PATA | Contact

All posts in 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Diana Korner speaking on World Environment Day (Credit: Travindy)

At the end of this month the Seychelles Sustainable Tourism Foundation (SSTF) is holding a conference on sustainable tourism in Small Island Developing Nations, taking place at the University of the Seychelles. We caught up with Diana Korner, one of SSTF’s founders, to find out what the plans are.

Travindy: Why do you consider the Seychelles to have ‘enormous potential to become an international best practice example for sustainable tourism’?

Diana: Seychelles has a vast number of natural assets, like its pristine beaches, tropical forests, mountains and waterfalls and a biodiversity, which can be easily accessed in and around its many (marine) protected areas. There are probably few places in the world where you can just take a 30 minute hike to breathtaking views and find endemic flora and fauna and then 30 minutes later jump into the water and dive with turtles, sharks and other charismatic species. Also, Seychelles already benefits from a reputation internationally for being an ecotourism destination, through its many ongoing, award winning conservation initiatives which are linked to tourism, such as Cousin Island, North Island, or Bird Island among others. As a small island state with a population of 90.000 inhabitants in theory effective changes can easily be implemented with the right mechanisms and people on board.

 

Read the full interview with Diana Korner here.

By Travindy for Travindy.

Share

How much trickles down to her? RACHELE CARETTI/FLICKR, CC BY-SA

 

Wouldn’t it be great if something as simple and pleasurable as international travel could help end something as grinding and enduring as global poverty? After all, the industry is booming, growing at least 4 percent a year since the 1960s (with a brief slowdown in 2009), according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In 2016, over 1.3 billion international tourists spent an estimated U.S. $1.4 trillion. That’s the equivalent of Australia’s gross domestic product, dispersed around the world.

The UN has even declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, heralding the role of international travel in reducing poverty. But how much global tourism money really makes its way to poor countries?

Read it here. 

By Susanne Becken, Griffith University at Huffington Post.

Share

PATA launches new thematic ‘How Far Will You Go?’ video in collaboration with GLP Films, at #PAS2017.

Take a moment to reflect on your inspirations for travel as well as aspirations for the Asia Pacific tourism industry.

 

 

Share

The slogan “For The Planet” is projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015. Francois Mori/AP

 

Representatives from 196 nations made a historic pact on Dec. 12, 2015, in Paris to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures — while also cooperating to cope with the impact of unavoidable climate change.

The agreement acknowledges that the threat of climate change is “urgent and potentially irreversible,” and can only be addressed through “the widest possible cooperation by all countries” and “deep reductions in global emissions.”

But how deep will those reductions be — and how soon, and who’s paying for it?

Here are some key figures from the final agreement.

By Camila Domonoske from The Two Way

 

Share

 

BANGKOK, May 20, 2017 – A pioneering publication designed to help the travel and tourism industry meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been launched at the PATA Annual Summit in Sri Lanka.

Sponsored by Jetwing Hotels of Sri Lanka this new publication ‘The Olive Tree’ is a joint effort between the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Bangkok-based Travel Impact Newswire.

It features a compilation of announcements, news releases and initiatives by United Nations agencies and other multilateral groupings such as the Asian Development Bank on a broad range of SDG-related themes and topics including ‘messengers of peace’, ‘infrastructure investment’, ‘illegal fishing’ and ‘rice farming’.

Each article is accompanied by a sidebar explaining its importance and relevance to travel and tourism. This ‘ideas bank’ allows industry executives to envisage the linkage and to then decide how to get involved in advancing the cause.

PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said, “The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a global vision for humanity and one that we all should work to fulfil. The industry has an important and influential active role to play in achieving these goals but this may only be achieved through concerted efforts from the public and private sectors.

“The publication’s title reflects the concept and thinking of peace and understanding. We must remember that travel and tourism provide the perfect opportunity for people from various backgrounds to share their stories with each other in the hope that they may better understand each other as human beings regardless of race, faith or religious beliefs.”

