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by Marta Mills (@oneplanetblog), Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Director, Transcaucasian Trail Association


According to UNWTO, tourism’s role in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is to promote inclusiveness: inclusive sustainable economic growth, social inclusiveness, diversity, mutual understanding. The word “inclusive” appears in five Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet one thing that was clearly missing from the ITB’s “Sustainable Tourism Program 2017” was inclusiveness.

ITB Berlin (held 8-11 March) is “the world’s leading travel trade show” with over 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries, and over 160,000 participants. The three-day-long Sustainable Tourism Program of seminars, workshops, panel discussions and award ceremonies included over 200 speakers on 12 different stages in seven halls. However, the programme lacked speakers from the southern hemisphere; it showed race, nationality and gender imbalance amongst panellists; and lacked the Responsible Tourism (RT) practitioners during debates on big stages as if RT was not part of the “proper” tourism industry. I found it quite puzzling and questionable, particularly now in the Year of Sustainable Tourism.

There were some very inspiring and insightful sessions I am going to refer to later on, but I will start with the challenges that should be addressed in planning next ITB.

Nationality, race and gender imbalance while discussing sustainability in tourism

Nationality, race and gender imbalance while discussing sustainability in tourism

 

My ITB hats

I attended ITB wearing two hats – a sustainable tourism practitioner and a MSc student of Responsible Tourism Management. With a background in sustainability communications, I work on developing sustainable tourism in the Caucasus region through the Transcaucasian Trail project. I study how to implement responsible business practices for the benefit of communities and the environment in destinations. I was therefore keen to hear the latest news, trends and practical solutions in sustainable destinations management and in maximising the positive impacts of tourism globally. And anything related to trails, understandably.

Morning queue outside the venue: 160,000 people from over 180 countries attend ITB Berlin each year

Morning queue outside the venue: 160,000 people from over 180 countries attend ITB Berlin each year

The programme and the venue – first obstacles

The first ITB challenge, even before going to Berlin, was to go through the 27-page-long (!) CSR programme, pick the sessions of most interest, and work out whether it is actually possible to get from one to the other (often held in different halls on different floors) on time. The venue is huge – there is a shuttle bus cruising between 28 exhibition halls!

It is pretty time-consuming to work out what sessions happen simultaneously, and the app doesn’t allow to put “my favourites” in order either. I ended up making a spreadsheet of my timetable to work it out and wondering why this can be simplified. Perhaps the ITB could make it easier next year and run a scheduled timetable of all sessions so we could see at a glance who, when and where is speaking?

But these are technical issues that can be easily resolved. I believe that the lack of inclusiveness I referred to above is much more serious. Here are the challenges mentioned in the introduction:

 

  • Nationality/race imbalance:

Vicky Smith of Earth Changers, a RT practitioner and the ITB veteran, made a point that “although held in Germany, ITB is the international show, and therefore has more of an opportunity to showcase international players, start-ups and initiatives on its stages in order to represent the worldwide perspective.” And the worldwide perspective doesn’t only come from the European, white middle-aged men in suits. Particularly during debates on sustainable tourism.

I believe that at such an international show there should be a better representation of speakers from developing countries. The practitioners on the ground in destinations are not given the chance to participate effectively. The ones with hands on experience and often have a much better practical understanding of various sustainability issues than CEOs of companies based in Germany.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for inclusive participatory processes from designing change to implementation of good practices. Without “southern” speakers taking part in global discussions we are not addressing the sustainability of tourism. One of those small handful of “southern” speakers, the Founder of the Gambian Institute of Travel and Tourism Adama Bah, told me that “the purpose of the global discussion is to raise awareness so that the industry will take responsibility of making tourism sustainable. Without hearing from “southern voices” where most negative impacts of tourism do happen, educative global discussions defeat their purposes to make tourism sustainable.”

 

  • Gender imbalance

And speaking of other imbalances… One of the most-attended debates on “How Can Sustainable Travel Offers Be Marketed Successfully?” was led by seven white men on stage. Six Germans and one English. I tweeted ITB asking whether it was really that hard to find at least one woman who knows how to communicate sustainability (didn’t get a reply). Some other tweets about “the glass ceiling in tourism” followed. A quick glance at the small presentation offer in hall 4.1 (dedicated to Responsible Tourism) would have provided a few names of women professionals to choose from. Again, something to consider for next year.

