Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter June 2019

EU cities sign commitment to support circular economy approaches to tourism

Circular economy

26 major European cities have signed a Charter of Commitments pledging to reduce waste generation and encourage the development of a circular economy. The Charter’s goal is to rethink waste management to reinforce “the attractiveness of the territories” and to boost local development “by creating new green jobs and services locally.”

The Charter of Commitments was initially launched in 2018 by Urban Waste, an EU funded initiative promoting urban strategies for waste management in tourist cities in Europe. Since launching last year, the project’s consortium has expanded to now involve 27 partners from across the continent, coming from such key and diverse cities and tourist regions as Copenhagen, the Canary Islands and Krakow.

The project aims to trial circular economy approaches to waste management across 11 cities, including Florence, Nice and Dubrovnik, in order to develop a set of transferable principles and practices. In principle this means treating waste as a material and seeking ways to reuse and repurpose it, for example either as a raw material or energy.

Interview with SEE Turtles, Tourism for Tomorrow 2019 Winner


In celebration of World Oceans Day and Sea Turtle Week, Holly Tuppen talks to Brad Nahill, President of SEE Turtles and winner of the 2019 Tourism for Tomorrow Changemakers Award.

Six of seven species of sea turtles are endangered due to a prolific illegal wildlife trade in eggs, meat, and shells. SEE Turtles has spent over 10-years campaigning for change via tourism campaigns and partnering with local non-profits, saving more than 1.7 million hatchlings and generating $300,000 for communities nearby important turtle sites.

HT: Tell us a little bit about the SEE Turtles journey
BN: Having worked at Oceans Conservancy for several years, we (co-founder, Wallace J. Nichols, and I) saw a need to get funds to the right people and places for sea turtle protection. In the past, conservationists would move in and kick local people off their beaches depriving them of their primary source of income (collecting eggs from three nests was the equivalent to the average monthly income in some places). Not enough emphasis was put on involving local communities.

Since then, our approach has been two-fold — education and community. We’ve worked towards changing attitudes about the damaging turtleshell trade through reports and campaigns; we’ve poured resources into educating local leaders and taking teachers and students on field trips to their local turtle nesting sites; we’ve used conservation-led tourism to provide income to communities nearby turtle sites.

For example, The Billion Baby Turtles program uses grants to fund community-patrolled nesting sites. We also organise conservation tours to give the community additional income. Our latest venture is working with the diving community to create educational resources and guidelines known as Divers for Turtles.

HT: What does it take to turnaround the fate of a species?
BN: We’ve only been around for 10-years, and it will take 20-years to see real change within sea turtle populations. However, I know that community is the most crucial element. A good example is a Mexican beach we’ve been involved with. In 1999 turtle nest numbers were as low as 500 (from a high of 40,000) and that was after 17-years of conservation work by the indigenous Nahua community and the University of Michoacán. The numbers only started exponentially increasing when the first hatchlings started returning as adults. Our support is helping to sustain this program as this population of green turtles recovers.

HT: What’s your message to big business? 
BN: When it comes to tourism, investing in wildlife is investing in your product. To have an impact providing more funding to projects like ours isn’t enough; the whole industry needs to work harder together on wildlife trade enforcement.

To tour operators and businesses, I would say try to look beyond writing a cheque or taking your travellers to do an hour of volunteering during a week-long tour. There are so many opportunities to educate and inspire travellers overseas and back at home that it shouldn’t just be a box-ticking exercise.

HT: What three bits of advice would you give to others looking to establish a campaign targeting the illegal wildlife trade?
BN: The ‘if you build it, they will come’ approach doesn’t work so budget for marketing. Always get to know what organisations are already doing work in your field, where they are based and how they work, so you don’t reinvent the wheel. Most importantly, don’t fall into a neo-colonialistic approach; listen to the needs and expertise of local communities over and above any of your preconceptions.

Sustainable tourism competition launched for young social entrepreneurs

Tourism Competition

Entrepreneurship Campus, a UNESCO initiative, has launched a new competition to recognise young people using tourism to deal with some of the biggest problems facing society. Open to anyone aged between 15 and 35, the competition is looking for social entrepreneurs seeking to develop tourism so as to address issues from climate change and biodiversity loss to polluted oceans and the loss of cultural heritage. There are two categories - one for ideas, and the other for existing projects.

