Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism October 2020 (1)

  1. Launch of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance 
  2. Responsible Tourism at Virtual WTM,  10 & 11  November 2020 
  3. Biodiversity and tourism, conflict or symbiosis, friend or foe?  
  4. Responsible Tourism Grows in India 
  5. Cruise Lines Face Particular Challenges: Covid-19 & Friends of the Earth
  6. Diversity Matters
  7. Action on Holiday Rentals 
  8. Action on Plastic 
  9. Animal cruelty rankings revealed: which travel companies are fuelling or fighting it?
  10. Miscellany 

The next edition will be out in mid-October
The Responsible Tourism Hub provides quick links to curated material on Responsible Tourism 

1. Launch of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance
On October 1st the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) was relaunched as the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (SHA), now once again fully independent. It was back in 2004 that the original International Hotels Environment Initiative founded at the time of the first Rio Summitt on Environment and Development in 1992 became the ITP which worked across a broad agenda: environment, siting and design guidelines for hotels,  the Youth Career Initiative (YCI), pioneering work on human rights.   The SHA is registered in the UK as a charity and will build on the work of the ITP with a strong commitment to working across the sector and to sharing their tools and resources work. In the video senior figures from Hilton, Marriott and IHG discussed key issues, including the future of sustainable development in the industry and hospitality’s role within the community during and following the pandemic. The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance brings together 14 of the world’s leading hotel companies and has launched with a renewed vision of responsible hospitality for a better world. Alliance members have  25% of the global hotel industry by rooms, including Marriott International, Hilton, IHG, Hyatt and Radisson. Aligned with the UN SDGs they commit to driving continued action on human rightsyouth employmentclimate change and water stewardship. more

2. Responsible Tourism at Virtual WTM,  10 & 11  November 2020 

This year we have eight live panels in Virtual WTM, four on each day. The details of all eight panels are online.  There will also be some on-demand panels and interviews details of these later in the month. There are two existential crises confronting our species: climate change and biodiversity loss. The UK's Prince Charles speaking at the opening of Climate Week has pointed out that the coronavirus is a 'wake-up call we cannot ignore' and that the looming environmental crisis will “dwarf” the damage wrought by coronavirus if the world misses the opportunity to “reset”. Does the  Covid-19 pandemic provide a “window of opportunity” to change the world for the better? That is the question we are asking this year. The of WTM this year is Recover, Rebuild, Innovate.  We begin by considering how our sector has responded to the pandemic in a panel moderated by Martin Brackenbury on Resilience & Covid-19 (1) The second panel consider how we might Build Back Better (2) looking at five leading examples of destinations already on the road to building back better. Our third panel looks at the biodiversity challenge: Tourism and Biodiversity, Friend or Foe (3), see the item below.

On 21st September Airbus revealed three concepts for new ZEROe zero-emission aircraft. There is little detail beyond a commitment to have the first in the sky by 2035.  As Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO has reminded us “The transition to hydrogen, as the primary power source for these concept planes, will require decisive action from the entire aviation ecosystem. Together with the support from government and industrial partners, we can rise up to this challenge to scale-up renewable energy and hydrogen for the sustainable future of the aviation industry.” At WTM we are focussing this year on Decarbonising Aviation (4) and asking what the travel and tourism sector can do to contribute to pollution-free flight and to maintain the pressure for change. The aviation industry is our sector’s Achilles’ heel. Planes commissioned this year are expected still to be flying in 2050 – the time to change is now, and in a panel on aviation, tourism will be challenging aviation to clean up.

We have a panel on Tourism and Racism (6), chaired by the author Alex Tremblador. Some will be shocked by this arguing that discrimination in the sector is rare; others will disagree. Tour operators, travel agents, OTAs and guides offer what the consumer wants to buy – if they do not, then they fail. But client expectations change and perhaps we have a responsibility to reveal the whole truth, warts and all. The National Trust in England has for several years been revealing the origins of the wealth which enabled the building of grand houses and monuments; including “the global slave trades, goods and products of enslaved labour, abolition and protest, and the East India Company.” more  Alex Temblador has written an article reflecting on the range of perspectives on the issue which emerge from the series of video interviews recorded on tourism and racism and to be found on this playlist. 

Real progress is being made in India as more states and the National Ministry of Tourism take up the core ideas of Responsible Tourism, we discuss this with Indian leaders in a panel on Responsible Tourism in India (5), there are more details of developments on the subcontinent below.  We have a panel on Certification and Consumer Choice (7) we discuss where certification is today and what it holds for the future. Are there too many schemes? What strategies could deliver more transparent consumer information? What can be done to improve certification and drive the sustainability agenda forward? How will health and safety shape sustainable tourism? In our final panel, we tackle the key question and ask Can we make tourism better? (8) The question is in part rhetorical. Of course, we can, we know what needs to be done, but will we do what needs to be done? 

