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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 02/ 2022

February 13, 2022
Harold Goodwin
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  1. The World RT Awards 2022 - Africa Regional Awards close 28th February
  2. RT at WTM Africa April 11-13 April - Building Resilience 

    (c) Visual Capitalist 

  3. Impacts of Covid 
  4. Adaptation
  5. Aviation 
  6. Wheel the World - extending access for the differently-abled 
  7. Plastic Pollution - a planetary emergency 
  8. RT becoming mainstream? 
  9. Responsible Tour Operating 
  10.  Miscellany

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The 2022 WTM Global  Responsible Tourism Awards are open for entries,  destinations and businesses can enter, and you can nominate others on the WTM global hub.  

2022 RT Events
April 11-13 WTM Africa, Cape Town The WTM Africa Awards 11th Africa Responsible Tourism Day 12th April 
June 5-12  Responsible Tourism  Summer School, Finland  Jyväskylä, Central Finland & Helsinki
The 15th International Conference on Responsible Tourism takes place June 9-10   Advancing Responsible Tourism

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1. The World RT Awards 2022 

Destinations and businesses can enter and you can nominate others on the Responsible Tourism Awards website. 
The Africa Regional Awards close on 28th February 

Apply and nominate here
Exceptionally, there are 10 categories for the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2022:

  • Decarbonising Travel & Tourism
  • Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic
  • Destinations Building Back Better Post-COVID
  • Increasing Diversity in Tourism: How inclusive is our industry?
  • Reducing Plastic Waste in the Environment
  • Growing the Local Economic Benefit
  • Access for the differently-abled as travellers, employees and holidaymakers
  • Increasing tourism’s contribution to natural heritage and biodiversity
  • Conserving water and improving water security and supply for neighbours
  • Contributing to cultural heritage

2. RT at WTM Africa April 11-13 April - Building Resilience

The Africa Awards will be presented on 11th and then a full day of talks, panels and presentations on 12th. Twenty years of Responsible Tourism in Cape Town, the Platform for Change, a Conversation with the V&A Waterfront, Local Economic Development: Creating Shared Value, Tackling Climate Change, Investment for Responsible Tourism & Resilience, conservation and nature recovery and Responsible Technology for Travel & Tourism.  more  Covid-19 has accelerated some trends in travel and tourism and reminded us of how vulnerable travel and tourism is in the face of health scares and economic recession. Our sector is perhaps the most vulnerable just in time industry. Responsibility was widely used in the industry to provide reassurance to travellers, the RT programme at WYM Africa focuses on rebuilding the sector. more


3. Impacts of Covid

In the latest World Economic Forum's  Global Risks Report, infectious disease comes fifth after extreme weather, livelihood crises, climate action failure and the erosion of social cohesion. Out of 37 risks respondents were asked to identify those they believed would be critical in the next two years. 84% of respondents reported that they were either worried or concerned, a mere 3.7% were optimistic. more
In the UK the death rate for flu ranges between 0.1 and 0.2%, between one death in 1,000 cases and one death in 500. In May 2020 Covid case fatalities peaked at one death in six cases. The latest case fatality rates in England in the seven days up to January 26 are now just 0.14 per cent - one death in 714 positive cases. The omicron variant appears to be about as dangerous as flu. Cumulatively Covid has been deadlier than flu, but the omicron variant now dominant is much less deadly. "While it is impossible to predict the future, maybe omicron has given us hope that the virus is starting to behave like others before it: evolving primarily to spread, not to kill." more 

The dominance of omicron is good news for travel and tourism and more countries are opening for tourism but in large parts of the world, vaccination rates are very low ranging from 4.3% in low-income countries to 69.9% in high-income countries. Viruses mutate a process facilitated by their circulation. Continued vigilance is essential as are efforts to increase the spread of vaccination for moral and self-interest reasons. In the UK scientists have warned the government that allowing large numbers of people in lower-income countries to go unvaccinated is "reckless" and could lead to new Covid variants. more At the World Economic Forum in January the United Nations’ Secretary-General, António Guterres, told world and business leaders that “global solidarity is missing in action”. “The last two years have demonstrated a simple but brutal truth - if we leave anyone behind, we leave everyone behind”, the UN chief said. more 

Modelling by Edge Health and Oxera, a specialist research consultancy that works with the NHS, found that travel restrictions could only delay the peak of a new variant by between two and eight days – but only if they were imposed as the variant was first brought in. "It took 16 days for the UK to detect and react to the omicron variant after it had already arrived, suggesting any tests would only be introduced long after they could have any effect in delaying the peak of the virus." more This latest UK research supports the WHO and UNWTO: " “When it comes to stopping the spread of new virus variants, blanket travel restrictions are simply counterproductive. In fact, by cutting the lifeline of tourism, these restrictions do more harm than good, especially in destinations reliant on international tourists for jobs, economic wellbeing and sustainable change.” more


 

4. Adaptation

The World Economic Forum research has identified the critical importance of mitigating and adapting to climate change.

