2023 Kerala Declaration on Responsible Tourism will be based on the 2022  Responsible Tourism Charter signed and launched on Magna Carta Island on 6th November 2022

The summit will be held at the world-renowned Responsible Tourism Destination in the backwaters of Kumarakom. The two days of the Summit will showcase both Indian and International speakers and will also include one-day field visits at Kumarakom and Maravanthuruthu - the new STREET destination of RT Mission recognised in the 2022 WTM Global Responsible Tourism Awards.  For more on Water STREET

For further information and to register contact RT Mission, Kerala, Rupesh Kumar <rupesh@keralatourism.org>

3. Symposium on Technology for Responsible Tourism 1-4 March Calicut, Kerala

The Faizal & Shabana Foundation is hosting a two-day symposium at Tulah, near Calicut in Kerala. Faizal and Shabana have long been committed to regenerative sustainable development, and they have been able to include some exciting new technology in their integrated clinical wellness resort.  The resort will be fully powered by solar energy and. water conservation through aquaponics, hydroponics and water harvesting. The aim is to become self-sufficient. They are creating a sustainable and eco-friendly ecosystem that features solar power parks, tree plantations, high-tech organic farming, organically grown food, water technology, composting and radiant cooling instead of air-conditioning.

The 1st  Technology for Responsible Tourism Symposium  (TRT) has two purposes:

  • to share cutting-edge technologies which can transform tourism and ensure that it becomes genuinely sustainable showcasing the technology on-site at Tulah, and examples brought to the symposium by participants.
  • to create and run a website which will provide honest and critical advice on Technology for Responsible Tourism to encourage uptake and deliver maximum impact.

Download our first catalogue of Technology for Responsible Tourism TRT 

All participants will have transfers, accommodation and board covered by the Faizal & Shabana Foundation. The Foundation cannot cover flights.

To apply to participate in the TRT Symposium please email both harold@haroldgoodwin.info & joseph@faizalshabana.org

Places are limited; please apply quickly, and do not book your flights until you receive confirmation of your place at the symposium

4. Climate Change: Loss & Damage in Europe

Europe and the polar regions bore the brunt of global warming in 2022. Over the past 30 years, temperatures in European countries have increased by more than twice the global average. According to the Copernicus service, Europe has the highest rate of temperature increase of any continent in the world. The centre of Greenland also recorded values that were 8C higher than average during September. more

Between 1980 and 2020, total economic losses from weather- and climate-related events amounted to EUR 450-520 billion (in 2020 euros) in the 32 EEA member countries (EEA-32). Between only one-quarter and one-third of these losses were insured. more

The UK Met Office reports that 2022 was the UK’s hottest on record, with the average annual temperature passing the 10C mark for the first time, very nearly a degree(0.89°C) above the average for the last three decades. Dr Nikos Christidis, a Met Office climate attribution scientist, said: “We calculated that by the end of the century, under a medium [future] emissions scenario, a UK average temperature of 10C could occur almost every year.” England recorded 2,800 excess deaths in over-65s in 2022.

The extreme weather events caused by El Niño and La Niña affect infrastructure, food and energy systems around the world. For background on how El Niño and La Niña episodes affect climate change go here.

5. The Hydrogen Transition Gathers Pace 

Our industry’s Achille’s Heel is aviation, not flying but the dirty fuel used to power the aircraft. In a rapidly growing population with poor food security and hunger, looking to food waste and biomass to fuel aviation is morally questionable and irresponsible. Matthieu Favas, the finance correspondent at The Economist, reported in The Climate Issue, that nine countries are planning to install 260 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2050—enough to power all of the EU’s nearly 200m households. This creates an opportunity, a big opportunity, to produce green hydrogen an effective way of storing energy.

