Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter March 2019

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

Kelompok Peduli Lingkungan Belitung (KPLB), Indonesia 


Belitung Coastal Community Group is a tourism operator running small-scale nature-experiences on the Indonesian archipelago of Belitung.

On a small archipelago off the east coast of Sumatra, a community group has taken on the challenge of restoring the native ecosystem formally decimated by palm oil plantations and tin mining. Locally-run ecotourism lodges and experiences provide an alternative source of income for the population (over 50 percent of which were employed in palm oil or mining) and help to fund conservation. Projects include: Kepayang Island Conservation Centre for training, education and turtle conservation; Mendanau Mangrove Conservation Centre; Batu Mentas Nature Reserve and (endangered) Tarsius Sanctuary. A nest protection scheme has reduced turtle egg poaching and planting 45,000 mangrove trees (and cultivating a further 20,000 seedlings) has made a dent in the 70 per cent loss of forests due to industrial activity. As a testament to its success, KPLB’s projects have been replicated at a national and local level.  

SEE Turtles, USA

SEE Turtles

SEE Turtles is an organisation operating sea turtle conservation and volunteer programmes throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Six of seven species of sea turtles are endangered due to trade in their eggs, meat, and shells. Since 2008, by unifying on-the-ground efforts to protect sea turtles throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, SEE Turtles has saved 1.7 million hatchlings and educated over 10 million people in preventing turtle shell trade. The program’s three-tier approach is highly replicable: education, training more than 100 teachers and community leaders in turtle hotspots and funding field trips for 2000 students; research, completing Latin America’s first illegal turtle trade report in 15 years identifying 10,000 pieces for sale in eight countries; coordination, creating a coalition of 120 tourism companies and conservation organisations working to end the demand for turtle shell. Successful campaigns include Too Rare to Wear, Billion Baby Turtles, and most recently, Divers for Turtles, to corral the dive industry to act.

The Cardamom Tented Camp, Cambodia 

Cardamom TC

Cardamom Tented Camp is a conservation tourism camp with nine safari-style tents in Cambodia’s Botum Sakor National Park. 

In a unique partnership between two NGOs — Wildlife Alliance and the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation — and operator YAANA Ventures, this tented camp in Botum Sakor National Park exists for nature’s sake. The partnership aims to keep 18,000 hectares of lowland forest out of the hands of poachers, loggers and sand mining operations. Under increasing threat from land clearance and rubber plantations, Botum Sakor’s endangered species, including the Pangolin and Clouded Leopard, are dependent on the success of sustainable tourism. Profits from the lodge help to sustain 12 permanent forest rangers, whose work since 2013 has seen a seven-fold reduction in snares found. Chainsaw use has stopped completely. Rather than acting in isolation, the rangers are integrated into guest experiences and play a key education role — not just for tourists, but for government officials looking for sustainable economic options beyond short-term extractive industries. 

ABTA releases new guide on plastics for sustainable tourism 

ABTA plastics The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has launched new guidance to help travel companies take a long-term strategic approach to tackling their use of plastics.

Titled ‘Managing plastics: guidance for travel companies’, the report was developed to support the travel industry develop, plan and monitor their approach to plastic and waste. It is also designed to help companies avoid any unintended consequences of adopting a new approach to waste management, for example by looking at broader considerations, such as health and safety. 

“Consideration needs to be given to all the impacts a product has – from manufacturing, transport, use and, finally, waste disposal. Reducing plastic waste can be a challenge, so it’s important to engage the support of those you work with to help you along the way, said Nikki White, ABTA director of Destinations & Sustainability.  “ABTA’s new guidance will support travel businesses to develop a plastic waste strategy that takes these factors into account to ensure that all implications are considered.”

The guidance is available on the ABTA website. It is free to ABTA Members. Non-Members can purchase the guidance for GBP 100 via the ABTA online shop.

Three companies win annual TO DO Award for Human Rights in Tourism 

To Do AwardAn association working to protect human rights for hotel workers, a tour company promoting women’s empowerment in India, and a company helping Peruvian weavers with market access have won the annual TO DO awards, presented each year at ITB Berlin.

The Spanish association Las Kellys fights for the rights of chambermaids in the hospitality sector. When the then government enacted labour market reforms in the face of the financial and economic crisis in 2012/2013, many hotel businesses dismissed their staff and transferred their room service operations to contractors. Las Kellys represented the case for the workers rights to the new Spanish government, resulting in the new government presenting an action plan against exploitation at the workplace, and several hotels re-employing their staff. 

