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WTM Special ¦ RT News: Latest Developments in Responsible Tourism 10/ 2021

October 30, 2021
Harold Goodwin
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  1. RT at WTM London 1-3 November & 8-9 November
  2. Carbon & COP26 "never mind the patter watch the hands"
  3. The 2021 WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards 
  4. The future for  Travel & Tourism is Hydrogen
  5. Developments in Aviation 
  6. Net Zero Hotels
  7. Decarbonising Travel & Tourism
  8. Carbon Labelling 
  9. Biodiversity, nature positive 
  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 December 
The Responsible Tourism Hub provides quick links to curated material on Responsible Tourism.
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There is s new affiliated School for Responsible Tourism 

    1. RT at WTM London 1-3 November & 8-9 November
      The Responsible Tourism Programme is more diverse this year as we prepare for 2022, when we shall be reflecting on and assessing the progress made over the twenty years since the Cape Town Declaration in 2002. Next year Responsible Tourism will be at the heart of the WTM, London.  The full programme is hereThis year many of the elements of the RT programme are new or significantly changed since last year.

      1. The traditional panel discussions are focused this year on solutions, decarbonising our industry, contributing to conservation and the recovery of nature and destination resilience.
      2. The presentation of the first  WTM Global RT Awards and the regional awards from India and the Rest of the World Full details of all those being recognised will be posted here at 18:30 (UK) on 1st November
        I
        ndia Awards  ¦   Rest of the World ¦ Global Awards
        The WTM Africa and Latin America Awards will be presented at the shows in 2022
      3. New this year, a panel on Responsible Technology for Travel & Tourism in the Travel Forward and Travel Tech programmes, the beginning a new strand in the Responsible Tourism
      4. The Platform for Change and a series of interviews with Tourism Leaders, available on-demand at WTM and on the Platform for Change, which will be at the heart of the WTM's shows through 2022 and culminate in debate at WTM, London in November 2022. As President Biden has pointed out, this is the critical decade and the Platform for Change presents tried and tested solutions many identified through the Responsible Tourism Awards since their launch in 2004
      5. Decarbonising Travel & Tourism. We have three on-demand panels discussing what solutions are available for aviation, the accommodation sector and our operators, ground handlers and transport providers
      6. Why Storytelling Matters in Tourism, a panel discussion available on demand
      7. We are launching the 2022 WTM Global Responsible Tourism Awards categories, which will open for applications and nominations on December 1st

      The interviews with tourism leaders are with
      Jane Ashton, Sustainability Director, easyJet expressing enthusiasm for the future of hydrogen-powered aviation and sustainable growth. video
      Martin Brackenbury, previously President IFTO and UNWTO The conversation ranged over previous experiences of avian flu, MERS & SARS and how the travel and tourism industry learns to live with Covid  video
      John Coplin, FRAE, RB211 aero-engine Chief Designer, then Director of Technology and Design at Rolls Royce John speaks with passion about why tourism matters and argues that the engineers need to be funded to make the transition to hydrogen, it needs to happen faster across the world in the next ten years. video
      Shannon Guihan,  Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer for The Travel Corporation Shannon interviews Harold Goodwin about the Platform for Change video
      Inge Huijbrechts, Global Sustainability & Security Senior Executive, Radisson Hotels Group: We talked about the impact of Covid on hotels, what it has meant for sustainability and what needs to be done to encourage all accommodation owners and operators to adopt sustainability - progress needs to be faster. video:
      Clare Jenkinson, Head of Sustainability at ABTA: Trust, Covid as a catalyst for change and developments amongst travel agents and tour operators video~
      Chris Lyle, International Aviation Policy Consultant: Chris argues that responsibility for overseeing the essential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions should pass from ICAO to UNFCCC.  Aviation is not progressing rapidly enough to  Net-Zero. video
      Eric Ricaute, Founder & CEO, Greenview: Eric talks about the pressure from the banks and investors to ensure that new hotels and reports are sustainable, the wave of change and hints at a new tool soon to be launched to measure Net-Zero. video
      John Sage, President at Accessible Travel Solutions: John describes the processes that tourism businesses and destinations need to use to become more inclusive and cater for people with disabilities and we talk about why it matters. video
      Becca Samson, Sustainability & CSR Lead at Booking.com: We talk about the continuing growth in consumer demand for sustainable tourism and about what Booking.com is doing on its platform to enable consumers to find sustainable product and purchase it. video
      James Thornton, CEO, Intrepid Travel: We talk about what Intrepid is doing, its willingness to share the sustainability tools it has developed and the importance of sustainability going mainstream in our sector. video
      Garry Wilson, CEO, easyJet holidays: Garry talks about his ambition at easyJet to create mainstream Responsible Tousim holidays and his enthusiasm for hydrogen.  video


