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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 10/2022

October 19, 2022
Harold Goodwin
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The next edition of RT News will be published on November 3rd and contain full details of the Responsible Tourism programme at WTM, London.
Register for free entry to WTM, London here 

1. The Rest of the World Regional Awards & the WTM Global Awards will be presented on Monday 7th
2. The Responsible Tourism Conference Programme at WTM London
3. Climate change and off-setting
4. Compare & Contrast ICAO & easyJet
5. We need to do more than rethink tourism
6. Brands and market demand for sustainable tourism
7. More on the divisions caused by tourism in Hawaii
8. Mont Blanc
9. Displacing & Upcycling Plastic
10. Miscellany

The 2022 World Responsible Tourism Awards are now closed. The Rest of the World regional Awards will be presented at WTM, London on November 7th. The Gold winners in each region, AfricaIndia and Latin America have been automatically entered into the Global Awards presented at WTM London on 7th  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.
The 2023 categories will be announced shortly.

1. The Rest of the World Regional Awards & the WTM Global Awards will be presented on Monday 7th

The WTM Responsible Tourism Awards have been running since 2004. Every year remarkable new responsible businesses and destinations are ‘discovered’ and recognised through the Awards. Entering is an opportunity to showcase the impact you are having and what you have achieved. Being recognised brings prestige and business advantage. The annual cycle of Responsible Tourism Awards concludes on November 7th with the announcement of the Global Award winners at WTM, London.On November 7th, those recognised in the Rest of the World Awards will be announced, followed by the WTM Global Responsible Tourism Awards. Those winning Gold in the regional awards in Africa, India, Latin America and the Rest of the World, automatically progress to the Global Awards, and the international panel of judges select the global winners. We look both for outstanding achievements and examples that we hope will inspire others to adopt and adapt their tried and tested approach. The Awards were created both to reward and to encourage change in the sector. Three sets of regional awards have already been presented for Africa, India and Latin AmericaAt the Awards ceremony on Monday, November 7th at WTM London, 26 businesses and destinations from 21 countries will be recognised in the Rest of the World regional awards and the Global Awards. This year there is an overall winner in the WTM Global Awards. A list of those being recognised on November 7th this year is online here. Come along to the presentations on the Future Stage, 14:00-14:45 and come to congratulate those being recognised at the Global Responsible Tourism Awards Reception on the Sustainability Stage 17:00-18:00. 

2. The Responsible Tourism Conference Programme at WTM London

World Travel Market has run its Responsible Tourism programme for many years. Our actions speak louder than words when it comes to our commitment to these initiatives. Building a robust and responsible future for travel and tourism is a priority, and World Travel Market London aims to unite the global travel industry with that shared objective.

Through the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards, we recognise and showcase businesses doing the most to develop and implement responsible practices. Our focus is on raising the issues and spreading knowledge about practical solutions.  Juliette Losardo, the exhibition director of WTM London 08 Sept 2022

The full programme is available here
Monday, November 7th Sustainability Stage
10:30 – 11:25 Panel: Why Responsible Tourism Makes Business Sense
11:30 – 12:00 "How to Treadright" Harold Goodwin, in conversation with Shanon Guihan
12:00 – 13:00 There is increasing awareness of global warming. How can businesses best respond and avoid greenwashing?

Monday, November 7th Future Stage
13:15-14:00 Growing Consumer Demand for Responsible Tourism
14:00-14:45 The Global Responsible Tourism Awards

Monday, November, 7th Sustainable Stage
Rest of the World and Global Responsible Tourism Awards Reception 17:00-18:00

Tuesday, November 8th Sustainable Stage
10:30 – 11:20 Our world is diverse but how diverse and inclusive are our businesses?
11:30 – 12:00  Outbound Travel and Tourism in 2035
Harold Goodwin, in conversation with Garry Wilson,  Chief Executive Officer - easyJet holidays
12:00 – 13:00 Responsible Marketing – securing the business advantage

Wednesday, November 9th
There are Responsible Tourism events on the Kerala and Madhya Pradesh stands - more details in the next edition of RT News

3. Climate change and off-setting

On the north Kent coast, the Environment Agency and Canterbury City Council plan to stop maintaining the sea defences from 2055. This "approach would involve the "loss of built assets" - which could include about 100 homes and businesses - as the coastal area is slowly swallowed by the tides."  Sea level rise has real consequences. more