I understand that by supporting various sustainability awards, the ITB demonstrates its commitment to sustainable development and gender equality. And there were women on other panels (although just over 30% – 38 women compared to 115 men speaking on the big stages). But it was quite ironic that a major session on sustainability has forgotten about respecting SDG 5 – Gender Equality.

Interestingly, at the very end of the session, the moderator apologised that “there are all gentlemen up here” on the panel. Considering how much applause that comment got, I clearly wasn’t the only one feeling disappointed.

 

  • (not) knowing your audience

Sometime I also felt that some speakers were not aware who the audience was. While I understand that the level of knowledge of sustainable tourism in the audience varied, I also believe that it is safe to assume that most of us in hall 4.1 (Responsible Tourism hall) knew a fair bit. There was still a lot of vague language from the business representatives, particularly the more senior executives of big companies, for example “we are working to build more capacity and improve sustainability of our operations”. This sounds great, however doesn’t provide any meaningful information nor any clear examples of what exactly the operator did to “build capacity” and what exactly “improving sustainability” meant.

Also, we already are “the converted.” We know that – to quote a few panellists – “everyone has to take part,” “it is our shared responsibility,” “we need to accelerate in sustainable product offer” or “make the message about sustainability more visible.” I didn’t come all the way to Berlin to listen to such old and vague slogans. I came to listen and learn how others actually do it, what works and what doesn’t, how I can get involved in a practical way. And, as many sessions have proven again, the best advice will always come from those who work on the ground, who have tried various approaches, who have made mistakes and are happy to share them, so we can all learn together.

Practical overview and lessons learn from the Jordan Trail Association – an insightful, fun and informative session led by practitioners on the ground

Practical overview and lessons learn from the Jordan Trail Association – an insightful, fun and informative session led by practitioners on the ground

 

  • Not enough awareness

However, these messages are important and should be repeated to the ones who are not converted and who need a constant reminder about the importance and role of sustainability in tourism – and that’s why I would also argue for including more RT speakers in the wider programme of ITB Convention. The whole industry needs to transform to minimise its negative impacts. The ITB mentions that “additional panels dedicated to ecological and social responsibility can also increasingly be found e.g. at the ITB Destination Days, but it should do much more to mainstream sustainable tourism.

For example, “ITB Young Professionals day” discussed which graduates will the industry need in the future. That could have been an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and repeat the messages about sustainable tourism. Or the big debate on “World Tourism Trends.” or “Success Factors for Nation and Place Branding” – giving RT practitioners space on the panels would have demonstrated that sustainable tourism is one of the big trends and brings competitive advantage when it comes to successful branding. And, overall, contribute to raising awareness amongst the wider industry. 

 

But…

I found the events on smaller stages much more informative, useful, practical, and engaging. Most presenters used their 30 min-slot very well – a short summary of the project/issue, how the issues are being dealt with, lessons learnt, time for questions. I immensely enjoyed the session on the Jordan Trail on the big stage of hall 4.1 on Friday 11th – three women panellists, all of them working on the ground in Jordan, representing the business and government stakeholders. Giving that practical overview with challenges and opportunities I was craving for. Similarly, an engaging session on community-based tourism in Myanmar, with a step by step guidance on how to develop tourism in emerging destinations. Both of them proved my point – ITB needs an international representation of hands-on practitioners to share the potential and best practice examples of sustainable tourism.

Peter Richards, Expert on Community Tourism Development and Market Access during a practical and engaging session on tourism development in Kayah State, Myanmar

Peter Richards, Expert on Community Tourism Development and Market Access during a practical and engaging session on tourism development in Kayah State, Myanmar

 

ITB 2018

Matthias Beyer, the moderator of the aforementioned all-men-in-suits panel, noted that his panel in terms of gender balance doesn’t reflect the reality of the industry, emphasizing that for the future, it is imperative to find a better gender composition for such panels. Such an approach is much needed and gives me hope that at future ITBs the number of women and intentional speakers will match the number of white men in suits.

 

Note: ITB Messe-Berlin was unavailable for comment.

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Chinese tourists, in particular, face harsh criticism in Hong Kong.

There appears to be increasing tension between tourists and residents around the world, with the former often blamed for behaving inappropriately and disturbing locals. Protests against tourist behaviour have erupted in Barcelona, Venice and Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong, tourists are blamed for being noisy, inconsiderate, urinating in public, buying up necessities such as baby milk powder, and generally not following local customs. Chinese tourists, in particular, face harsh criticism in Hong Kong as well as in Thailand.

