Responsible Tourism Awards 2010 – Australia’s progress

Tony Juniper, former director of Friends of the Earth, called for tourism to take action as “we are caught in a vortex” between Climate Change, biodiversity conservation and development. Speaking at the World Responsible Tourism Day, the UNWTO sponsored event run during the World Travel Market in London, Juniper clearly stressed that everyone had a role to play in reducing poverty and maintaining the world’s biodiversity. But the challenges of Climate Change require immediate action. This set the theme for the Responsible Tourism Awards, where for the first time Australian tourism was recognised:

Booderee National Park (winner) – Best for Conservation of Cultural Heritage  

Orion Expedition Cruises (winner) – Best Cruise or Ferry Operator

Kangaroo Valley Tourist Association (highly Commended) – Best Destination

The awards have been running since 2004, but until now no Australian entry had been awarded. Yet the 2010 awards were the most competitive with 1765 nominations and this year Australia was successful. This is significant and demonstrates that Australian tourism operators are now taking responsible action to become more sustainable, implementing policies at the highest level. There is still obviously much to do to resolve the “vortex” Juniper described. But some businesses are not waiting for government regulation, they are seeking to become more responsible now. Full list of winners.

Responsible Tourism at the World Travel Market

 A three day conference 9-11 November which covers: Tuesday 9th Social Responsibility, Taking Responsibility of the Supply Chain and Does Green Certification Makes a Difference? Wednesday 10th the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards and sessions on climate change in destination and what businesses can do. Thursday Sustainable Excursions, Sacred Sites and the role of the private sector in poverty reduction. Full programme details.

Tourism’s Moral Responsibility to Protect Natural Heritage

Christopher Warren has called for a National Tourism Conservation Programme then enables tourist destinations to contribute to the connective conservation programs run through NGOs. Tourism contributes between 5-14% (UNEP – range based on variations in assessment of aircraft pollution impact in the atmosphere) of the world’s GHG Emissions and Climate Change is expected to cause changes to flora and fauna (Climate Change Research Centre), a key asset for the Australian tourism industry (Tourism Australia). A proposal to develop local tourism conservation projects which plug into existing connectivity conservation programs was unveiled at the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference in Noosa. The proposal cited a project in NSW which combines conservation with voluntourism and greener transport options.

Global Eco Asia-Pacific Conference

Global Eco Asia Pacific Tourism Conference Noosa Queensland 25-28 October. Christopher Warren will be addressing the conference theme ‘Experience is Everything’ with a paper linking tourism’s Climate Change responsibilities, conservation connectivity and the development of Local Distinctiveness to create Experiences with Real Meaning.

Australia supports the Responsible Tourism Awards

Two Australian states are sponsoring the Responsible Tourism Awards this year. Tourism Western Australia (Best accommodation for the environment category) and South Australia Tourism Commission (best for conservation of wildlife and habitat). The winners will be announced on 10th November, World Responsible Tourism Day. http://www.responsibletourismawards.com/categories.html

4th International Conference

Oman is hosting the first Responsible Tourism conference ever held in the Middle East. The 4th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations will commence on 9th October in Muscat under the theme “Living Landscape of Oman, ” in cooperation with the United Nations World Trade Organization (UNWTO) and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (Leeds Met). There are over 50 papers and an expected audience of between 350-400.  The Middle East has seen dramatic population growth and tourism development in the last twenty years. http://www.rtd4.om/rtd4/program.html