The American satirist John Oliver recently pointed to the problems in the voluntary offset market and claims about becoming net-zero - it is available on YouTube Oliver points out that the key phrase to watch out for is "we'll offset any remaining carbon." Offsetting is not an emissions reduction strategy. video
The UN reminds us that we need to switch away from fossil fuels and that "While a growing coalition of countries is committing to net zero emissions by 2050, about half of emissions cuts must be in place by 2030 to keep warming below 1.5°C. Fossil fuel production must decline by roughly 6 per cent per year between 2020 and 2030.
The Guardian has revealed the scale of the drought problems across Europe, the new normal. with  45% of EU land exposed to warning levels and 15% under alert - obviously, the situation is much worse elsewhere.
Marion Verles, CEO of SustainCERT, argues that the longer the offset industry "buries its head in the sand, the more carbon offsets lose their potential to engender real change. " She goes on "We can no longer pretend that we can fly and be climate heroes — as Dutch airline KLM did with both its 2019 'Fly Responsibly' campaign and this year’s ‘Fly CO2 Zero’ campaign. There is no such thing today as carbon-neutral fossil fuel. The prerequisite to any form of claim — be it carbon neutral or net zero — is to have embarked on an ambitious decarbonisation pathway. The fact that companies with problematic claims are also the ones pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into new offset projects is clearly not helping."
The Drax power station in the UK produces 12% of the UK's renewable electricity. It has received £6bn in green energy subsidies. A BBC documentary has revealed that some of the biomass it burns comes from Canadian primary forest Panorama's The Green Energy Scandal Exposed 

4. Compare & Contrast ICAO & easyJet
Hong Kong is luring tourists back with free air tickets: "Hong Kong says it will give away 500,000 airline tickets, worth HK$2bn ($254.8m; £224.3m), as it tries to boost its Covid-hit tourism industry ..... free tickets, which were bought to support Hong Kong airlines during the pandemic, will be distributed next year to inbound and outbound travellers by the city's airport authority."

All 193 nations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), have pledged to support an "aspirational" net zero aviation goal by 2050. They also agreed that airlines will use the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). They agreed 2019 as the baseline year with a commitment to buy offsets if their emissions exceeded 85% of their carbon emissions in that year. Critics argue that this will only cover 22% of emissions in 2030 and that it would only add €2.40 to the cost of a long-haul flight.  Ant this is non-binding. more

easyJet's research has revealed that 76% of  British holidaymakers think that companies need to urgently set out how they will achieve net-zero and 82% believe zero carbon emission flying is the best approach to achieving net-zero in aviation. easyJet is working with Airbus and Rolls-Royce to accelerate the development of zero carbon emission aircraft technology. The strategy is "complemented by carbon removal technology to physically remove carbon from the atmosphere and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) as an interim measure, as well as building on work the airline is already doing to make its everyday operations ever-more fuel efficient and advocating for airspace modernisation, to reduce the use of fuel by flying more direct routes."

easyJet calculates that it "would be able to reduce its carbon emissions per passenger, per kilometre by 78% by 2050 (vs 2019), with residual emissions addressed by carbon removal technology taking the airline to net-zero. easyJet’s ultimate ambition is to achieve zero carbon emission flying across its entire fleet.

"Hydrogen has no operational carbon emissions. It also has the potential to significantly reduce non-CO2 emissions from flying. Over the past couple of years, the development of zero carbon emission technology has accelerated exponentially, and easyJet is working with partners, including Airbus, Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace, Cranfield Aerospace Solutions and Wright Electric, to accelerate this. It is a cross-industry effort and as a major European airline easyJet not only provides the airline and customer perspective to its partners but also demonstrates to aircraft manufacturers that there is demand for zero carbon emission aircraft."  more


5. We need to do more than rethink tourism 

The theme of this year's World Tourism Day observed on 27 September was “Rethinking tourism”, the UN Secretary-General said "There is no time to waste.  Let us rethink and reinvent tourism and together, deliver a more sustainable, prosperous and resilient future for all."

Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary-General, describes the UNWTO’s basic idea as to ensure that “even more people get to benefit from tourism’s restart.” There are three calls to action “spread the word”,” join the celebration,” and “share your story”. Not much of a call to make change and intervene to ensure that tourism benefits the economically.

