Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter September 2016
Apply now for the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards!
Would you like to enter next year's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards? Candidates working towards a more responsible, sustainable tourism industry, however large or small a company, organisation or destination they represent, can now apply in one of the five categories: Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation or People. Marking the fact that 2017 will be the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, our new call for entries video showcases many of the ways that our industry can help society achieve the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted unanimously by 193 of the world's countries last year. The video highlights several different approaches that tourism can implement - from 'empowering travellers to choose low carbon options' to 'pioneering sustainable water use' - and for each one provides the example of a recent Tourism for Tomorrow Award winner that is successfully doing it.
In the last few years winners have varied from household brands to innovative startups, from iconic destinations to places that remain off the beaten track. The rigorous judging process ensures that it is true quality and authenticity that matters, and that shines through in the end. To find out more about what it takes to win the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, read the profiles of all the winners from the last five years.
Apply online here. Applications are open until 14 November 2016.
World Tourism Day theme for 2016 is Accessible Tourism
According the UNWTO, 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability, meaning 1 billion people around the world may be unable to enjoy the full benefits and privileges that tourism offers. The theme of this year's World Tourism Day on September 27 - Tourism for All - seeks to address that challenge.
The main host for this year's event is Thailand, where the main celebrations take place at a conference from 26-29 September 2016. Talks and workshops will addresses topics including 'The contribution of Media in addressing Accessibility' and 'Tourism for All: Creating an adequate policy framework'. WTTC's President & CEO David Scowsill will be joined in a press conference by the Thai Minister of Tourism and Sports H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the Secretary-General of UNWTO Taleb Rifai, and Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Asia Travel Association.
Commenting on this year's theme, Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said: "This is where tourism extends beyond numbers and figures, as tourism has the magic to bring people from all over the globe, from all walks of life to be together peacefully without discrimination and to be in a world where we respect each other and work towards a common goal of sustainable tourism and human capital development."
As well as the main event in Thailand, World Tourism Day will be marked with events across the world, which can be explored on the official UNWTO website, which features a map of relevant events. They range from workshops in Greece to accessible bike tours in Belgium, and whale watching in Australia. Anyone wishing to get involved in their home communities or online is encouraged to support the event and promote it using the hashtags #tourism4all #WTD2016.
Starting next month, and carrying on until World Tourism Day 2017, this newsletter will feature a regular article on different aspects of accessible tourism. We'll speak to opinion leaders, profile innovators, and explore some of the approaches the industry is taking to meet the challenges.
Tourism for Tomorrow winners interviews: How Tourism for Tomorrow People Award Winner YCI helps disadvantaged youth gain employment in tourism
The International Tourism Partnership (ITP) won this year's People award for its Youth Career Initiative, which helps unemployed youth with limited socio-economic opportunities train for careers in tourism. To date, over 3,000 young people have graduated from YCI, with an 85% success rate in finding employment, with 47% of graduates building careers in the hotel industry, 26% in other sectors, and 12% deciding to continue with further education. For the final interview in our series talking with the winners of this year's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, we spoke with Fran Hughes, director of the ITP.
WTTC: What does it mean for YCI to win this award?
Fran Hughes: "Winning the Tourism for Tomorrow People Award means a huge amount to a lot of people. It is a real testament to all the hard work that not only the YCI team have put into developing YCI over the years but also the local non-profit organisations we partner with on the ground and our hotel industry partners who help fund and deliver the programme. We all work together with a common ambition to positively impact disadvantaged young people. YCI’s success is their success and to have that recognised in what I consider to be the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry makes us all very proud. We’ve had a lot of interest in the programme since winning the award and we hope to translate that enthusiasm into more results on the ground.
WTTC: Can you explain more about the impact that YCI has had? Any stories stand out?
Fran: Over the years we have been operating the YCI programme we have seen over 3,500 students graduate from the programme. Many have gone on to successful careers in the hospitality sector. There are so many great success stories and it’s hard to pick out one over another as a modest impact for one person could be a huge leap forward for another.
Some stories just make you think ‘wow’ though. For example, Scarlet comes from a family which was earning a combined income of $20 a week when she joined the YCI programme. It’s hard to conceive the hardship the family faced. Struggling with shyness, Scarlet found it hard to get a job.
