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RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 11/ 2021

November 29, 2021
Harold Goodwin
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  1. COP26 – aviation off the hook again?
  2. The WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards

    One tonne of carbon

  3. Covid, a catalyst for innovation?
  4. Responsible Tourism in Scotland
  5. Booking.com promote sustainable businesses
  6. easyJet promoting destination stewardship
  7. National parks & indigenous rights
  8. Snowdonia communities 'exploited'
  9. Responsible Tourism in India, Kerala
  10. Miscellany

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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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The next edition of RT News will be out at the beginning of January
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1 COP26 – aviation off the hook again?
If aviation were a country, it would be the sixth-largest emitter falling between Russia and Japan, responsible for 3.5% of global emissions. The aviation industry has a strong sense of its importance, forgetting that the vast majority of the world’s population never flies. 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. It is implausible that this would be acceptable with the world experiencing the catastrophic impacts of climate change. Domestic and international aviation emissions are the Achilles’ heel of the tourism industry.

The travel and tourism industry needs to push the aviation sector to change more rapidly. There are major issues with all three parts of the ICAO strategy: Carbon Offsetting; SAF: Sustainable Aviation Fuels & Net-Zero

In January, the Fuelling Flight Project  —  which includes easyJet, IAG, KLM and AirFrance — pointed to “the risk of massive capital investments in things that increase emissions, compared to fossil fuels and/or that become stranded assets”. As Bloomberg reported on 10 November: “SAF is typically three to four times more expensive than kerosene, so airlines aren’t buying it in bulk. As a result, very little is being produced. If Delta Air Lines Inc. filled all its planes for one day, the carrier would soak up a year’s worth of U.S. SAF supply,” said CEO Ed Bastian.  Current production is estimated to be 0.1% of global jet fuel consumption.

Business as usual does not meet the need for change. COP26 made no progress on aviation. 

Delay only exacerbates the problem. It may well be necessary to think the unthinkable and cap airline operations.  more


2 The WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards
With the launch of the Global Awards this year, chosen by an international panel of judges from amongst the regional Gold Awards, the programme has come of age. Four of the six Global Awards went to India, one went to South Africa and another one to the Maldives.
The six 2021 Global Responsible Tourism Awards winners are listed here with the judges' reasons.
1. Decarbonising Travel & Tourism: Govardhan Ecovillage, Maharashtra, INDIA
2. Sustaining Employees and Communities through the Pandemic: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa, AFRICA
3. Destinations Building Back Better Post-Covid: Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, Rural Tourism Programme, INDIA
4. Increasing Diversity in Tourism: How Inclusive is our Industry? No Footprints. Mumbai, INDIA
5. Reducing Plastic Waste in the Environment: Six Senses, Laamu, Maldives, INDIAN OCEAN
6. Growing the Local Economic Benefit: Village Ways, Mumbai, Maharashtra, INDIA

The 2021 Indian Responsible Tourism Awards Winners with the judges’ reasons can be found here.
The judges’ reasons for the 2021 Rest of the World Responsible Tourism Awards Winners can be found here.

There will be ten categories for the 2022 Awards, they can be found here.


3  Covid, a catalyst for innovation?

Caroline Bremner, Euromonitor International, published Travel Rewired: Innovation Strategies for a Resilient Recovery at WTM, London. Amongst the key findings.

  • Covid-Proof for Safe Travel:  Technology powers much of the innovations created in response to the pandemic, including digital health apps that make use of QR codes and biometrics to transfer data in a safe and secure way. 71.1% of travel businesses see digital health apps/vaccine passports as the way to open up safely, along with other measures such as testing and tracing contacts.
  • Sustainability: great leaps forward are being made by travel businesses regarding their sustainability mindset and goals. 58% of travel businesses will implement a sustainability programme in 2021, up 2.9% on 2020. There is a strong uplift in sustainability being integrated into new product development, with 53.3% of travel companies ensuring sustainability features and initiatives are incorporated in new product development launches, up 9.5% in 2020-2021
  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure, one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (sdg9), saw a major drop in engagement because the pandemic paused investment in near-term
    innovation.
    The full report, which includes region by region analysis, is available to download here 

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, with hospitality companies comprising 30% of the industry, has launched a Pathway to Net Positive Hospitality for the planet. “Look beyond ‘zero’ impact towards a lasting ‘positive’ impact”   "Our Pathway recognises the significant work that’s being done by many partner organisations to support the industry. Our aim is to coordinate and build on these to create a holistic, action-based approach that’s applicable for all hotels, regardless of whether they are part of a large international brand or independent.
New French Tourism Plan: "The government wants France to once again become the most visited country in the world."  The initiative is creating debate.