“Many large offshore wind farms being commissioned today include plans to build electrolysers so part of the power they produce can be used to make green fuel. Doing so offshore, where the electricity is produced, is more efficient than having electrolysers onshore: hydrogen pipelines cost just one-fifth of what equivalent high-capacity power transmission lines do. This may lead to the creation of an archipelago of “energy islands”—artificial atolls that host the crews and facilities needed to produce hydrogen en masse." more
Rolls Royce, in partnership with easyJet, is bench-testing a jet engine running on hydrogen. "We started a few years ago looking at what might power the aircraft of the future," says  David Morgan, easyJet's chief operating officer. "We looked at battery technology, and it was quite clear that the battery technology was probably not going to do it for the large commercial aircraft that we fly."We've come to the conclusion that hydrogen is a very exciting proposition for us."
The Economist reports that 1% is the expected worldwide increase in carbon dioxide emissions in 2022 and that "Most of the increase came from the continued rebound in post-covid air travel.
The Clean Hydrogen Partnership reports "Significant advancements have been achieved in the electrolysers, where the best in the class have already met some of the 2024 KPIs, while demonstration projects have proven to be a reliable enable for sectorial integration." more
China has rolled out the world's first hydrogen powered train, capable of 160km per hour and travelling 600 km before refuelling, using a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and supercapacitors emitting only water.
In Saudi Arabia Red Sea Global has signed a memorandum of understanding with ZeroAvia, the British-American hydrogen-electric aviation firm, to test and develop zero-emission travel across its new luxury tourism destination focusing on environmental sustainability and regeneration. They are exploring options to retrofit a fleet of around 30 seaplane variants of the Cessna Caravan using ZeroAvia hydrogen-electric propulsion technology to fly without emissions. ZeroAvia plans to install a 600-kilowatt system in the Cessna Caravan, which is expected to start flying by 2024.

6. Tourism and Anthropogenic Climate Change Damaging Wildlife
:"A video showing dozens of vehicles moving in on a pair of big cats near the Mara River in Kenya highlights how “aggressive tourism” can put endangered animals at even greater risk.  "Guides and conservationists who have seen it said the video underscored a problem many of them have observed  ...  safari vehicles packed with cellphone-wielding tourists led by guides who are willing to get too close to the animals."  more

UK National Trust reports wildlife ‘devastated by a litany of weather extremes’ in 2022.Keith Jones, Climate Change Adviser at the National Trust said: “There is no escaping that this year’s weather has been challenging for nature. Drought, high temperatures, back-to-back storms, unseasonal heat, the recent cold snap, and floods means nature, like us, is having to cope with a new litany of weather extremes. “It is a stark illustration of the sort of difficulties many of our species will face if we don’t do more to mitigate rising temperatures and helping nature’s survival."

Arctic: Wind farms directly threaten Sami reindeer herding through displacement and disturbance.  With cheaper renewable energy, wind and hydro/ the region is attracting new 'green technologies, batteries and green steel manufacture bringing industrialisation to the wilderness and threatening the livelihoods and cultures of the Sami and their reindeer. more

7. Government action in France and Belgium to reduce emissions
has approved legislation that will require all car parks with more than 80 spaces to be covered over by solar panels. This is part of a wider programme that will see solar panels occupy derelict lots, vacant land alongside roads and railways, as well as some farmland. This is expected to add 11 gigawatts to the French electricity grid equal to ten nuclear reactors. more France is banning short-haul domestic flights where the journey can be made by rail in less than 2.5 hours, the EU has agreed to the ban which will end flights between Paris Orly and Nantes, Bordeaux, and Lyon. more

Belgium Brussels Airport is incentivising airlines to use more modern, quieter and less polluting aircraft.  The loudest aircraft will pay up to 20 times more than the quietest from April 2023 onwards, and the tariffs will also take nitrogen oxide emissions into account.

