Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter December 2016
Introducing the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Judging Panel
This year Fiona Jeffery OBE once again chairs the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, with the judging panel again led by Graham Miller, now the University of Surrey’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
In 1998, Fiona founded and is Chair of the international water development charity Just a Drop. Its aim, to encourage the travel and tourism industry and businesses generally to give back to communities across the world through the provision of clean water and sanitation. She sits on UNWTO World Committee for Tourism Ethics and is a Non-Executive Director and Tourism Advisor for a number of international businesses. Graham recently designed the European Tourism Indicator System for the European Commission and has also conducted extensive research for the European Commission on the market for accessible tourism across Europe. Graham is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for the Future of Travel and Tourism.
The panel of judges is made up of experts in sustainable tourism from around the world. Thomas Baum is Professor and Head of Department of Human Resource Management, University of Strathclyde Business School. He is recognized internationally as a leading academic and consulting specialist in the policy-informing study of human capacity development issues in the context of the international tourism, events and hospitality sector. Lucas Bobes is Head of Sustainability, Amadeus. Since 2009, he has been responsible for building and improving the Amadeus operations environmental reporting, analysing and building partnerships with industry stakeholders to address common environmental challenges. Kelly Bricker is Professor and Chair, Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Sustainable Tourism Management, and Chair of The International Ecotourism Society. She also serves the boards of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, The Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee of the United Nations World Tourism Organization 10YFP for sustainable development, and the Tourism and Protected Area Specialist Group of the IUCN.
Professor Peter Burns is Director of the Institute for Tourism Research (INTOUR), University of Bedfordshire. He is investigating roles and responsibilities throughout the tourism value chain especially in relation to the challenge of climate change, and specializes in strategic policy advice and facilitating communities and countries to identify effective uses of tourism development in poverty alleviation strategies. Giulia Carbone is Deputy Director, IUCN Global Business and Biodiversity Programme, International Union for Conservation of Nature. Previously, she worked for the United Nations Environment Programme, where she was the coordinator of UNEP’s tourism work.
Tony Charters AM is Founding Director, Ecotourism Australia. He advises leading industry operators and government on planning, destination development, sustainable management and tourism investment. Paul Clark is Group Director of Human Resources, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. He is responsible for establishing, implementing and evaluating global HR strategies, policies, systems and programmes for the group. Randy Durband is Chief Executive Officer, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). He brings his knowledge of the business of travel, his global network of travel professionals, and a passion for sustainability to support sustainable tourism, poverty reduction through tourism development in emerging destinations, authenticity in heritage destinations, and tourism destination stewardship. Richard Hammond is Founder and Travel Editor & Author Greentraveller Media Group, which runs creative marketing campaigns on sustainable transport and tourism, and delivers consumer facing products, including high-definition videos and online visitor guides. Richard was the Guardian newspaper's eco travel correspondent (2004-2008), and co-wrote (with me!) Clean Breaks & Great Escapes (Rough Guides, 2009/2010).
Manal S. Kelig is Co-Founder, GWE companies, ATTA MENA, Executive Director. She consults regularly for many leading development organizations on Tourism development projects, cultural heritage preservation and community involvement in tourism. Chris Roche is Chief Marketing Officer, Wilderness Safaris. He believes firmly that it is a moral and ethical obligation for ecotourism businesses to ensure that their impact on the areas and people where they work is positive and far-reaching and he is determined to drive an expansion of the industry and its positive impacts from the savannah into even more threatened and less-visited biomes like the rainforest. Jim Sano is Vice President for Travel, Tourism and Conservation, World Wildlife Fund. He serves as the organisation’s senior advisor on sustainable tourism programs and develops new initiatives to engage its most committed supporters.
Faith Taylor is Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Responsibility Officer, Wyndham Worldwide. She chaired the sustainability working committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council and was instrumental in developing the industry guidelines for Environmental, Social and Governance reporting. Shaun Vorster is Extraordinary Associate Professor, University of Stellenbosch Business School. He has published widely, including journal articles on sustainability and climate change and co-edited books on green growth, travel & tourism. Tony Williams is Tourism Development Consultant, Qatar's Tourism Authority. He has launched Qatar's national hotel grading a classification system over recent years, based on holistic sustainability principles across hotel development and management lifecycles.
