Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter March 2018

Who are the Finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Innovation Award?

Parkbus - Transportation Options

ParkbusPut simply, Parkbus is a scheduled bus service between four major Canadian cities and various parks and other wilderness destinations. However, the benefits of this connection - world’s first dedicated city-to-park transit system - are more far reaching than this simplicity might suggest. First, the service reduces traffic pressure on Canada’s most popular wilderness destinations, with one of its coaches taking up to 45 vehicles off the road. However, its real innovation is the access it offers to those less able to enjoy Canada’s natural treasures, through schemes such as ActiveDays, a community trips program supporting young adults that lack social connections, and NatureLink, a program which provides subsidised transportation to outdoor spaces to new immigrants, immersing them in the Canadian outdoor experience. Since its launch in 2013, the Parkbus programme has grown rapidly, and its replicability has already been proven by the launch of two new pilot routes in Mexico City.

Yayasan Karang Lestari Teluk Pemuteran (Pemuteran Bay Coral Protection Foundation)

YayasanPemuteran Village in Bali was once a poor fishing village, its reefs and coastlines almost totally wiped out through the escalation in destructive fishing practices involving dynamite or cyanide. But thanks to a community project to replant its reefs, it is now a thriving ecotourism destination. Since 2000, villagers have planted more than 70 ‘biorocks’ across an area of two hectares, whose chemical structure allows for an accelerated growth rate (up to 2-10 times faster) amongst coral saplings. Their effort mean Pemuteran is now home to the largest Bio-rock coral reef nursery and restoration project worldwide. The new reefs are also much more resilient - corals on biorocks have up to 50 times higher survival rate than normal reefs from the most severe high temperature bleaching events. They have even turned the tide on Pemuteran’s severely eroding beaches - because the waves have been slowed by the presence of these new reefs, the beaches have actually grown by 15 metres of beach in the last few years.

Virgin Atlantic 

VirginVirgin Atlantic has worked in partnership with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) to create the world’s first framework designed to address the many sustainability challenges of sustainable inflight catering. Through the partnership, Virgin has worked with the 14 catering companies it engages with across its global operations to address a range of issues. These include Fair Farming, Sustainable Fish & Seafood, Deforestation & Biodiversity, Animal Welfare, Transparency and Waste. All of the suppliers are audited by the SRA and by the end of 2017 Virgin said 90% of the food served inflight met these standards. Although Virgin was the first airline to develop and adopt this framework, others are already following suit -  it is being used by a national carrier in the Middle East, and IATA is working with Virgin to explore the potential to create an industry-wide sustainable inflight-catering platform.

Sustainable cities focus: Berlin

BerlinAccording to WTTC’s recent report City Travel and Tourism Impact 2017 Europe, Berlin is the 8th most popular European city with tourists, and the industry is responsible for four per cent of the city’s GDP. The German capital city is committed to playing its role in addressing climate change, and CO2 emissions were cut by about one third (from 30 million tonnes in 1990 to 20.8 million tonnes in 2013). In 2016, the city made its climate targets legally binding through the Berlin Energy Turnaround Act, which stipulates a greener energy supply, more school education on climate protection and clean energy, and greater efforts in adapting to the effects of climate change. The city aims for 40% CO2 reduction by 2020, 60% CO2 reduction by 2030, and by 2050, it aims to be CO₂neutral.

The most exciting initiatives happening and those that seem most emblematic of Berlin are at the local level - more than just about any other major city, Berlin feels like a hotbed of small scale, community initiatives in sustainability and innovative urbanism. There are experiments in urban gardening, greenhouses built in shipping container and permaculture schemes all across the city - many of them collected in the Berlin Food Directory. Meanwhile the city’s own green lifestyle magazine - Greenme Berlin - features an online map filled with environmentally friendly places to go, restaurants to eat at, shops to visit.

Tourism and education are blurred in tours such as those run by Creative Sustainability Tours Berlin, who combine tours and workshops to discover Berlin’s unique, local initiatives: DIY and open-source-urbanism, CoHousing, CoWorking, community gardens, ecological architecture, cultural projects and more. It’s also probably the only city where you can find a tour - also run by Greenme Berlin - dedicated to exploring circular economy initiatives. Meanwhile, Refugee Voices run tours led by Syrian refugees, who use iconic backdrops such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall to explore the reality of the refugee’s lives in the context of the city.

