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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 03/2023

March 22, 2023
Harold Goodwin
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2023 Responsible Tourism Awards are open for India.
Responsible Tourism programmes at WTM Africa and ATM

  1. Kerala has a new Responsible Tourism Declaration


  2. Addressing Overtourism 
  3. Reporting on Accommodation Sustainability 
  4. Progress on greenhouse gas emissions is too slow
  5. Progress with Hydrogen
  6. Gender Equality: Why Engaging More Women in Tourism Benefits Everyone,
  7. Animal Welfare
  8. Investors’ Tourism Summit, India 
  9. Responsible Tourism in Oppressive Regimes: A Guide for Tour Operators to Put People First
  10. Miscellany

  • 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.
  • 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 Global Responsible Tourism Awards. more
  • The UN has declared  17th February Global Tourism Resilience Day (A/RES/77/269)  to emphasize the need to foster resilient tourism development to deal with shocks, taking into account the vulnerability of the tourism sector to emergencies.

1. Kerala has a new Responsible Tourism Declaration
At Kumarakom, the birthplace of Responsible Tourism in India, the government of Kerala launched a new 2023 Kerala Declaration last week at the Ist Global Responsible Tourism Summit, the first part of which is the international Responsible Tourism Charter. The second part details how the Charter will be applied in Kerala as the Responsible Tourism Mission, under Rupesh Kumar’s leadership, is tasked to roll out the tried and tested approach across the state. Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas said: “The focus is on making Kerala a better place with better people. RT brought in a new phase of human interaction, enabling us to go deeper into the roots of society”, the Minister said.   more

Kerala has understood the weaknesses of existing certification schemes and they have developed a better approach. Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Classification Scheme is very different. It distinctively reflects local concerns and priorities and the classification can be withdrawn in case of violation of classification conditions, as and when brought to the notice of the government. This scheme has teeth and is able to secure compliance. Hopefully, Kerala will ensure that the basis for each hotel or resort’s classification be made clear by the publication of their scores against each of the criteria. This would a) make it possible for communities, travellers and holidaymakers to draw attention to hotels and resorts which may be breaching their claims; and b) enable consumers to choose to stay in the hotel or resort which scores highest on the criteria which matter most to them. That would be a real game-changer.

