Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter September 2017

Application for the 2018 Tourism for Tomorrow (T4T) Awards is now open

2018 T4T

Companies and organisations keen to enter for next year’s awards can now apply through the WTTC website. As well as application forms, there is an introductory video and further information providing guidance to maximise your chance of winning. Links to all previous winners and finalists and their projects can also be accessed from the page. 

Apply here before 14 November 2017.

World Tourism Day 2017 celebrates Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development


Since 2017, the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, the focus for World Tourism Day this year will be assessing how best tourism can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Taking place on September 27th each year, 2017 official celebrations are being held in Qatar with two sessions, one focused on ‘Tourism as a driver of economic growth’ and the other on ‘Tourism and the Planet: committed to a greener future’.

Organisations looking to find out more about the events, or how to incorporate World Tourism Day into their communications, will find a range of materials and more information on the official website.

Tourism and the SDGs: Goal 13 - Climate Action


No other goal is more urgent or all-encompassing than goal 13. Addressing the ongoing challenges of climate breakdown and looking to design human societies that operate in balance with the earth’s climate is the defining challenge of the coming decades, affecting everything from food production to protected areas preservation, energy production and consumption, to how we tackle growing social inequalities. 

The response from the tourism industry needs to be as multifaceted as the challenges it faces. First, there needs to be an accurate assessment of the impacts on climate change of its operations, and an understanding of which measures will be most effective in response. Researchers from the University of Surrey in the UK and Griffith University in Australia are building a Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard to provide as accurate an overall picture as possible. Meanwhile, WTTC 2016 Tourism for Tomorrow (T4T) award winner Carmacal continues to develop its industry first calculator which makes it possible to estimate the emissions from all parts of a holiday trip - combining flights, accommodation, and in-destination activities. 

Accommodation providers such as 2014 finalist Chepu Ecolodge are also incorporating measurement tools into their operations enabling their guests to be aware of their individual contributions, and engaging them in their efforts by rewarding them for staying within necessary eco-limits during their stay. Elsewhere, Maldivian ecolodge Soneva was a winner in 2015 for its many environmental initiatives, one of which is its climate levy charged to guests so as to address the impacts from the flights taken by them to reach its resorts, with the money raised going to Gold Standard CDM carbon offset projects.

Some companies are working to understand how the natural world responds to climate and weather fluctuations, hoping to learn from nature’s approaches how best to adapt to and mitigate the changes that we are already seeing in, for example, worsening storms around the world. Dive operator Misool was a 2017 winner for its work protecting an area of coral reef in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, where certain corals have been shown to be unusually resistant to rising temperatures. Understanding why this is may improve our ability to protect against such conditions, and also provide an opportunity to help other reefs around the world gain greater resilience and regrow. The Nature Conservancy also won in 2017 for its Mapping Ocean Wealth project, which has assessed the value of coral reefs around the world, the support they give economies that rely upon them, and the buffers they provide against rising and more hostile seas. (see the story about Mexican Coral Reefs below for more ways this knowledge is being applied).

As the Soneva example above implies, the greatest challenge for a growing travel industry when it comes to meeting its responsibility as regards climate change is the impact of transport emissions, in particular from aviation.  There are initiatives such as 2016 finalist Iceland’s Northsailing, whose regenerative Plug-In Hybrid Propulsion System enables their ships to recharge batteries while under sails, and 2017 finalist Soel Yachts, whose solar powered boats can be plugged into the mains supply when in dock to provide power to the resort. Both show that innovation is possible in many transport sectors. However, the challenge of finding a clean aviation fuel remains elusive, meaning that the sector is focussing on developing a huge programme of carbon offsetting in the years to come, relying on financing other innovations and solutions to make up for being unable to reduce its own emissions sufficiently.

Accessibility focus: Seoul to make city’s tourism more accessible


The Korean capital city is to invest in improving facilities for accessible tourism over the next five years. Starting next year, it will spend 15.2 billion won ($13.3 million) on infrastructure and communication, while also training personnel in how to support tourists with accessibility requirements. Hotels and restaurants near the city's best-known tourist destinations will be made wheelchair accessible, and adapted tour vehicles specifically to cater for tourists will be introduced.

The city, where 390,000 people have disabilities and 1.3 million people are older than 65 years, is also using this as an opportunity to make its city more livable for its residents. “So far, tourism policy was focused on attracting foreigners. But getting local people’s quality of life is equally important,” an official said. “These measures aren’t just for people with disabilities. As we get older, travel gets more difficult. I hope with these measures, more people will enjoy the city.”

