Susanne Becken chairs environmental theme at RTD7

Dr Susanne Becken, professor of sustainable tourism at Griffith University Australia, will be chairing ‘Taking responsibility for the environmental impacts of tourism’ one of five themes at the 7th RTD. Responsible Tourism in Destinations: Barcelona – Catalunya 1-4th October 2013.
The conference includes an academic day and two day conference for tourism professionals. This is the first responsible tourism in destination conference to be held in Spain and includes an international list of expert speakers, case studies and working sessions.
With tourism recognised as a major economic contributor to the world economy and the primary economic driver to many destinations, this conference demonstrates a broad awareness that tourism must take responsibility for its negative impacts and use its positive benefits to make destinations better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.
Responsible tourism makes business sense because “The produce we sell is the people and environment – so we have an obvious interest in protecting them” Jane Ashton now Head of Sustainable Development at TUI Travel PLC. The RTD7 programme demonstrates the momentum that the responsible tourism agenda has achieved in Europe since the Cape Town Declaration in 2002.

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New Responsible Tourism destination management plans for Australia

Food and wine and economic linksThe ICRT-Australia has recently completed two destination management plans which integrate progressive responsible goals and strategies for diverse regions of New South Wales.
The strategic planning processes involved several stages of research and community consultation. For Central NSW Tourism the plan incorporates the new European Commission Sustainable Destination Indicators; while for Kangaroo Valley (South Coast NSW)  and the ICRT-Australia’s used its ‘Travelopoly’, game as a method to encourages tourism providers and community member creatively plan for the future.

Central NSW Destination Management Plan

Central NSW Tourism Appendices

Kangaroo Valley DMP September 2013


The marketing case for sustainability – ICRT-Australia to present at the National Tourism & Events Excellence Conference 2013

Christopher Warren will be presenting his paper providing practical insights for small and medium tourism enterprises at this year’s National Tourism & Events Excellence Conference.

Responisble Tourism Consultant

Christopher Warren

The paper is entitled ‘The marketing case for sustainability: promoting quality and a better experience’. The following synopsis explains that sustainability has been seen as a niche market and only appealing to ‘green tourists’, yet we need tourism to become much more sustainable and appealing to a larger market. How can we turn our responsible practices into customer winning initiatives that appeal to more visitors? Christopher will present his Australian research findings to demonstrate what appeals to a broad cross section of Sydneysiders, how this applies to an accommodation provider in NSW (case study) and shows UK examples of successful ways to promote sustainability as a visitor benefit. The aim of the presentation is to show you can deliver excellence through sustainability by generating higher customer satisfaction whilst minimising negative and maximising positive impacts from your business or for your community. Learn what visitors think of eco-friendly tourism, how to use responsible practice to promote quality and generate a better destination.
The National Tourism &Events Excellence Conference aims to showcase business excellence to encourage professional, sustainable and commercially prosperous future for tourism and events.
The ICRT – Australia will form one of three core papers a in special section of tourism sustainability on Tuesday 23 July afternoon.

Bush Fire Risk Management for Tourism

The impact of bush fires is having a negative effect on tourism’s environmental sustainability – courtesy of the Australian Geographic Magazine

Christopher Warren, director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism argued the case for prevention and preparedness measures and policies that could also improve the visitor experience in his speech at the Local Government New South Wales Tourism Conference 12th March 2013, Port Stephens. In this supporting paper (link below) Christopher discusses the vulnerability of tourism at a grass roots level from the threat of bush fires and encourages tourism professional to engage  operators to protect their business and community through the incentive of creating better tourism experiences which involve prevention and preparedness. He also outline policy initiatives that government and peak body groups could implement to help make tourism safer and better.

Bush Fire Risk Management & Tourism Product Development Paper 5

Building your Reputation and Making a Difference: Taking Part in World Responsible Tourism Day 2013

Booderee National Park winners of the world Responsible Travel Award – Best Conservation of Cultural Heritage 2010

Free consultation and mentoring for Australian participants to World Responsible Tourism Day (WRTD) is being offered this year by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism-Australia. “We are very encouraged by the growing Australian interest in WRTD and we want to assist business to create a competitive advantage from their efforts,” says Christopher Warren, director for the International Centre for Responsible Tourism-Australia.


