Nov 25

2017 edition of Progress in Responsible Tourism

The latest edition of Progress in Responsible Tourism is now available here. There are excellent articles which provide case examples of responsible tourism in practice (World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 and Irish award winners), issues with child protection and volunteer tourism, how to communicate responsible tourism and guest engagement (Can the Hospitality sector ask customers to help them become more sustainable?) and more.

Nov 22

‘How’ should tourism play its role in meeting the Paris Agreement?

The ICRT contributed to the Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate Conference, a side event to the COP22 Marrakech conference. Cecilia Lopez y Royo (UN coordinator), Christopher Warren (ICRT), Javier Rodriguez Losada (Tesouros de Galicia) and Salli Felton (The Travel Foundation)

The ICRT contributed to the Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate Conference, a side event to the COP22 Marrakech conference. Cecilia Lopez y Royo (UN coordinator), Christopher Warren (ICRT), Javier Rodriguez Losada (Tesouros de Galicia) and Salli Felton (The Travel Foundation)

Tourism was urged to discuss ‘how’ it can get involved with governments to contribute to meeting the Paris Agreement and reducing emissions by Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC executive secretary. Her video address, was at the UN’s COP22 side event ‘Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate, a symposium aimed at increasing awareness on tourism and climate change-related issues and encourage the sector to engage in actions that reinforce national commitments to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“Sustainable tourism creates opportunities and assembles partners to help transform the industry towards low emissions and more efficient and less polluting operations. We must make tourism and every other industry contributor to our climate change action and a sustainable future”, said Espinosa.

The event focused in particular in the need for partnerships with the private sector and the role of sustainable transportation to accelerate climate action in tourism. The ICRT presented  a ‘real world’ example of how tourism can engage with visitors to reduce consumption and emission.

“Climate change can only be addressed if actors from all parts of society – governments, businesses, NGOs and consumers – make a global and broad shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. Accounting for 10% of GDP, 7% of the world’s exports and one in 11 jobs, tourism is one of the main economic sectors in the world, and as such has to be at the core of this essential transition,” said Charles Arden-Clarke, Head of the 10YFP Secretariat.

The International Symposium was part of the 3-day COP22 Tourism Side Events and is part of the partnership programme led by UNWTO aimed at accelerating the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production. The ICRT is a 10 YFP partner and has developed a collaborative knowledge sharing initiative for the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development  to demonstrate how tourist accommodation can play a more assertive role in reducing consumption and emissions.

Nov 18

Tourism committed to fight climate change – COP 22

The role of tourism in implementing the Paris Agreement was on the table on the occasion of the 22nd Session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22). The International Symposium of the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the United Nations 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), held during COP 22, discussed how to advance Sustainable Tourism in a Changing Climate.

The Symposium aimed at increasing awareness on tourism and climate change-related issues and encourage the sector to engage in actions that reinforce national commitments to the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“The tourism sector is both a vector and a victim of climate change and we are fully committed to contribute to reach the objectives set by the Paris Agreement. This event was essential to advance this agenda, especially the discussion on measurement and reporting requirements as a basis for identifying and prioritizing climate action in tourism”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

“Sustainable tourism creates opportunities and assembles partners to help transform the industry towards low emissions and more efficient and less polluting operations. We must make tourism and every other industry contributor to our climate change action and a sustainable future”, said Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, in her video address to the event.

The event focused in particular in the need for partnerships with the private sector and the role of sustainable transportation to accelerate climate action in tourism.

“Climate change can only be addressed if actors from all parts of society – governments, businesses, NGOs and consumers – make a global and broad shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. Accounting for 10% of GDP, 7% of the world’s exports and one in 11 jobs, tourism is one of the main economic sectors in the world, and as such has to be at the core of this essential transition,” said Charles Arden-Clarke, Head of the 10YFP Secretariat.

The International Symposium was part of the 3-day COP22 Tourism Side Events organized by the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme and hosted by the Ministry of Tourism of Morocco. The Programme is a partnership led by UNWTO with the Governments of France, Morocco and the Republic of Korea as co-leads, with support of the 10YFP Secretariat at UN Environment, aimed at accelerating the shift towards more sustainable consumption and production. It was followed by a networking event involving financial institutions on sustainable tourism as well as by the Annual Conference on Saturday 12 November, where members of the network exchanged experiences and discussed priorities and next steps in the 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme.