"Climate change is happening now. It is one of the biggest challenges of our generation and has already begun to cause irreversible damage to our planet and way of life." In the UK the government has admitted that its efforts to insulate the UK from climate change impacts have been inadequate and identified 61 climate risks cutting across multiple sectors of society: biodiversity, soil health, tree loss, agriculture, power shortages, health and security. more

Australia again experienced 50.7° C at Onslow, in Western Australia, Mardie and Roebourne, reported temperatures of more than 50C, more  In the Arctic frozen ground is thawing.  !Five million people live on Arctic permafrost including in Russia, North America and Scandinavia. .... Scientists studying the Arctic say that 70% of infrastructure and 30-50% of critical infrastructure is at high risk of damage by 2050, with projected cost of tens of billions of dollars." more


5. Aviation 

Chris Lyle has identified 2022 as a critical year for change if net-zero international aviation emissions are to be achieved by 2050. His conclusion is sobering " ICAO measures can only be limited and action by coalitions of the more ambitious will be a necessary means of supplementing the ICAO guidance, or perhaps even the primary mitigation measures – with demand management already appearing above the horizon." more
Meanwhile, enlightened airlines continue to make progress. Eviation expects to deliver 12 Alice eCargo electric aircraft to DHL Express in 2024. Air France and KLM have introduced a compulsory levy of €1-€12 on departures from France and the Netherlands to fund investment in Sustainable Aviation Fuel. more


6. Wheel the World - extending access for the differently-abled

 

Wheel the World has launched new accessible multi-day group tours for 2022, helping travellers with disabilities travel together to discover some of the world’s greatest wonders.


7. Plastic Pollution-  a planetary  emergency
The Environmental Investigation Agency, a UK registered charity, has just published a report Connecting the Dots: Plastic pollution and the planetary emergency pulls together recent scientific data on the broad impact of plastics on climate, biodiversity, human health and the environment – and it warns that only a robust global treaty for plastics can address the problem.

Humankind’s addiction to plastic and failure to prevent it contaminating the food web directly undermines human health, drives biodiversity loss, exacerbates climate change and risks generating large-scale harmful environmental changes. “Plastic emissions into the oceans alone are due to triple by 2040, in line with growing plastics production, and if this tidal wave of pollution continues unchecked, the anticipated 646 million tonnes of plastics in the seas by that date could exceed the collective weight of all fish in the ocean.” more

 


8. RT becoming mainstream?
The New York Times publishes an annual list of destinations to visit, for 2022 they have identified 52 places where visitors can be part of the solution to problems like overtourism and climate change. Beyond the pandemic, there is a profound shift underway in the world’s understanding of climate change and the swiftness and degree to which we are already seeing its effects. Wildfires, floods, dangerous storms, rising water levels and temperatures: all remind us how fragile our world really is. The travel industry is responsible for somewhere between 8 and 11 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council, and at the Glasgow climate summit this fall, the tourism industry made its first commitment to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and reach “net zero” by 2050. Travel supports depleted economies in places that depend on tourists’ dollars and opens the eyes of travellers to cultures and customs different from their own. That thought is the animating spirit behind this year’s list, “52 Places for a Changed World.”
Investment Monitor interviewed H.E. Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi. He described RT and what it means for Abu Dhabi"Responsible tourism means building a more sustainable and reliable future for tourism, making our cities safer and better to visit, and ensuring every aspect of the tourism industry, including the environment and culture, is involved in creating a sustainable tourist destination by cultivating meaningful relationships between locals and tourists to create memorable experiences. It also means being culturally appropriate, reducing environmental and social impacts, and enhancing and conserving cultural heritage." more


9. Responsible Tour Operating
Since January 1st Contiki has implemented a five-point Climate Action Plan committing to carbon reductions and evolving to support the transition to a low-carbon future. They have included transfer emissions calculated by taking transfer modes, distances, fuel type, passenger numbers and number of vehicles used for selected trips. Accommodation emissions based on average energy consumption by room type from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. A regional energy factor is applied resulting in a unique average for each room type in each region. Emissions from meals have been calculated based on two main identifying factors – buffet vs. non-buffet and vegetarian vs. non-vegetarian meals. Synergy Enterprises developed customised emission factors for each meal type that accounts for food production and food waste. They are leaving it to individual travellers to offset their flights, any services not included in the base price of the trip, emissions produced by facilities or buildings we visit on their trips, meals purchased by the traveller, above those included in the cost of the trip. Contiki has published the average carbon footprint per person per day on a Contiki trip. More

Intrepid has created twenty-two new impact initiatives for its itineraries in 2022, experiences that directly support environmental or wildlife conservation, preserving Indigenous cultures and supporting marginalized groups around the world to give Intrepid travellers more opportunities for responsible travel practices.  more
G Adventures report that close to a third of their global consumer panel say they’ll put more focus on travelling responsibly in 2022. 66% of their ravellers want their money to directly benefit local people and workations have hit the mainstream. Of our panel respondents, 24% said they’re able to work from anywhere — with that number jumping to 46% for 18 - 34 year olds. An increasing number of people (37% up from 19% in December 2020) plan to combine work with future travel. 54% of respondents want to pause social media and reduce screen time, with 28% saying socializing and meeting new people is their top wellbeing priority for booking their next holiday. Although the term ‘revenge travel’ gained popularity over the course of the pandemic, reconnection travel now sits at 42% compared to revenge travel at 14%. More


10 Miscellany

  • Australia: the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Tourism Group is encouraging visitors to be responsible this summer by adhering to rules and being considerate of others when in the region.
  • Glenn Mandziuk,  new CEO of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance more
  • Renewed efforts to tackle irresponsible visitors in Perthshire are being made to crack down on dirty camping. more
  • Hadrian’s Wall under threat as Brexit delays heritage payments more
  • Beach clean-ups and ‘Burren Bags’ – how a Co Clare community inspired sustainable tourism around the world more
  • Hawaii Tourism Officials Seeking To Attract 'Mindful, Respectful and High-Value' Travelers more
  • Irresponsible Tourism: The tourism trap and the lure of instant money. Boys are drawn into the dragnet of the ‘customer’ and quick money syndrome. Families who have faced generational poverty tend to create the mental and psychological base for it. Money, earn money. more
  • Maharashtra: MTDC’s Responsible Tourism-A New Beginning more

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