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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 07/2022

July 13, 2022
Harold Goodwin
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1. Greenwashing threatens our future, it is way more serious than merely misselling.
2. Dutch government issues the first cap on flights 

3. Venice is planning to introduce charging 
4. Beyond Ecotourism, eight years left to save nature
5. Let's Scale Back That Revenge Travel, Shall We?
6. Number of holiday-let homes in England up 40% in three years
7. RT in Scotland 
8. World Female Ranger Week
9. The Snobbery of the Brits aboard 
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 31 July and the Rest of the World category, open to all, is open until 31 August.

The Gold winners in each region are automatically entered into the Global Awards presented at WTM London in November
Free to enter,
 we look for tried and tested solutions that work for destinations and businesses, solutions that make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit – in that order.
There are ten categories this year:
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
6. Growing the Local Economic Benefit
7. Access for the differently-abled as travellers, employees and holidaymakers.
8, Increasing tourism’s contribution to natural heritage and biodiversity
9. Conserving water and improving water security and supply for neighbours
10. Contributing to cultural heritage
If you know of businesses and destinations doing good work and taking responsibility, please nominate them and encourage them to apply. The Judges can only select from amongst those that apply.

1. Greenwashing threatens our future, it is way more serious than merely misselling.

There is increasing concern about the impact of greenwashing on public perception of the extent to which we are tackling climate change. As average temperatures rise around the world few are now arguing that climate change is a myth, the deniers no longer get air time. Denial is no longer the problem it was.

The myth-makers have shifted from denial to greenwashing – this may be more dangerous. Denial was one myth, now consigned to the dustbin of history. Greenwashing is generating a many-headed Hydra, this is much more difficult to tackle effectively. Transparency is critical, I wrote back in May about Google’s travel impact model which makes available to consumers reliable data on the carbon emissions of flights by route and airlines. This will go some way to counter greenwashing.

In the UK, Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said at the UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment Annual Forum criticised companies for making false or misleading statements about their environmental credentials.

If we fail to identify and address greenwashing, we allow ourselves false confidence that we are already addressing the causes and treating the symptoms of the climate crisis. Greenwash makes it more likely that we won’t realise this deception until it is too late.  more

Netherlands-based group Fossielvrij NL - supported by ClientEarth and Reclame.NL - is suing KLM over their Fly Responsibly campaign, which was launched in 2019. The NGOs claim that CO2Zero do nothing to limit damage to the environment and that by promoting it to customers, the Dutch airline is undermining action to minimise climate change. They're bringing the lawsuit under the EU's Unfair Consumer Practices Directive.  more

2. Dutch government issues the first cap on flights
Schipol is the third busiest airport in Europe and the Dutch government has required it to limit flights to below its pre-pandemic peak to permanently reduce noise and air pollution. From the end of 2023, Schiphol airport, the third busiest in Europe in terms of passenger traffic, will limit the maximum number of flights each year to 440,000, 12% less than in 2019, the Dutch ministry of transport said in a statement. The flight cuts aim to restore “the balance between a well-operating international airport, the business climate, and the interests of a better and healthier living environment”, transport minister Mark Harbers said in the statement. This is believed to be the first time a government has restricted air traffic growth. more

3. Venice is planning to introduce charging for the "hit and run"day visitors
In 2019 Venice had around 20 million visitors. From January 16th visitors will be charged up to €10 to enter, the charge will vary with the number visiting so it will range from €3 to €10. The variable fee is designed to encourage day visitors to arrive on less busy days. There is no planned cap on visitor numbers. This charge will target day visitors, it is a day visitor tax,  and is in addition to the tourism tax collected through accommodation providers. There will be fines of up to €300 for those convicted of violating the day ticket rules.  Children under six, disabled people, residents, and those visiting Venice for health treatment or to visit relatives,  will not need to pay the entry fee. more

Justin Francis has written in the i "Tourism taxes are good for everyone. For residents, the long-term future of the tourism industry, and tourists too. When I travel, I become a temporary resident in someone else’s home. I use their public services, facilities, and infrastructure. And it is only fair that I pay to do so, particularly in a destination struggling under the weight of visitors it receives.  My right to travel doesn’t outweigh a person’s right to enjoy life in their own home, or the need to protect our fragile environment.  And thriving local communities, flourishing nature, and improved public services make my holiday better too." more

