1. RTD8: International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations
With the conference just over one month away the registrations are flowing in and we are putting the finishing touches to the programme, we are also in discussions with two countries in Africa and a Mediterranean island about where the next conference will be, it is unlikely to be in the UK again for many years. As usual the conference brings together senior managers at major mainstream companies and industry organizations -Jane Ashton of TUI, Andy Cooper of Thomas Cook, Stephen Farrant of the International Tourism Partnership, Nikki White of ABTA – with Responsible Tourism practitioners, consultants and academics to discuss the major issues.
Day 1: This year we are partnering with VIsitEngland to address the issues which are impacting on the management if destinations with debates about sustainability, the impact of the internet on the future of DMOs and the opportunities brought by Google Glasses and augmented reality and whether tourism benefits local communities or tourism exploits communities and their natural and cultural environment. Programme for Responsible Tourism in Destinations
Day 2: Taking Responsibility, Achieving Change with major speakers form industry and academia we focus on how to achieve change, how do we win the arguments and make the case for responsibility? A day of learning from others about what works, what doesn’t and why? We are looking at a range of issues from carbon and climate change, through local economic development and wildlife to human rights and social inclusion to review our experience to date.
Day 3: A day for Responsible Tourism Practitioners to network and develop their initiatives for the next five years. Join us
Research by Vicky Smith and Xavier Font into the way volunteer travel is marketed got aired in The Guardian this month with a useful consumer education piece by Will Coldwell. This is a sector where consumers need to take particular care over the choices they make – ask about where the money goes, ask for evidence that previous volunteers have made a difference, if you aren’t qualified to do it in the UK, don’t do it abroad, be way of short engagement and be sure that the community’s needs are put ahead of yours. This is an area where we need a good deal more consumer education.
The Irish Responsible Tourism Conference takes place in Dublin on 19th March. This is an opportunity to discuss the way tourism is developing in Ireland and to debate what Responsible Tourism has to offer Ireland, speakers include Paddy Mathews, Failte Ireland, David MacNulty and Robert Cleverdon of Tourism Development International, Carol Gleeson, Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark and Harold Goodwin of the Centre for Responsible Tourism at Manchester Metropolitan. It promises to be an interesting discussion about the way tourism is developing in Ireland.
WTM Africa which launches in Cape Town this year at Cape Town’s International Convention Centre 2-3 May is leading with WTM Africa’s own World Responsible Tourism Programme (WRTP). This year’s panels are on why Responsible Tourism makes good business sense; environmental responsibility and social responsibility focused on child protection.
5. TUI continues to make progress on carbon reduction in aviation
Across TUI’s airlines relative carbon emissions were reduced by a further 3.2% since 2012, The average CO2 per revenue passenger kilometre was 70.7g – making it one of the most carbon efficient airlines in Europe. They took over 3.8 million customers on ‘greener and fairer’ holidays, up 1.8 million from 2012. More.
Sue Hurdle, the Travel Foundation’s Chief Executive since its inception 11 years ago, has announced that she will not be returning to the role, following time away on maternity leave. Hurdle, who gave birth to twin boys in March last year, said that it was a “very difficult decision not to return” but the Foundation’s “strong and experienced team” would continue to deliver, with exciting times ahead. Salli Felton, acting Chief Executive, will continue in her interim role. The new Chief Executive. be recruited through a competitive process, with advertising expected in March. In the ten years since the Travel Foundation launched they have worked on 35 projects in 24 countries and report that revenues passed the £1m mark just before the end of 2013, their 10th anniversary year.
With increasing numbers of floating beds in the Caribbean Gordon “Butch” Stewart, chairman of Sandals Resorts International, has argued that room taxes and import and export duties have “stalled” the growth of land-based tourism in the Caribbean, while cruise ships are only made to pay a few dollars per passenger to the destinations into which they sail. “Our competition is not the hotel down the road, it’s the cruise ships that get everything tax free.” Royal Caribbean International countered arguing that “the reality is cruise companies bring thousands of people every week into multiple destinations around the world and the cruise guests spend a lot of money.” Read more Butch Stewart RCI
8. Trading in Rhino Horn – debunking the myths
With reports of 57 rhino killed in South Africa in 31 days the species is threatened by the illegal trade in rhino horn. Tourism provides a non-consumptive economic value for many charismatic species from rhino to tigers. If we get the economics of rhino trading wrong; rhino in the wild will be gone. Colin Bell writes “The idea that selling lopped-off horns from farmed rhinos will curb poaching is untested, unproven, unlikely and something pro-traders avoid like that proverbial elephant in the room.” Time for Plan B Read Rhishja Cota-Larson’s blog on the why trading in rhino horn will not help conserve the species
The Nepalese government has just announced that it is reducing the cost of a permit from £15,000 to £6,500 – a reduction of more than 50%. This makes no sense when the costs of managing tourism on the mountain has to be met – there is much debris to remove. The numbers of climbers may be small but they have an army of staff and the cumulative pollution is striking. Cutting the cost of the permits will increase numbers and pollution – it would be more rational to set fees at a level which covers the costs of managing the climbers and cleaning up after them. more
The WhaleFest takes place at the Brighton Hilton where the world’s governments gathered in 1982 to suspend international whaling. In 1991 Brighton Aquarium’s captive dolphins were freed back to their Caribbean home. The WhaleFest raise money to support the work of the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA). With Jean-Michel Cousteau as Honorary President the WCA has a focused strategy to end captive Killer Whale entertainment at marine parks, and to save threatened species – such as the world’s last 50 Maui’s dolphins in New Zealand. Check out the festival programme
11. Australia for All website updated
This open stop shop for accessible tourism in Australia has recently been updated with accommodation, venues, restaurants, cruises, car hire and package tours from around the world. Updates The site has lots on accessible tourism in Australia and it has a strong international section