2. Addressing Overtourism
attracted  2.5 million people, or 17 times its native population in 2022. Emma Beaumont reports Brits are too grotty for Lanzarote in the Telegraph that tourist bosses in numerous destinations are discouraging tight-budget UK travellers - and it's class-based. more And in The Times "Brits are too grotty for Lanzarote" María Dolores Corujo, head of Lanzarote’s local government, has declared the island "a “tourist-saturated area” and that they want to “reduce dependence on the British market”. The objective is to move away from mass tourism and to attract those who spend more in the destination. Annabel Fenwick Elliott wrote a piece in The Telegraph "It’s true – German tourists are superior to the British" She reports that "according to the Spanish Tourist Office, the latest stats for Lanzarote show holidaymakers from the UK spend an average of €34 (£30) per day, compared to €27 for Germans", although the Germans stay longer. more
The President subsequently reiterated her view thathe island’s tourist capacity had reached its limit and it had to prioritise a “rational and lasting development based on quality”.But she insisted, in an open letter in the island newspaper La Voz de Lanzarote: “It’s categorically false that in Lanzarote we do not want British tourism or that we want to reduce the numbers of British tourists. .... “In Lanzarote we are also lucky to have an excellent long-time resident British community, a community that is sensitive to the environment and involved in caring for and defending sustainable development for our island. “We share our island character with the British and that makes the existence of limits in an insular, fragile and small territory like ours very well understood.” more in the Evening Standard 
Venice has postponed its day visitor tax again, "initially scheduled for January 16, 2023, will not become effective until 2024. The exact date has yet to be specified."
Balearics: Iago Negueruela, tourism minister of the Balearic Islands, told Lonely Planet. "Our islands have so much more to offer than sun and beach, and we encourage tourists to visit outside of high season to experience our cultural, gastronomic and active offerings, thus spreading the flow of tourism throughout the year."In 2022, the islands brought in a ban on creating new hotels and other tourist accommodations (apartment rentals included) until at least 2026. Existing accommodation can now only extend or refresh its current buildings by 15% and always with the condition of reducing the number of beds by 5%. In Mallorca's capital Palma, Airbnb-style tourist apartments have been banned since 2018. Formentera (the go-slow Balearic sister still only accessible by ferry, off Ibiza's southeast coast) has been limiting vehicle access during high season since 2019. From mid-June to mid-September, non-Balearic visitors who want to drive a car or motorbike here must apply in advance for a permit and, if approved, pay a daily tax of €3 (minimum €15 total) or €1.50 (minimum €7.50 total) respectively; electric vehicles are excluded, while hybrids get a 50% discount. Menorca is now also considering a similar scheme that could begin as early as this summer, as part of the new Menorca Reserva de la Biosfera law approved in January 2023. more
Majorca: Back in November, Director of Tourism Lucia Escribano said the island was "not interested in having the budget tourists from the UK." The government is preventing any increase in bed numbers, effectively capping arrivals. Juan Ferrer, President of the Palma BeaLa Pelosach Quality Offensive, told the German newspaper Bild: "Holidays will be around 33% more expensive in 2023 than in the previous year".: For the next two years, Palma’s port will limit cruise ships to three per day.more
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (Etias), is expected to be implemented in November 2023. This new visa system will apply to people visiting the EU. President of the Spanish tourism group, Mesa del Turismo, Juan Molas, has called the fee a “threat”, stating it risks undermining the country’s tourism sector. In a statement following its first General Assembly of the year, the board said: “The Tourism Board is especially concerned about the impact of this tax on British tourism, our main issuing market with 18 million arrivals in 2019. more
Thailand's Cabinet has approved a proposal by the National Tourism Policy Committee to charge a tourism fee of 300 baht (US$8.80) per person from international travellers who arrive in the country by air. For travellers who arrive by land or sea, the fee is 150 baht per person,
Sardinia: From June 1st to September 30th  access to the La Pelosa beach will be limited in order to protect the environment and prevent erosion. The price is valid for one day and includes the use of toilets and showers. Each user can buy up to 8 tickets per day at €3.50, for adults, children are free.
Skye: Using sensors located at key sites across the island to track the movements of people and vehicles, the MySkyeTime app – inspired by similar technology in use in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Yellowstone Park - will provide live updates to alert visitors as to when best to visit popular places.
In Monterey, California, the council voted 3-2 to terminate city services to process disembarking passengers. Ships will continue to be allowed to drop anchor in the bay and take guests to the shore via tender. However, cruise lines will have to hire staff at the port to process passengers at the city's public dock.

3. Reporting on Accommodation Sustainability
Julie Cheetham, Co-Founder and Director of Weeva explains: "The decisions and actions taken today in this sector can impact the future of our planet and the lives of billions of people. Contributing to an estimated 8 to 11% of total greenhouse gas emissions, the sector needs to rebalance its relationship with the planet and its people. To do so, it needs a new perspective: a 360-degree view of our world.
This quest for a new perspective that would transform the sector’s resilience and sustainability led Lindsey Walter,me and our colleagues to create Weeva – a pioneering digital 360-degree sustainability management solution. Accessibility, inclusion, and the democratisation of sustainability in the sector form its core offering. A uniquely designed software, Weeva offers a 360-degree interconnected system of tools and easy-to-use technology that tracks and reports on the net environmental, social and commercial impact for a plethora of users, from BnBs to luxury safari lodges, boutique urban boltholes, and corporate travel hotel chains."
Weeva takes the raw data inputted by the business and produces a visual dashboard showing what the business is achieving – a combined management and marketing tool. Potentially the consumer is able to see behind the label and to choose to stay in the accommodation with the lowest water consumption per bed night or the best performance on greenhouse gas emissions. Weeva is a game-changer in sustainability
The 2022 Greenview's Green Lodging Report is published, it enables those who take part to benchmark their performance against similar accommodation providers.
WTTC has launched Hotel Sustainability Basics, the 12 criteria represent the common denominator and most transversal sustainability actions across the industry. The working group members include Accor, Barcelo Hotel Group, Huazhu Group Limited including their affiliate Deutsche Hospitality, Indian Hotels Company Limited, Jin Jiang Hotels, Louvre Hotels Group, Meli Hotels International, Minor International, NH Hotel Group, Radisson Hotel Group.