2. Carbon & COP26: "never mind the patter watch the hands"
For sure there will be a great deal of posturing at COP 26, there will be many announcements, policies and declarations.
As President Biden has asserted this is the critical decade, it is time for action. Procrastination is common and has multiple causes ranging from laziness and the understandable if unacceptable desire to avoid doing something with unpleasant consequences for the individual or people required to take the necessary action. Business as usual is preferred, leaving to other groups of people or states in our contemporary world in the future – for example, net-zero by 2050 – to deal with the problem, thus leaving it to our children and grandchildren. The Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Office,   “At the current rate of increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, we will see a temperature increase by the end of this century far above the Paris Agreement targets of 1.5 to 2C above pre-industrial levels.” Politicians continue to make promises for future leaders with commitments for Net-Zero by 2050, setting aside concerns that net-zero is a dangerous trap. It is dangerous because it perpetuates a belief in technological salvation in the future, which undermines the need to cut emissions now.
Words are no longer enough.
We know that nations are lobbying to change the report on the state of the climate to be presented at COP26:" Saudi Arabia, Japan and Australia are among countries asking the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels." Current global pledges put the world on track for 2.9C of warming, according to the organisation Climate Action Tracker. The amounts of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide rose by more than the annual average in the past 10 years.
In 2015, 43% of those polled wanted strong action, but that has risen to 58% now. In China, the percentage of respondents wanting to see their country play a leadership role has increased from 18% in 2015 to 46% now. India has also seen a rise from 38% then to 56% now, and the US from 45% of respondents in 2015 to 56% now. In 2015 almost 50% of Russians wanted their government to take a leadership role, now only  38% do.
As scientists have long warned positive feedback loops may accelerate climate change. A
 study of  planet-warming gases emitted from and absorbed by forests in Unesco World Heritage sites has revealed that 10  protected forests have emitted more carbon than they locked away over the past 20 years. more


 3. The 2021 WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards
The India, Rest of the World and Global Awards will be presented at WTM, London on 1st November.

The judges' reasons will be posted online early on 2nd November.
New this year are the Global Responsible Tourism Awards selected from amongst the Gold Award winners across the WTM Responsible Tourism Awards family.

The 2021 WTM, India Responsible Tourism Awards

The 2021 WTM, Rest of the World Responsible Tourism Awards

The 2021 WTM, Global Responsible Tourism Awards

The Africa and Latin America Awards will be announced at WTM Africa and WTM Latin America in 2022.

The 2022 Award will open on December 1st, full details in the next edition of RTNews


4. The future for  Travel & Tourism is Hydrogen

John Coplin, FRAE, RB211 aero-engine Chief Designer, then Director of Technology and Design at Rolls Royce speaks with passion about why tourism matters and argues that the engineers need to be funded to make the transition to hydrogen, it needs to happen faster across the world in the next ten years.

Jane Ashton, Sustainability Director, easyJet expressing enthusiasm for the future of hydrogen-powered aviation and sustainable growth. 

There is growing optimism about the production of green hydrogen.  more New South Wales in Australia has launched a   hydrogen strategy that aims to make the state a “hydrogen superpower.” The NSW strategy provides up to up to $3 billion in incentives and exemptions for ‘green’ hydrogen production, as well as a hydrogen refuelling station network to be rolled out across the state, on top of $70 million already committed for hydrogen hubs. A change essential to allow coal to be left in the ground. 


5. Developments in Aviation

Bio-based feedstock availability for SAF will likely only be sufficient to supply 50% of the SAF required to meet IATA’s net-zero carbon by 2050 target. more
Back in January, the Fuelling Flight Project, which includes airlines & airports, pointed to "the risk of massive capital investments in things that increase emissions compared to fossil fuels and/or that become stranded assets" and called for "future proof sustainability requirements" higher than the ones in the European Commission's Renewable Energy Directive including "clear exclusions of unsustainable feedstocks and pathways such as biofuels from dedicated cropland and PFAD." [Palm Fatty Acid Distillate] The group has called for higher sustainability standards before SAF is prioritised and ramped up.
Any delay in action exacerbates the issue. There may well be a  need to think the unthinkable and cap airline operations. For more, please see this interview with Chris LyleInternational Aviation Policy Consultant, who suggests how we might get the aviation industry to move away from fossil fuels –from ICAO to UNFCCC. If aviation is to make its required contribution to the Paris Agreement targets, emissions would have to be reduced by at least half from 2019 levels by 2030 and to zero carbon by 2050.  This entails reinforced mitigation policy and action, starting right now. more
Meanwhile, less disruptive solutions are favoured, despite the scant evidence that they can deliver at the scale required.
Heathrow has called on the government to mandate the use of sustainable aviation fuels and provide a price-support mechanism and loan guarantees,  to help the industry lower carbon emissions while fending off pressure from climate groups to curtail air travel.