8. Achieving Sustainability: Regulation and Benchmarking
: The EU has published a draft regulation requiring mandatory deposit and return schemes for single-use plastic drinks bottles and metal cans and requiring e-commerce retailers to ensure that empty space in a box is a maximum 40%. European Commission executive VP Frans Timmermans said  “Such overpacking is a nuisance to us and is increasingly damaging to our environment.” “We want more packaging to be reusable because we cannot recycle ourselves out of a growing stream of waste. And reusable packaging in a well-functioning reuse system is better for the environment than single-use options.”  Mini bottles in hotel bathrooms, 'avoidable packaging'. will be banned. In an effort to reduce greenwashing the commission plans to ensure that products claiming to be “biobased”, “biodegradable” or “compostable” meet minimum standards. The chair of the European parliament’s environment committee welcomed the move “We have moved from disposable to recyclable and we are concretely committing ourselves to a trajectory for reuse because this is the most resource-efficient and will also help us to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.” Oceana pointed to the success of industry lobbying " “It is worrying ... that reuse targets for beverage packaging and e-commerce containers were decreased, and some of them even halved when compared to the draft text leaked only a month ago.” more

Benchmarking: The Green Lodging Trends Report enables hotels to be benchmarked against their peers on sustainability best practices. 27,000 hotels of all sizes and types across 54 countries participated in the 2022 GLTR and benchmarked their performance against peers. All best practices are grouped into four categories based on the adoption rates calculated: Common practices (75% and above), Established practices (50% - 74%).
Emerging practices (25% - 49%), Innovative practices (Less than 25%).

Most hotels (95.5%) implement a linen reuse programme changing linen every 2 days or more by default (except upon guest request or checkout) and close to 80% of hotels offer guests opportunities to support or participate in its environmental and social initiatives. Over 60% of all hotels track energy and water consumption, mostly on a quarterly basis. Only 66% of hotels have eliminated the use of plastic straws and only 50% have eliminated the use of plastic stirrers. Just short of 50% of reporting hotels have replaced mini plastic toiletry bottles with bulk dispensers or non-plastic alternatives and only 40.7% of hotels have replaced plastic water bottles offered to guests and staff with sustainable alternatives such as reuse models, reusable options or non-plastic alternatives.
The benchmarking reports by hotel type, rather than by brand, the Lodging Trends Report is most useful to hotel management benchmarking their performance against their competitors rather than consumers wanting to choose the most sustainable lodging available. The Greenview Greel Lodign Report covers management systems, community impact, health & wellness, responsible consumption, the elimination of single use plastics, waste and energy management, water conservation and climate action.


9. Bude, building resilience against climate change
Bude and eleven surrounding parishes in north Cornwall has been awarded £2m by the National Lottery to help this vulnerable coastal town combat the effects of the rise in sea level. Robert Uhlig, the founder and programme director of the Bude Climate Partnership, said "“We need to make sure we are helping businesses and people see where they are vulnerable and what they need to do. Building resilience is about getting everyone to work together so that it is not just people doing their own thing, but all of us pulling together which will make sure we have much greater resilience to the threat.” More than 70% of local businesses and 40% of jobs rely on tourism, so £750,000 is targeted to make tourism more resilient. more

10. Miscellany
Sustainable Brands: This year, we saw companies double down on purpose amidst a rise in consumer skepticism and politically motivated attacks on ESG. Six notable trends and what they might mean for 2023.
Global Nomads. But there is a darker side to this quest for global freedom
IHG's  Journey to Tomorrow 2030 responsible business action plan,  shaping the future of responsible travel — supporting their people and making a positive difference in local communities
National Geographic: 5 ways to make travel more meaningful in 2023 
Airbnb working with Goa's Department of Tourism to make progressive policies to promote inclusive and  responsible tourism in the state,

The URL takes you directly to the RT Hub, which provides easy links to Responsible Tourism

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Other Responsible Tourism Newsletters

The Sustainabilist UAE
Responsible Cape Town
Climate Change in 7 charts

Responsible Traveller, South Africa
Encounter Africa


Responsible Tourism News is a newsletter of record carrying the 10 most important Responsible Tourism stories of the month. 5,000 people subscribe to receive it every month.  Please forward this to those you think may be interested – you can subscribe using the box on the right if you wish to contribute a story email harold@haroldgoodwin.info

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