4. Beyond Ecotourism, eight years left to save nature 

For the first time, scientists at UCL and the University of Cape Town have examined what temporarily exceeding 2°C of warming would mean for life on Earth: “waves of irreversible extinctions and lasting damage to tens of thousands of species”. Their new study also found that some of these supposed climate solutions would make things worse, like bioenergy crops which would deprive embattled wildlife of habitat. more

Close your eyes and picture tourism and nature...
My guess is that you see wide open spaces, wildlife and people with cameras.
Many of us have associated tourism’s impacts on nature with the nature that we can see, meaning wildlife tourism – which is a niche within a niche.
We’ve missed the bigger picture and the fact that every type of tourism impacts on nature and has the opportunity to protect and restore it...
To explain why let’s take a step back and look more widely at why nature is declining so fast.
Please let's re-double our efforts. We don’t need to be perfect, but we all need to start by doing something.

  • Nature and climate go hand in hand – we need strategies for both.
  • Every single one of our tours impacts nature and we need to address impacts in 5 key areas (land use change, over-exploitation, pollution, non-native invasive species and climate change).
  • We can be giants for nature restoration and getting to 30 by 30.
  • We must be more inclusive, fair and just in respect of tourists and local communities.   VIDEO & SCRIPT

5. Podcast: Let's Scale Back That Revenge Travel, Shall We?
"In this episode, writer Paige McClanahan—host of the Better Travel Podcast—explores the concept of "revenge travel." While it's so tempting to want to take revenge on the time we lost to Covid, Paige invites us to think more deeply about our impact on communities around the world, many of which are more vulnerable coming out of the pandemic. Through conversations with Harold Goodwin of the UK-based Responsible Tourism Partnership and Judy Kepher-Gona, of Kenya's Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, Paige offers tips on how to be kinder, more aware travelers—and how to have a little fun along the way." Podcast

6. Number of holiday-let homes in England up 40% in three years
Estate agents have reported a surge in second home ownership during the pandemic, with many buyers now offering these as holiday lets. The BBC has obtained data from 152 individual councils across England on short-term lets - available for at least 140 days of the year and registered for business rates rather than council tax. Among the councils who responded to the BBC, there was a 40% increase in such accommodation - from 19,543 in 2018 to 27,424 last year. more
“Incomers” second homes and inequality in Wales

7. RT in Scotland
Vicki Miller, director of marketing at VisitScotland, says that travel is slowly coming back, people are travelling more consciously and are looking for destinations that allow them to reconnect, reset and reinvigorate with nature. Prompted by the recent pandemic, travellers are seeking more sustainable destinations. VisitScotland can help travellers plan and enjoy an eco-friendly trip. "We are examining our own operations to ensure we are more sustainable, through our marketing activity we are promoting sustainable experiences and encouraging visitors to travel more responsibly. We are also encouraging visitors to stay longer, buy local, visit all year round, explore more widely and, in turn, contribute to the sustainable quality of life of those communities. This will ease pressure on extremely busy areas and ensure the economic benefits of tourism are evenly spread across the country throughout the year.

"In October 2021, we launched our Tread Lightly campaign – this is a new environmental strand to our global Scotland is Calling marketing campaign. It includes a film and content which encourages visitors to “tread lightly” when visiting Scotland, whilst highlighting the many experiences, destinations and businesses which allow them to make their visit more sustainable. It is being distributed through paid and social media in some of Scotland’s key markets (UK, Europe, USA, China). As an island, air connectivity will continue to be significant for international travel. International travellers are an important market and Scotland Is Calling is focused on supporting Scotland as a responsible destination where travellers can slow down, re-charge, escape and enjoy immersive and sustainable tourism experiences." more

Scotland has launched a Keep Scotland Unspoiled campaign and created a visitor promise to inspire people about how to #respectprotectenjoy Scotland. The campaign offers advice about how to enjoy Scotland safely and responsibly focusing on the issues like water safety, wildlife disturbance and wild camping. Thye have reached a younger audience reaching 570,000 on TikTok and around two million on Facebook. more

In response to concerns about the impact of irresponsible visitor behaviour,  Argyle & Bute Council has recruited four new wardens to help raise awareness of responsible camping and littering across 120 car parks and other key visitor sites; a new Staycation Project Officer to engage with communities, businesses and partners on a range of visitor management issues; provided information in all public toilets signposting to a wastewater disposal facilities map to prevent irresponsible disposal, funding additional police patrols, developing a new tourism strategy and funding temporary toilets.  more