By  and . Read more.

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Tourism Tidbits: Providing Tourism Cheer

Categories: Community, People and Places, Tourism Resilience
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Tourism and more

Wishing Everyone a Happy Chanukah and a Merry Christmas

December 2016: Tourism this past year has faced many challenges, from a slow economy in Europe to ISIS attacks, from medical issues such as Zika to waves of terrorism in Europe and wars in the Middle East.  For many around the world, despite the fact that this has not been an easy year, the month of December creates a great deal of “light” and “hope’. In the northern Hemisphere the lights of Christmas and Chanukah provide great beauty during the dead of winter. In the southern Hemisphere this is the beginning of the summer holidays and a time for rest and relaxation. December then is a time when most of the world seeks cheer and hope and looks to break the bleakness of everyday life with special events, with celebrations and with a chance to find beauty in life.

Tourism has a major role to play in helping all of us add cheer and a sense of joie de vivre to our lives. Despite the high cost of airline tickets and poor service along the continued weakening of the economy in many western nations, people seek the gift of travel.

Perhaps the greatest gift the travel and tourism industry can give the public is to find new and innovative ways to return at least some of the romance and enchantment to the world of hospitality. That means remembering that our guests are not mere statistical numbers but rather that each traveler represents a world unto him/herself and quality must always override quantity.

To help your locale or attraction put a bit of the romance and enchantment back into your industry, Tourism Tidbits offers the following suggestions.

Emphasize the unique in your community rather than the standardized.   Do not try to be all things to all people.  Be something that is special.  Ask yourself: What makes your community or attraction different and unique from your competitors?  How does your community celebrate its individuality?  If you were a visitor to your community would you remember it a few days after you had left or would it be just one more place on the map?  Emphasize unique shopping and dining experiences. If travel means nothing more than eating at the same restaurants no matter in where you are then it is merely a hassle rather than a memory.   For example, do not just offer an outdoor experience, but individualize that experience, explain what makes your hiking trails special, and your beaches or river experience with ideas from ecology, history or geology. If your community or destination is a creation of the imagination then allow the imagination to run wild and continually create new experiences.

Create enchantment through product development.  Advertise less and give more.  Always exceed expectations and never overstate your case. The best form of marketing is a good product and good service. Provide what your promise at prices that are reasonable.  The public understands that seasonal locations have to earn their year’s wages in a few months. Higher prices may be acceptable but gauging never is. If the other communities are building golf courses, then build something else, think of your community or destination as another country.  People do not want the same food, language and styles that they have back home. Sell not only the experience but also the memory by being different from other destinations.

Take the time to get excited about your community and then share that passion with other.  Ask ten neighbors what places they most like about your community and then make sure that you visit these locales.  You cannot get other people excited about your community if you are not excited about it.  Play tourism in your own community. See what you like and dislike about it and then emphasize the good and fix the bad.

Think of why it is great to be a tourist in your location. Do you offer special types of food that want to make people forget for a few days about counting calories, provide unique experience, or give people a chance to unwind?  Does your locate have unique music or can a visitor have a once in a lifetime experience when visiting?  Can your locale provide the visitor with a chance to leave his or her schedule and turn every hour into a happy hour?  These are the basics that make being a visitor and tourist fun.

Assess the areas of your tourism experience offerings that destroy enchantment and then fix them.  For example are your guests subjected to:

  • lines that are too long
  • a lack of shelter from the weather, sun, wind, cold etc.
  • rude service personnel
  • personnel that neither listen nor care
  • traffic jams and airport hassles
  • a lack of adequate parking
  • no one who is willing to listen or own a complaint?

Remember that tourism is first about people.  Tourism is about fun and you cannot help others to have fun if you dislike your job!  Make your job something special, do something goofy every day and find new ways to break your daily routine.   Remember that you need to be less interested in yourself and more interested in the vacationer’s experience.  An employee who is unique, funny, or makes people go away feeling special is worth thousands of dollars in advertising.  Every tourism manager and hotel GM ought to do every job in his or her industry at least once a year.  Often tourism managers push so hard for the bottom line that they forget the humanity of their employees.  Be with the visitors and see the world through their eyes.