In 2017, Berlin also played host to the launch of the Berlin Declaration on Transforming Tourism, in which a group of global NGOs focussing on tourism, human rights and sustainability called for the industry to place human rights and self-determination of communities at the core of every tourism development as the industry looks to play its part in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

Sustainable tourism at ITB Berlin

Overtourism, climate change, and integrating refugees and migrants were some of the key sustainability themes addressed at ITB Berlin this year. Gloria Guevara Manzo, President and CEO of WTTC and Margaux Constantin, Associate Principal of McKinsey, presented findings from the recent report on Overtourism that McKinsey&Company produced for WTTC. Elsewhere representatives from cities including Barcelona, Amsterdam and Dubrovnik explained what they were doing to address the challenge; and a session on ‘Smart Destinations’ explored the role digitalisation and technological solutions could have in managing visitor flows. 

Across the three industry days of the show the diversity of events addressing issues around tourism and sustainability made it clear how broad the agenda has now become. There were sessions on everything from cycling tourism and astrotourism, to social impact tours and how in room digital technology can help hotels reduce their emissions. The ever growing scope of sustainble tourism was further made clear by the variety of exhibitors in hall 4.1’s dedicated Responsible Tourism area, ranging from child protection initiatives and climate offset programmes to walking tours and national parks. There was also a particular focus on Gender and Tourism taking place on International Women’s Day, with a seminar on Gender Equality in Tourism and the presentation of the Celebrating Her awards. “Our aim is to make use of the unique international platform that ITB offers to give sustainability and responsibility in tourism a voice”, said Rika Jean-Francois, CSR officer at ITB Berlin. “Against a backdrop of climate change, growing ocean pollution, alarming human rights abuses, overtourism and global warming the need for this has never been more urgent.”

WTTC Industry partner Mastercard supports C40 Mayors in commitment to deliver healthier cities

Mastercard C40The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group connects 90 of the world’s largest cities. In October 2017, the mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland & Cape Town signed a declaration pledging to procure only zero-only emission buses by 2025 and to ensure that a major area of their city is zero-emission by 2030. 

As a technology leader and partner of C40, Mastercard is working closely with these cities and businesses to pioneer new models of collaboration, using its technology expertise to facilitate the sharing of best practices that can better integrate and optimise various approaches to public transportation available in a city. For example, in London, Mastercard has partnered with Transport for London to enable contactless travel across the city’s travel network, making journeys far smoother for residents and tourists, incentivising more people to travel by public transport and reducing the number of cars on the road. Other cities in the network are now being supported to see how they can implement similar schemes.

This type of smart mobility management holds huge potential for cities to optimise existing infrastructure versus making costly investments in new capacity only to cover the peak of peaks. As the barriers to using a bus, tram or train fall away, people are more likely to choose that option instead of their more polluting private car. Once fewer cars are on the road, air quality improves and roads become safer. This encourages more people to walk or cycle which further contributes to the social, health and livability benefits for individuals and the city as a whole. It also helps deliver the steep emissions reductions that cities need to achieve in the years ahead to realise a low carbon urban future.

Treadright Foundation partners with Wildlife Conservation Society

TreadrightOn World Wildlife Day 2018, the Treadright Foundation announced that its newest Wildlife Initiative project partner is the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). With news of the partnership, WCS joins leading organisations the Wilderness Foundation – Africa and Wildlife SOS – India as current TreadRight Wildlife Initiative partners, all with the shared goal of helping to ensure the planet’s most at-risk wildlife populations are protected.

Through the new partnership, TreadRight will support WCS’s Big Cat Fund, which was launched in 2016 to help recover and stabilise populations of tigers, lions, cheetahs, snow leopards, jaguars, leopards, and clouded leopards in important strongholds across their ranges, and now runs long-term programs in 55 landscapes in 28 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. “It is with tremendous pride that we announce our Wildlife Initiative partnership with WCS,” said Brett Tollman, Chief Executive, TTC and Founder, The TreadRight Foundation. “We are thrilled to expand our Wildlife Initiative species portfolio to now include big cats in Africa, the Amazon, India and Southeast Asia, courtesy of this dynamic new sustainability partnership.”