There is a chasm between the fine words and policies and the lack of action to tackle climate change, the same applies to inclusive tourism. The late Queen Elizabeth was rarely heard commenting on the actions, or rather the lack of them.  As she commented recently on climate change, “It is very irritating when they talk – but don’t do.” She might have said the same thing about inclusive tourism. I shall miss her willingness to speak truth to power, albeit mostly in private. Sustainability is an abstract idea, often an inoperative objective, a mantra mouthed but not actioned.  Where people take responsibility and take action real change results, tourism is better and local communities secure better livelihoods. Do we really need to rethink tourism?

The sign was photographed at  Tendu Leaf Jungle Resort,

6. Brands and market demand for sustainable tourism

Booking.com’s 2021 report revealed that 83% of global travellers think sustainable travel is vital. Almost half (49%) still believe that there aren’t enough sustainable travel options available, with 53% admitting they get annoyed if somewhere they are staying stops them from being sustainable, for example, by not providing recycling facilities.

Last month Earthrise published on YouTube  suggesting that sustainability is the "go to cliché” asking Is Sustainability a Lie?

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the CMO Sustainability Accelerator, have published ‘Mainstream Green’ outlining a roadmap for how to achieve Mainstream Green — defined as driving sustainable choices by all consumers, not just those who are moved by sustainable claims. Download a copy here 

Responsible Travel CEO Justin Francis shared 10 status-quo-defying habits that could make you a better tourist, in the Independent, suggesting that there are ways in which a holidaymaker can be a changemaker.

YouGov has used its daily brand and destination tracking tools,BrandIndex and DestinationIndex  to publish a report on Brand & Destination Rankings revealing the top-ranked travel brands, and destinations, across 9 key markets.  The findings are detailed and in some ways surprising.


7.  More on the divisions caused by tourism in Hawaii 

Protect Waipio Valley, recently blocked the road into the valley because of its use by commercial tour operators. Darde Gamayo, of Protect Waipio Valley, is reported as saying, “We are not against tourism, we just need responsible tourism,”

“We need people to come here and understand, you’re coming into our neighborhood, our yards, the county road only goes so far. After that, the county owns no land in Waipio Valley. The county only owns the road. That is it.”  “We don’t not want to share it, but we need to be responsible and we need to protect our wahi pana.” “Our kupuna are asking the tours to halt their operations until there is a resolution,”  More on Hawaii News Now. 

8. Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Europe at over 2,300 metres., often described as the roof of the Alps. Writing in The Telegraph Eleanor Steafel describes tourism on the mountain where 20,000 people attempt the summit each year: "a wild place with what appears to be a steady stream of ants crawling over it from May to October, putting one foot in front of the other, fighting swells of fear, doubt and altitude sickness and testing their fitness and mental strength like never before." Climate change is making the mountain more dangerous to climb.  Steafel quotes Profit "a climbing legend in the valley," ‘We are in France. To have a permit to climb Mont Blanc? You’d have a revolution. We’d never accept this.’".

The local mayor, Peillex, said earlier in the summer that freedom to climb the mountain no longer exists and suggested that climbers wanting to go "up Mont Blanc on the Goûter route should give a €15,000 ‘funeral deposit’ to cover the potential cost of their rescue or the recovery of their body. ‘If they want to climb with death in their backpack, let them pay up for the costs of relief and burial..,’

9. Displacing and Upcycling Plastic 

One solution to single-use plastic is to replace it with biodegradable, edible alternatives.  Two that have recently come to my attention are Stroodles Eco tableware collection  (UK based) and Thooshan (India based)

Stroodles Eco tableware collection offers " 100% biodegradable, durable, edible, vegan and fun" straws, spoons,  plates and bowls - some are available in oat, cocoa, pepper and masala flavours.
Thooshan offers Biodegradable Eco-friendly Sustainable Wheat Bran snack & dinner plates, and rice straws.

Isatou Ceesay is known in The Gambia is known as the queen of recycling using reclaimed plastic to create saleable textile products and additional livelihoods - the video is inspiring   The Njau Recycling and Income Generation Group (NRIGG). Today, Ceesay works with more than 11,00 people and NRIGG is based in four separate communities across The Gambia

10. Miscellany

The next edition of RT News will be out in November
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Other Responsible Tourism Newsletters

The Sustainabilist UAE
Responsible Cape Town
Climate Change in 7 charts

Responsible Traveller, South Africa
Encounter Africa


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