You can read more about the judges at: https://www.wttc.org/tourism-for-tomorrow-awards/judges/
Accessible Tourism Focus - Interview with Martin Heng
Martin Heng is one of the leading advocates for accessible tourism in the world and author of Lonely Planet’s Accessible Travel Online Resources, which is the most extensive set of resources on the subject available. We spoke to him about the state of the sector today and what needs to be done.
WTTC: This year the UNWTO has made the theme for World Tourism Day 'Tourism for All'. What do you take the 'All' to mean? How widely should we define accessible tourism, and do you think the industry sees it this way?
The subtitle for the UNWTO WTD was “promoting universal accessibility”, which helps to clarify what “All” really means: “for everybody”. The term “accessible tourism” is most often used to describe the endeavour to make tourism products – services, amenities, venues etc – accessible to those with special needs. But some people prefer the term “inclusive tourism” to underline the fact that tourism should cater for everybody, no matter whether they are young or old, able-bodied or disabled; that is, it should be universally accessible. This also marks the intersection between the principles of universal design and accessibility. Special accommodations don’t need to be made for the majority of people, but they do need to be made for a surprisingly large proportion of the population: not only people who identify as disabled, but also, people who suffer from long-term illnesses such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (who, according to a recent Visit England survey, make up almost 50% of those with access needs); people who are temporarily injured or incapacitated; pregnant mothers-to-be; and parents with prams (strollers).
When it comes to people with a disability (PWDs), it’s a common misconception to regard them solely as wheelchair-users. In fact, wheelchair-users make up less than 10% of the disabled population. The breakdown, very roughly, is 25% mobility-impaired, 25% hearing-impaired, 10% vision-impaired and 10% with cognitive issues. It’s also important not to forget those people who are food-intolerant (gluten/dairy/nut in particular) and this group is a good indicator of how awareness has grown in recent years. Even only 10 years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find a menu catering to this group; nowadays, in the developed world at least, menus include and designate foods that are gluten- or nut-free just as they include items that are vegan.
Most importantly, this group includes those who have access issues as a result of ageing who would not regard themselves as disabled. Nevertheless, some 40% of people who retire at age 60 will have some sort of acquired disability, whether it be mobility- vision- or hearing-related; by the age of 70, this figure rises to 60%. This is the retiring Baby Boomer generation, which controls 60% of US net wealth and 40% of its spending, and is arguably the first generation in human history that is not conditioned to want to leave their wealth to their offspring, but instead is intent on enjoying their retirement, which in many cases involves international travel. This is the demographic – becoming known as the Grey Nomads – that is driving the accessible tourism market.
Sadly, the travel industry as a whole is not doing enough to cater to the needs of everyone. It is not inclusive either in its offerings or as it tries to appeal to the market. Looking at the average tourism brochure or advert you would be forgiven for thinking that the tourism industry was sustained by young couples on romantic getaways and young, affluent families. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.
Given the so-called multiplier effect, the Purple Pound/Dollar, as it has become known, accounts for a large proportion of the market: as a disabled person, I travel with my family, which includes my wife and three children. Venues that don’t cater to me also lose out on the business of four other people. Also, the world’s population is ageing – something Japan, a country renowned for the longevity of its population, realised as early as the 1990s – and as it “greys”, the proportion of the population with access issues will grow accordingly. I believe the sooner the travel industry – and the advertising industry that supports it – starts to represent its target market more accurately, the sooner individual destinations and businesses will cater to it.
WTTC: Is the industry as a whole doing enough to meet these challenges? What are the positive signs, and where is there room for improvement? Anywhere really stand out as leading the way?
To date, it has only been the more progressive destination management organisations (DMOs) – Germany, Spain, the UK and Flanders in particular – that have recognised the market potential of this affluent and time-rich demographic. But as the rest of the developed world catches on to the significance of its greying population, more DMOs will follow the example of these world leaders and develop tourism products and services – as well as brochures and adverts – targeted at this fast-growing market segment.