Enchantment starts with caring and appearances.   The rule “people first” is an essential part of tourism, but along with good customer services, comes the way your locale, business and community appear.  In tourism appearances matter!  Develop a group of specialists in such fields as lighting, landscaping, color coordination, exterior and interior decorations, street appearances and city themes, parking lots and internal transportation service.  Utilitarian devices, such as the San Francisco trolley cars, can be vehicles of enchantment if they enhance the environment and add something special to place and help to differentiate it from other locales.

Create lists about what is special about your community and then make sure that the local population is aware of these attributes.  All too often locals believe that there is no reason anyone should come to their community and in fact there is nothing to do.  Run regular newspaper and TV spots that emphasize information such as:

  • What special attractions you community has
  • Special nature trails and outdoors activities
  • What to do when there is inclement weather
  • When festivals and special events occur
  • What are some of the special traditions and customs in your community
  • What are unique shopping opportunities

Remember hospitality starts with people so the more personal interactions that you can create the more positive is the memory that visitors take away from their visit to your locale.

Create a safe and secure atmosphere.  There can be little enchantment if people are afraid.  To create such an atmosphere local security professionals must be part of the planning from the beginning.  Tourism security is more than merely having police or security professionals hanging around a site.  Tourism security requires psychological and sociological analysis, the use of hardware, interesting and unique uniforms and careful planning that integrates the security professional into the enchantment experience. Enchantment oriented communities realize that everyone in the community has a part to play in creating a positive tourism experience and one that creates a unique and special environment not only for the visitor but also for those who live in the community.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. Read more on Tourism & More, Inc.

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African Tourism Ministers adopt African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism

Categories: Africa, Featured Post
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African Ministers of Tourism and heads of delegation along with UNWTO officials assembled in Marrakech for the 22nd Session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP22) to adopt the first African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism and sign the Declaration on ‘Tourism and Climate Issues in Africa’. Both documents pave the way for the implementation of sustainability and responsibility principles in the tourism sector in Africa.

The African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism, signed during the Ministerial Forum on Tourism and Climate in Africa, on the sidelines of the COP22, aims at becoming an instrumental tool for the continent to engage in sustainable tourism best practices by reconciling social and economic growth, the preservation of the environment and the respect for the cultural diversity of each country.

During the opening, H.E.M. Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Tourism of Morocco, said “the charter which is signed today is a commitment for the future in order to promote sustainable tourism for the benefit of Africa while showing respect to biodiversity and the heritage of each African country”.

Commenting on the charte,  Márcio Favilla, UNWTO Executive Director for Operational Programmes and Institutional Relations, said it is “the result of the vision that African countries have for the future of their tourism sector: one that respects the environment, local communities, promotes gender equality, creates jobs for the youth and is a key driver for sustainable and economic growth” and that “the Charter constitutes also an open working platform for countries which provides global orientations to preserve, respect and benefit African destinations and African people”.

The flowing countries undersign the document: the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Congo, Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Cabo-Verde, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Tunisia and Chad.

Click here for the original article by Travindy.

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Take part in shaping Sustainable Tourism Future, 1 week left to apply for the Awards!

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Sustainable Tourism: The past, present, and future as told by WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

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WTTC t4t-call-for-entries-2017_apply-now

Since 2005 the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have sought out, recognised, and promoted best practice in sustainable tourism from across the globe. Over these 13 years we have received nearly 2,000 applications, recognised 156 finalists, and awarded 52 category winners. As the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development will shine a spotlight throughout 2017 on tourism’s role in driving sustainable growth, WTTC has undertaken a review of all our Tourism for Tomorrow award finalists and winners over the past 13 years to see how the sustainable tourism landscape is evolving.

Be part of the future of sustainable tourism apply today!

An emerging prioritisation of sustainable tourism by urban destinations

Over the years there has been a gradual rise in the quality and quantity of applications from urban destinations. This reflects not only the growth in urban tourism around the world, but the increasing focus on tourism as an economic development tool by city and town authorities with its inherent requirement for a more sustainable approach. In 2012 we recognised our first urban finalist in the Destination Category – Tanabe City, Japan – but it wasn’t until 2015, with Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, that an urban destination won the category. The trend continued in 2016 when Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront was shortlisted and Parkstad Limburg in the Netherlands, a coal mining community that regenerated through tourism, won.