However, by participating in the YCI programme she built not only her confidence issues but also her career. Following graduation from the YCI programme she went on to work in the purchasing department of the Grand Hyatt Sao Paolo where she had trained. Her family insisted that she invest her income in her education and she has since been promoted twice, done a Business Management degree, studied in Canada and at our last check-in with her was working in the Hyatt in Dubai. YCI was truly transformative for Scarlet and her family, and this is just one of many success stories.
WTTC: What would you say to hoteliers reading this interview and wondering whether they should sign up to be a partner?
Fran: Many hotels struggle with two challenges; how to develop their talent pipeline and how to better support and engage with the local community. YCI enables a hotel to do both by providing a pipeline of trained, motivated talent for the hotel industry and at the same time transforming the lives of disadvantaged young people by providing them with the transferable life and work skills they need in order to embark on a career path in hospitality. It’s a solid community initiative that makes such good business sense, it has to be one of the most tangible and relevant corporate philanthropy programmes there is. Everybody wins.
WTTC: What plans to you have for YCI in the coming months and years? Any big developments you can share?
Fran: We have an ambitious growth plan to grow YCI exponentially over the coming years and positively impact more disadvantaged young people through expanding our reach in current markets and developing YCI in new ones. Since we originally applied for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, we have launched the YCI programme in Senegal, Zambia, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico; India has been growing exponentially and we are in the planning process to launch in several new markets, including Egypt, Russia, Lebanon and Thailand. A really exciting development is that we also hope to start YCI in China in 2017 where the opportunities are huge to support young people into work. Watch this space for developments!
WTTC: The Union Unite has recently released a report into working conditions in London's hotel sector. What can an organisation like YCI do to ensure the jobs they end up doing are dignified and offer a living wage?
Fran: Our members are committed to creating meaningful work and great teams. The hotel industry is all about people – it’s not called the hospitality industry for nothing - so the findings of the report raise some worrying issues in London that do need investigating. In the hotels which run the YCI programme we see nothing but commitment and dedication from the staff to serve customers and the communities. You would not get that in a hotel that does not value its staff.
Right from the start we ensure that the YCI curriculum enables the students to be exposed to a minimum number of departments to give them the richest experience possible: delivers life skills training for 40% of the programme: and engages the students to the hotel team through mentoring. It is all designed to ensure the students and the hotel teams gain a lot from the experience. Some research we did recently indicated that 94% of hotels found that participating in YCI led to better engagement with staff. The hotel staff pour a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm into delivering training and mentoring the YCI students and it is a very rewarding experience for both sides where self-confidence, teamwork and aspiration are nurtured.
How can tourism help achieve the goal of Decent Work and Economic Growth?
According to WTTC’s latest annual research, Travel & Tourism’s contribution to global GDP grew for the sixth year in a row last year accounting for 9.8% of world GDP (US$7.2 trillion). The sector now supports 284 million people in employment – representing 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. The size and reach of tourism makes it ideally suited to address SDG8, which seeks to "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all which seeks to "Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all."
When it comes to promoting sustainable economic growth, the challenges and opportunities facing the tourism industry have never been clearer. Its aforementioned scale means that tourism is a central pillar of many countries' economic plans, however, the structure of the industry means that despite continuing to grow, often the money does not reach those that need it most.
According to UNEP, "about 80% of travelers' expenditures go to the airlines, hotels and other international companies (who often have their headquarters in the travellers’ home countries), and not to local businesses or workers." Furthermore, says UNEP, for every US$100 spent on a tour holiday by a tourist from a developed country, only around US$5 actually stays in a developing-country destination's economy. Much of the development of sustainable and responsible tourism models has therefore been specifically to address these challenges, as can be seen in the many locally-owned, community-focussed finalists and winners of the Tourism for Tomorrow awards each year.
When it comes to providing employment, meanwhile, the challenges are just as polarised. The above interview with 2016 winner Youth Career Initiative shows how great the potential is for tourism to provide jobs that give opportunities where there are none. So too the continuing growth of responsible tourism in remote wilderness areas - such as those supported by this year's Environment Award winner Wilderness Safaris - has brought employment to places where there are few other chances. And the enormous success of companies like Airbnb has enabled many more people to supplement their income through becoming informal hospitality providers around the world.
