Vocation Education Training – Staff Delivering Sustainable Tourism Experiences

Customer need to play their part in sustainability and staff are the perfect partner to introduce them to new innovative methods

Sustainability is today on the agenda of the vast majority of transnational corporations and frequently for large, medium and even small sized travel and hospitality companies. For those making the transition to involve their customers directly they will need to train their staff to persuasively engage. Directly involving staff is a new innovative direct for many firms and matches changing societal trends:

  • 90% of shoppers said they are more likely to trust and be loyal to socially responsible companies (Moving Worlds.org)

Staff also expect their employers to strive for high socially responsible standards and want to participate:

  • 51% of employees say that helping “making a better world”  and making “a contribution to society” are essentials for their ideal job (Net Impact’s ‘What Workers Want’)
  • Over 90% female and 76% male Gen X and baby boomers “feel it is important to contribute to their community…through work” (Center for Talent Innovation)

To progress sustainable goals we, therefore, should now strongly engage with staff and customers.  Staff can directly encourage customers to choose more responsible options, apply adaptive behaviours to conserve resources, donate to charitable causes or community projects the firm supports, they can also select your recommended sustainable partners at the destinations. In the service industry, customers can co-create sustainable consumption.

Staff develop skills which can explain sustainability in an easy to understand engaging manner

Our training programme follows Australian Standards for Vocational Education Training to Certificate 3 level. It follows a skills delivery focus and assessed throughout. Participants who successfully pass receive a certificate of competency provided certified by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – Australia. The training programme delivers the My Green Butler programme.

Each training programme is tailored to the firm’s own context and involves the tr

Participants learn how to present a firms sustainability programme and ask for their commitment

aining consult visiting the site(s) assessing the proposed customer experience and facilities and the expected role staff should play.  Participants are training in communicating responsible sustainable messages politely and persuasively, to convey the site(s) specific characteristics and desired conservation behaviours to save water, energy and reduce carbon emissions and waste. These operating standards, pro-environmental amenities, services, and systems are then integrated into the training so that it is 100% relevant to that specific firm’s sustainability experiences.

 

Call Christopher Warren now to learn more: +61 2 4465 1408

Overtourism – Conference in Iceland

The 13th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations takes place in Iceland 29-30 September 2017. This working symposium will explore strategies to ensure sustainable tourism development where “overtourism” is occurring through local management practices and empowered communities. We envisage that this symposium will identify the research agenda on overtourism and we hope that research partnerships will emerge from it and means of knowledge dissemination identified. We would like both academics and practitioners to participate. More information and registration.

More focused research for better tourism innovation

Is the knowledge gap too wide to stimulate sustainable tourism innovation?

There is currently insufficient research to assist the transition for tourist accommodation to become a low carbon sector that also uses water sustainably, says Christopher Warren, director of the ICRT – Australia. Christopher and co-author Professor Susanne Becken have just  published an extensive review of 110 scientific papers that study resource saving at tourist accommodation and found significant research gaps that make it unclear how accommodation can make deep game changing savings required in the future.

What the Gaps cover

These gaps include:

  • renewable energy
  • renewable water
  • non-hotel accommodation types
  • building design
  • climate and cultural influence
  • smart technology
  • guest engagement

Lack of Data

They could only find a small number of studies which detail consumption amounts, so there is insufficient data to establish benchmarks and track savings. This limitation is made worse by the lack of studies which measure the influence of seasonality and climate over time (an important when considering Climate Change and adaptation).

They also found many studies lacked detail that allows us to unambiguously interpret findings. Overall the studies used different measures and terms making it hard to compare results and build a body of knowledge. Only a few studies indicated a return on investment, which is worrying as new technologies tend to be sold on the idea of a financial benefit.

Without clarity, deep savings become more difficult because there are in fact a multitude of factors which influence consumption.  This demonstrates that technical efficiencies alone cannot be relied upon as the sole method to save. Building a solid body of knowledge and developing the skills to run accommodation more sustainably is therefore essential; since it is human behaviour that controls resource use by how a firm is run, how savings methods might be organised and how guests can consume less.  To stimulate service innovation Christopher says we require a more consistent research approach and to link expertise that tests and refines solutions.

What we should do

Tourism should now establish collaboration networks between scientists, practitioners and entrepreneurs which bridge the knowledge gaps and accelerate sustainability-oriented innovation.

How we can do it

The ICRT-Australia is running a collaborative research study to test a service innovation, expressions of interest to participate are welcomed.

The ICRT can develop customise training programmes to help destination managers and tourism firms build the capacity for sustainable tourism and implement responsible projects to achieve a positive change.

Read Christopher’s summary report and proposed research framework here

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.

‘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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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