3. Biodiversity and tourism, conflict or symbiosis, friend or foe?
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report 2020, published in September, sounds the alarm for global biodiversity, showing an average 68% decline in animal population sizes tracked over 46 years (1970-2016). It reports that this catastrophic decline is largely due to the environmental destruction,  such as deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and the illegal wildlife trade that contributes to virus outbreaks such as COVID-19. Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, makes the point starkly: "We can’t ignore the evidence – these serious declines in wildlife species populations are an indicator that nature is unravelling and that our planet is flashing red warning signs of systems failure. .... it is now more important than ever to take unprecedented and coordinated global action to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity and wildlife populations across the globe by the end of the decade, and protect our future health and livelihoods. Our own survival increasingly depends on it.” We cannot shield from climate change and biodiversity loss, we have to accept and come to terms with the fact that we are part of nature, we destroy it at our peril.   As WWF-US President and CEO Carter Roberts, points out: "We cannot shield humanity from the impacts of environmental destruction. It’s time to restore our broken relationship with nature for the benefit of species and people alike"

McKinsey has published a report mapping areas where nature appears to have particularly high value and analysing some of the co-benefits and costs that could result from conservation of these areas. These additional prioritized areas would effectively double the current conservation of land and national waters to 30% of the planet—a proposed UN target used as a reference point for this analysis. Recognising that biodiversity loss and climate change are the twin existential challenges that we face as humanity WTM, London has worked with the World Tourism Forum Lucerne to record a series of interviews with leaders addressing what tourism can do to reduce biodiversity loss. At WTM London at 14:00 on November 10thShaun Vorster will be moderating a panel on these issues. The Responsible Tourism programme this year at WTM is online, so you will not need to travel to London to join us. This will be a lively panel exploring what the industry can do to halt the loss and ensure positive social and environmental footprints.

4. Responsible Tourism Grows in India
Kerala committed to Responsible Tourism in 2008 and has become a world leader in ensuring that the local communities benefit economically from domestic and international visitors, particularly, but not only, in rural areas. Madhya Pradesh has adopted a similar tourism policy and implementation strategy. At the national level, the Ministry of Tourism has a draft policy out for consultation. As the Ministry writes (4.2): "Sustainable Tourism is all about minimizing the negative impact of tourism on social, environmental and economic aspects and maximizing the positive impact. Responsible Tourism is about taking responsibility by all Stakeholders for achieving sustainable tourism, and to create better places for people to live in and for people to visit. The Ministry is funding initiatives to bring tourism to rural areas to contribute to rural livelihoods through the development of rural circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.  The Ministry of Rural Development seeks through their Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) to develop "clusters of villages that preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life with a focus on equity and inclusiveness without compromising with the facilities perceived to be essentially urban in nature, thus creating a cluster of “Rurban Villages”. more

NotOnMap and Help Tourism in association the with ICRT India are developing 150+ training videos in 18 Indian languages divided into 12 training modules for Homestays, Village Panchayats, Teachers, Youth and Wome. It is all free and open-source and there are plans to reach 100,000 villages over the next year. The training material has been developed in three months and is based on 30 webinars which engaged with 2000 community members and fifty organisations over 17 states in India. In Kerala, the DTPC   is promoting self-sufficiency by providing fish gardens. The World Responsible Tourism Awards have recognised many examples of RT in India and CGH Earth Hotels and Kerala RTT Mission have won the coveted Judges' Award these awards are rare and are used to recognise businesses which achieve in multiple categories and have been previously recognised a number of times.  There is a panel on RT in India at the Virtual WTM on 11th November at 10:30 UK time. 

5. Cruise Lines Face Particular Challenges: Covid-19 & Friends of the Earth
It will be at least another month before cruise liens are allowed to operate in US waters. According to CDC reports, between March 1 and September 29 data showed at least 3,689 Covid-19 or Covid-like illnesses on cruise ships in US waters, with at least 41 reported deaths. The agency warned that “these numbers are likely incomplete and an underestimate.”
British nationals are advised by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development against any sea-going cruise travel. “On cruise ships, passengers and crew share spaces that are more crowded than most urban settings,” said the CDC. “Data show that when only essential crew are on board, ongoing spread of SARS-CoV-2 still occurs. If unrestricted cruise ship passenger operations were permitted to resume, passengers and crew on board would be at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and those that work or travel on cruise ships would place substantial unnecessary risk on healthcare workers, port personnel and federal partners [...] and the communities they return to.” more
The UK government has begun talking with the industry about how it might operate in a Covid world, the industry has developed a cruise framework is similar to the 'Interim Guidance for Restarting Cruise Operations’ released by the European Union in July, CLIA admitted, with some of the best practices taken and adapted in line with British rules and regulations. The Framework brings together three documents, focused on operators,  the management of seafarers, and advice for passengers prior to their cruise. The industry is endeavouring to replicate at sea the government's onshore regulations and advice.

Friends of the Earth has published a report card comparing the environmental footprint of 18 major cruise lines and 193 cruise ships, examining sewage treatment, air pollution reduction, water quality compliance, transparency and criminal violations. The industry's response is covered in USA Today Travel.

 

6. Diversity Matters
 Mejdi Tours are leaders in socially conscious tourism and the originators of the Dual Narrative Tour ™, with two guides, one from each side of the conflict. They are the world’s leading experts on post-conflict tourism now operating tours in 20 countries.  At WTM London in November 2019 Aziz Abu Sarah, co-founder of Mejdi Tours, made a simple but profound point “The mistake is to think travel is about distance,” he said. “Travel is about change. It is about discovering difference.” At the heart of travel and tourism is difference. As the pandemic struck America and the Black Lives Matter movement raised issues of racism, Mejdi started a live stream weekly travel show hosted by Aziz to continue to educate travellers about responsible tourism. They have produced a host of programmes about Crossing Boundaries and offering others in responsible travel and peacebuilding a platform.  There are now 31 episodes freely available online. "Through shared stories and conversations" the programme  aim "to continue connecting our world during these challenging times⁠—allowing us to travel from the comfort of our homes." Their pitch is powerful " Join us as we engage our guest speakers in conversation, discuss difficult questions, model friendship through respectful dialogue and disagreement, and provide an opportunity to encounter new voices and perspectives." more