Jetwing Hotels Chairman Hiran Cooray said, “This pioneering publication is a perfect collaboration between the public and private sectors and the media to help make our world a much better place. Sri Lanka has overcome the challenges of a long and bloody war and is now pursuing a path to nation-building. Travel and tourism is a critical contributor to this task and the private sector has a major role to play. As one of the country’s largest private sector players in the travel and tourism sector Jetwing is proud to be contributing to job creation, cultural preservation, poverty alleviation in an environmentally friendly way. We hope that this publication will rally the entire PATA fraternity to forge stronger links with the UN system and other multilateral agencies in pursuit of a common objective, namely the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals, well before the target of 2030.”

Travel Impact Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil, who initiated the project, said, “Travel and tourism is a unique global industry. It can rightfully claim to be the only one that can positively advance all 17 UN SDGs. Globally, travel and tourism is awakening to this powerful potential. So is the UN system. Behind the internal politics, the UN system and many other global multilateral agencies do a lot of great work. Their meetings, activities, reports and research can help the industry to make a robust contribution to the fulfilment of the SDGs.”

Muqbil added, “The Olive Tree publication will help industry decision-makers to explore the treasure trove of UN events, activities, campaigns, statistics and free reports that boost awareness of how the SDGs and the industry are intertwined. In turn, the UN agencies may better appreciate and respect the importance and value of travel and tourism in meeting their goals.”

The publication is available free of charge. Click here to download.

 

Share

Credit: Shutterstock

As the sun rises and the flooded forests of Cambodia’s Stung Seng wildlife sanctuary come alive with the chattering and whooping of endangered monkeys with their elegant silvery-grey fur, fishermen from the Phat Sanday commune make their way towards the lake to set their nets for the day.

Located in the Tonle Sap biosphere reserve, the unique wetlands ecosystem of Stung Seng provides food and shelter for a number of species and acts as an important fish nursery. Surrounding floating village communities are also dependent on the wetland’s lakes and trees for clean water, fish, wood, fruits and nuts for their survival.

Unfortunately, in recent years, illegal fishing, overfishing, hunting and forest exploitation have been threatening the health of this vibrant forest. With more than 90% of the commune population relying on fishing, the catch in the lake has been declining.

To combat this, sustainable tourism – where neither the natural environment nor the socio-cultural fabric of the host communities should be impaired by the arrival of tourists – has been introduced to the commune. By providing an alternative source of income, a responsible tourism plan in Phat Sanday is a means of conserving the environment and enhancing the livelihoods of local people.

“Some villagers, especially the youth, move to the city and neighbouring countries to find jobs because there aren’t many available here,” says Mr Leng Sok, a commune council member of Phat Sanday. “Sustainable tourism can help generate income for people who are providing boat, food and accommodation services to tourists. To attract more tourists, our natural resources will need to be protected and sustainably managed.”

Funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and implemented by Wild Cambodia Organisation, the project that Mr Leng is part of emphasises the importance of using participatory approaches to involve villagers in the development and implementation of a ‘responsible tourism master plan.’ The involvement of villagers in the plans not only allows them to contribute their traditional knowledge on their surrounding environments, but also empowers them to take ownership of environmental conservation and their own livelihood enhancement.

Photo: Consultation meeting with local tourism working group © Wild Cambodia Organisation

“When tourism is fully developed, many tourists will come to visit our community and people in our commune will be able to earn more money. To provide good services, we need to train local people in hospitality, especially in activities such as cooking, operating boats, guiding tours etc. This requires a sustainable funding stream. As agreed in our workshops, we plan to use the profit generated from tourism to support conservation activities and commune development. This includes education, health and infrastructure,” said Mr Khoeung, leader of the Phat Sanday Community Protected Area.

This year’s theme for International Day for Biological Diversity is “Biodiversity and Tourism”.