I think the most positive sign of all was the UNWTO’s decision to dedicate World Tourism Day to Tourism for All because it marks the mainstreaming of what had hitherto been regarded as a niche market. While some may regard it as having been a brave decision on the part of the UNWTO, and one born out of its social agenda, I believe it was both realistic and pragmatic and I sincerely hope that it galvanises action on the part of the tourism industry generally.
It must be remembered that the tourism industry does not exist in isolation. While individual operators and venues have a role to play, it is local and national governments that are responsible for the all-important infrastructural improvements that are required to make destinations accessible to all. Transnational organisations such as the UNWTO making decisions such as this focus the attention of DMOs on this growing market. As we have seen in the UK and Germany, particularly, DMOs who recognise the importance of this market will work with local councils and governments to improve infrastructure and develop training programs to better cater to it.
WTTC: Your Lonely Planet Accessible Travel Online Resources are the most extensive set of resources I have seen and must have taken a serious amount of research. What did you learn about how accessible tourism is treated around the world from putting them together?
When it comes to individual industries and businesses, levels of awareness are strongly affected by regulatory environments. Airlines and airports are highly regulated when it comes to passengers with disabilities – for example, those operating in any area under US jurisdiction are bound by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and in the UK by the rules of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA; see http://www.reducedmobility.eu/). Similarly, in developed countries building codes dictate that new buildings and public buildings be accessible, particularly to wheelchair-users and the vision-impaired. Larger hotels, too, are often required to have a certain number of designated accessible rooms. Hotel chains will also sometimes have an accessible room policy independent of the regulatory framework in the countries in which they operate.
In developed countries problems arise more often with small hotels, tourism operators and local businesses, which are often not bound by the regulatory framework because they are either too small or have been built before regulations came into force and are therefore exempted from the costly need to retrofit. Another issue arises with heritage-listed buildings, which are also often exempted.
In more developed countries, not only is the built environment more accessible, there is also more information available about accessibility, whether it be regarding transport or buildings/venues. With more affluence, there are also many more tour operators and travel agents specialising in accessible tourism. Even over the last 12 months, however, as I’ve put together the second edition of Accessible Travel Online Resources, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of specialised accessible tourism operators in less developed countries. Clearly, awareness is growing of this increasingly important and largely untapped market segment in the developing world.
In less developed countries, even when there is a building code, there is less money to invest in infrastructure and less ability to police/enforce the code. However this deficit is often compensated for by the willingness of people to help and adapt to meet particular needs. For example, when I travelled in India, I was unable to hire a wheelchair-accessible vehicle that could accommodate my power wheelchair. So every time I needed to get my 120 kg wheelchair into or out of the vehicle, we solicited the aid of a couple of passers-by who, for a few dollars, would assist my driver. I was happy to be able to retain the independence of using my power wheelchair, and they were happy to earn the equivalent of a day’s pay in just a few minutes – a win-win situation! When particular monuments were inaccessible, but had manual wheelchairs for loan, again, I would hire a couple of strong men to carry me up any flights of stairs and one to push me around the monument itself. I have heard countless similar stories from other developed countries from Cuba to Tanzania.
WTTC: Who or what really inspired you?
The most inspiring figure I have come across as I embarked on my new career in accessible tourism was the godfather of inclusive tourism, the late great Dr Scott Rains – http://www.rollingrains.com/ – who I am proud and grateful to say was one of my mentors. It is not only his vast experience, passion and knowledge that will be missed, but also his generosity of spirit and ability to inspire and connect people around the globe. It is unlikely the world will find a replacement for this towering figure and powerful advocate for change.
Apart from the DMOs I’ve already mentioned – whose example and influence will be instrumental in mainstreaming accessible tourism – the two examples of best practice are not actually featured in my online resources, an oversight I need to rectify! First, there is the success story of Scandic Hotels under the leadership of Magnus Berglund, who was appointed its Accessibility Ambassador in 2003. First through systematic training of hotel staff, and then by progressively introducing the principles of universal design throughout its hotel chain, Scandic has underlined the market potential of catering to the entire population. It has successfully virtually cornered the MICE market in Europe because even if only one delegate has accessibility needs, the entire meeting or conference needs to be hosted at an accessible venue.
