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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 05/2022

May 4, 2022
Harold Goodwin
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  1. Twenty Years of Responsible Tourism
  2. Responsible Technology for Travel & Tourism
  3. Consumer demand requires the industry to take responsibility and deliver sustainability  
  4. Responsibility Requires Transparency: Awards and Emissions Data 
  5. Travel & Tourism needs to increase its resilience - it would be foolish not to take responsibility for this 
  6. The Danger of Net Zero by 2050
  7. UK FlyZero project concludes liquid hydrogen is the optimum fuel for zero-carbon flight by 2050
  8. Can you make Canva work for you?
  9. Vancouver Island: from DMO to Social Enterprise 
  10. Miscellany 

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.  
The India Awards are open until 30 June and the Rest of the World category, open to all, is open until 31 August. The Gold winners in Africa, India, Latin America and the Rest of the World Awards are automatically entered into the Global Awards presented at WTM London in November. 

2022 RT Events
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. Twenty Years of Responsible Tourism
    The Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism was the outcome of an international conference, a side event to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in 2002. At WTM Africa, 20 years on, we had panels reflecting on the progress of Responsible Tourism in South Africa and around the world, climate change, resilience, biodiversity conservation, creating shared value and the V&A Waterfront which has emerged as a leader. All the panel discussions on Responsible Tourism Day in Cape Town were recorded and can be watched here.

  2. Responsible Technology for Travel & Tourism
    Over the last twenty years, the quality and efficiency of solar panels and other technologies which can assist in reducing carbon emissions and water consumption has dramatically improved. But this technology was oversold by enthusiastic salespeople and subsequently failed to deliver. This has created resistance to it adoption and installation. At WTM Africa last month on a panel on Responsible Technology for Travel & Tourism hoteliers and lodge owners talked about their positive experience of alternative, green, technologies and Solarus explained their products. At Arabian Travel Market on May 12th in Dubai Keith Bradley, Managing Partner of Globally we have a panel of speakers who can look behind the brochures and the sales pitch to share what they have learnt about what works, what doesn't and why? For more on Responsible Technology, tech which assists in achieving sustainability click here 


  3. Consumer demand requires the industry to take responsibility and deliver sustainability

    Expedia has just released its latest Sustainable Travel Study based on a survey of 11,000 travellers from 11 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. more Prompted with four elements of sustainable travel, 69% said it involved lessening environmental impacts, 66% supporting local economies, 65% supporting local cultures and communities and 52%  visiting lesser-known destinations. Asked to recall which elements of sustainable travel they had seen when choosing a destination and booking travel 56% recalled options for low environmental impact, 51% noted options that are owned by/work with local cultures or communities, and 48% recalled options that supported local businesses. 60% of consumers said that they had opted for more environmentally friendly transport or accommodation.

    Consumers want more than lip service. 70% of consumers said that they had avoided a travel destination or transport option because they doubted that a declared commitment to sustainable practices was real. Consumers remain price sensitive with 74% of consumers saying that it costs too much to be more sustainable when travelling, although half say that they would be willing to pay more for more sustainable options – on average they say they would be willing to pay 38% more. 66% say that they are interested in options with low environmental impact, 64% options that support local cultures and communities and 62% options that support local economies. You can download the full report here.


  4. Responsibility Requires Transparency: Awards and Emissions Data
    As Andrew Ede has pointed out "there are the businesses, those not in tune like Radisson, which engage in greenwashing - the marketing illusion of eco-responsibility." In an effort to avoid greenwashing Federico González Tejera, CEO of Radisson Hotel Group has developed a list of 12 basic sustainability indicators required by any hotel that claims to be sustainable.  Federico González Tejera argues that, "sustainability seems to be the fashionable word, but it is too broad and confusing, which means that not only the owners but also the clients are confused by diverse claims and very vague decisions without a concrete objective”. In principle, eight of the 12 criteria are mandatory, while for the rest the hotels can commit to carrying out their implementation in the next three years. The proposed measures include actions to measure and reduce energy and water use, as well as carbon emissions , and identify and reduce waste.

    Only when there is transparency about what a business or destination is taking responsibility for and why can anyone judge whether the business or destination is responsible. In the WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards, we see many examples each year and recognise the best. This year's awards cycle is now well underway with the Africa and Latin America Awards presented and the judges' reasons on the record. The Africa and Latin America Gold Award winners will join those from India and the Rest of the World in the Global Awards to be presented at WTMLondon in November.