AdventureNEXT Near East Returns to Empower Connections in Jordan for 2018


The ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association) has announced that it will hold its 2018 AdventureNEXT Near East conference in Jordan for the second year running. Taking place from 7-9 May 2018, next year’s theme will be ‘Empowering Connections’, which will be borne out by the fact that twice the number of meetings are being made available during the show’s dedicated networking event. Called the Marketplace, this is where delegates will be able to meet with potential partners at two dozen pre-scheduled meetings over the course of two days. 

“The inaugural event in 2017 was like planting a seed, and there is so much more work to be done to empower Near East destinations as they increase adventure offerings — both new itineraries and timeless experiences — while helping local communities preserve their cultural traditions and natural resources,” said Manal Kelig, the ATTA’s executive director, Middle East and North Africa. In May 2017, 250 buyers, suppliers, and international media attended the event. Additional regional support is expected in 2018, which will again be held at the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar on the shore of the Dead Sea.

Online registration is now open for those who would like to attend the event and be a part of Marketplace. Media applications are now available as well.

Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference announces programme


Global Eco, the annual conference of Ecotourism Australia, has announced its programme for this year’s 25th anniversary event. Held on 27-29 November 2017 in Adelaide, South Australia, the conference will gather key tourism operators, protected area managers, tourism organisations, indigenous bodies, and researchers from 20 nations. A third of the keynote speakers are award-winning ecotourism operators, recognised globally for their excellence and innovation and contributions to ecotourism and sustainability. Another third of keynote speakers are protected area managers from across the globe who have proactively embraced ecotourism as a positive contributor to protected area management. The conference will be held in Adelaide Zoo, and the subject of wildlife interaction will be a major stream on the first day. The heads of some of Australia’s most iconic zoos and wildlife tours will attend and speak at the conference and take part in an interactive forum. The role of ecotourism in private conservation parks will be an important stream, along with community based ecotourism and the increasingly debated issue of social license. Case studies from across the Asia-Pacific region will be used to explore these topics and open up discussion. View the full programme at:

UNWTO Launches ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’ Campaign


The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has launched a campaign aimed at raising awareness amongst tourists of the value and contribution that sustainable tourism can make towards sustainable development. Produced as part of the International Year on Sustainable Tourism for Development, 2017, the Travel. Enjoy. Respect campaign is looking to motivate tourists to turn the travel sector into a driver of positive change. It comes on the back of WTTC’s Too Much to Ask campaign, also launched earlier this year, which encourages individual travellers to pledge to a range of responsible tourism commitments. 

“Today more than ever, ensuring that tourism is an enriching experience for visitors and hosts alike demands strong, sustainable tourism policies and practices and the engagement of national, as well as local, governments and administrations, private sector companies, local communities and tourists themselves,” commented UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.

The UNWTO campaign includes a downloadable toolkit, and a manual of ‘Tips for a Responsible Traveller’, which have been developed in line with the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. Business and destination organisations are encouraged to become supporters, joining the likes of the Government of Andorra, the Madrid City Council, Iberia, Minube, and Air Mauritius.

The promotional video can be viewed here.

Mexican coral reef receives a health insurance policy

Corals in Mexico

A forty-kilometre expanse of the Mesoamerican coral reef off the coast of Mexico is to be the first in the world with its own insurance policy. The project, which is being piloted by the Nature Conservancy and reinsurer Swiss Re AG, will see hotels, tourism organisations, and other local businesses that benefit from the reef’s presence paying into a Reef and Beach Resilience and Insurance Fund. 

Piloting in the resort towns of Cancun and Puerto Morelos, Mexico, the project seeks to show how insuring such ecosystems that support tourism can fund ongoing reef protection and repair, which in turn supports both the tourism that relies upon it, and the wider ecosystem services it provides. “Nature, including coral reefs, mangroves, wetlands, sand dunes and healthy beaches, provides the first lines of defence to slow waves, reduce flooding and protect coastal people and property,” explains the Nature Conservancy. “For example, a healthy coral reef can reduce 97% of a wave’s energy before it hits the shore, and just 100 meters of mangroves can reduce wave height by 66%.”

Find out more about the project here.



Written and edited by Jeremy Smith

Tourism for Tomorrow in the news : A selection of news articles from last month