As reflected in the Cambodian project above, attractive landscapes and rich biodiversity are of great importance to tourism economies. The protected areas of South and Southeast Asia are particularly important for tourism and are drawing an increasingly large number of domestic and international visitors. The total contribution of tourism to the gross domestic product in the Asia-Pacific region was approximately US $2,270 billion in 2016, and approximately 159 million people in the Asia-Pacific region are working in jobs related to the tourism sector.

Tourism also relates to many of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Some focus on reducing damage to biodiversity from tourism, while others focus on pursuing positive contributions of tourism through community engagement and raising awareness for biodiversity, protected areas and habitat restoration.

Recognising the importance of tourism in biodiversity conservation, many programmes and organisations are already working with local communities to ensure that tourism not only benefits the economy but also the environment.

CEPF, for example, has supported a number of sustainable tourism projects in the Indo-Burma region since 2008. Some of the projects train local tour guides in ecotourism while others provide support in the development of policies for sustainable tourism.

Another grant-making mechanism, Mangroves for the Future (MFF), a partnership-based coastal programme co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP, has been supporting over 30 projects that focus on sustainable tourism development, since 2007. In India, the Grande & Bat Island ecosystem project assessed and analysed tourism-related threats to the island’s marine ecosystem. The project also trained 40 tour-boat operators on implementing sustainable practices for dolphin watching.

While tourism benefits local communities – both economically and socially- the natural environment cannot be sacrificed in the process. Tourism must be practised responsibly and sustainably, so as to ensure that the biodiversity and species that are critical for maintaining balance in ecosystems are safeguarded.

As a step in achieving this, local and national governments, tourism industries, businesses and local communities need to work together, as part of an inclusive and participatory process, to design the vision and way forward for a sustainable future.

 

Access the article here.

By the IUCN

Share

Credit: Shutterstock

 

Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism

 

This theme has been chosen to coincide with the observance of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in its Resolution 70/193 and for which the United Nations World Tourism Organization is providing leadership.

Biodiversity, at the level of species and ecosystems, provides an important foundation for many aspects of tourism. Recognition of the great importance to tourism economies of attractive landscapes and a rich biodiversity underpins the political and economic case for biodiversity conservation. Many issues addressed under the Convention on Biological Diversity directly affect the tourism sector. A well-managed tourist sector can contribute significantly to reducing threats to, and maintain or increase, key wildlife populations and biodiversity values through tourism revenue.

Tourism relates to many of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. For some Targets (for example 5, 8, 9, 10 and 12) this is primarily about ensuring greater control and management to reduce damage to biodiversity from tourism. For others (1, 11, 15, 18, and 20) this is about pursuing the positive contribution of tourism to biodiversity awareness, protected areas, habitat restoration, community engagement, and resource mobilization. A further dimension is the better integration of biodiversity and sustainability into development policies and business models that include tourism, thereby supporting Aichi Biodiversity Targets 2 and 4.

Celebration of the IDB under this theme therefore provides an opportunity to raise awareness and action towards the important contribution of sustainable tourism both to economic growth and to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Furthermore, the theme also provides a unique opportunity to contribute to ongoing initiatives such as the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns and to promote the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development.

We invite Parties and organizations that have already initiated national plans for activities to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity to keep the Secretariat informed of such plans and other noteworthy activities organized by NGOs or other organizations so that they may be included in these pages.

Read the notification here.

By the Convention on Biological Diversity

Share

 

PATA members are invited to submit entries for the 2017 Skal International Sustainable Tourism Awards. The awards programme features one new category – Tourism Destinations – as meaningful support to the UNWTO’s ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’.

 

Any organisation is invited to submit entries. Membership of Skal is not a required and there is no charge for participating in these prestigious awards. Deadline for entries is 30 June.

 

PATA Chief of Staff Dale Lawrence is also President of Skal International Thailand. He said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for public and private sector organisations to display publicly their support for the principles and objectives of sustainable tourism. I commend this awards programme to all PATA members.”

 

The awards will be presented at the Skal International World Congress in Hyderabad on 6 October.

