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SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – Maria Amalia Revelo, Costa Rica’s new minister of tourism, has revealed her plans to increase tourism to the Central American nation over the next four years. With over 40 years of experience in the airline, tourism and hospitality industry, Revelo has an ambitious agenda to continue placing Costa Rica at the forefront as the most visited destination in Central America.

Among her priorities for the next four years are the promotion of small and medium-sized companies while strengthening the joint work between the public and private sector. Great emphasis will also be on the development of new local destinations and products with a special focus on culture and gastronomy.

“We are a destination that is constantly evolving, able to offer unique experiences to visitors 365 days of the year. A small but large country not only in its natural richness, but also because of our warm and hospitable people, who will certainly manage to sow in your hearts the desire to return,” said Revelo.

Red the full article here.

By Angelos Restanis for Travel Daily News International.

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As the global mindset shifts towards a more sustainable future, resorts in Thailand are also taking initiatives in this direction. These efforts are accelerating positive change in the tourism industry. Here are some initiatives that resorts are taking to show that luxury and sustainability can go hand-in-hand.

Cleaning:

Community:

Construction:

  • Soneva Kiri: Materials used to construct the resort are natural and from sustainable sources.
  • Six Senses Yao Noi: Utilises surrounding nature & natural resources to educate guests.
  • Bangkok Treehouse: Energy from renewable sources.
  • Tongsai Bay: No trees were cut during the resort’s construction.

Food:

Waste:

  • Soneva Kiri: Single use plastics and imported water bottles are banned.
  • Soneva Kiri: Waste management is done by onsite composting and a bio-fuel plant within the resort provides fuel to run conventional engines.
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How To Travel With Purpose: A Q&A With Intrepid Travel’s Chief Purpose Officer

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An intrepid traveler takes part in an authentic Kusimayo Ceremony in Peru Credit: Intrepid Travel

Leigh Barnes is the Chief Purpose Officer of Intrepid Travel, a small-group adventure travel company specializing in real-life experiences delivered through sustainable travel.

As Chief Purpose Officer, Barnes is charged with “ensuring that everything we do comes with a purpose.” This involves communicating that message, making sure the Intrepid staff grows with a purpose, leading Intrepid’s responsible business practices, and working with the product teams to ensure that all Intrepid trips have purpose, have impact and are sustainable.

Read the full interview on how to travel with purpose here.

By Ethan Gelber for Greenmatters.

 

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Preserving the environment and working towards a more sustainable future have become increasingly important agenda items in the world today. Tourism has a significant impact on the world economy, local communities, and the environment. As a result, businesses and individuals are now thinking in more sustainable ways.

People concerned about being a responsible traveller act as a driving force behind this global effort towards sustainability, with their own actions and choices. Therefore, it is beneficial to be informed about the local practices and the sustainability efforts that are being made by the destination you are planning to visit.

Here are some ways you can stay informed and become a sustainable traveller:

  • Minimise waste by using only what you need. Say no to plastic, as it is one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution.
  • Conserve the natural resources of the place you are visiting.
  • Support the local economy by shopping at local stores and vendors.
  • Make sure your actions are not adversely affecting the wildlife of the destination.
  • Make better decisions on where to stay via Bookdifferent, a hotel booking site that shows you the eco-label of various destinations and hotels.
  • Visit Verdict to stay on top of the latest news about travel destinations that are working on sustainable tourism.

Business travellers can also check out our responsible business travel guidelines to be better informed for your next trip.

Travelling is the best way to discover the world and fall in love with it. However, it is just as important that we work to develop a responsible and sustainable tourism industry to make sure what we love is preserved for future generations.

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Standing room only: Tourists walk along Matsubara-dori street approaching the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. Credit: BLOOMBERG

More than 28 million tourists from abroad visited Japan last year, and it seems for sure that the stated goal of reaching 40 million tourists a year by 2020 will be achieved if not surpassed, with or without legalized casino gambling, which is part of the official tourism plan.