4  Responsible Tourism in Scotland

In March this year VisitScotland launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of exploring Scotland’s countryside with respect to protect and enjoy it and to keep Scotland special. The campaign used the ecotourism slogan, take only photographs leave only footprints – ‘Enjoy it Responsibly,’ Initially the campaign was focused on visitor behaviour, not surprising given the overtourism issues which affected many of Scotland’s rural communities and natural areas with the associated problems of litter, wild camping and wild toileting.
Visit Scotland’s corporate website provides campaign material for businesses to use to encourage a visitor to make a Responsible Tourism Promise, promising to care for Scotland’s nature and communities and “to care for Scotland and the world’s tomorrow.” There is detailed guidance for visitors on responsible motorhome and caravan and camping trips. More recently the campaign has moved on with the development of responsible itineraries  
Chris Greenwood, VisitScotland’s Senior Insight Manager, argues that Scotland’s tourism businesses should take the lead and direct visitors towards better choices.“It’s up to the industry to demonstrate their values and what they are doing to support responsible tourism" and suggested that holiday accommodation providers could guide guests towards better choices by advising on local scheduled buses which travel through particularly scenic areas, providing bicycles and walking itineraries. "People want to do the right thing and are looking for support to make these choices.”
Vicki Miller, Director of Marketing & Digital, VisitScotland reports that  “Visitors from around the world are looking for responsible travel solutions and we need to ensure that these options in Scotland enhance the visitor’s trip, through creating enriching and memorable experiences in a sustainable way.”  more
The Scottish Government is funding a digital sales tool which allows visitors to ‘pay it forward’, Scotland’s first portal for booking agri-tourism farm experiences across Scotland, an interactive food to fork map in Dumfries and Galloway, a visitor management tool to facilitate safe and sustainable tourism on the Isle of Skye and the creation of a community calculator measuring business impacts. more


5 Booking.com promotes sustainable businesses
Booking.com is encouraging businesses using its platform to select from sustainability practices to communicate directly to consumers. "Travel Sustainable partners achieve increased visibility across our platform so customers can easily make sustainable travel choices." more  Booking.com has identified "a set of the most impactful practices for a property to consider in five key areas: waste, energy and greenhouse gases, water, supporting local communities and protecting nature. This foundational framework is currently further broken down into 32 specific sustainability measures or practices that properties can implement, including everything from eliminating single-use plastic toiletries or switching to LED light fixtures to running on 100% renewable energy sources or investing a certain percentage of profits into local community and conservation projects."
" Booking.com has also worked with reputable sustainability consultancy Sustainalize to develop a robust methodology that assesses these practices’ relative weight in the model. As these weights fully depend on the environmental and/or social impact of the practices, the model is fit for purpose to identify partners that pursue meaningful sustainability efforts. The calculation also considers the property’s location and accounts for its size, improving the model’s accuracy and applicability among the large variety of Booking.com’s partners. All these calculations come together, with each practice being weighted accordingly and taking local factors into account, to create an overall score for the property’s sustainability practices." more

This is groundbreaking in two ways:

  • Booking.com has recognised that " operating sustainably means different things in different markets. For example, water-reducing measures in an area prone to drought or sourcing renewable energy options in a country where that’s not yet widely available are weighted as being more impactful." more
  • Consumers are able to report properties that are not operating as they claim, this transparency and the fact that false claims by the business make them vulnerable to claims for compensation for misselling.

6 easyJet promoting destination stewardship
easyJet Holidays is embarking on a Destination Stewardship programme to bring together private, public and local community representatives to establish a common set of priorities for tourism management and long-term resilience post-COVID-19 pandemic. In an approach to put community first there are plans to the programme in Tenerife and Mallorca (Spain); Dalaman (Turkey); Rhodes (Greece); and The Algarve (Portugal) to develop more balanced and equitable outcomes.