 

More details at: https://www.skal.org/en/sustainableguidelines

 

Share

CC BY-NC 2.0 Clive Derra

 

UK supermarket giant Tesco is not exactly popular with the deeper green environmentalist crowd. In fact, when they planned on opening one of their Tesco Express convenience stores in my hometown of Bristol, it literally resulted in riots.

But while there’s legitimate concern around the oversized power that Tesco wields to transform our high streets, it’s hard to deny that the company has also made some substantial and important commitments to sustainability. Whether it’s tackling food waste, deploying electric vans for deliveries or housing employees on the roofs of its stores, many of its initiatives reach beyond the ubiquitous promotion of reusable bags or selling organic produce.

Now Business Green reports that the company is making a firm, long-term commitment to the fight against climate change. Specifically, that commitment includes a promise to slash its own operational greenhouse emissions 60% by 2025, and by 100% by 2050. It has also promised to run on 100% renewable energy by 2030. In the process, it became the first UK supermarket to have its climate change plans approved by the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative.

 

Read the full article here.

By Sami Grover from The Treehugger

Share

Credit: Shutterstock

Did you know?

Our planet cannot digest plastic

Plastic makes up about 90% of ocean pollution in the world

In China, 3 billion single-use plastic bags are used every day

The average plastic bag is only used for less than 15 minutes

 

The problem with plastic is that it’s inexpensive and therefore disposable. And when it’s so disposable, there is a lot of it, and a lot of litter, creating unsightly cities, and clogged and polluted waters.

 

We, the tourism industry, are dependent on clean oceans, pristine beaches, and ecological diversity. Local communities are dependent on fresh water and clean cities. It is time to take leadership and proactively reduce the use of plastic in the travel industry.

 

Here are some ways we can tackle plastic pollution in the tourism industry:

 

  1. Charge for it:

It can be difficult to change the legislation on plastic bans, but it isn’t impossible. Charging the customer an additional fee can be an incentive to reduce the demand for plastic products. Read more one the example of Ireland, who was able to reduce the plastic bag consumption by approximately 98 per cent within a week in 2007 by increasing the price for plastic bags.

 

  1. Replace your plastic products

 

  • Use only reusable glasses, mugs, and water bottles at conferences instead of plastic bottles
  • Simply do not allow plastic straws at your hotel or venue, or replace with biodegradable, paper, or bamboo straws
  • Replace single use toiletries with large pump bottles that can be refilled; replace plastic toothbrushes for giveaways with wooden ones
  • Initiate green meeting policies: check out this example

 

  1. Educate stakeholders, staff and travellers

Because everyone uses plastic, it is important to engage with every person involved in the business to educate them about the negative impacts of plastic use and how to make a positive, plastic-free change.

 

What to tell stakeholders:

Reducing plastic means reducing costs! Unnecessary material usage can be avoided, saving a lot of money in production and in waste management. Uptake of environmental management methods may attract new customers or partners who are seeking more environmental friendly businesses. Read more about the benefits of an environmental friendly business.

 

What to tell staff:

Employees play a very important role in doing the right thing with your business. It is important to understand that waste separation and the time and labour involved can not only be costly for the employer, but also very mundane for the worker. It is by no means a glamourous task, so actively reducing plastic means less work in the end. Often, particularly in an office environment, out of sight is out of mind. Once a person puts a piece of plastic is in the trash, they will never see it again. Help staff understand plastic’s lifecycle, and that reducing plastic can make an enormous impact on our planet and communities. Read more on how to engage employees in CSR.

 

What to tell my guests:

Empower your staff to teach guests about your company’s sustainability policy, as it relates to plastic. Explain why you are not using plastic straws or bags, and actively tell your story! Read more on communicating sustainability to guests.

 

Plastic is a global problem, but one that is being tackled all over the world. See how some African countries governments even banned the use of plastic, and consider how we can learn from this example. It is important to move proactive and be the change you wish to see in the Asia Pacific region.

 

Share