7. Action on Holiday Rentals
The development of new platforms which facilitate the short term letting of accommodation to tourists had had a major impact on the availability of rental accommodation to residents in many European cities. In the Uk estate agents, RightMove has moved in the short letting market. "The rise and high profitability of STHR has led to a widespread pattern of long term housing rentals being converted into STHR. The impact on prices and the supply of affordable housing is alarming, particularly in inner cities. European citizens are increasingly voicing their concerns about nuisances caused by STHR. In addition to the adverse effects on the liveability of certain neighbourhoods and soaring prices, they report noise disturbance, health hazards, and even the slow disappearance of convenience stores." European cities are p[ressign for appropriate safeguards to be included in the new EU Digital Services Act more
Glasgow City Council is seeking a first-of-its-kind court interdict to shut a short-term rental property which will not comply with enforcement. A property on Victoria Road in Glasgow’s southside was ordered to shut last year after complaints of noise and anti-social behaviour but is still being advertised. In Poland, Airbnb and the City of Krakow have announced that they have signed a “landmark” partnership to support and promote responsible tourism and exchange aggregated data about travel and tourism.

8. Action on Plastic
Keeping guests safe from Covid-19 has significantly increased the quantity of single-use plastic going to waste. Travel Without Plastic has created GreenerGuest which offers a free course introducing a host of ways to reduce or eliminate unnecessary single-use plastic from business and providing access to more sustainable alternatives products.  All of their suppliers have been selected for their commitments to social and environmental responsibility.
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative has published recommendations on how the industry can continue fighting plastic pollution during the COVID-19 recovery. Download the recommendations here.  The document builds on the key concepts underlying the common vision for a circular economy for plastic. 

9.  Animal cruelty rankings revealed: which travel companies are fuelling or fighting it?
World Animal Protection's report, Tracking the travel industry, exposes the companies that promote animal cruelty through the tours and excursions they sell, and those that are winning for wildlife, such as Airbnb, which scored the highest. Global tourist polls have shown there’s great customer appetite for this. 85% of respondents interviewed believe travel companies should avoid activities that involve wild animals suffering. The research, undertaken by the University of Surrey in the UK and commissioned by WAP independently analysed the public commitments travel companies have and haven’t made, and ranked them in order. The companies assessed: Airbnb, AttractionTickets.com, Booking.com, DER Touristik, Expedia, Flight Centre, GetYourGuide, Klook, Musement, The Travel Corporation, Tripadvisor, TUI.co.uk, Trip.com and Viator.

Companies were scored across four key areas:  1) Commitment: Availability and quality of published animal welfare policies and how applicable they are to all their brands. 2) Targets and performance: Availability and scope of published time-bound targets and reports on progress towards meeting animal welfare commitments.   3) Changing industry supply:  Availability and quality of engagement with suppliers and the overall industry, to implement wildlife-friendly changes.  4) Changing consumer demand:  Availability and quality of educational animal welfare content and tools to empower consumers to make wildlife-friendly travel choices.  more

10. Miscellany

  • Travel Tomorrow is collecting and publishing the Covid-19 safety measures that  EU countries are applying to travellers wanting to visit.
  • SUNx Malta in partnership with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched the Climate Friendly Travel Registry for 2050 Climate Neutral & Sustainability Ambitions
  • Slovenia’s Bohinj region has asked tourists planning to visit to treat the destination as a living room or otherwise avoid the region altogether. This approach likens tourism to a living room - in a living room the owner combines items to create a pleasant environment for both himself and his guests. The Bohinj team believe that tourism destinations should offer the same sense of place and that mutual trust between local people and respectful travellers will lead to uniquely special travel experiences. more
  • Celebration Earth   CelebrationEarth! sets out to remind us that there are successes in this time of change and fear, that there are groups all over the country and all over the world-changing their environment for the better. Without dismissing the urgency or peril of current environmental change, we can approach it with a determination that comes as much from delight in the world around us as from fear of what might be happening.

The URL www.rtp.education takes you directly to the RT Hub which provides easy links to Responsible Tourism on the WTM websites and RT Partnership.

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Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 05/2020

  1. Reputation Matters: Taking Responsibility in the face of Covid-19
  2. The World Responsible Tourism Awards in the Year of Covid-19
  3. Climate Change is as big a threat as Covid-19
  4. What future for Aviation?
  5. The Economic Impact of Covid-19
  6. Recovery - time to press the reset button?
  7. Immunity Passports?
  8. Resilience relies on others, it cannot be achieved by tourism alone
  9. Covid-19 will not be the end of overtourism
  10. The Covid-19 pandemic threatens wildlife too 

This month sees the launch of a new Responsible Tourism Hub providing quick links to curated material on RT. 

WTM Responsible Tourism Awards

1. Reputation Matters: Taking Responsibility in the face of Covid-19

Covid-19 and Tourism

Successful travel companies invest time and money in customer service to offer a quality experience knowing that repeat business and referrals are driven by people's perceptions of the business. These are very difficult times for the sector with demand having collapsed. UNWTO reported that by the end of April 100% of destinations had restrictions on international arrivals and domestic tourism. Tour Operators have delayed payments to suppliers and procrastinated over consumer refunds, a voucher is of little use to customers who have lost their incomes, the vouchers can't be used buy food.  James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid, penned an open letter recognising that there are aspects of the crisis that they had not handled well. "For any customers who feel disappointed with our response to their enquiries during this time, who feel as though we have taken their trust for granted, or who feel like we’ve let them down, I hear you, and I apologise." He has taken responsibility, apologised and taken action. People remember how you deal with problems - reputations are built and damaged by the ways companies deal with their customers and suppliers in crises.