Garry Wilson, CEO of easyJet holidays, said: “At easyJet holidays we have ambitious sustainability commitments combined with an opportunity to do things differently. There is a responsibility for us all to play our part to reopen tourism sustainably and we absolutely need to, and can, work together. So one of the biggest challenges is going to be how we can share best practice, collaborate, and make changes as an industry. We see the Travel Foundation as the ideal partner for facilitating this within destinations, and we share the same aim to lead the charge here and demonstrate a new kind of relationship between businesses and destination communities. Ultimately, we’ll show that doing this right will deliver a better experience for our customers and real, positive benefits for communities.”  more


7 National parks & indigenous rights
Criticism of the practice of "fortress conservation", where indigenous people are evicted or excluded from national parks,  has come to the fore in the context of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, In July 2022th e U.N. Biodiversity Conference, COP15, will meet in Kunming, China to discuss proposal  “30 by 30” — a plan to conserve 30% of Earth’s land and sea areas by 2030 through “area-based conservation.  measures”.  During a Protecting Human Rights in International Conservation hearing by US House Natural Resources Committee heard serious criticism of WWF and other international NGOs funding new national parks. Participants in the world’s first Congress to decolonize conservation have released a manifesto calling for a total halt to new Protected Areas which exclude Indigenous and local communities. The “Marseille Manifesto: a people’s manifesto for the future of conservation” was launched in October. 


8 Snowdonia communities 'exploited'
Gwynedd council in Wales has reported that communities in Snowdonia have been left feeling "exploited" after one of the busiest tourist seasons in living memory after more than 660,000 visitors climbed Snowdon in 2021. Gwynedd council believes that Snowdonia, a National Park, has joined Barcelona and Amsterdam with more visitors that they can cope with.
Council leader Dyfrig Siencyn said ""We've experienced two years of very unusual tourist seasons, from lockdown to a very large influx of new tourists - those people who would probably have gone overseas for their holidays," "And it increased the pressure on our communities substantially. "It was very good for businesses and our local economy, but we also had a new kind of tourist, who really didn't understand the communities that we live in, or the environment." There were problems with litter, parking while the cost of repairing footpaths "can't be sustained in the long term". "Some people can travel to Snowdon, climb up the mountain, make a mess and then go home without contributing anything to the local economy. "What we need to do is to look at ways we can make tourism benefit our communities rather than exploiting them."
Volunteers from the Snowdonia Society have spent thousands of hours over the summer picking up litter.more


9. Responsible Tourism in India, Kerala
Kerala Tourism launches STREET project for experiential tourism, STREET is an acronym for Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic, Tourism hubs. Green street, cultural street, village life experience street, experiential tourism street, agri-tourism street, water street and art street are the themes that have been planned as part of the project which celebrates the particularities of communities. more
A culinary tourism experiment is part of an effort to give a slice of the traditional taste of the state to visiting guests received another major push with the state tourism department introducing ‘Foodie Wheels’ in select locations. more
Kerala has launched a Responsible Tourism (RT) Classification for hotels and resorts, giving an added thrust to environmental protection and ecological-restoration through tourism. The accreditation system is to be extended to homestays, service villas, Ayurveda centres & resorts, Adventure Tourism service providers, amusement parks, heritage homes conservation project Grihastali and license for tour guides will be available online. more & here
Kumarakom village in Kottayam district of Kerala is now transforming itself into a ‘Workation tourism' destination. 23 resorts and hotels have arranged facilities for guests to work with high-speed internet and office rooms.


10. Miscellany
Experience Ancient Olympia as it was 2,000 years ago using AI and AR
‘The campervan broke my heart.’ Lockdown purchases we wish we’d never made a hidden pandemic of buyer’s remorse is sweeping undetected through Irish homes
SARAWAK’S tourism industry players have taken a Responsible Tourism pledge to reduce their environmental footprint, support local communities and protect culture and heritage.
CLIA ocean-going cruise members have committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. CLIA member cruise lines have also committed to a 40 per cent reduction in the rate of carbon emissions across the global fleet by 2030. more
Under the Clean Gilgit and Hunza Project, Nestle Pakistan recently installed benches and waste bins made from 100% recycled plastic, in Hunza.
Soneva has launched a project to restore coral reef and create a knowledge “hub” for the Maldives.
The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau is trying a new program, Malama Hawaii which provides incentives for tourists to volunteer. Malama Hawaii has more than 90 participating partners “It’s a really great way for visitors to connect with the kamaaina and the aina here and really give back and have a rich cultural experience doing a variety of things, whether that’s volunteering at an animal farm or volunteering in the loi,”  more


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