Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter May 2016
INNOVATION FOCUS: Interview with Gerben Hardeman about Carmacal
The winner of this year's innovation category at WTTC's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards was The Netherlands Association of Travel Agents (ANVR), which won for its ground-breaking carbon calculator, Carmacal. For the first of a new series of interviews with this year's winners, we spoke to one of the people behind the project, ANVR's Project Manager for Sustainable Tourism, Gerben Hardeman.
WTTC: There are all sorts of carbon calculators available online. Why was it necessary to create Carmacal and what makes it so unique?
Gerben Hardeman: There are various carbon calculators, but none of these covers the entire holiday package, including transport, accommodation, excursions and activities. Moreover, they often lack detail and robustness.
If you want to reduce the carbon footprint of your products, you first need to measure it in a detailed way. Then you can start working on carbon management and on further developing high quality tourism experiences and products with a lower carbon footprint.
Carmacal is the only type of calculator of this kind.
WTTC: What has the response from the industry been so far?
Gerben: Overall the reactions have been very positive. We've got many emails from interested parties. There are also various calls planned for collaborating with organisations as far afield as Europe to Argentina and New Zealand.
WTTC: What are the plans for the next few months?
Gerben: For the next few months we are looking to further promote the tool among our members. In addition, we would like a global organisation to promote & develop the tool worldwide. As a travel trade association, our focus is to facilitate and promote the carbon management training and the tool; we would like an external party to further manage, market and develop the tool since it has huge international potential, not just for tourism, but for the corporate travel and MICE sectors as well.
In addition, a number of tour operators are now looking at the development of a label to inform the consumer on the carbon footprint of the holidays they offer.
WTTC: What is the significance for your project of winning the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow award?
Gerben: It is a recognition of the fact that collaboration is key in sustainable tourism and of the time and energy various partners invested in this project. This is a really an award for the efforts and collaboration of various tour operators, universities, NGOs and associations.
Furthermore, it helps us to put this tool on the world map. We need to give it a global reach because the Dutch market is simply too small. Winning this award has opened the door to interested parties in the travel and tourism sector. This did not happen when everyone looked at it as just another tool.
Also, we got huge national media coverage in the Netherlands. This was an indirect effect since the award itself is for a B2B tool which makes for less interesting news for consumer media. However, ever since we indicated how the results of this calculator will be communicated to the Dutch consumer at a later stage, all the big national newspapers, online media radio and tv stations have covered the news. We even had an item on the Dutch 8 o'clock news. So we are really happy and a big thank you to the WTTC!
DESTINATION FOCUS: Team behind NepalNow campaign works with Ecuador to respond to earthquake
A tourism recovery campaign called EcuadorNow has been launched following the earthquake that struck the northern Pacific coast of Ecuador on April 16th.
It seeks to provide a reliable source of information on the situation inside the country, and to counter the impact on tourism that such an event, and the ensuing media focus on the worst affected areas, can have on the country as a whole. The campaign was inspired by - and is being developed in collaboration with - a similar grassroots initiative that took place following the earthquake in Nepal last year.
When the earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, tourism was decimated, despite many regions being unaffected. In response a group of local social entrepreneurs, supported by a global network of people working in responsible tourism, launched NepalNow - a remarkable grassroots communication effort that sought to rebalance negative perceptions of the country with accurate accounts of the situation as it really was. Selfies of travellers to the country holding up the message "I am in #NepalNow" went viral across social media, reassuring the international community that the country was still safe to visit.
"Post Earthquake in Nepal, we saw the extent of damage international press can do, and also the damage to tourism the NGOs can do through their focus on how much destruction has happened and how much dollars are required to reinvest and recover, and the pictures they post to that effect," Raj Gyawali, one of the people behind NepalNow, explained to WTTC this week. "We hope we can use what we learned to kickstart the recovery process much much earlier in Ecuador, and indeed it's already started, less than a fortnight post earthquake."
An ecuadornow.org website is soon to be launched. In the meantime the campaign is well underway on social media, with a presence on Facebook, and a Twitter and Instagram hashtag #ecuadornow. "The tourism sector and experts have a tremendous responsibility to immediately balance the information being shared by the mainstream media," said Jascivan Carvalho, general manager of award-winning Ecuadorian travel company Tropic and the man spearheading the EcuadorNow initiative from inside the country. "It is fair to present the facts of what happened but we believe is also fair to show that this earthquake didn't destroy Ecuador!"
Top economist says travel industry has "wonderful opportunity" to be leader in sustainable development
One of the world's top economists has urged the global travel industry to adopt the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and take a leadership position on meeting the social and environmental challenges confronting the world.