Awamaki, whose name means “handmade“ in Quechua, works in the Peruvian Andes. It supports indigenous women weavers, providing them with access to international markets while ensuring they receive fair prices. It also supports sustainable tourism projects in the rural communities, and after 10 years is seen as a model for other organisations and regions, showing how tourism can be implemented in a careful manner. Awamaki are also finalists in the Social Impact category for the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2019.

Open Eyes is an India-based social enterprise enhancing opportunities for women through various social projects. Thanks to the organisation, disadvantaged women are now benefiting from tourism to their area, working in a range of professions, including as artists, masseuses, taxi drivers, or city guides.

 UN Climate Action awards open for applications

UN logoTourism companies, organisations and destinations are encouraged to enter the UN 2019 Global Climate Action Awards. Organised by The United Nations Climate Change secretariat, the awards aim to highlight innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change, in the hope of inspiring others to act. They will be recognized and celebrated during a series of special events at the UN Climate Change Conference in Chile (COP 25).

The awards are divided into four categories:

To apply, register in the application portal. Applications must be submitted by 30 April 2019.

Europarc meeting to explore sustainable tourism for protected areas 

XI CharterEuroparc’s XI Charter Network Meeting brings together professionals interested in Europe’s parks and other protected areas to explore a range of issues in relation to sustainable tourism, from overtourism to rural entrepreneurship. 

Taking place from April 9-11 in Paramanta, Greece, the event will see keynote speakers share their expertise and experiences from a range of protected areas across Europe. There is also a series of workshops focussed on designing tour packages, communication, monitoring and capacity building; and a day of field visits. 

The complete agenda and registrations are available at:

Launch of the first ever Africa Protected Areas Congress

APACA new event focussed on preserving and promoting Africa’s protected areas has been launched. The International Union for Conservation of Nature-World Commission on Protected Areas has partnered with Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and a broad range of conservation groups to organize and facilitate the inaugural Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC), scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from November 18-23.

The November event hopes to attract more than 2,000 delegates who will discuss ways that Africa can ensure a sustainable future for its protected areas, people and biodiversity while showcasing homegrown examples of practical, innovative, sustainable and replicable solutions that unite conservation and sustainable human development. In particular, APAC aims to integrate protected areas into the African Union’s agenda 2063 strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the entire continent.

A new award - the APAC Journalists’ Award has also been announced. To be presented at the congress, it will highlight those African journalists and media houses who are doing most to champion conservation and drive more effort toward reporting on biodiversity issues.

"We need to come to a common understanding that human beings can live with animals and take care of each other to save biodiversity," said Kenya’s Tourism and Wildlife Principal Secretary, Dr. Margaret Mwakima at the launch. "As a continent, we can offer resilience, adaptability and tackle climate change to protect our biodiversity," added Dr. Mwakima.

For more on the event and the award, visit

UNDP to help Sri Lanka establish Sustainable Tourism Certification Scheme 

Sri LankaThe Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (STLDA) has signed an agreement with the UNDP to establish a National Sustainable Tourism Certification Scheme for Sri Lanka Tourism. The UNDP is providing technical and financial assistance to design and implement a pilot project for sustainable tourism certification.

The project involves a partnership of SLTDA, BIOFIN and UNDP. BIOFIN is a UNDP managed global collaboration to develop and implement an evidence-based methodology that improves biodiversity outcomes using finance and economics.

"Sustainable development is the foundation for developing Sri Lanka as a tourism destination," said Minister of Tourism Development Wildlife and Christian Affairs, Hon. John Amaratunga. "Our strategic plan identifies the need and the importance of growing the industry in a sustainable manner."

Seychelles commissions study into islands’ tourism carrying capacity

SeychellesThe Seychelles is to undertake a feasibility study measuring the impact of tourism on the islands, ahead of next year’s deadline on the moratorium for the construction of large hotel projects.

Last year, 361,844 tourists landed in Seychelles, slightly higher than the 349,861 who arrived in 2017. The number of arrivals has risen year on year for the past five years, however, the country’s tourism minister said the islands, whose resident population numbers 95,000 could cope. "We have not reached half a million tourists per year so I think so far the figures are manageable," said Didier Dogley, the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine. "However the country needs to be mindful of the impact that mass tourism can have on a small island state like Seychelles such as on its environment if we are to increase this number. The study will give a clear picture on the state of tourism development in the country, and how we can maintain a balance between sustainable tourism and economic growth."

In 2015, the government announced a moratorium on the building of large hotels (defined in the context of the islands as 25 rooms or more), which currently lasts until 2020. The minister said the feasibility study will consider the type of hotels the country needs as well as the locations, to avoid overtourism in any one region. 

Written and edited by Jeremy Smith

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