Last month's RT News carried examples of companies and destinations maintaining meaningful connections with their client base. Ilha Blue, recognised in the 2020 Inspirational Africa Responsible Tourism Awards, is working during the pandemic to keep their people safe, to use the time to create new experiences and to imagine and create the future they want – more women in their workforce, leadership on environmental issues, new more transformative travel offerings and increased connectivity with their global network of friends/volunteers/travellers. They are doing good and telling their clients and agents about it.

The impact of Covid-19 on holidaymakers is that they don't get a foreign holiday and in many countries any holiday. Of course only a minority ever have a holiday year after year, a holiday is in a fundamental sense a luxury good. In the destinations large numbers of people are put out of work, in larger companies, able to access government funds, they may be furloughed, but the vast majority of tourism is delivered by SMEs, micro enterprises and sole traders. As Justin Francis has argued there is far less welfare support for those who lose their livelihoods in developing countries, there are altruistic and self-interested reasons to act. "The developed north relies on many less developed countries to deliver travel "product". Recovery here requires it there – we need to rebuild together."

Fair Trade Tourism South Africa has pointed out that the "crisis has shone a light on many of the unFair Trade dynamics in the sector and the pause over the coming weeks gives us all time to reflect, to assess, and to redefine how we want travel and tourism to look going forward; to acknowledge the impacts we have; and to unpack the trade dynamics that need to be addressed. It has given us time to remember that humanity comes before commerce and that we need to look out for each other however we can." They list many businesses which have launched fundraisers to offset lost income (and tips) for their staff Coffee Shack Backpackers  & Umlani Bushcamp, stepped up their philanthropic efforts  Uthando (Love) SA , Spier has continued to support its partnerships with local communities, Sani Lodge Backpackers,   Isibindi Africa Lodges is raising funds to purchase and deliver masks, sanitisers and food parcels to its neighbours. Bulungula Lodge completely repurposed the lodge, it was closed to travellers and converted into a Safe Home for the elderly and those deemed most vulnerable. Ubuntu Beds has united hospitality businesses (and their empty beds) with the healthcare professionals fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.

South Africa has so far very effectively addressed Covid-19 with a lockdown and a ban on international arrivals and inter-province travel. it has close to 20,000 confirmed cases (close to 4,000 of whom have recovered) and under 200 deaths. But the lockdown has a price. Tourism was seen as an important employer in post-apartheid South Africa, a relativity labour intensive employer which could create employment in urban and rural areas. The travel bans have resulted in real hardship particularly for the community owned lodges often built on restituted land.  Trans-frontier Parks Destinations (TFPD) is approaching clients, operators and agents who sell community owned lodges to contribute to relief funds incentivised by entry into a draw for a fully-inclusive stay and a guaranteed discount on their next booking. !Xaus Lodge is the pride and joy of the local ‡Khomani San and Mier communities, Witsieshoek Mountain Lodge is owned by the Batlokoa community in Phuthaditjhaba.

There are opportunities to do good, and build reputation, in the originating markets too.  Airbnb has encouraged its property owners to offer  healthcare staff and first responders places to stay that allow them to be close to their patients – and safely distanced from their own families. In Los Angeles 300+ hotels have volunteered more than 30,000 rooms to the LA County Department of Public Health and other agencies as temporary shelter to support the region’s COVID-19 response, stepped up their philanthropic efforts.

Justin Francis, CEO of Responsible Travel has pointed to the "new community spirit fostered under the crisis, particularly about how we are all looking out for each other and the vulnerable" and expressed the hope that travel consumers "reward travel companies who can demonstrate they care about local residents, culture and environments throughout their entire operations (not just through token donations to charity)." He reports that the consumer feedback on Responsible Travel demonstrates that "customers find a deeper connection with places and more authentic experiences as a result of tourism designed together with local communities."

2. The World Responsible Tourism Awards in the Year of Covid-19

World Responsible Tourism AwardsThe ambition of the Awards has always been to recognise businesses and destinations which are making tourism better and to spread good practice – to educate, inspire and challenge others to do likewise or do more. In this year when the world faces a global pandemic, it seemed inappropriate to continue with the World Responsible Tourism Awards as usual. Its is not Business as Usual, and the crisis is likely to continue for some time. This year the judges have decided to commend businesses and destinations which are taking responsibility and addressing the challenge of Covid-19.

This year we shall be taking recommendations from anyone keen to tell us about destinations, businesses and other organisations or individuals which are using tourism, or tourism facilities, to address the challenge of Covid-19. To nominate your own business or one you know to be taking responsibility go the Awards page. Remember we can only choose from amongst those that are nominated 

3. Climate Change is as big a threat as Covid-19

The global pandemic has, at the time of writing taken the lives of 280,000, it will likely to take many more. It is an urgent crisis. But Covid-19 is not the only crisis confronting us. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, pointed out on Earth Day, that the toll taken by the virus is both "immediate and dreadful". But the crisis is also a wake-up call, "to do things right for the future." He argues that "Public funds should be used to invest in the future not the past." The subsidies to businesses which damage our environment must cease and polluters must pay for their pollution. Climate risks must be at the heart of all public policy. Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England, has pointed out that 'We can't self-isolate from climate change'.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says that the world will use 6% less this year - equivalent to losing the entire energy demand of India. Analysis by Carbon Brief, suggest that emissions this year will fall by 4-8%, saving somewhere between 2 and 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas. The drop in oil consumption has been fives times larger than in the 2009 recession. more  In the UK the government's Committee on Climate Change has advised that investment should be in broadband rather than roads, that unemployment should be tackled by creating green jobs and pointed out that: "Many sectors of the UK economy do not currently bear the full costs of emitting greenhouse gases. Revenue could be raised by setting or raising carbon prices for these sectors.”.  Different countries will move on from Business As Usual to different degrees - the choices societies and their governments make will affect the climate we all share.