Yet, as highlighted by the recent Unite report into working conditions in the London hotel sector, for many tourism remains a precarious industry to work in. Furthermore, destinations are susceptible to geopolitical events such as terrorism and war, with countries such as Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt seeing their tourism sectors face existential crises due to tourists staying away for fear of encountering violence. Yet while tourists can choose other destinations, and multinational companies can focus on more productive parts of their portfolios, the local labour force does not have the same flexibility. In the years ahead, therefore, all the more so as the impacts of climate change become more severely felt, providing sustained and sustainable employment in the face of ever shifting global events will be one of the biggest challenges for tourism to confront.
INNOVATION FOCUS: Airbnb launches contest to promote France’s diverse regions
Airbnb has launched a national contest - ‘Maisons de France by Airbnb’ - offering the Airbnb host community in France the possibility to submit their homes should they believe they best represent their region’s identity and history. Airbnb initiated this contest to promote France’s diverse regions following calls from Jean-Marc Ayrault, French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to ‘reboot tourism’ and spread its impacts across all of France. By showcasing the French regions’ cultural heritage, Airbnb hopes that guests will discover the rich diversity of France and its regions. With 84.5 million tourist arrivals in 2015, France is the most popular destination in the world (the USA is second with 77.5 million arrivals according to the UNWTO). Nonetheless, the benefits are concentrated, with the top three most popular regions - Île-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur - accounting for more than half of the tourism revenue in France, and with the five most popular tourist destinations being concentrated in the Paris area alone. A panel composed of heritage and tourism experts has therefore created a shortlist of the 41 most iconic Airbnb properties from all across the country's regions that were submitted by Airbnb hosts across France to the contest - ranging from timbered farmhouses in Normandy to troglodyte’s homes in the Loire Valley and chalets in mountainous areas. Public voting is currently underway at the link below. This Friday, September 16th, just ahead of the European Heritage Days, the 14 winners (one per region) will be announced.
Find out more or vote for your favourite house on maisonsdefrance.byairbnb.com
Europarc annual conference explores issues of public engagement and the Swiss parks model
This year, the Europarc Conference will take place in Switzerland, in Parc Jura Vaudois, from October 18th to October 22nd. Titled “We are parks!” the conference will address such questions as the role of the general public in the creation and management of a park; and how to ensure the local population feels a sense of shared identity with the park. Europarc is the European association of parks and affiliated organisations from across 36 countries on the European continent.
There is also a particular focus on the experience of the host country, Switzerland, whose parks were finalists for the Destination Award in this year's Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The event will examine the particular challenges the Swiss system is facing, look at its achievements, and ask what aspects of its model can be transposed to other countries. In addition, a special workshop about sustainable tourism in parks will be organised by Tina Müller from Swiss Parks Network.
For more information, click here
DESTINATION FOCUS: Global Green Destinations Day to celebrate sustainable tourism solutions
The Global Green Destinations conference takes place on 27 and 28 September in Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia and winner of 2015's Tourism for Tomorrow Destination award. The event brings together leading experts in sustainable development and tourism, representatives of destinations, hoteliers and tour operators who work towards the sustainable development in tourism.
The two day conference has assembled a world class range of speakers, including Luigi Cabrini, Chair Global Sustainable Tourism Council GSTC; Chris Doyle, ATTA Executive Director – Europe; and Salli Felton, CEO, The Travel Foundation. Olivia Ruggles-Brise, WTTC's Policy and Communication Director will be talking about Tourism as a Driver of Peace, the subject of a recent WTTC report.
In addition to the talks, the event has three special features. First, it will see the announcement of the winners of the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations. Next, four Green Solutions Workshops will explore best practices and success factors important for destination leaders, business leaders in travel and in hospitality. Thirdly, attendees can visit a Green Tourism Lab where a range of of exhibitors will present innovative green solutions for hospitality.
Find out more and sign up before September 20th here
Written and edited by Jeremy Smith
Tourism for Tomorrow in the news : A selection of news articles from last month