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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 04/ 2021

May 5, 2021
Harold Goodwin
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  1. Global Responsible Tourism Awards Launched
  2. Aviation, Time for a Step Change to Decarbonise
  3. Covid part of the new normal 
  4. Climate Change
  5. Responsble Tourism at WTM Africa
  6. Consumer Trends
  7. 20 years of Responsible Travel
  8. Overtourism post-Covid, the challenge of staycations
  9. 100% Pure New Zealand
  10. Miscellany 

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25th May 09:00 to 12:00 GMT  there is the founding online event of a new initiative to RESET Tourism. Reviewing sustainability in tourism and tourism destination development. Making sure your offer is Good for People Planet and Place, and that your guests and tourists know. more

1. Global Responsible Tourism Awards Launched
In 2021, for the first time, we are launching Global Awards for each category – selected from the Gold winners in each of the regions. There will be Gold and Silver awards in each of the four regions, and the judges’ may also identify ‘ones to watch’. The judges can only choose from amongst those that apply. You can nominate others or your own business, destination, or organisation on the awards page here. Those businesses, destinations and organisations which win Gold in the four regional awards in Africa, India, Latin America, and the Rest of the World will automatically be entered into the Global Awards. There will be regional panels of judges and the global judging will be done by a panel drawn from the regional panels. All the panels will be chaired by Harold Goodwin, WTM’s Responsible Tourism Advisor, to ensure that the same processes are followed rigorously in all panels. They are free to enter.  Categories: 1) Decarbonising Travel & Tourism, 2) Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic, 3) Destinations Building Back Better Post-COVID, 4) Increasing Diversity in Tourism: How inclusive is our industry?, 5) Reducing Plastic Waste in the Environment and 60 Growing the Local Economic Benefit. The Awards close 31 August 2021. Apply & Nominate here.


2. Aviation, Time for a Step Change to Decarbonise
In March 2020, the respected German consultancy Roland Berger forecast that if other industries decarbonise in line with current projections, aviation could account for up to 24% of global emissions by 2050 unless there is a significant technological shift. Airlines, highly influential in the International Civil Aviation Organization, have sought to continue with Business as Usual and initially passed responsibility to their consumers to offset their emissions voluntarily. Carbon offsets are popular with some in the aviation sector because responsibility passes to the end consumer and removes any pressure for the aircraft manufacturer or the airline to reduce their emissions. And they are very cheap – too cheap. If offsets tempt you, look at the scientific arguments against them. 10 myths about net-zero targets and carbon offsetting, busted.
The aviation industry is the travel and tourism sector’s Achilles’ heel. Tour operators, tourism authorities, and destinations need to demand that air transport providers remove carbon and other climate-harming emissions, not just to claim green credentials but to assure the industry’s future.

Flying is not the problem, its greenhouse gas emissions are the problem. Some new companies are developing planes that do not rely on fossil fuels and Airbus‘s ambition is to create the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035. Decarbonising aviation is vital to the future of the travel and tourism sector. The aviation sector needs to decarbonise itself, and it is demonstrably failing to make progress fast enough. This failure jeopardises the future of travel and tourism for the outbound industry and destinations. COP26 is the opportunity for aviation to be brought under the control of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC.

The longer the aviation industry delays taking effective scalable action the bigger the crisis will be when governments act to curtail emissions. The aviation sector is now behind others in addressing climate change and their preferred solutions, carbon offsettingSustainable Aviation Fuels, and net-zero, have significant weaknesses and are not credibly scalable.
WTM, as part of its Platform for Change, has published Time for Effective Action to Remove Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Aviation.

The Guardian, Can the aviation industry really go carbon neutral by 2050? has reported on an investigation conducted with  Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative arm, found that although many forest projects were doing valuable conservation work, the credits that they generated by preventing environmental destruction appear to be based on a flawed and much-criticised system, even though these credits were being used to back up claims of “carbon-neutral flying” and net-zero commitments.

3. Covid: part of the new normal 
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announce a Destination Tracker in preparation for the restart of international travel. The tracker available on both UNWTO and IATA's websites will have information about infection rates, positivity rates, and vaccination roll out by destination/country;  test and quarantine requirements; and Destination Measures, including general health and safety requirements such as the use of masks, transit through a country, curfew, or regulations related to restaurants and attractions, provided by national tourism organizations.

The John Hopkins Corona Virus Resource Centre data demonstrates the overall toll of coronavirus on a country over time.

Their cumulative cases by date plotted as confirmed cases per 100,000 population demonstrates that Covid-19 remains a major global challenge.

A recent IATA survey, reports that 72% of people want to travel to see family and friends as soon as possible.