Tourism and Development Focus: Seychelles launches innovative climate adaptation scheme

seychellesThe Indian ocean island nation of the Seychelles has finalised the first ever climate adaptation debt restructuring that also includes a strong marine conservation component. Supported by The Nature Conservancy, the restructuring will provide funding to support adaptation to climate change through improved management of coasts, coral reefs and mangroves. A Marine Spatial Plan will be implemented for the entire Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone, a territory approximately 3,000 times the size of their land mass, ensuring approximately 400,000 km2/98.9 million acres will be managed for conservation as marine protected areas (MPAs) within five years. 

Under the scheme the Nature Conservancy will purchase up to $21.6 million of the nation’s over $400 million debt, and activities such as oil exploration and large-scale development in the most fragile habitat will be limited, while providing the Seychelles with an innovative financial tool to support climate change adaptation, restoring coral reef and mangroves, and improving sustainable tourism.

WTTC member Europamundo wins 2018 UNWTO Ethics award

EuropamundoEuropamundo has been announced as the winner of the 2018 UNWTO Ethics Award. In 2011, the Spanish tour operator launched a foundation which has so far invested a total of EUR 1.5 million to support 104 projects in 27 countries in areas such as education and health, and directly benefiting nearly 200,000 individuals.  Through the foundation, Europamundo has supported a range of community development projects, for example working in Bolivia, Colombia, Morocco and Nepal to provide basic health education and training to local communities, as well as a project in Lebanon that is designed to include both local and refugee women in isolated provinces. 

Plans for Energy Positive hotel announced for Arctic Circle

Hotel energy positiveThe international architecture and design firm Snøhetta has released the designs for a circular hotel that will be energy positive. Called the Svart hotel and located to be built within the Arctic Circle on the edge of Norway's Holandsfjorden fjord, the building is designed to generate more power than it uses, and will be built according to the energy positive Powerhouse standard. Powerhouse is a collaboration between Snøhetta, Entra, Skanska, the ZERO Emission Resource Organization, and Asplan Viak that is focussed on the creation of energy-positive buildings, which are defined as buildings that will produce more renewable energy during their lifetime than they use for materials, production, operation, renovation and demolition.

“Building in such a precious environment comes with some clear obligations in terms of preserving the natural beauty and the fauna and flora of the site,” says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founding Partner, Snøhetta. “Building an energy positive and low-impact hotel is an essential factor to create a sustainable tourist destination respecting the unique features of the plot; the rare plant species, the clean waters and the blue ice of the Svartisen glacier.”

Tourism Cares creates online guide to social impact tourism in Jordan

TCTourism Cares and the Jordan Tourism Board have launched the Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan, profiling twelve community run tourism experiences that offer rich experiences and deliver social impact. Each of the twelve experiences is provided by a local nonprofit organisation or social enterprise that, in addition to providing a quality cultural experience for travelers, has a program for directly benefiting a disadvantaged population. “The very act of travel can be a force for good and these experiences are really about connecting people: travelers who are exploring Jordan and the dynamic local leaders who are moving these communities forward,” said Derek Hydon, chairman of the Tourism Cares Board of Directors.

ATTA announces plans for upcoming regional AdventureNext events


In 2018, the Adventure Travel Association will once again host an AdventureNext event in Jordan, and for the first time in India. The second AdventureNEXT Near East takes place in Jordan from 7-9 May 2018, and will focus on nurturing and strengthening professional relationships and potential partnerships. The recently released agenda highlights the importance of building connections that stretch beyond the adventure travel profession with events exploring storytelling, how tourism can inspire behaviour change, and understanding the psychology of adventure travelers to develop appropriate marketing content, offers, and pricing. In addition to the educational workshops, the event offers several networking opportunities and structured pre-scheduled Marketplace appointments. 

Later this year, from 10-12 December 2018, AdventureNext heads to Bhopal, the capital city of the state of Madhya Pradesh. The event will include adventure trips throughout India for buyers and media, and a special focus on activities in Madhya Pradesh. The Adventure Tourism Operators Association of India (ATOAI) will be a key partner with the ATTA for this event and exploring the relationships between commerce, conservation, and community will be a key focus. “India has been on our radar for a long time as a strong contender to hold an AdventureNEXT event,” said Shannon Stowell, CEO of the ATTA. “There are many dedicated and talented Indian members of the ATTA and we’re so thrilled to put on this event to partner with and support them.” 

Written and edited by Jeremy Smith

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