Over the last three years Australia has seen a growing participation in World Responsible Tourism Day with more businesses signing up to participate in this United National World Tourism Organisation supported initiative. There have also been an increasing number of Virgin Holidays Responsible Travel Award winners (announced on the same date) like Booderee National Park, (2010), Moonraker Dolphin Swims (2012), Kangaroo Valley (2010) and more.

WRTD coincide with the World Travel Market in London, one of the world’s largest (B2B) travel exhibition and conference programme which will now also include a Latin American event in Sao Paulo earlier in the year (April).


“For the first time, this universal initiative has brought the industry together in a way that has never been done before. All agree:  without a sustainable world, the future success of travel and tourism is in doubt,” says Professor Harold Goodwin, advisor to WTM/WRTD.


The realisation that tourism must support more sustainable initiatives is encouraging tourism providers to plan and implement actions which might include nature conservation, wider community economic benefits from tourism or reducing their environmental footprint.


This year the ICRT-Australia is offering tourism providers in Australia, who want to participate in WRTD, a free 1 hour mentoring support programme (can be taken in multiples of 15 minutes). The aim is to assist tourism providers plan and implement a successful activity that will make a difference.  The mentoring is provided by Christopher Warren MSc, a qualified trainer and assessor.


There is a strong business case for tourism providers to join WRTD. “In an ever more competitive world, consumers seek businesses with good reputations, who also offer active experiences that give genuinely positive memories. By integrating a WRTD initiative into the main thrust of your sustainability programme, it will enable you to highlight your efforts on a world stage and importantly help to build Australia ‘s reputation as a responsible tourism destination with caring committed players,” explains Christopher Warren.


The ICRT-Australia recommends that tourism providers consider their initiative as part of a long-term plan to improve their business performance as demonstrated in a recent study by one of last years cooperative projects,  read here

Here are a source of inspiring examples

Find out more about what is entailed to become a participant in WRTD 2013

What are the Virgin Holidays Responsible Travel Awards – find out more

The free mentoring session is subject to availability. Candidates must have a Skype connection. Please email Christopher Warren to request a Mentoring WRTD Information Pack: [email protected]

January intake for the Masters in Responsible Tourism Management

Successful tourism development now is widely accepted to require holistic management and the application of sustainable principles. Career professionals can take a Master in Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University through a specially designed distance learning programme supported by the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – Australia. You can take the course over three years (or less) at a cost of £1, 500 per year which includes study and mentoring. Learn more about the course and watch Professor Harold Goodwin introduce the course.

The MSc Responsible Tourism Management course is a fully accredited, government recognised course with 90ECTS credits, in accordance with the European academic structure (Bologna process).
This is the only course certified by the United Nations World Tourism Organization TEDQUAL programme fully dedicated to responsible tourism.

The International Centre for Responsible Tourism-Australia provides assistance to enroll in the course and offers local mentoring. Call Christopher Warren, director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism-Australia to discuss the course content and how the distance learning process works (02) 4465 1408.

UNWTO promotes Green Economy vision

Green Economy Tourism UNEP UNWTO

At the time of the Doha Climate Change Conference (November 2012) the UNWTO launched its paper ‘Tourism in the Green Economy’ which builds on the tourism chapter of the 2011 UNWTO/UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Green Economy Report. According to their findings investment of just 0.2% of global GDP per year between now and 2050 would allow the tourism sector to grow steadily over the coming decades, contributing to much-needed economic growth, employment and development while ensuring significant environmental benefits such as reductions in water consumption (18%), energy use (44%) and CO2 emissions (52%), as compared to a business as usual scenario.

Read the full Green Economy Report

Besides the economic argument for tourism to adapt to more efficient technologies there is also the opportunity to meet increasing consumer desire to select eco-friendly options. This requires tourism providers to be transparent in their eco-friendly claims.

The UNWTO 1 Billion Tourist Opportunities shows the votes from tourists who signed up to their ‘One Billion Tourists Thunderclap!’