The European Parliament has urged the rapid restoration of free movement in the EU as one of the pillars of the single market enshrined in the European treaties. A new name, “EU COVID-19 Certificate” has been agreed to make it clearer to EU citizens and also limit the certificates’ use to during the pandemic. more

4. Climate Change
Climate scientists: concept of net-zero is a dangerous trap

"... the idea of net zero has licensed a recklessly cavalier “burn now, pay later” approach which has seen carbon emissions continue to soar. .... by 2009 it was becoming increasingly clear that it would not be possible to make even the gradual reductions that policymakers demanded. That was the case even if carbon capture and storage was up and running. The amount of carbon dioxide that was being pumped into the air each year meant humanity was rapidly running out of time.
Current net zero policies will not keep warming to within 1.5°C because they were never intended to. They were and still are driven by a need to protect business as usual, not the climate. If we want to keep people safe then large and sustained cuts to carbon emissions need to happen now. That is the very simple acid test that must be applied to all climate policies. The time for wishful thinking is over." Research scientists Dyke, Watson and Knorr 

BBC Weather's Ben Rich explores the impact of coronavirus on the global climate.
French legislators have voted in favour of legislation that will ban domestic flight services that trains are able to cover in less than two-and-a-half hours. The French government has provided a bailout for Air France which for EU approval will require that it relinquishes some slots at Orly Airport 
Canada's Edmonton International has signed The Climate Pledge which it plans to achieve by switching to green electricity and recuign consumption.

5. Responsble Tourism at WTM Africa
We can learn much about tourism in and from Africa – celebrating diversity and inclusiveness, growing the cake to create more value for neighbouring communities, living with and benefitting from biodiversity (some of it dangerous), and the importance of transparency. One of the few benefits of a virtual programme is that we can have speakers from around the world on the panels at WTM Africa and that they can be shared worldwide.
WTM Africa's Responsible Tourism programme this year was virtual with very international panels and all of it recorded and available free online.
Leaders discussed Progress in Responsible Tourism and the role of certification more, and there is an interview with Lisa Scriven about Fair Trade Tourism. The question Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe? was discussed and experts from across Africa, and Rupesh Kumar from India, shared their experience in creating more value for local communities moreThe cultural diversity of Africa is undervalued by the tourism industry at WTM Africa this year we addressed the question Whose diversity is it? and there was a discussion about Storytelling. All the videos from WTM Africa are available here 

6. Consumer Trends
Booking.com's latest report is entitled: Impact awakening: the rise of responsible travel

commissioned research and conducted among a sample of adults who have travelled for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and must be planning to travel in the next 12 months (if/once travel restrictions are lifted). In total 20,934 respondents across 28 countries were polled. 53% said that they were looking for more sustainable ways to travel; to avoid travelling during peak season (51%), overcrowding (48%) and overly busy tourist attractions (63%). More than half (53%) of global travellers are willing to reduce their waste and recycle their plastic when travelling, I want to travel more sustainably because COVID-19 has opened my eyes to humans’ impact on the environment. Ranging from 74% in Colombia and 27% in the Netherlands.I expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options. Ranging from Colombia 86% to Denmark 47% 
WTTC reports that in 2019, the Travel & Tourism sector contributed 10.4% to global GDPa share that decreased to 5.5% in 2020 due to ongoing restrictions to mobility. Domestic visitor spending decreased by 45%, while international visitor spending declined by an unprecedented 69.4%.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park visitor survey 2020 revealed some significant changes in visitors. Visitors came mainly from urban areas on the edge of the National Park. There was a rise in the number of first-time visitors with 20% saying their first-ever visit to the Dales was in 2020 (14% in 2017). It has also shown an increase in younger people, and people from different ethnic backgrounds visiting.

The 2020 report released by Statistics South Africa, reveals that foreign arrivals dropped by 71% from just over 15, 8million in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020. It is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the tourism industry quite hard around the world and in South Africa, mainly due to the lockdown and travel restrictions that were imposed.

7. 20 years of Responsible Travel
In April Responsible Travel celebrated twenty years of Responsible Travel, a company I co-founded with Justin Francis. From the outset, it was an activist company wanting to demonstrate that there was a market for Responsible Travel. It was, and is, a simple concept: better holidays for consumers, better for communities in destinations and better for the environment and nature.

At the heart of Responsible Travel and Responsible Tourism is the principle that better places to live are better places to visit – in that order. Back in 2001, when we launched the company, many were sceptical and expected the company to fail. It didn’t. It has grown and has generated profits. Responsible Travel has proven that it was possible, in travel and tourism, to be responsible and to be profitable. more Justin Francis has published his reflections on the first two decades. Responsible Travel: How sustainable tourism has changed over the past 20 years  I sold my shares and ceased to be a director well over a decade ago, recognising that this financial interest conflicted with my academic and consultancy work.

8. Overtourism post-Covid, the challenge of staycations
Staycation is now used with two different meanings, originally coined to refer to day trips from home it is now widely used to refer to domestic tourism. VisitScotland is encouraging staycations, slow travel, eco-holidays, wellbeing and wellness, and nature-based experiences. They are also promoting workcations, "if you can work from home you can work from anywhere now."