6. Net Zero Hotels

Eric Ricaute, Founder & CEO, Greenview,  talks about the pressure from the banks and investors to ensure that new hotels and reports are sustainable, the wave of change and hints at a new tool soon to be launched to measure Net-Zero. video
A consultation draft of the Net Zero Methodology for Hotels, which has been developed by Greenview in collaboration with Tourism Declares, PATA, the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance and WTTC. The methodology aims to define a common approach and serve as the referential methodology that can be used by all stakeholders in the tourism value chain when addressing net-zero in developing, owning, operating, franchising, booking and staying in hotels and will be finalised by the end of November. 
The 2021 Cornell Hotel Sustainability Benchmarking (CHSB) Index, now in its eighth year shows that hotels around the world reduced the average carbon emissions intensity by 3% in 2019. This reflects the local power generation profile. The country with the lowest average hotel carbon intensity is Uruguay at 11.1kg CO2e/m2. In Uruguay, 97% of electricity is generated from renewable sources.
Google labels eco-certified hotels as sustainable travel demand rises, listing their practices based on 29 certification programmes to help travellers make more informed decisions.


7. Decarbonising Travel & Tourism

Available on-demand at WTM, London

Fossil fuel is why aviation is travel and tourism's Achilles heel. Is hydrogen the answer? The panellists discuss how aviation can transition quickly to zero-carbon flying, and debate issues such as carbon offsetting and sustainable aviation fuel – and the more radical alternative: hydrogen.
Jane Ashton, Sustainability Director at easyJet;
John Strickland, Director at JLS Consulting;
Keith Bushell, UK Environmental Affairs Stakeholder Manager at Airbus;
Adam Freeman, Group Head of Environmental Strategy, MAG.

Reducing carbon emissions in the accommodation sector showcases the best practices in reducing emissions in designing and building new hotels and retrofitting existing properties – and ask: are zero-emissions hotels possible?
Eric Ricaurte, of Greenview, Singapore;
HC Vinayaka from ITC Hotels, India; and
Claire Whitely, Sustainable Hospitality Alliance.

Reducing carbon emissions: tour operators, ground handlers and transport providers, panellists talk about how they have taken carbon out of their operations.
Sam Bruce, Much Better Adventures;
Dr Susanne Etti, Intrepid Travel;
Arnaud Masson, Sightseeing Business Line.


8. Carbon Labelling

Buying a cleaner, less polluting flight is not necessarily more expensive. By exercising, informed choice consumers can pressure the airline to reduce their emissions. This form of labelling empowers consumers to make better, more sustainable choices, reveals the performance of different airlines and leaves the responsibility for reducing emissions with the airlines, which is where it belongs. Go to the Google flights search engine and key in origin airport and destination. Select London JFK and sort by CO2 emissions.  You could book a flight emitting 505kg CO2 (34% below average emissions on the route) and 1.65 tonnes (+116%). If you select the cheapest, the search engine also reveals the emissions performance, for the dates I searched on the airline’s emissions were 2% higher (+12Kg CO2).  more
International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) analysis shows that on average, the least-emitting itinerary on a US route releases 63% less carbon than the most-emitting option, and 22% less than the average option. Therefore, making emissions data available at the point of ticket purchase is important in helping consumers make informed choices. The ICCT has done a comparative analysis of the four platforms which provide carbon labelling: Skyscanner, Kayak.com, LiteFlights and Google Flights and found significant variance and conclude that further work is needed. But they conclude, "optimistic that consumer preferences for low-emitting flights can shape the market for air travel going forward. Airlines operating less carbon-intensive flights stand to benefit." more


9. Biodiversity - nature positive 

Just Francis, of Responsible Travel, has articulated a new goal "to make every trip “nature positive” by 2030. Just as being “climate positive” goes a step further than being carbon neutral - not just cancelling out carbon production, but actively removing carbon from the atmosphere - this travel ethos aims to leave the environments we visit not just in the same state that we found them, but better off. Justin "explains, nature positive travel is achieved by ensuring every single step of their customer’s journey has the lightest footprint possible on the planet, and then going beyond that and contributing positively to the destination." more
"When it comes to rewildling, responsible tourism has a significant role to play. Like it or not, choices about how land is used – for nature, development or intensive agriculture – are financial. If we are seeking to persuade local people and landowners in favour of rewilding over other land uses, it will need to provide some commercial benefit – and responsible nature tourism does just that, bringing jobs and economic opportunity to local communities." more
Concern is being raised in Washington about the traditional conservation model which has often excluded indigenous and local people,  the "fortress conservation" model has come under attack in the US House Natural Resources Committee. more


10. Miscellany

  • The Kerala Government has set up a revolving fund to provide interest-free loans up to ₹10,000. Those engaged in units registered under the Responsible Tourism (RT) mission are also entitled to apply for the loan. more
  • Walkbox is an app that allows anyone to be their own guide in Portugal.
  • Saudi Arabia launches the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC), a multi-country, multi-stakeholder coalition that will accelerate the tourism sector’s transition to net-zero emissions, as well as drive action to protect nature and support communities.
  • Kerala has launched "Keravan Kerala" located in natural settings, with a priority on health and safety and community benefit, offering "the luxury of a caravan with the natural look of the park." more
  • American Express Travel reports 50 % of travellers saying they have become more interested in responsible tourism and 87% want to have a positive impact on the community they are visiting more
  • Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry's,  Rural Tourism Council Launches ‘Green Buddies’, a Responsible Tourism Initiative for School Children more

 


 

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