Nov 02

The Push of Climate Change action and the pull of economic growth: What sustainable tourism could look like in Morocco

 

The mausoleum for Mohammed V is an outstanding example of modern construction applying traditional values and skills. Such approaches should be considered for environmental sustainability solutions.

The mausoleum for Mohammed V is an outstanding example of modern construction applying traditional values and skills. Such approaches should be considered for environmental sustainability solutions.

As a country with 100 million annual beach visitors, nine delicate UNESCO world heritage sites and aspirations to double tourism, Morocco faces sustainable tourism challenges. These include rising
seas levels, extreme weather events and a desire to improve the quality of life for its lower income
population. The collision between such difference forces of Climate Change, population growth and
economic development was the backdrop for the Envirocities 2016 Coastal Cities Conference* held in
Rabat 24 and 25 October.

These challenges highlighted the need for capacity building, community involvement and integration
of government legislation. It also clearly put into perspective the difficulties of applying an Integrated
Coastal Zone Management system when the vision tourism is one of massification of coastal
development to replicate other destinations (e.g. Miami) rather than developing a more sustainable
approach. On the one hand you have the push for action of Climate Change and on the other the pull
for economic growth and job creation.

The Moroccan Minister for the Environment, Water and Mining, Dr. Hakima El Haite, told the audience
of over 300 local government officials and mayors from across Morocco, that “climate change is the
biggest challenge mankind has ever faced” and then went on to say this in her unscripted speech:
“Do not be surprised that tomorrow you will hear that 1 million people will die through flooding or
coastal storms. Everything has to change. We all have to change. The world of tomorrow will not be
like the world of today. Following the COP meeting in Marrakech ** the Moroccan government will
also be hearing from all the mayors what they plan to do to reduce emissions in their communities
from transport to waste.” The audience gave loud applause which echoed their earlier push for action
during question time during the course of the conference. Everyone appeared to agree and wished to
stimulate progressive change from this developing nation at the top of Africa. What is apparent is that
they need economic support to make this change. They have the will, but what is the vision.
What action beyond visitation goals should be taken to create sustainable tourism rather mass
tourism is unclear and perhaps ‘unseen’. As we move to the official UN International Year of
Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017 requires an integration of Moroccan ministries’ Climate
Change policy to enable local government and communities to implement adaptation measures which
provide economic opportunities for communities from tourism. To guide sustainable tourism
development a plan is required to use the resources at hand and in a scale that does not make the
urban and environmental mistakes of other coastal destinations and so exacerbate Climate Change.

Morocco has supported sustainable tourism initiatives for seven years (e.g. awards programmes)
but what integrated solutions actually might look like at a destination level though is more complex for
any country. As guidance I strongly advocated that they reflect on their cultural heritage and religion
to guide their way to be innovative. While signature nations of COP22 will commit to emissions and
temperature targets, how we achieve them must reflect our different geography, climates and
cultures, just as these factors have created such a richly diverse world. Reflecting on past ways of life
can show us the way forward; and such new approaches ought to be unique to where we live.
Likewise integrating sustainable supply chains must also be scaled to what the fragile earth can feed
and should be a key mediating factor in development planning, particularly for energy and water
resources.

This of course is easier said than done. The scale of the challenges should in no way be underestimated, particularly if one communicates an approach that appears to contradict the
stereotypical first world nation economic model which, until now, most appear to still have full
confidence in. I framed my argument as sustainability-oriented innovation showcasing examples and thus sharing a vision which progressively harmonies process, organisation and product in a more sustainable way.

In summary the vision might include:

  • quality nor quantity approach to visitor numbers and spread visitation across the year
  • the scattering of tourism accommodation across the country rather than dense enclaves
  • linking renewable water and energy to these low density tourism sites
  • constructing accommodation which reflects the cultural heritage and traditional building design to
    moderate climate conditions
  • efficient public transport linkage between locations
  • involve visitors in responsible food, water, energy and waste consumption levels that respect the
    land and people
  • furnish accommodation with traditional arts and crafts and link accommodation with retailers/sellers
  • invest in water efficient agriculture and marine fish farms
  • train community guides and promote responsible tourism opportunities of authentic community
    experiences
  • charge international visitors entry to heritage sites with funds used for conservation and local
    economic development

*The Envirocities Conference, organised and supported by the Environmental Centre for Arab
Towns, was a thought provoking two day event which brought together climate, ocean and biological
scientists with valuable examples from the Arabian Gulf (Dr Marouane Temimi) and Red Sea (Dr
Salim Al-Moghrabi), together with insights on how Morocco could protect its coastal marine waters
and benefit from fisheries for local economies (Eng. Ayet Lahsan).

**UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – Conference of Partners – progressing from
Copenhagen and Paris.

Note: Morocco is pushing for renewable energy in world’s largest solar power project.

Oct 15

Political skills, social and economic issues: challenges for tourism sustainability

Making tourist destinations more sustainable takes political skill, focus and community engagement argues Harold Goodwin, associate director of the ICRT-Australia. He explains, in his interview with Sustainability Leaders, that environmental factors are increasingly been considered but need to be addressed at a local level just as we still have a challenge to incorporate social and economic issues into destination management. Read the Harold Goodwin interview.

Sep 21

Key Global Responsible Tourism Events in November

November Responsible Tourism events include: World Responsible Tourism Day on 4th November which will be showcased at the World Travel Market in London with the Responsible Tourism Awards. Three weeks later is the World Summit on Sustainable Tourism 26-27 November 2015 Vitoria-Gasteiz Spain. There are six themes including Tourism Supporting Biodiversity and Intelligent Visions and Innovations which seeks to highlight how technology can promote imagine small destinations which are spearheading responsible tourism.

Sep 14

Responsible Tourism and Hospitality Management Conference 25th September 2015

Expert speakers provide insights on the progress of Responsible Tourism

The programme includes Helena Rey from UNEP discussing sustainable consumption and production, corporate reporting on biodiversity presented by Giulia Carbone form IUCN.

Case examples of responsible tourism include Fran Hughes from the International Tourism Partnership, local economic impact of Tour de France in Yorkshire by Sir Gary Verity, and Rebecca Hawkins discusses managing waste in hospitality.

The venue is: The Rose Bowl, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK. Further details can be found here.

http://onlinestore.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&catid=2&prodid=465

Aug 25

The Opportunity for Responsible Accommodation in Australia

Providing guests eco-friendly accommodation appears to be moving to a commercial tipping point in Australia. New Roy Morgan Research states that 21.6% of Australians would like a “real eco-tourism experience” but their study found that only 1.1% had actually experienced one during their last trip. The report strongly recommends domestic destinations offer more “green-friendly” accommodation options.
Australia has tens of thousands of accommodation providers available online, most of whom would gladly choose a competitive point of difference which does not result in price cutting. However, developing a greener business requires serious thought if it is going to be a long term proposition with integrity.
Crystal Creek Meadows has been focusing on eco-friendly accommodation since 2006 when it became accredited by Ecotourism Australia and has just published its Responsible Accommodation Report for 2014-15 which compares nine years of sustainability monitoring.
Efficiency Cuts
In addition to buying green energy and running a solar farm, the tourist accommodation business has managed to cut electricity consumption by 45% (between 2006-07 and 2014-15). Despite occupancy increasing during this time, electricity consumption by guest night has dropped by 55%. Responsible practices have also resulted in landfill declining by 63%. Overall the guest night CO2 footprint has fallen by 53% to 6.12 kg.
Opportunities
The Responsible Accommodation Report shows that continuous efficiency improvement reaches a point where progress becomes harder to achieve without the direct participation of guests. Introducing new green experiences that directly involve guests helps motivate them to conserve resources. Responsible activities planned well can have the added benefit of building a more distinctive experience and increase guest satisfaction, which can be further enhanced through Trip Advisor’s new Green Leaders programme (launched in Australia in April).

Aug 12

Wildlife Tourism Conference: force for biodiversity & LED

3rd Australian Wildlife Tourism Conference 29 September – 3 October 2015 – Geelong, Victoria.
Wildlife Tourism can be a key force in both conservation of biodiversity and contributor to local economic development. Hear about the trends and contribute to the critical debates that will influence Australia’s most iconic tourism assets. Christopher Warren is a keynote speaker and will illustrate how responsible wildlife tourism can make a real difference. Find our more. The international speaker list includes Dr Jeff Skibins, with presentations which provide practical examples and advice on how to involve tourism more in conservation.

 

Nov 04

ICRT-Australia joins UNWTO sustainable tourism programme

The ICRT-Australia has officially become a partner to the UNWTO/UNEP’s new 10 year framework programme on Sustainable Tourism. The ICRT – Australia will seek to contribute and support training, workshops and the sharing of knowledge to contribute to sustainable tourism/ecotourism as part of international development, which promotes resource efficiencies. More details of the programme will be announced on 5th November 2014 at the London World Travel Market.

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