4. What future for Aviation? 

The Future for Aviation

The demand for jet fuel is down 65% year on year to April; in Europe flights are down 90%, in the US ~50%. Airbus still has a very healthy order book. "By April 30th, Airbus’ gross orders in 2020 totalled 365 aircraft. After cancellations the net orders stand at 299 aircraft. " It's ".. backlog of aircraft remaining to be delivered as of 30th April stood at 7,645."  The Lufthansa airlines group intends to reactivate 80 aircraft in June. Heathrow Airport has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme against a block on its plans for a third runway. The aviation sector is frustrated by airport closures, travel bans, social distancing and quarantine regulations but despite the calls for greener business they are preparing for a return to business as usual. The aviation industry remains our sector’s Achilles’ heel. Although some governments have pushed back on bailouts the sector has secured a great deal of funding with few environmental requirements. Greenpeace, Transport & Environment, and Carbon Market Watch using publicly available data have joined together to maintain a regularly updated, airline bailout tracker. Take a look.

The dependency of aviation on government bailouts creates an ideal opportunity for governments to encourage and fund a step change and to develop new technologies which could provide sustainable jobs through green technology. The French government has adopted a progressive approach, their rescue of Air France is contingent on a reduction in domestic flying and Air France becoming "the most environmentally respectful airline". "When you can travel by train in less than two and a half hours, there is no justification for taking a plane." M. Le Maire, France's Minister of the Economy and Finance, said the coronavirus crisis provided an opportunity to "reinvent our model of economic development to ensure it is more respectful of the environment". 2% of the fuel used by Air France's planes will have to be derived from alternative, sustainable sources by 2025 and by 2030 the airline would have to cut its carbon emissions by half per passenger and per kilometre from 2005 levels. more

5. The Economic Impact of Covid-19

These are extraordinary times, a return to business as usual looks improbable. The IMF is predicting that the ‘Great Lockdown’ will result in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and far worse than the Global Financial Crisis. They say that there is considerable uncertainty about what the economic landscape will look like when we emerge from this lockdown. For tourism to be possible, the lockdown has to have been lifted at the same time in the source market and the destination. And the traveller needs to be confident that their destination is safe and that there is no risk of being trapped in the destination by a lockdown in the destination or at home. There are likely to be further lockdowns and compulsory quarantine for travellers whenever coronavirus spikes. The travellers will also need to be confident that the risk of catching the virus travelling to the airport, on the plane, coach, train or cruise liner is low. Fear will remain a major deterrent, and travel insurance may continue to be unavailable or too expensive for cover for risks associated with the pandemic, including being quarantined abroad. more

The International Labour Organization estimates that as many as 1.6 billion of the world’s two billion informal economy workers are affected by COVID-19 lockdown and containment measures and face the "dilemma of choosing between dying from hunger and dying from the disease." In the US the cruise industry has been denied bailouts, seen as a consumer luxury industry which is not fundamental to the American economy and an industry which is largely registered abroad avoiding paying tax in the US. New Zealand quickly locked down when Covid-19 arrived and managed to reduce its coronavirus cases to zero in seven weeks. It is now planning a travel bubble, or corridor, including Australia and some Pacific Islands to enable travel and tourism to begin again. At the beginning of May Skyscanner surveyed 2,200 people across three continents and found that travel "remains a priority once restrictions are lifted – with 33% travelling ‘more than ever’ once it’s safe, 31% travelling more cautiously and 22% more domestically."

6. Recovery - time to press the reset button?

There are reports of Airbnb bookings rebounding in  TexasColoradoTennessee, and Alabama all ended lockdown policies in late April. In South Africa, one of the few African countries with a significant domestic market,  Lee-Anne Bac, Director of Strategic Development and Advisory at BDO, is advising that "the industry needs to relook and gear towards catering and marketing to the domestic market" cautioning that "This means having more affordable products in the tourism industry. And, in order for it to be more affordable, there needs to be more flexibility.”

Confronted by the common challenge of restoring normal life without increasing infection rates, countries have responded in ways which reflect their circumstances, culture and their government structures. Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Kerala, Milan and York are all in different ways talking about pressing the reset button. more  Justin Francis has pointed out that the "vast majority of people who work in tourism, reputedly 1 in 12 globally, work in small or micro businesses (restaurant staff, taxi drivers, hotel room service and front desk, curio and craft sellers, guides for museums, etc) and not global corporations. "The economic impacts on them and their families should not be ignored". Jeremy Smith has asked whether tourism can be radically transformed and avoid generating xenophobia, racism, and individualism: "Acts of altruism and support for host communities must continue to be our defining characteristics in the months to come." He goes on to quote Guillaume Cromer who has asked: Instead of putting money back into the machine like we used to, couldn’t we… support citizens who are struggling to go on holidays?

7. Immunity Passports?

In the UK the PM has confirmed plans to force all international arrivals, including returning holidaymakers, to self-isolate.  A position described by Oliver Smith in the Telegraph as "closing the stable door after the horse has bolted". Passengers arriving from abroad will have to provide an address where they will put themselves in quarantine for two weeks, enforced by spot checks and fines. This will not apply to arrivals from the Republic of  Ireland, the Channel Island and the Isle of Man, part of a common travel area, and very probably France.‡ It is not clear if this will apply to passengers who transit through Paris or Dublin. Airlines UK, UK-registered airlines have responded: “This [quarantine] proposal will effectively kill international travel to and from the UK and cause immeasurable damage to the aviation industry and wider UK economy. Nobody is going to go on holiday if they’re not able to resume normal life for 14 days, and business travel will be severely restricted. It will also make it all but impossible for aviation to resume any time soon, thereby setting back the UK’s economic recovery still further.” There can be no leisure travel with quarantine rules in place, and very little business travel.