Addressing climate change is now a must for any credible sustainable tourism programme

Addressing carbon emissions is now a critical part of any sustainable tourism initiative.  Whereas it featured as part of specific applications in the early days, by 2016 any credible application, across all categories, is expected to consider the impact of their carbon emissions. This of course reflects the increasing prioritisation of climate change at a global level. For example, Wilderness Safaris, which won the 2016 Environment Award for their pioneering work in saving rhinos in Botswana, also has a robust climate programme, and CO2 emissions have reduced by 16% since 2012. Ilunion Hotels (formerly Conforteles) won the 2015 People Award for their leadership in accessible tourism, but had also reduced CO2 emission by 14%  in a year. Feynan Ecolodge in Jordan, finalist in the 2015 Community category, recognised for its integration of the local community, is run on 100% sustainable power. The importance of reducing carbon emissions in travel is also reflected in the 2016 Innovation Award winner Carmacal Carbon Calculator, which allows consumers to compare the carbon impact of different travel options and make booking decisions accordingly.

More social enterprises are engaging in tourism activities

Mirroring the growth in social entrepreneurism around the world, we have also seen an increase in applications from social enterprises engaging in tourism activities. This is partly driven by the opportunities offered by mobile technology and social media in terms of connecting people and making mainstream markets more accessible, as well as being a result of NGOs and charities needing to find new and sustainable income streams. We have seen an evolution from government and NGO driven community-based tourism projects, such as the Sunderband Jungle Camp in Bengal, India (2007) and Namibia’s Communal Conservancy Tourism Sector (2010), and community initiatives within privately owned companies such as 10 Knots in the Philippines (2007) and Virgin’s Pride ‘n Purpose (2011) to social enterprises such as Ecosphere bringing tourism to the remotest communities in the Indian Himalayas (2014), Reality Tours and Travel offering slum tours which benefit the people who live there in Mumbai, India (2015), and  Sapa O’Chau, Vietnam’s first minority owned tour operator (2016).

Recognition that people are critical for a sustainable future

Sustainable tourism has always been about balancing the needs of people, the environment, and businesses. Interaction with local communities has been recognised in the Community Award over the years, with excellent examples of how tourism can engage and directly benefit those who live around and work in destinations, hotels, and other businesses. However, as time passed it became apparent that encouraging people to work in tourism and training them appropriately is vital for sustainable tourism development. Therefore, in 2014, WTTC introduced the People Award to encourage awareness of those initiatives that are leading the way in opening up the sector to new workforces. In 2014, LANITH was recognised for its work to promote tourism careers and skills in Laos; in 2015, Ilunion Hotels were recognised for providing opportunities to people with disabilities; and in 2016, the Youth Career Initiative was recognised for its global programme of training schemes to bring young people into the hospitality sector.

Biodiversity is still a top priority

Despite the wide diversity of applications over the years, one constant has remained – the high number of entries from organisations who are conserving and protecting biodiversity. Some examples over the years: Wilderness Safaris were recognised in 2016 for having re-established viable breeding populations of both black and white rhino in the Okavango Delta; Jetwing Vil Uyana hotel in Sri Lanka (2014) regenerated three habitats, providing a home to 80 species of birds, 17 species of mammals, 36 species of butterflies, and 21 species of amphibians, as well as a growing population of Grey Slender Loris; 2010 winner  Al Maha Desert Resort in Dubai facilitated the reintroduction of the Arabian Oryx; and in 2007 the Caiman Ecological reserve was recognised for its work in protecting the Hyacinth Macaw, the Blue-fronted Parrot and the Jaguar.

Standards continue to rise, backed up by measurement and monitoring

Measuring, monitoring, and reporting impact has become one of the most important ways for companies that are committed to sustainability targets to win over sceptical stakeholders and enhance their global reputation. Just doing the basics or having a general sustainability goal is simply not enough anymore; data driven evidence with targets and monitoring is now embedded into the sustainability activities of those at the forefront of sustainable tourism. Tourism for Tomorrow winners and finalists are now expected to show measureable impact, and as a result the standard is increasingly high.

The parameters of sustainability are widening

Sustainable tourism has its roots in environmental conservation, but, as our finalists and winners show, it is increasingly incorporating a broader spectrum of initiatives. In 2005 sustainable tourism was still a niche segment of the overall product but increasingly companies are realising that for all tourism to succeed it needs to be sustainable. Some of the emergent trends we are seeing include: a focus on accessibility for both employees and tourists (Sozopol and Ilunion Hotels, 2015); initiatives to engage consumers (TripAdvisor, 2015 and Carmacal Carbon Calculator, 2016); and use of innovative technology (Chepu Adventures Ecolodge, 2014 and North Sailing, 2016).