    Travalyst and six top travel brands have aligned on a shared framework to collect and display flight emissions data.  The framework consists of a set of shared principles and preferred methodology for estimating carbon emissions from air travel, which have been agreed upon and committed to by the Travalyst coalition partners, which include Skyscanner, Google, Booking.com, Trip.com Group, Tripadvisor and Visa. The data will enable travellers to book the most carbon-efficient flights. Google has published a Travel Impact Model for emissions estimates that further details the Travalyst framework. Read more on GreenAir
    The Travelyst Aviation Principles are Responsible Principles

    • Provide travellers with a transparent way to easily understand and compare travel options, no matter where they book their travel
    • Provide airline partners with the tools and information to accelerate their sustainability efforts
    • Be trusted, accurate and reliable
    • Be available to all industry players and serves as a benchmark for aviation sustainability

  5. Travel & Tourism needs to increase its resilience - it would be foolish not to take responsibility for this
    The UK's aviation watchdog has written to airports and airlines to express concern over the impact of staff shortages on international travel. "Staff sickness caused by coronavirus has seen airlines including EasyJet and British Airways axe dozens of flights, while the aviation industry has struggled to recruit quickly enough after making staff redundant earlier in the pandemic." Ken O'Toole, deputy chief executive at Manchester Airports Group, said: "The speed and the scale of recovery has caught us and it has meant we are short-staffed at the moment." more
    On Responsible  Tourism  Day at WTM Africa Hermione Nevill, Senior Tourism Specialist at the World Bank Group spoke about Investment for Responsible Tourism and Resilience  This was followed by a discussion about what local governments and businesses can do to survive, adapt and thrive no matter what shocks are experienced.  In 2018 Cape Town experienced a Day Zero drought, Covid and the impact of the Ukraine war.
    As António Guterres says the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveals 'a litany of broken climate promises' by governments and businesses and accuses some of them of lying in claiming to be on track to limiting future heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. In a strongly-worded rebuke, he says: 'It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unliveable world' video

    Sarah Habsburg is offering a free 15-minute webinar on her Building Tourism Resilience Facebook page


  6. The Danger of Net Zero by 2050
    In the latest IPCC report agreed by government officials, the scientists advise that carbon emissions need to shrink by 43% by the end of this decade to stay under this threshold of danger. We cannot delay efforts to achieve reductions in carbon emissions. more  As UN Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out in August last year, when the previous IPCC report was published,  it was, and is, "is a code red for humanity" but not yet hopeless "If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today's report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses. I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success." more

    As is clear from the graph to the left we have not yet even dented the inexorable increase in the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. CO2 and other greenhouse gases we are emitting now will be causing continued global warming for many generations - even if we stopped all emissions tomorrow.

    Net Zero means not adding to the stock of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, this requires that we cease emitting greenhouse gases and where we can not that we remove CO2 by natural means (planting trees) or through Carbon Capture and Storage. Weaning ourselves off burning fossil fuels is expensive and consequently  there is an incentive to cheat. However, the concept of net-zero is dangerous.
    "Hopefully around the middle of this century we will achieve “net zero”. This is the point at which any residual emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced by technologies removing them from the atmosphere.
    This is a great idea, in principle. Unfortunately, in practice, it helps perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now. ... the idea of net-zero has licensed a recklessly cavalier “burn now, pay later” approach which has seen carbon emissions continue to soar. It has also hastened the destruction of the natural world by increasing deforestation today, and greatly increases the risk of further devastation in the future." (Dyke, Watson & Knorr)
    Another group of scientists have published a paper in Nature expressing serious concern about net zero being used for greenwashing:"The readiness with which a growing number of countries, sub-national entities and individual organizations have made net-zero pledges speaks to the unifying and galvanizing power of the net-zero narrative. These pledges should be encouraged. However, there is concern that these often-voluntary commitments allow too much discretion in the design of net-zero pathways and may therefore not be consistent with global net zero, or with ambitious climate action more generally24.