In the US the TSA is reporting on covid-19 precautions at airports and the numbers of staff who have tested positive, airport security requires a degree of proximity. Until there is a vaccine or effective treatment Covid-19 will constrain international and even domestic travel. Temperature checking cameras are in place at many airports and Heathrow is experimenting with their introduction. Testing at the airport immediately prior to departure may be an option, as is testing on arrival, the Advance Passenger Information system could be used to communicate the results and the testing service could be paid for by the traveller. It is not clear how a refund would be secured if a passengers was denied boarding or how a traveller tested positive on arrival would be treated. Travel insurance is unlikely to cover the Covid-19 risk.

Authorities in Greece, Sardinia and the Balearic Islands have talked about antibody-based passports to enable safe entry for tourists. In the UK Onfido, submitted written evidence on “the role of Digital Identity in Immunity Passports” to the Science and Technology Committee. There are major human rights and medical problems with this approach.  Thus approach would create a perverse incentive for infection in order to acquire antibodies and move about. The World Health Organization advises "There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection." And " People who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice. The use of such certificates may therefore increase the risks of continued transmission."

The Daily Telegraph reports that President Macron has threatened to impose a two-week quarantine on Britons visiting France, after the Government announced it had similar plans that could begin as early as next month. This would have resulted in a two week quarantine wither side of the Channel. Downing Street and the Elysée are reported to have  issued a joint statement agreeing quarantine measures would not apply between France and the UK "at this stage”. “The Prime Minister and the President agreed to work together in taking forward appropriate border measures. This co-operation is particularly necessary for the management of our common border, No quarantine measures would apply to travellers coming from France at this stage; any measures on either side would be taken in a concerted and reciprocal manner.”

8. Resilience relies on others, it cannot be achieved by tourism alone

Tourism relies on source markets, domestic and international, to generate customers with money, time and freedom to travel; on safe and reliable transport being available to facilitate travel; and the destination needs to be seen as safe to visit.  There are only a few risks that tourism can address alone - the pandemic has demonstrated how reliant tourism is on the resilience of the source markets and destinations and the transport infrastructure. Businesses, DMOs and NTBs can take some steps to 'shock proof" the industry locally and to find alternative markets if one collapses, but resilience requires a much broader approach and collaboration.

Kerala has developed greater resilience in the wake of recent extensive flooding, and they were quick to bring Covid-19 under control. RT has been successful in Kerala in large part due to the strength of state and local government. Domestic tourists will arrive first, but the industry in Kerala can do little to hasten their arrival or that of the international visitors, many of whom repeat. Belize has, at the time of writing, had 18 cases of Covid-19 and 2 deaths. Their primary source market is the US (75%), where Covid-19 has not plateaued. They are encouraging domestic tourism and hoping to open for international guests from July with a Covid-19 test on arrival.

9. Covid-19 will not be the end of overtourism

In the growing literature on overtourism there is much emphasis on international tourism but domestic tourists too contribute to overtourism. In Cornwall in the UK  accommodation is already reported to be 85% booked for July and August. Even during the lockdown in the UK there have needed to be campaigns to discourage people from visiting beauty spots. more

Holidaymakers who previously have holidayed abroad can't, they will holiday at home. In the Huangshan mountain park in Anhui province on Saturday April 4 there were "thousands of people crammed together, many wearing face masks, eager to experience the great outdoors after months of travel restrictions and strict lockdown measures." Before 08:00 park managers  took the unusual step of issuing a notice declaring that the park had reached its 20,000 person daily capacity. more

In the UK the announcement by the PM of a relaxation of the rules on travelling for recreation has resulted in a plea for people have been told to stay away from beauty spots and beaches amid fears relaxed rules allowing longer car journeys would leave areas "inundated with visitors". Some rural areas, including Cumbria and the Lake District, have had relatively high rates of infection and tourism bosses in those areas urged people not to visit. more

10. The Covid-19 pandemic threatens wildlife too

Jane Goodall has pointed to the importance of ensuring that the chimps are not exposed to Covid-19. In the last month's RT News we carried the example of Ol Pejeta's fund raising initiative to support the work of the conservancy. World Animal Protection is campaigning to raise funds to care for over 2,000 elephants in the tourism camps in Thailand closed by the pandemic. Across Africa  the closure of safari tourism, due to the coronavirus pandemic, is decimating the industry, and leading to an increase in poaching as people struggle to stay alive. more

 


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RT NewsWTM

Responsible Tourism Developments January 2018

 1. Justin Francis interviews Harold Goodwin on the Responsible Tourism issues.
 2. RTD14 Responsible Tourism in Protected Areas (marine & terrestrial)
 3. Global warming continues and winter sports melting away 
 4. CORSIA - international airlines avoid emissions reductions
 5. The Poles: the Arctic and the Antartic 
 6.  First Sao Paulo and now Cape Town 
 7.  Plastics as big a threat as climate change?
 8.  How to avoid overtourism
 9.  Amsterdam's initiative to curb the number of shops targeting tourists in its historic centre
10. Shades of Grey, conserving rhino: London Event 15th March

 