Looking toward 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Over the years the companies, projects, and destinations showcased by the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards have played a vital role in demonstrating the art of the possible in tourism, inspiring, and driving change across the Travel & Tourism sector in all corners of the world. They are, however, still the exceptions rather than the rule. For tourism to make that critical difference, we need, in 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, to encourage:

1. More innovative initiatives being driven at scale.
2. Projects that cross the different tourism industries, and using the expertise of those outside of Travel & Tourism to deal with issues that companies themselves cannot solve alone (e.g. overcrowding).
3. Sustainability that is an intrinsic part of a company’s opus operandi, not simply part of a philanthropic effort.
4. Media engagement in and coverage of sustainable tourism issues and initiatives, to press for improvements, share success stories and promote best practice.

“I look forward to the day when there is no sustainable tourism. Just tourism.”

(Fabien Cousteau, WTTC Global Summit 2016, Dallas Texas)

Click here for the original article by WTTC.

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Industry Awards Your Organisation Should Apply For

Categories: Green Tips
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Receiving awards has its benefits, whether your organisation is in its infancy or has been around for some time. It’s a fantastic way to build credibility, gain recognition and get the word out about all the positive things that your organisation is doing day by day.

Winning awards also boosts employees’ morale as it shows them that their efforts are being recognised. Additionally, and as noted in the Huffington Post, it’s not bragging when someone else says it…and it also makes your partners look good.

Deciding on which awards to apply for can be daunting, so to put you on the right track we have highlighted seven awards programmes given annually for you to consider.


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1) Tourism for Tomorrow
Organiser: World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC)
Deadline for Applications: Now! Deadline is 14 November 2016. Click here to learn how to apply.
Awarding: 26-27 April 2017 at the WTTC Global Summit in Bangkok, Thailand
Categories:

  • Community Award
  • Destination Award
  • Environment Award
  • Innovation Award
  • People Award

 

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2) UNWTO Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism
Organiser: United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Deadline for Applications: September 2017
Awarding: January 2018
Categories:

  • UNWTO Lifetime Achievement Award
  • UNWTO Ulysses Prize
  • UNWTO Awards for Innovation (Public Policy and Governance; Enterprises; Non-Governmental Organizations; Research and Technology)
  • UNWTO Ethics Awards

 

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3) World Responsible Tourism Awards
Organiser: Responsible Travel
Deadline for Applications: May 2017
Awarding: November 2017 at the World Travel Market in London
Categories:

  • Best accommodation for responsible employment
  • Best for wildlife conservation
  • Best innovation by a tour operator
  • Best for poverty reduction and inclusion
  • Best responsible tourism campaign
  • Overall winner

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4) Skål Sustainable in Tourism Awards 
Organiser:
Skål International
Deadline for Applications: June 2017
Awarding: Skål World Congress in late October/early November 2017 in Hyderabad
Categories:

  • Tour Operators
  • Urban Accommodation
  • Rural Accommodation
  • Transportation
  • Countryside and Wildlife
  • Marine
  • Community and Government Projects
  • Major Tourist Attractions
  • Educational Institutions/Programmes and Media

 

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4) World Legacy Awards

Organiser: National Geographic
Deadline for Applications: August 2017
Awarding: March 2018 at ITB Berlin
Categories:

  • Earth Changers
  • Sense of Place
  • Conserving the Natural World
  • Engaging Communities
  • Destination Leadership

 

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5) ASEAN Green Hotel and ASEAN Homestay Awards

Organiser: ASEAN Tourism
Deadline for Applications: August 2017
Awarding: January 2018
Categories:

  • Overall Winner
  • One (1) ASEAN Green Hotel Award and Two (2) Runners-up from each member state
  • One (1) ASEAN Homestay Award and Two (2) Runners-up from each member state

 

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7) Awards from PATA

A. Grand and Gold Awards
Deadline for Applications: April 2017
Awarding: September 2017 at PATA Travel Mart (Macau SAR)
Categories:

  • PATA Grand – Education and Training; Environment; Heritage and Culture; Marketing
  • PATA Gold – click here for the full list

B. PATA CEO Challenge

Deadline for Applications: September 2017
Awarding: November 2017 at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner, World Travel Mart, London
Categories:

  • State, Region, Province and Country
  • Second Tier/Third Tier City

C. Tourism InSPIRE Awards
Deadline of Application: (postponed for 2016)
Awarding: November at the PATA New Tourism Frontiers Forum
Categories:

  • Best Branded Accommodation
  • Best Independent Accommodation
  • Best Marine and Wildlife Tourism Provider
  • Best Culture and Heritage Tourism Provider
  • Best Responsible Tourism Destination
  • Best Community Based Tourism Initiative
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Securing Our Ports for Safe Cruising Ports and Tourism Security

Categories: Featured Post, Operations, Risk Management, Tourism Resilience, Tourism Safety & Security Issues
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Security Tourism and more

Written by Dr. Peter Tarlow, Tourism & More. 1 November 2016

In much of the world, the month of November is a time when the cruise industry begins to enter into its high season, especially for those ships that frequent warm water tropical ports. Although the cruise industry has had its ups and downs, so far the industry’s ports-of-call have avoided any major terrorism crisis. The same, however, cannot be stated with regard to issues of crime. Today’s travelers and tourists seek out places/experiences where there is a sense of security and safety. Cruise liners bring thousands of people to a port of call, but if there is a perception that the port is dangerous, then passengers may simply choose not to disembark. In the world of cruises, often the cruise is the journey. At times more than the ports-of-call, the cruise itself is the real destination. Contrary to most hotel experiences cruises permit visitors to stay on board and still feel that they have met their vacation goals.

Safety, Security and Surety

In order to maintain a port-of-call’s sense of security and to enhance its reputation while protecting its economy, many communities have established special police units at ports serving sea transportation. Just as at hotels and attractions, ports and their surrounding communities, are centers where visitors often need protection. The busy traveler often is running to/from gates, may have minimal control over his/her luggage, and often has no idea where his/her documents may be. Some ports may be centers of crime, prostitution, and drug dealers. Security specialists are aware that an attack against the site’s infrastructure may not only knocks out the terminals or docks, but also the locale’s reputation and economic viability. Such an attack may also cause cessation of transporting of goods and passengers. An attack at a port might not only causes death, but also would be a major blow to a tourism community’s overall economic vitality. To make a port safer and to help to assure the continued viability of a cruise community’s tourism industry Tourism Tidbits offers the following suggestions for your consideration.

Port officials must assume that their ports, be they for shipping or air, will be targets of terrorism.  

This caution does not mean that every port will be attacked, but it does mean that any port can be attacked or can become a conduit for an attack. Ports are doorways to the transportation system. Thus, a terrorist may use one port in order to gain access into the sanitized area of another port.

The media today is highly conscious of port security.  

An attack at any airport of seaport (or if an attack is launched from that port) may result in a great deal of negative publicity and economic damage for a long period of time. The cost of reputational recovery far exceeds the cost of security.

Remember that when you are in a different place, you are in a different place!

That means that travelers can often be taken by surprise. Advise travelers that they do not want to take a cab that has not been approved by the authorities, how much of a tip to leave at a restaurant, or even how to determine the value of foreign monies. In a like manner, remind visitors not to walk down a dark street alone, take enough money with them that in case of a robbery the thieves will not become so angry that they do harm. The bottom line is always remembered that even the strongest man can be taken down, especially if he is taken by surprise.

Ports are not only places through which visitors egress, but also ingress into an area.

Thus, if a nation’s airport is not deemed safe, the reputation loss may be felt throughout the entire local tourism industry.    

It is important to recognize that there is a fundamental paradigm shift in the travel industry.  

Old assumptions will no longer hold. From a business perspective these old assumptions are very dangerous. Those parts of the travel and tourism industry that emphasize security will have a good chance of surviving. The venues that provide give good security mixed with good customer service will flourish. Those parts of the travel and tourism industry that hold on to the old way of thinking will fade away.

No one knows everything. Inviting specialists to help train people helps to create a paradigm shift and provides fresh pairs of eyes.

The worst thing a port manager can do is to bring in someone who is not a specialist in both security and travel and tourism. Remember this is not a passing emergency, but a new way in which people think. Port security officers must not only think security but also how that security impacts the economy of an area and the marketing potential of their actions.

It is important to develop security coalitions with all components of your community.  

Ports are not stand-alone communities; they are part of a living community. Make sure that your port security/police department is trained and understand tourism, and that the local tourism industry understands how it needs to cooperate with port security officers. In too many cases, port security personnel and tourism personnel do not even know each other’s names.