4. Progress on greenhouse gas emissions is too slow
Verra world’s leading carbon credit certifier was revealed in January to be failing. "a nine-month investigation by the Guardian, the German weekly Die Zeit and SourceMaterial found widespread problems with the system. Analysis of a significant proportion of Verra projects indicated more than 90% of its rainforest offset credits do not represent genuine carbon reductions. Human rights issues are a serious concern in at least one of the offsetting projects co-run by the NGO Conservation International and the Peruvian governments, with evidence people had been forced from their homes." Now Verra says that it will replace its rainforest offsets programme by mid-2025. In the UK, EU and US, there is growing regulatory scrutiny of what companies can say using carbon credits, including claims of carbon neutrality. more
The International Energy Agency reports that global energy-related CO2 emissions grew in 2022 by 0.9%, or 321m tonnes, a new high of more than 36.8bn tonnes. For the first time, the rate of growth in carbon emissions was below that of economic growth, suggesting countries were successfully “decoupling” economic growth from emissions. However, a 7% reduction is needed every year to meet the goal of halving emissions this decade.
The IPCC's  Synthesis Report due to be published later this month will be the last of the AR6 products to inform the 2023 Global Stocktake under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
New research just published in Germany research reveals that, between 2000 and 2021, the country suffered over €145 billion in extreme weather related costs, almost one third of that being just in 2021 and over half in just the past 5 years. and forecasts that climate change could cause economic damages of up to €900 billion by 2050 in Germany. "Despite the jump in renewables, global emissions from energy still rose by 0.9% in 2022 to a record 36.8 billion tons, accounting for more than three-quarters of the production of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. " IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said "We still see emissions growing from fossil fuels, hindering efforts to meet the world's climate targets," in a statement. About half of the increase in oil-related emissions was due to a rise in air travel, with tourism picking up again following shutdowns during the pandemic. more Northern forests released a record amount of carbon dioxide in 2021. Heatwaves and droughts in Russia and Canada resulted in a big jump in carbon emissions from boreal forests in 2021, on the back of a rising trend since 2000. more
  has published a step-by-step process for tourism businesses to create and manage a Climate Action Plan.

5. Progress with Hydrogen
In the US Universal Hydrogen’s 40-passenger regional airliner, nicknamed Lightning McClean, has completed its maiden flight using hydrogen fuel cell propulsion. The aircraft flew for 15 minutes, reaching an altitude of 3,500 MSL. The flight was conducted under an FAA Special Airworthiness Certificate. Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, said: “Our..airplanes are converted to hydrogen using an aftermarket retrofit conversion kit, tackling the existing fleet rather than developing a brand new airplane. And hydrogen fuelling uses modular capsules compatible with existing freight networks and airport cargo handling equipment, making every airport in the world hydrogen-ready.” more   In Canada, Alstom’s Coradia iLint train will run between Parc de la Chute Montmorency and the city of Baie-St-Paul, along the St. Lawrence River. The train will be powered by green hydrogen produced by Harnois Énergies at its Quebec City site. more
Chinese industrial giant CRRC, in partnership with Chengdu Rail Transit, introduced a new zero-emission train powered by hydrogen for passenger transport. The new train offers a range of 600 Km, and it's the fastest to date, with a top speed of 160 Km/h.more
LCP Delta’s report reports that increases in hydrogen capacity show little sign of slowing down, with total installed capacity set to reach over 22GW by the end of 2027. Murphy,  Murphy, head of Hydrogen at LCP Delta, explains" “What we are seeing is the emergence of a global arms race in hydrogen. As things stand, we are tracking up to $44bn of publicly announced investment in the European hydrogen market, although much of this is unallocated, waiting for private or public investment."