 1. Justin Francis interviews Harold Goodwin on the Responsible Tourism issues.
A new RT News video launches with Harold Goodwin being interviewed by Justin Francis about why we should worry about tourism, about Responsible Tourism, the problem with ecotourism, overtourism, authenticity, child protection, aviation and the cruise lines.   View the channel

 

 2. RTD14 Responsible Tourism in Protected Areas (marine & terrestrial)
The 14th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destination will take place in Devon, with the Univerity of Plymouth, from Sunday 16th to Tuesday 18th September. The conference will be limited to 50 participants and is intended for those managing or researching protected areas. Visits are planned to Dartmoor Nationa Park and a marine protected area. All participants will be expected to present a short paper or to pose a research or management question to which they are seeking an answer. The conference will be by invitation only. At this stage register interest by emailing  RTD14@rtp.tfxweb.com - you will be first to hear when registration opens. The conference objective is to shed light on the management issues and to develop and share research.

3. Global warming continues and winter sports melting away
Last year was the second or third hottest year on record - after 2016 and on a par with 2015, the data shows. But those two years were affected by El Niño - the natural phenomenon centred on the tropical Pacific Ocean which works to boost temperatures worldwide."It shows clearly that the biggest natural influence on the climate is being dwarfed by human activities – predominantly CO₂ emissions." acting director of the UK Met Office, Prof Peter Stott. Nasa rates 2017 the second hottest year, and Noaa and the Met Office judge it to be the third hottest since records began in 1850. The World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the long-term temperature trend was far more important than the ranking of individual years."That trend is an upward one," he said. “Seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have all been during this century, and the degree of warming during the past three years has been exceptional. Read more

Skiing goes downhill reports the Economist: "How paradoxical. Snow-sports enthusiasts think of themselves as great lovers of nature and clean air, more conscious than most people of the changing climate. Yet their sport is becoming ever more man-made, expensive and exclusive. Perversely, it is also becoming more polluting, producing ever more emissions of greenhouse gases to survive. That only hastens the melting of the snow and ice. As Victor Hugo put it: “How sad to think that nature speaks and mankind will not listen.”

4. CORSIA - international airlines avoid emissions reductions
There has been very little fuss about this because nothing has happened. But this is one of those cases where nothing matters a great deal. If you come new to this you would think that the greenhouse gas emissions challenge was newly discovered. CORSIA stands for Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). It is hard to imagine how anything weaker could have been designed. The scheme is entirely voluntary until 2026 and it is not much better after that. ICAO 

5. The Poles: the Arctic and the Antartic

Petteri Taalas Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization points out that “Arctic warmth has been especially pronounced and this will have profound and long-lasting repercussions on sea levels, and on weather patterns in other parts of the world.” Read more 
There is a global campaign to create the world's largest wildlife sanctuary a 1.8 million square kilometre reserve that would ban all fishing in a vast area of the Weddell Sea and around the Antarctic Peninsula, protecting many species such as emperor penguins, blue whales and leopard seals. Read more
The Chinese have a new policy out designed to promote sustainable Arctic tourism. Read more

6.  First Sao Paulo and now Cape Town
Last year Sao Paulo very nearly ran out of water. In March 2017, 872 cities across Brazil were placed by the federal government under a state of emergency on account of a long period of drought. It rained just in time to avoid the worst. This year Cape Town faces a crisis. Helen Zille writes “We WILL run out of water by the end of April unless everyone reduces their water usage to less than 50 litres per person per day” and “according to the City’s current plan, most of Cape Town’s 4-million citizens will have to fetch water from a PoD. The maximum allocation will be 25 litres per person per day.” Unless of course, it rains.

7.  Plastics as big a threat as climate change?
David Attenborough’s final episode of Blue Planet II raised awareness of the poison of plastic pollution and stirred people to action. The UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove, has said he was “haunted” by images of the damage done to the world’s oceans. In December, the same month as the final episode of Blue Planet II, the Chinese government announced that they would accept no more imports of plastic waste. Analysis of customs data by Greenpeace revealed that British companies had shipped more than 2.7m tonnes of plastic waste to China and Hong Kong since 2012 – two-thirds of the UK’s total waste plastic exports. In January, the British prime minister pledged to eliminate avoidable plastic waste – that which it is “technologically, environmentally and economically practical” to do so – by 2042. Read more  

8.  How to avoid overtourism
Conde Nast Traveler
is suggesting alternatives to "Barcelona. Reykjavík. Santorini. Some of the world's most beloved places are getting harder and harder to access, thanks to Airbnb restrictions, tourists taxes, and outright caps on how many visitors are allowed in each year. And while we're not telling you not to go, you'll need to brace for the crowds. Looking to avoid the extra work—and the roadblocks?  Justin Francis suggests some solutions including Responsible Tourism, sustainability accounting, demarketing and ending subsidised flying. More here 
More on overtourism here.    
  www.overtourism.info 

9.  Amsterdam's initiative to curb the number of shops targeting tourists in its historic centre
A Dutch cheese shop in Amsterdam has been ordered to close as the extensive use of English implies it is for tourists, not locals. more

10. Shades of Grey, conserving rhino: London Event 15th March

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Responsible Tourism Developments February 2017

1.  RT at WTM Latin America 4th-6th April Sao Paulo
2. Africa Responsible Tourism Awards 2017
3. Was this the world's strangest tourist attraction? 
4. Experiencing temporary localhood in Copenhagen
5. PEUAT: Barcelona is regulating all forms of tourism accommodation in the city 
6. Sustainability matters to consumers in developed and emerging markets
7. Urgent need for applied research for sustainable accommodation
8. Trump's Impact on Travel & Tourism
9. The sacred and the profane clash in Cornwall
10. Paul Miedema

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1. RT at WTM Latin America 4th-6th April Sao Paulo
2017 is the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Development through Tourism, the spotlight is going to be shone on the industry’s contribution to sustainable development in destinations at WTM Latin America, WTM Africa, and Arabian Travel Market, and in November we shall be reviewing progress in 2017. At WTM Latin America there are three sessions on RT: Tourism and the SDGs; RT Examples from South America and Wildlife, Biodiversity and Animal Welfare. The full programme is online here.