The other standout organisation for me is Lemon Tree Hotels in India, whose Vice President of Sustainability Initiatives, Aradhana Lal, I had the pleasure of meeting when I was there in 2014. They are worthy winners of the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Award, not only for their efforts in ensuring sufficient stock of accessible rooms in their hotels, but also for taking inclusion and equality to a higher level by their employment of PWDs. It’s simply amazing that all employees have been trained in sign language to facilitate employment of people with hearing impairments in the group as well as to better cater for hearing-impaired clients. When I was there, the group was also pursuing a policy of hiring people with Down Syndrome as wait staff, which is both brave and progressive, but which was already in its early days meeting with success from both social empowerment and client satisfaction perspectives.
Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals - SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Sustainable tourism’s core purpose is to promote the creation of tourism products and experiences in a more responsible and sustainable way, and to promote ways of enjoying (ie consuming) these experiences that are also more sensitive to the communities and habitats one travels to. So at one level, it is quite apparent how tourism can be used to further the aims of SDG 12.
However, this goal is also one of just three (out of 17) that explicitly mentions sustainable tourism, stating that one of its targets is to “Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.” As an article later in this newsletter on the economic impact of ivory poaching on tourism makes clear, it is necessary not just to argue that something is the right thing to do; proponents of more sustainable forms of tourism need also to prove that the impacts they promote are real and significant.
This is why tools like the first full cost carbon calculator Carmacal, which won the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation award this year, are so important. So too is the sort of partnership just announced between GSTC-accredited Fair Trade Tourism and Ecotourism Kenya (also covered later in this newsletter). Working together like this means that those companies who have worked hard to measure what they do and thus achieve rigorous certification will gain from much needed promotion and marketing. And indeed the efforts of TUI, PwC and the Travel Foundation in auditing the impacts of the company’s operations in Cyprus using PwC’s Total Impact Measurement & Management approach are another example of a valuable cooperation towards improved measurements.
Yet the TUI initiative has garnered so much attention in part because it is considered the first time the industry has carried out such an assessment of its impact. For Sustainable Tourism’s role in achieving SDG 12 to be realised, therefore, it is essential for these sorts of initiatives to be rolled out far and wide across the industry and across the globe. Otherwise the opportunities presented by the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017 will be missed.
Seeing Sustainability in Action, by Tourism for Tomorrow Awards chair of the judges and Founder Just a Drop, Fiona Jeffery OBE
Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair Fiona Jeffrey has just returned from visiting some of the Just a Drop projects in Uganda. You can read all about the great work of Just a Drop and Fiona’s experience of ‘seeing sustainability in action’ on her blog here
"I’ve recently returned from Uganda where I went with Project Officer and engineer Colonel Mike Reynolds and Senior Project Manager Melissa Campbell to assess Just a Drop’s work in the field, to monitor progress and evaluate effectiveness. To assess if projects we’d initiated a number of years ago were still functioning well and having the desired impact at a grass roots community level.
The fear for us is, having created the framework to support a community by providing clean water and sanitation, that over time things go wrong, pumps break down and don’t get fixed and a cycle of unwanted waste and destruction occurs, something that’s no good for the communities we’ve aimed to help in the first place, a total waste of our valued donors funds and an abhorrent outcome for us. Which is why regular monitoring and evaluation of our work in the field by our project officers is a key part of their role.
Just a Drop works on the He He principles. He He is a Tanzanian three legged stool where each leg represents water, sanitation and health hygiene education, and the seat itself represents the community which pulls everything together.
Whilst water, sanitation and health hygiene education are core to what we do, the most important values which sit in the DNA of our organisation are Sustainability and Community Engagement"... Read more
DESTINATION FOCUS : Fair Trade Tourism partners with Ecotourism Kenya to spread sustainable tourism across Africa
South Africa-based Fair Trade Tourism has expanded its reach into Kenya with the signing of a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) with Ecotourism Kenya. According to the terms of the MRA, Fair Trade Tourism will now recognise any of Ecotourism Kenya’s Gold eco-certified camps, lodges and hotels. As a result they can be included by approved tour operators into holiday packages marketed as Fair Trade Holidays.