That said, a downside has emerged — something the media is calling “kankō kōgai,” or “tourism pollution.” However effective the tourism promotion scheme has been, it didn’t take into account the numbers that actually materialized, nor the fact that many places, even those ostensibly set up for tourism, are not capable of handling the amount of traffic they’ve seen.

Read the full article here.

By Philip Brasor for the japan times.

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Mr Pololikashvili presenting at a conference in Asturias, Spain / Credit: Green Matters

On January 1, 2018, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili took over as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism.

GM: Many tourism professionals see sustainable tourism as necessary for the survival of the planet. Can sustainable tourism really make a difference?

ZP: While tourism brings socioeconomic development and inclusive growth to millions of people worldwide, its mismanaged expansion can put fragile environments at risk, deplete natural resources, and disrupt the social structures and cultural values of host communities – the very elements that tourism greatly depends on.

Sustainability is therefore tourism’s fundamental challenge and should be regarded as a comprehensive condition of the sector as a whole. This entails meeting the rising demands of today’s tourists while safeguarding the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of destinations and communities worldwide.

Read the full interview with Zurab Pololikashvili here.

By Ethan Gelber for Green Matters

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Longtail boats in Surin Island, Thailand. Credit: Getty Images on cnbc.com

As part of a shift toward natural resource preservation, some major destinations — and the people who visit them — are becoming more attuned to the environmental impact of tourism.

 The shift is disrupting some of the traditions associated with tourist hotspots, and given rise to a trend where environmentally sustainable outcomes are emphasized over mere ‘experience’ vacationing.

The dynamic is taking place against a backdrop of a very busy market for international tourism, which the World Tourism Organization expects to climb to 1.8 billion by 2030. Since 2000, worldwide destination seeking has jumped by more than 50 percent, the organization notes.

Read the full article here and learn more about a trend that is underway, where environmentally sustainable outcomes are emphasized over mere ‘experience’ vacationing and how sustainability can improve our vacation and then affect us when we go home.

By Samantha Kummerer for CNBC.com

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White Men in Suits at ITB panels – part 2. Time to tackle the lack of diversity at tourism events

Categories: Blog Posts, Gender
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by Marta Mills (oneplanetblog.com), sustainable tourism specialist and sustainability adviser for the Transcaucasian Trail

 

 

 

Exactly a year ago after ITB Berlin 2017, I wrote White Men in Suits and Sustainable Tourism for PATA’s Sustainability Blog, referring to the nationality, race and gender imbalance of speakers at ITB, but also at other conferences and events in the tourism industry. Has anything changed at ITB2018?

The only non-male panel at ITB CSR Day, 9 March 2018. Still pretty imbalanced.

This article is not meant to provide solutions but simply describe a status quo in relation to the inequality. And I have nothing against people wearing suits. But in this context, the suits represent the (mostly) white men who spend their time behind a desk in a city office block as opposed to working on the ground in tourism destinations. They know how to manage big tourism or airline companies, or are respected academics, but often have little practical knowledge that could then be worth sharing with destination practitioners during ITB panel discussions.

Quick look back at 2017

The whole CSR programme of events last year showed the lack of inclusiveness and balance, but there was one particular session (“How Can Sustainable Travel Offers Be Marketed Successfully?”) that prompted me to write. Seven white men in suits, six Germans and one English, discussing sustainability in tourism.  How ironic.

The “White Men in Suits” panel on sustainable travel at ITB 2017

I wanted (and still want) to find out who and how makes the final decision on the structure of the panels, and why there seem to be the same speakers year after year. Is it really that hard to find a women specialist, or someone from the southern hemisphere? Neither in 2017 nor in 2018 ITB responded to my questions.

Hopes for 2018

Considering a few significant events that sparked the worldwide debate on gender inequality – the Harvey Weinstein case of sexual abuse allegations, the #MeToo movement, now the most recent outrage at unequal pay at the BBC, to name a few – I hoped that the situation at ITB might change this year.