Australia’s growing participation in Responsible Tourism: the winners and wider support

The Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2012 held at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London rewarded Australia with two awards this year and acknowledged world ‘best practice’ by Centroc,  a regional NSW council group.
Moonraker Dolphin Swims won ‘Best in a Marine Environment’. They provide visitors the opportunity to swim with Burranan Dolphins and Australian Fur Seals. The company monitors the population and health of the marine life to ensure that visitation does not negatively impact the natural wild environment.
‘Best in Responsible Transport’ (joint winners) was won by Green Tomato Cars (UK and Australia) who offer low emitting vehicles using the shortest route.

The awards were held on World Responsible Tourism Day 2012 (WRTD), a calendar date which seeks to showcase world best practice in responsible tourism and is supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

Official Australian supporter Centroc (Central NSW Regional Councils) became the first local government group to participate and be acknowledged for seeking to make tourism more sustainable and beneficial for communities. Professor Harold Goodwin, advisor to the WTM videoed a personal note of congratulations to Centroc for its progressive tourism approach.


Centroc has shown leadership by integrating three strands of responsible tourism strategy into cohesive plan to maximise the benefits of the visitor economy for the local community while minimising negative environmental and maximising social impacts:

  • 100 Mile Diet which seeks to encourage supply chain linkage and visitor buying local fresh produce
  • Supporting Central NSW Tourism’s initiative of cultural heritage and art appreciation using discovery trails
  • Community event programme 100,000 Hands which seeks to encourage development of local events which reflect the distinctive qualities of villages and towns

Australia also recorded is highest level of official WRTD supporters this year. Entrants are required to submit a written proposal indicating how their project meets the Cape Town Declaration 2002 for Responsible Tourism in Destinations and then are officially assessed by WRTD body.

This WRTD also saw  ICRT – Australia’s director Christopher Warren  delivered a paper on the case for Responsible Tourism to the Hills & Hawesbury Tourism Conference

Christopher explained how “Responsible Tourism can make places better to live in and better to visit. The ICRT-Australia research shows that Australians are interested in taking eco-friendly holidays, what they seek is more information to help them make a responsible choice”

Later that day Christopher attended a regional local government summit in Bathurst where he presented a tourism and cultural heritage conservation presentation to Centroc. He highlighted “that the region has over 1130 Natural Trust listed sites of significance which represent an enormous treasure trove that could be carefully harnessed to help distinguish the region and help generate economic benefits for communities”. Christopher  congratulated Centroc on their “foresight and creativity to introduce leading edge thinking that will contribute to maximising the visitor economy for the benefit of communities”.


Read and watch the World Responsible Tourism papers and debates held at the World Travel Market 2012.

Read the media coverage in Australia:

eGlobal Tavel Media

Tourism Industry Council NSW





Progress in Responsible Tourism – 2nd issue

This edition examines the Rio +20 Summit and “Green Growth” opportunities; an academic report assesses the results of five nations’ original commitments to tourism at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, and the ICRT – Australia’s director, Christopher Warren’s paper on encouraging pro-environmental guest behaviour at Responsible Accommodation. The 112 page edition also includes three practitioners’ papers and reports from the field that include South Africa, UK and Ireland. Copies of Progress in Responsible Tourism can be purchased here.

World Responsible Tourism Day 7th November

World Responsible Tourism Day is the internationally recognised date, supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, that highlights how tourism can make the world a better place. This is the cutting edge of tourism in many European countries and the expectations of international visitors.

World Responsible Tourism Day is showcased at the World Travel Market in London receiving extensive media attention through BBC World sponsorship, international travel, mainstream press and travel trade media.

WRTD is used to stimulate action and focus attention on programmes which deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to communities.

It has relevance in Australia where a recurrent research theme is the need to improve domestic visitor experiences. Many of the supporters of WRTD demonstrate improved visitor experiences by the results of their responsible actions.

Learn about the supporters

and how to get involved

See which Australian businesses are participating

The date also coincides with the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards, held at the World Travel Market in London. Past winners in Australia include:

Booderee National Park & Wreck Bay Aboriginal CommunityWINNER Best Responsible Cultural Heritage Conservation

Orion Expedition CruisesWINNER Best Responsible Cruise or Ferry Operator

Kangaroo Valley Tourist Association and community groups Highly Commended Best Responsible Destination