In common with many other national tourism offices, VisitBritain is encouraging domestic tourism, inspiring consumers to book a short break. Visit England has produced a series of cartoons to encourage more responsible behaviour, I have not seen any being used yet. more

Scotland In early April with lockdown rules in place, the police were able to "move on" and disperse people planning to wild camp at a popular beauty spot, Mennock Pass, but 'stay local' rules were lifted on April 26 when managing wild camping will become much more difficult.  Increased numbers of wild campers travelling by car and motorhomes are expected as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

VisitScotland has brought together local authorities, Police Scotland, Nature Scot and many others, to develop plans for new infrastructure and to coordinate a whole package of visitor messaging being targeted at potential visitors. the Highland Tourism Partnership (HTP), whose priorities include "delivering a world-class customer experience" and marketing the region as a responsible tourism destination. The HTP comprises the  North Coast 500 Ltd, VisitScotland, Highland Council, NatureScot, Wester Ross Tourism, Venture North, Visit Inverness Loch Ness, Cairngorms Business Partnership, Visit Moray Speyside, SkyeConnect and Lochaber Outdoor Capital of the UK, representing more than 2000 Highland businesses from across all sectors involved in tourism – including hotels, B&Bs, visitor attractions, guided tours and food-and-drink providers. Local communities are at the heart of HTP's approach to "looking after and developing the Highlands for the long-term sustainable benefit of our special area and its people".

Chris Taylor, has explained that VisitScotland wants "to inspire Scots to travel responsibly once current restrictions ease; encourage them to tread lightly in the places they visit and educate visitors on responsible actions to ensure tourism remains a sustainable industry, well into the future." There is significant investment in countryside rangers, new parking, visitor interpretation, upgraded and accessible toilets and new facilities to help manage motorhomes. A holiday voucher scheme will be created to support a more socially sustainable and inclusive tourism industry. In Ireland, RTE published advice for their listeners, with the government continuing to advise against international travel, it is inevitable that this summer will see an internal migration en masse to our coasts. It is a good time to think about how we might staycation in a more responsible manner this summer. Be friendly with the locals ¦ Be considerate of nature ¦ Be safe ¦ Spread the load ¦ Sound intelligent to your friends: maybe avail of those locally-led biodiversity walks and events, take time to read the heritage boards, or simply chat with the locals over the hedge. "It doesn’t hurt to be friendly, kind and considerate to both your hosts: Nature and communities." Kevin Lynch NUI Galway Revenge Travel and the Hunt for Responsible Tourists 

In the Lake District campers leave behind tents, empty bottles and sleeping bags. At Thirlmere the Lakes Plastic Collective removed 13 bin bags of rubbish. A 'motorhome code of conduct' has been introduced in the Lake District. Demand for motorhomes soared during the pandemic. The new code, set out on the Visit Lake District website, asks visitors to plan their route and respect their surroundings: "most of all, think like a local, We are asking visitors to value and support our local communities and take the opportunity to explore them, using local farm shops and eateries and, when safe, visiting attractions." More than 250,000 walkers trek up Scafell Pike (978m)  every year, more are expected post-lockdown as people holiday at home and take staycations. A helicopter has been used to take a digger up the side of Scafell Pike, to help National Trust rangers and Fix the Fells repair damage to one of the main routes to the top.

Even during the Covid pandemic the fact that tourism is a polluting industry has been obvious. Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, says: “What residents saw here in the Lakes and the Dales the last time the ‘stay at home’ message was relaxed last Summer was absolute carnage. “Inconsiderate parking led to chaos on the roads and on some occasions, emergency service vehicles were unable to get passed. Litter and dog mess was left to clutter up paths and pavements. Farm gates were left open, fires and BBQs led to damage to the local wildlife, and the household water supply polluted. There were people camping overnight playing loud music into the early hours and other anti-social behaviour.

9. 100% Pure New Zealand
Navigating the future of tourism (David Simmons)  for the long haul, carbon proofing NZ tourism (Susanne Becken) and improving national park management (Dave Bamford). In 100% Pure Future – New Zealand Tourism Renewed (published November 2020), nine writers outline their visions for sustainable tourism that puts the environment first and creates more meaningful exchanges between visitors and their hosts. Four contributors share their thoughts in this webinar.

10 Miscellany

  • The South African Cabinet has endorsed a report calling for the end of lion farming, captive lion hunting, cub-petting and the commercial farming of rhinos.
  • There are two live virtual panels at Arabian Travel Market this year: Responsible Hospitality in a Perfect Storm  and Responsible Technology for Travel & Tourism
  • The Italian government banned cruise ships and other large container vessels from passing close to the historic centre and approved a budget of 2.2 million euros (approximately US$2.6 million) for the construction of new berths outside of the Venice lagoon. According to Venezia Autentica, the ships not only release thousands of passengers who crowd the streets and contribute much less to the local economy than visitors who stay longer but also pollute the air, corrode the sandbanks, and increase the frequency and intensity of the acqua alte, high tides that flood the city. more
  • 'Re-Imagining Tourism in Barbados', "a redesigned tourism development model, destinations must adapt to communities and not the other way around."
  • Zina Bencheikh of Intrepid Travel explains how the pandemic has sparked an ethical travel revolution
  • Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE), calling on regulators and Governments globally to mandate the introduction of effective 'bleed air' filters and contaminated air warning sensors on passenger aircraft. Exposure to contaminated air can cause a risk to flight safety and to crew and public health.
  • European Travel Commission Sustainable Tourism Implementation: Framework and Toolkit


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