    Governance, accountability and reporting mechanisms are currently inadequate. Long-term ambition is often not backed up by sufficient near-term action. Many entities have not yet set out detailed plans to achieve their pledges and are opaque about the role of carbon offsets in place of cutting their own emissions1. The environmental and social integrity of some of these offsets is questionable. As a result, some advocates have accused these pledges of amounting to little more than ‘greenwashing."  Read the paper 

  7. UK FlyZero project concludes liquid hydrogen is the optimum fuel for zero-carbon flight by 2050
    The UK government has funded a 12 month Fly Zero carried out by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). The report concludes that with the introduction of a mid-size hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035 and a narrowbody aircraft by 2037, aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen represent the greatest opportunity for reducing carbon emissions and maximising market impact, and concludes aviation can achieve net-zero by 2050 through the development of both sustainable aviation fuel and green liquid hydrogen technologies. Global cumulative CO2 emissions from aviation could be reduced by 4 gigatons (Gt) by 2050 and 14 Gt by 2060 but this requires 50% of the commercial fleet to be hydrogen-powered by 2050. "FlyZero concludes green liquid hydrogen is the optimum fuel for zero-carbon emission flight and could power a mid-size aircraft with 280 passengers from London to San Francisco directly, or from London to Auckland with just one stop. Introducing a midsize hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2035 and a narrowbody aircraft by 2037 represents the greatest opportunity for reducing carbon emissions and maximising market impact, insists FlyZero." More in Green Air News   The full ATI report is available online.8. Can you make Canva work for you?
    Sarah Habsburg of the School for Responsible Tourism explains that If there is one piece of technology that everyone should have in their portfolio, it is canva.com
    Sarah explains why: "Just a quick caveat, I am not affiliated in any way with canva.com. I am just blown away by how much it revolutionised the way I manage my own graphic design. It changed the way I produce for social media, it expedited my proposal creation and it even gave me perfect templates for my kids’ letters from Father Christmas too!"
    Sarah has provided a guide to how to make Canva work for you on her blog - full of good advice.


9 Vancouver Island: from DMO to Social Enterprise
Vancouver Island is slightly larger than Belgium,  Tourism Vancouver Island, evolved ten years ago from focusing on promotion and marketing to prioritising destination management and planning. Now it is evolving into a social enterprise. Renamed 4VI,  Anthony Everett, its president and CEO, explains "“Travel is still a force for good, but we need to strike a balance between the profitability and the business side with what is best for the environment and the communities and the residents that live here. It’s about mitigating impacts but also enhancing the things that need attention.” He aims to invest about three-quarters of the organization’s profits into social responsibility activities.  more


10 Miscellany
Palau is launching Ol'au Palau
rewarding their most conscientious guests and protecting their most highly-prized tourism asset: their pristine environment and unique culture. Virtuous activities include using reef-safe sunscreen, frequenting businesses that are reducing their impact on the environment and culture, visiting culturally significant tourism sites, eating sustainably sourced local food, participating in community regenerative tourism projects, and avoiding single-use plastics. more & more & more
In Scotland, the Highlands Council is welcoming responsible visitors "Visitors are very welcome across the Highlands; we are collectively responsible for keeping the area unspoiled."
The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation is preparing a campaign for responsible tourism in northern areas of the country, particularly Gilgit-Baltistan; creating booklets, public awareness messages, and training guides on responsible tourism that would help overcome the damage incurred by careless tourists. more
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced that by 2035, all cruise ships will essentially be equipped to use shore power as part of a member commitment to pursue net-zero carbon cruising by 2050 and plans to join the Global Maritime Forum Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonization to make zero-emission vessels and fuels the default choice by 2030. more & more\
Statista's Global Consumer Survey, reveals that 41% of British holidaymakers said they at least occasionally go to the pub when travelling, compared to just 29% for both U.S. Americans and Germans.  Just 33% of Brits said they visited museums, less than Americans (35%) Germans (37%). more
Hydrogen-powered cruising. Scandinavian naval architects have designed the MM 130 will accommodate 300 passengers and 100 crew, using fully electric propulsion, hydrogen fuel cell technology, batteries that can be charged at land-based charging stations, as well as wind power and solar power systems that enable battery charging while at sea. This ship will also be entirely self-sufficient, making its own clean fuel. Northern Xplorer plans to launch its first ship by 2024. more
Tourists will have to pre-book their visits to Venice this summer in an effort to reduce "hit and run" tourism, tourists planning on spending the night in Venice, however, will not need a prior reservation to enter the canal city. more & more
A tourism levy is being considered in Wales to raise revenue for local authorities enabling them to manage services and infrastructure which makes tourism a success. "Without such a levy, local communities face an undue burden to fund local services and provisions on which tourists rely. From keeping the beaches and pavements clean, through to maintaining local parks, toilets and footpaths – the critical infrastructure that supports tourism should be supported by all those that rely on it." more
Cardiff wants to raise occupancy thresholds to at least 182 days per year for tourist accommodation. Failure to meet this threshold could see legitimate holiday-let business owners face a second homes Council Tax premium of up to 300%.  more

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