6. Gender Equality: Why Engaging More Women in Tourism Benefits Everyone,
An interview with Charmarie Maelge (Associate, Equality in Tourism International and Director, ICRT Sri Lanka), sharing insights into the challenges and opportunities around gender equality in tourism and positive examples of efforts to create a more equitable tourism industry. more

7.  Animal Welfare
On 8th of March,1993 Flamingoland in Yorkshire closed its dolphinarium, the last in the UK, but they are still being marketed by outbound tour operators. more  There is still much to be done to stop the exploitation of animals in tourism. World Animal Protection, reports that 84% of respondents thought that tour operators should not sell activities that cause wild animal suffering. 79% said they would prefer to see animals in the wild than in captivity. Tour operators and booking platforms promoting and selling wildlife entertainment venues lead tourists to assume such activities are acceptable, or even beneficial for wild animals, when in fact they are inhumane and cause lifelong harm to wildlife. more Intrepid has reviewed its 140-plus range of wildlife experiences and removed tours that failed to meet its standards of ethical engagement.

8. Investors’ Tourism Summit, India 
The objective of the Investors’ Tourism Summit is to promote the Indian travel and tourism industry as an ‘Investment Destination’ and provide a common platform for the Central/State governments and investors to discuss investment possibilities in the tourism industry of India. The Summit is an opportunity for domestic and foreign potential investors to identify state-specific investment possibilities in the segment unique to that state. Delhi 17-19 May. For more information and to register

9. Responsible Tourism in Oppressive Regimes: A Guide for Tour Operators to Put People First
The Roundtable on Human Rights in Tourism builds a trusted network of currently 34 tourism stakeholders from six countries is launching "A Guide for Tour Operators to Put People First". "The tourism industry sends travellers all over the world and maintains economic relations accordingly. A boycott cannot be the solution - but it is the responsibility, also Expert talk
Tuesday, 28 March 2023, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm CEST
of small and medium-sized enterprises to act with special care and attention when offering tours to oppressive regimes."  Register here

10. Miscellaneous 

Bali will ban foreign tourists from riding motorbikes after several tourists broke traffic laws.
Scotland & Gaelic
In the last year, there has been a huge increase in Gaelic interest on VisitScotland.com with the number of users visiting Gaelic-related content rising by 151 per cent in 2022 compared to 2021.
India Storytelling is a powerful tool for promoting responsible tourism, as it influences people's emotions, perceptions, and behaviours. To effectively leverage the power of storytelling in promoting responsible tourism, Indian cities need to choose stories that reflect the unique cultural and historical heritage of their place in all its rich diversity
Spain: Selfies are banned during the world-famous Running of the Bulls festival in the Spanish city of Pamplona.
Taiwan has announced plans to reward tourists who holiday there.
Saudi Arabia is promoting green investments in the tourism sector so that sustainability is no longer an afterthought but a top priority, and charting a future where innovative solutions in renewable energy, eco-hospitality, circular economy technologies, automated systems, and smart mobility become the new norm.
Hawaii "Survey finds 57% of Hawaii residents say tourism brings more benefits than problems"
The Lake Tahoe Visitor's Authority (LTVA) is part of the Destination Stewardship team "working to balance the needs of the environment, businesses, visitors, and local communities. It is a new shared strategy that will inspire everyone to take care of Tahoe, and "not love it to death."
VisitScotland's Chair, John Thurso, ‘Responsible tourism is about much more than economics’
Goa is planning to change its offer and its image. "When we talk about a safe and secure Goa, we need to ensure that the tourist who is coming in feels safe and secure and can move around without fear. At the same time, we want the tourists coming in to be quite responsible in whatever they are doing. Goa shouldn’t be looked at in terms of vices or as a sin city – getting drunk sometimes, consuming drugs somewhere".

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