"The scale and scope of your industry is so big, its economic importance is so great," said Professor Jeffrey Sachs to the audience at WTTC's annual summit in Dallas last month. "The reminders that you give to consumers, travellers, business leaders who are in your hotels and in your conference sites around the world are so persistent that if you take on these goals, I think it will make a really big difference in global understanding,"
Professor Sachs, who runs the Earth Institute and is a key advisor to the UN, told the Summit that he would like to walk into every hotel and see a sign on the reception saying that the company supported the SDGs, and that it was working with the host nation and civil aviation to ensure their success. "These goals were not adopted out of a sense of joy, but a sense of need," he reminded his audience, adding, "I think it is obvious to say, if the bombs are going off in every place and beautiful ecosystems are being destroyed, and if the hurricanes are coming to your travel destinations, it's not going to be good for your industry or for the planet."
You can watch the full presentation by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, along with all the other presentations and interviews at this year's WTTC here. (The Sach's presentation starts at 1h:03 on the second session video).
Annual responsible tourism report profiles growth of industry
In a ground-breaking "The growth in responsible tourism continues to outpace the growth of the tourism industry as a whole," writes the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) in its annual report on the state of responsible tourism. Released this April, CREST's The Case for Responsible Travel draws together a collection of trends, statistics and quotes concerning the state of responsible tourism and the various sectors it encompasses from recently published reports and news stories.
Specifically, it focusses on the ongoing success of two niche sectors that are closely related to responsible tourism - adventure tourism and wellness tourism. CREST's report cites research saying that adventure tourism is valued at $263 billion, and saw an average annual growth of 65% in Europe, North and South America between 2009 to 2012. Significantly says the report, it is estimated that 65.6% of the total trip cost from an adventure package remains in the destinations visited.
Wellness Tourism is showing even more impressive figures, says CREST. It reports that the sector is already worth $439-billion, and on target to grow to $678.5 billion by 2017. Furthermore, wellness tourists spend on average 130% more than the average traveller. And just as the sector's tourists look for holidays that are good for their own health, so they hope the destinations they visit will also be marked by healthy environments.
You can download the full CRESTreport for free here.
PATA and Reef World partner to protect marine environment
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and the Reef-World Foundation (Reef-World) have launched a partnership to promote their combined efforts in marine conservation and the sustainable development of marine initiatives and opportunities. As part of the agreement, PATA has officially endorsed Reef-World's Green Fins programme, which are the world’s only international environmental standards for SCUBA diving and snorkeling activities to be recognised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Since being launched in 2004, Green Fins has been introduced to six countries in Asia, and today has over 400 diving and snorkelling operators signed up as members. As a further part of the agreement with Reef World, PATA members will also have access to relevant information that relates specifically to diving, snorkelling and marine tourism. This information will be available on PATA’s online sustainability platform, sustain.pata.org.
“We look forward to gaining insights about Reef-World’s monitoring of best practices of the diving and snorkelling tourism industry internationally through Green Fins," said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. "This partnership means that PATA members now have improved access to knowledge that can help us make a real difference, at the grassroots level, on a wide range of marine tourism issues.
ITP wants Asia Pacific tourism industry to tell it what issues matter most
The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) is calling on hoteliers and those with a stake in the tourism industry in the Asia-Pacific region to participate in a Stakeholder Engagement process that it is running over the coming months.
In partnership with engagement specialists Globescan, ITP is seeking the opinions of 200 external stakeholders through online surveys and telephone interviews to determine what social and environmental issues they feel are the most significant and relevant for the hotel sector. When ITP conducted a similar process in 2014, labour rights issues and water stewardship were identified as the two most critical issues.
“Stakeholder engagement is essential if a business wants to really understand the key issues and develop an effective corporate responsibility strategy, explains Fran Hughes, ITP Director. "But stakeholders and hotel companies can sometimes struggle to start what can be difficult conversations on challenging issues. ITP bridges that gap by bringing different groups together in a neutral environment to share learnings and work together to develop practical solutions. It’s a win-win for all sides."
Hotel groups and stakeholders wishing to be a part of the process and attend the exclusive event in September should contact ITP's Director Fran Hughes.
Written and edited by Jeremy Smith
Tourism for Tomorrow in the news : A selection of news articles from last month
New York Times: How to Travel the Earth And Protect It, Too
Forbes: Hotel Employment Scheme Offers Victims of Poverty, Human Trafficking A Second Chance At Life
Travel Weekly: Travel trade carbon calculator among Tourism for Tomorrow winners