2. Africa Responsible Tourism Awards 2017
The 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards will be presented at a ceremony hosted as part of the World Travel Market Africa, on 20 April 2017. The African Responsible Tourism Awards rest on a simple principle – that all types of tourism, from niche to mainstream, can and should be organised in a way that preserves, respects and benefits destinations and local people. This year, there are 36 tourism organisations from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia on the longlist, in seven categories, among them habitat and species conservation, engaging people and culture, poverty reduction and a new category in 2017 - the best responsible event. The longlist is available here from noon on March 1st.

3. Was this the world's strangest tourist attraction 
When Thomas McFadden was caught smuggling cocaine in La Paz airport in 1996 he was jailed in a place more like a warped small town than a prison. Prisoners were expected to earn a living inside and buy their cells as if they were real estate. There was a primary school for the prisoners' children, who they brought to live with them, and in the most notorious twist of all, there was an in-house cocaine factory. San Pedro Prison became a tourist attraction, Thomas provided guided tours and backpackers stayed for weeks and partied with inmates. More

4. The locals are the destination in Copenhagen
We welcome the arrival of today’s traveller: the temporary local seeking not the perfect still picture to take home, but the emotional connection to an instantly shared experience based on interests, relations and authenticity.”  “The DMO’s role is shifting towards developing and spotlighting the right kind of experiences and engaging the right people at the right time to tell the right stories about the destination based on a shared strategic branding framework.” The End of Tourism as we Know It is a clever spoof and thought provoking – it’s worth reading. More

5.  PEUAT: Barcelona is regulating all forms of tourism accommodation in the city
The Special Tourist Accommodation Plan (PEUAT) regulates the introduction of tourist accommodation establishments, as well as youth hostels, collective residences with temporary accommodation and tourist apartments. These new regulations are in response to the need to make tourist accommodation compatible with a sustainable urban model based on guaranteeing fundamental rights and improving the quality of life for city residents. More

6. Sustainability matters to consumers in developed and emerging markets
Unilever surveyed 20,000 consumers from the United Kingdom, Brazil, Turkey, the United States and India, about their sustaina¬bility concerns and how they impact their choices in-store and at home. “21% of the people surveyed said they would actively choose brands if they made sustainability credentials clearer on packaging and marketing”. “The trend for purpose-led purchasing is greater in emerging economies.53% in the UK and 78% in the US said they would feel better about buying products that are sustainably produced, while Brazil and Turkey were at 85% and India was at 88%. India, Brazil and Turkey, which fall into the emerging markets category, perhaps feel stronger about sustainability due to direct exposure of unsustainable business practices, such as water and energy shortages as well as food poverty and poor air quality. While countries such as the US and the UK feel more pressure from social scrutiny.”  More

7.  Urgent need for applied research for sustainable accommodation
The challenge of reducing water and energy consumption across the full range of tourist accommodation is well known, what is needed now is action research - we need to know what works and to begin to apply the knowledge. Take a look at this initiative originating in the ICRT Australia.

8. Trump's Impact on Travel & Tourism
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) called President Trump’s 90-day ban “wrong” and “misguided” and urged the US administration “to reconsider”. The UNWTO expressed “deep concern and strong condemnation”, while the Pacific Asia Travel Association said it “fundamentally opposed any form of blanket travel ban” based on nationality. UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai said: “The travel ban…is contrary to the principles of freedom of travel. Blind discriminatory actions will not lead to increased security but to growing tensions and threats.” More

A study by Montreal-based Hopper found a broad decline in flight searches, a leading indicator for bookings, with demand falling in 94 out of 122 countries of origin. Search demand from the seven predominantly Muslim countries included in the travel ban — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — was down 33 percent, but China, Ireland, Denmark and New Zealand all saw comparable declines. However, , flight searches from Russia to the U.S. have skyrocketed, up 88 percent under Trump's travel ban. More

9. The sacred and the profane clash in Cornwall
There was a mining disaster at the Levant Mine in 1919 when 31 men died. The mine has featured in the Poldark series and visitor numbers have increased by 50% to 100,000 per year. Public feeling is running high locally. Ian Cooke, a local campaigner, told the BBC "We don't want Levant Mine to be treated as a Poldark attraction." Facebook page.

10. Paul Miedema
Paul was a leading light in Responsible Tourism in South Africa - we should honour his memory by redoubling our efforts.

There are many tributes to Paul on his Facebook page
You can donate to the work od the Calabash Trust in memory of Paul. 

 

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Other Responsible Tourism Newsletters

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Responsible Tourism News is a newsletter of record carrying the 10 most important Responsible Tourism stories of the month. Please forward to those you think may be interested – you can subscribe using the box on the right. If you wish to contribute a story email harold@haroldgoodwin.info or post it on our RTNews Facebook page.

Harold Goodwin’s Responsible Tourism Blog
Harold Goodwin blogs regularly on the  WTM Responsible Tourism Blog
Twitter: @goodwinhj  & @WTM_WRTD  #responsibletourism