8. World Female Ranger Week
World Female Ranger Week celebrates and supports female and mixed ranger teams. Female rangers are bold, brave and resilient. They’re changing the game and paving the way for women to stand alongside men at the forefront of conservation. But they need allies. Currently, less than 11% of the global wildlife ranger workforce is female. We want that number to increase. Women are natural communicators and protectors. This means that female rangers are strengthening relationships within the workplace and communities, and tuning into their nurturing nature to protect wildlife.

Holly Budge explains: "We want to empower females to become rangers, whilst encouraging anti-poaching teams to recruit more females. We are committed to providing necessary support for female rangers so they can build long-lasting, meaningful careers in conservation."  "This platform enables female wildlife rangers across the world to come together, access peer support, offer and receive advice, and share their stories. The aim is to help them feel heard, united and unstoppable, whilst raising vital funds to support their work."

9. The Snobbery of the Brits abroad
Lucy Lethbridge is a British journalist and author. Her book Tourists: How the British Went Abroad to Find Themselves will be published in August: "Few of the many holidaymakers photographing their artisanal breakfast for a sunlit post on Instagram will have heard of Albert Smith. But they owe him a moment’s reflection: for if anyone can be said to have perfected the packaged visuals of a holiday abroad, it is Smith, a showbusiness titan of mid-Victorian London.
Smith, an unrepentant populist (he liked to shock Thackeray by saying that Shakespeare was “all rot”), knocked the high culture out of the touristic experience. He made the adventure of foreign parts bite-sized and accessible — if not in reality, at least in dreams. He called it “the Alps in a box”. Figuratively speaking, Smith’s panoramas boxed up the great sights of the classical Grand Tour and sold them in miniature form, building them up with a dramatic flourish then cutting them down to size with a knowing dig in the ribs. Smith’s success runs parallel with the emergence of photography, the industrial manufacture of souvenirs, and the “I was here” frame of the postcard. After Smith, it became possible to think of “buying” the travel experience without actually going very far, framing it, and taking it home with you." more

10. Miscellany

  • My Green Butler is using gamification to engage staff and guests in hotels. Noble Cause, a fundraiser chosen by the property. Fiscal savings from resources and donations get added to this, providing an altruistic goal, which can be counted, and the impact of their efforts shown to them. The Noble Cause is visible throughout the guests´ stay, and for staff as they go about their daily tasks. It shows them what a difference their actions make and reminds them their efforts do have a real-world impact. Apply for a demo.
  • Nepal to move Everest base camp from melting glacier more
  • India, Kerala: First Responsible Tourism Club launched in Kozhikode. The purpose of the club is to work hand in hand with the Responsible Tourism Mission to initiate regional tourism, create awareness on responsible tourism, develop a tourism culture preserving the regional art and culture, and to maintain the tourism destination neat and clean, implementing the green protocol. The Tourism department plans to set up 1,000 Responsible Tourism Clubs in the State within three years, at the rate of at least one club per local body. The plan is to launch 100 clubs in the current financial year. The clubs will also receive training from the Responsible Tourism Mission to develop entrepreneurial skills. more
  • Wageningen University & Research has received a grant for research on Responsible Tourism to Antarctica more
  • The TUI Care Foundation and enpact have recently become winners of two Gold and one Silver Award at the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards. The awards recognise their work around the world for programmes that supported sustainable tourism businesses during the pandemic in Africa and Latin America. more
  • The Dhaka Daily Star has published Travelling essentials: Ways to become a responsible tourist
  • Airbnb reports that it has connected more than 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers to temporary housing, including more than 50,000 people who have fled the conflict in Ukraine.
  • Canada: 85 companies from Thompson Okanagan that are part of the Biosphere Community can now showcase their sustainability efforts through the new website, which acts as a portal to make more responsible consumption decisions by showing entities and places around the world committed to sustainability and providing information about responsible tourism practices.
  • India: Ministry of Tourism Launches The National Strategy For Sustainable Tourism And Responsible Traveller Campaign
  • Saudi Arabia: Environmental study of Red Sea coast sets new standard for responsible tourism

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