“Our MRA with Fair Trade Tourism is an endorsement of Kenya’s leading green accommodation facilities that have demonstrated outstanding best practices in responsible resource use, environmental conservation and are mindful of the welfare of local people,” said Ecotourism Kenya CEO, Grace Nderitu.
In 2011, Fair Trade Tourism was the first African certification standard to be recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. In recent years it has expanded its reach across the continent, through a combination of its own certification and strategic partnerships with other regional certification bodies.
“We are thrilled to have formalised our partnership with Ecotourism Kenya,” says Fair Trade Tourism non-executive director, Jane Edge. “This means that it is now possible to travel the Fair Trade way in eight countries – Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana, as well as Kenya.”
ATTA regional event will promote Adventure Tourism in Jordan
AdventureNEXT Near East, an event to be held at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar on the shore of the Dead Sea in Jordan from May 15-17, 2017, will be centered around the theme “Revealing New Pathways.” Delegates from around the region are invited to attend and reveal their innovative travel products to international buyers and media as well as to their colleagues.
As a destination, Jordan is well equipped to propel the region forward as it works to offer fresh ideas and products that embrace its cultural heritage while looking to its natural riches. Several examples of such development projects are the Jordan Trail, a continuous route spanning the entire nation; the award winning solar-powered Feynan eco-lodge located in the Dana Biosphere Reserve; and The Princess Alia Foundation and Four Paws, both of which work to preserve wildlife and natural areas.
During AdventureNEXT Near East, educational sessions and keynotes will deliver on the Revealing New Pathways theme and educate Jordanian and regional operators on ways to elevate their standard to meet the needs of the international market. With countries throughout the region in attendance the goal will be to nurture and create regional partnerships and collaboration opportunities. The event’s agenda will be confirmed in the coming months and speakers sought and confirmed who can contribute to the educational programming.
“AdventureNEXT Next Near East is a unique event that will not only showcase innovative tourism products, but it will also link cultures and promote sustainability,” explained ATTA’s Executive Director of the MENA region, Manal Kelig. “It is the right time to get up close and personal with Jordan and its neighbouring countries.”
Registration is now open for the event including MARKETPLACE opportunities for Jordanian and regional operators. Buyers may apply now; the media application will be available soon.
INNOVATION FOCUS: Partnership seeks to promote tourism job creation in Kenya
The Ministry of Tourism of Kenya has signed an agreement with Amadeus and the UNWTO to develop a pilot programme that aims to offer women and young people from underprivileged communities in the east African country greater access to employment and develop entrepreneurship opportunities in the tourism industry.
“Tourism is a key backbone to the region’s economic development, with a projected growth of 16% by the end of 2016,” said H.E. Mr. Najib Balala, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism. “This initiative enables us to empower women and our youth whilst building our local tourism and travel industry.”
The initial project is expected to last one year, with at least six months training in business and other tourism fields. Following on from the Kenyan pilot, the aim is to roll out the scheme into other countries with similar socio-economic circumstances both in Africa and beyond.
“Technology can help to enhance skill levels, professionalism, and also the commitment of the workforce.” Svend Leirvaag, Vice President Industry Affairs, Amadeus IT Group “At Amadeus, we are equipping local communities with new technologies in line with our commitment to sustainable development. However, to really make a difference, this has to be an industry-wide effort”.
Last call for UNWTO and UNEP survey on sustainable consumption and production
Just one day left to contribute to UNEP and UNWTO’s global tourism planning and sustainable consumption and production survey. The survey’s purpose is to identify current practices and methods in national tourism planning, as well as tools or guidelines used by the private sector and civil society actors in measuring and monitoring tourism’s performance. The findings will support the two organisations as they prepare Guidelines to Integrate Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) into Tourism Planning as part of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goal 12 on “Ensuring sustainable consumption and production” (as referred to in the first article in this newsletter).
The survey is available in English, Spanish and French and the deadline to complete it is 15th December 2016.
Written and edited by Jeremy Smith
Tourism for Tomorrow in the news : A selection of news articles from last month