Also, in the written foreword to the  CSR Program, Rika Jean-François, the ITB CSR Commissioner, mentioned that in 2018, the tourism industry will have to deal with numerous challenges, including “gender inequality and discrimination due to sexual orientation (…) If we see how many seminars are still dominated by men, even in the sustainability sector, we must invite women to raise their voice – women are definitively carrying half of heaven on their shoulders”. Wise words. But…

 ITB 2018

Take the panelists for the CSR Program 2018. In Hall 4.1 (Responsible/Adventure Travel hall) on the Big Stage, there were 95 men and 44 women (7-9 March). Discussions in Halls 7.1 saw 78 men and 22 women. But during the ITB CSR Day (!) there were 16 male panelists and only one woman. Three out of four sessions had men-only panels. The last had five men and that one woman. All except two men were German, all were white. Er… Unbelievable?

At the end of this last session, its moderator Matthias Beyer who also moderated last year’s aforementioned “all-men-in-suits” session, pointed out that „one woman joining the panel this year is an improvement but certainly it is not satisfactory“.

Recycled speakers

And if we are comparing these both sessions moderated by Matthias:  three of the panellist were on both panels. That again made me think: who and how selects the panels for ITB? Is there a pool of “recycled speakers” that are always invited, based on some unwritten – or maybe written, somewhere – criteria? Surely, these speakers are experts in their area, but also, surely, there are so many others that never get approached. Why not? Do the organisers even want to go that extra step and go beyond the old, recycled bunch?

Matthias Beyer, Prof. Dr. Edgar Kreilkamp and Norbert Fiebig, participants of panels in 2017 and 2018

 “Others take the decision”

„In general, I totally agree with you that ITB panels require a much better balance in terms of race, nationality and gender“, Matthias Beyer said. I asked him whether he had any say in the selection of the speakers on his panels. „The influence for me as a moderator is limited. I can make suggestions but others take the decision. In 2018 my whole panel was fixed before I came into play“.

Can he refuse to moderate such imbalanced sessions? „To refuse a moderation is certainly an option but then you lose any influence. I prefer to remain involved and to try my very best to initiate and encourage changes“, he said.

OK, so „others take the decion“. That made me think, again, who …

ITB, wake up!

I want to emphasize again that the worldwide perspective doesn’t only come from the European, white middle-aged men in suits. Particularly during debates on supposedly more inclusive and fairer sustainable tourism. When will ITB, WTM and other big events start taking notice?

Does Rika have any impact on the composition of the panels, at least for the CSR Day? If not her, then who?

Hopes for 2019?

 Rika admitted that she was “totally aware of the unbalanced number of female and male speakers at the ITB Convention. I can assure you that I am also trying to change this and as CSR commissioner have discussed the phenomena also with our teams and the relevant co-organizers and scientific directors”.  She added: “You can be sure that I will work on it and readdress it again and again. This is one reason why I initiated the Gender Equality Seminar during ITB 2018 -as a start of a new series. We will support the dialogue and we will keep on going.”

 One seminar is a step in the right direction, but it is a tiny drop in the ocean. I’d like to see more inclusion and more diversity on other panels that not necessarily devoted to gender equality! Is it so much to ask to have a mix across the board to discuss a variety of topics, so this issue of imbalance and inequality doesn’t draw attention and it is not an issue anymore?

Let’s see if I am here this time next year, complaining about white European men in suits at ITB 2019.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author(s) and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) or any employee thereof. We make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented by individual authors and/or commenters on our blogs and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.

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Credit: Jeremy Smith on WTM

Last week, I spent a night in a hotel in Brussels that has taken a circular economy approach to redesigning the way its loyalty scheme works. Following on from my previous blog about how we in the industry can engage tourists by making them proud to be part of our efforts to promote sustainability, I want to look today at how rethinking the way such loyalty programmes operate could further help deliver on our aims.

Most people staying in a hotel – especially a city-based one – don’t just stay in the hotel. They wander out and explore. So why don’t hotels create partnerships with ethical shops, experiences, restaurants, low carbon transport alternatives and more in the neighbourhoods where they work. Such a ‘Hotel Eco Loyalty Programme’ (HELP) could provide me with discounts and incentives at these establishments and operators, helping me discover the city through them while supporting their efforts to assist the communities and environments where they work.

Read the full blog post here.

By JEREMY SMITH for WTM

 

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