Since 2013 Entrepreneurship Campus has reached and inspired millions of users worldwide and taught them how to solve problems through entrepreneurship by using free online entrepreneurship courses. The new competition is supported by ITB Berlin, Travel Massive and Berlin Travel Festival under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Claudia C. Brözel. The judges also represent these organisations.

“Travelling is a core culture. It opens the eyes and the heart. I believe that we can find solutions for the main problems of our civilized world if we engage people to think off the beaten track,” explained Prof Brözel. “I am happy that we group together in a strong international network to start this initiative and offer of a worldwide platform to work together to sustain our future with sustainable tourism development.”

To find out more and submit an application, click here.

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Climate change cause extinction of Bengal tiger, says UN

Bengal Tiger

The Royal Bengal Tiger, which lives in the marshlands of the Sundarban forest reserves of southern Bangladesh, is at risk of extinction within the next 50 years, according to new UN research. According to the research, published this May in the journal Science of the Total Environment, rapidly increasing temperatures and sea level rises are threatening the 4,000-square-mile Sundarbans coastal ecosystems, the world’s largest mangrove forest where around three-quarters lies only a few feet above sea level.

"Our model predicts that due to the combined effect of climate change and sea-level rise, there will be no suitable Bengal tiger habitat remaining in the Sundarbans by 2070," wrote the study’s authors. While the research suggests the tigers’ habitat could be gone completely by this time, the authors suggest that significant interventions can still save them. “The more of the Sundarbans that can be conserved - via new protected areas and reducing illegal poaching - the more resilient it will be to future climatic extremes and rising sea levels," said Professor Bill Laurance, a co-author of the study.

Ctrip announces ecotourism partnership with WWF China

Ctrip and WWF

Asia’s largest online travel agency has started a strategic partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature China (WWF China) aiming to boost public awareness on the importance of biodiversity and to support more sustainable forms of tourism. One of the first initiatives is to issue a behaviour handbook to C Trip travelers, with advice on endangered species, wildlife trafficking and how to act as a tourist so as not to negatively impact on the wild animals their trips take them to see.

"Last year, Ctrip and our international brand made four commitments at the fourth Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade 2018 in London,” said Xinyu Li, Vice President of Ctrip. “We pledged to use our mobile applications, websites, offline stores and other resources to increase public awareness of the illegal wildlife trade. We also utilized social media and our virtual travel managers to inform customers travelling Thailand about the ban on ivory trading."

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ADB funds sustainable tourism to boost Mongolian parks

Mongolia TourismThe Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $38 million in loans to develop ecotourism in Mongolisa’s Khuvsgul Lake National Park and Onon-Balj National Park, developing them as models for economically inclusive development and conservation in the land-locked Asian country.It is the first time the ADB’s project loans in Mongolia have focussed on tourism and protected area management.

Khuvsgul Lake in Khuvsgul Lake National Park is Mongolia’s largest freshwater resource, while Onon-Balj National Park is the birthplace of Genghis Khan. The ADB’s Sustainable Tourism Development Project will improve planning for community-based tourism that will both support visitors but also create local income generation opportunities. The loans will benefit around 11,000 residents as well as improve local environmental conservation and climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts. It will also pilot test Mongolia’s first tourism concession manuals and eco-certification programs for protected areas.

“Tourism is the largest and fastest growing sector of the global economy, and Mongolia’s magnificent landscapes and unique heritage can capitalize on this,” said ADB Senior Environment Specialist for East Asia Mr. Mark Bezuijen. “That said, ADB’s support will help ensure that tourism growth in Mongolia benefits local residents and preserves fragile environments over the long term.”

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Global Recycling Day 

Global recycling Day

18th March 2019 saw the second annual Global Recycling Day take place, uniting industry professionals, businesses and consumers behind the common cause of celebrating the positive impact that recycling can have on the future of the planet. The ‘resource not waste’ mantra was celebrated worldwide, with over 25 events taking place across the globe, from Delhi to Lagos, and London to Sao Paolo. Global Recycling Day was supported across the world with a reach of 600 million people and 277 media hits across 23 countries. Not only that, a host of brands chose GRD 2019 to launch their new recycling campaigns/recycled products, and the campaign saw engagement from Walkers, Coca Cola, BBC, Defra, and L’Oreal to name but a few.

You can read more about the success of the second annual Global Recycling Day the website at If your organisation would like to find out more about supporting Global Recycling Day 2020, get in touch with the team at

Written and edited by Jeremy Smith