Ports and tourism industry leaders must conquer their desire for denial and the belief that all problems can be handled through creative marketing.  

The best crisis management is good risk management. Recognize that no part of the world and no sea or airport is immune from a terrorist attack. Too many parts of the travel and tourism market simply do not believe that an attack can happen to them and therefore fight against security professionals rather than working with them. Do not forget that the media devotes a great amount of coverage to an attack against a tourism area, the fear factor spreads from one locale to entire regions, nations, and even continents. Terrorists are well aware of the role in the media in helping their cause.

Know what are your tourism weak points within your port.  

For example, as people line up at ticket counters, are they secure. Is there a proper stand-off distance between check-in and drop-off areas. How easily can baggage areas be targeted and can baggage easily be stolen?

Make sure that all police personnel and port security personnel are aware of how important tourism security is to port management.  

Most police have never been trained in good tourism security. It is essential to have a person work with your local police who can “translate” between tourism and security issues.

Security and Safety may have different meanings to scholars, but in the world of travel they are one and the same.  

In the new paradigm shift, recognize that poison water and gunfire have the same results: the destruction of your business. Begin to see the relationship between risk management and security. They are two sides of the same coin.

Determine how well your port:

  • Employs duplicate checks of baggage
  • Scans all bags including those which are checked
  • Removes all potential weapons from gift shops that are beyond the security barriers
  • Checks all workers who have access to airplanes while it is at the gate.

In terminals, check and recheck all ventilation systems.  

No one should be allowed to approach a ventilation system who does not have your full confidence. Make sure that contract labor is kept far from areas that can be used as delivery systems for bioterrorism.

Get beyond the fear that too much security will scare the public.  

The public is more frightened of security breaches than it is of security methods. The old paradigm of hiding security professionals is no longer valid. Visible security is the best marketing tool that you can develop.

 

Tourism Tidbits – November 2016 is republished with permission of Tourism Safety Department

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Can We Save Venice Before It’s Too Late?

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PISA, Italy — A deadly plague haunts Venice, and it’s not the cholera to which Thomas Mann’s character Gustav von Aschenbach succumbed in the Nobel laureate’s 1912 novella “Death in Venice.” A rapacious tourist monoculture threatens Venice’s existence, decimating the historic city and turning the Queen of the Adriatic into a Disneyfied shopping mall. By Salvatore Settis. Read more.

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Strengthening the Safety of the Hotel and Hospitality Industry Through First Aid Training

Categories: Tourism Resilience, Tourism Safety & Security Issues, Uncategorized
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We can all agree that at all levels within the hotel and hospitality sector we would rather the time worn cliché of ‘Accidents Will Happen’ was not true. However, real life tells us otherwise.

As a duty of care, Management must ensure that staff are looked after and that, in turn, a percentage of whom are trained in essential first aid and health and safety care. An accident or injury could potentially ruin a guest’s vacation. However, a swift and decisive response can mollify what could be a distressing and painful situation for the guest concerned.

When a disruptive event or disaster occurs in the vicinity of a hotel, resort or popular tourist destination employees may find themselves in the role of first responders before professional or specialized assistance can arrive at the scene. Therefore, ensuring that those working within the hotel and hospitality industry are equipped with the skills to administer basic first aid assistance is an important consideration for creating a more secure and safer tourism sector.

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Yohann Maillard, CEO of Bangkok First Aid comments: “People who have an accident or for example a cardiac arrest, naturally are in distress. Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) often is fatal. Irreparable damage or death can occur in 4-6 minutes of SCA. In Thailand, paramedics take an average of 8-10 minutes to arrive. However, staff who are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillator (AED) and first aid skills can make the difference between life and death. CPR does keep the blood flowing to the core organs with some oxygen, allowing time for defibrillation and advanced care by Emergency Medical Services. Immediate CPR & AED can triple a patient’s chance of survival.”hospitality bkkfirstaid02

Building confidence to save lives is Bangkok First Aid’s mission. By providing enjoyable and accredited courses people become empowered and skilled in potentially saving someone’s life. Bangkok First Aid has delivered a number of specialized training courses and sessions to organizations engaged in the hospitality and tourism sector. Please see more information about the work of Bangkok First Aid by visiting the link: www.bangkokfirstaid.com.

 

Text and photos from Bangkok First Aid.

 

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A Conversation with UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai on Millennials, Tourism and Peace

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I’m in Yerevan, Armenia, for the opening day of the annual meeting of companies and organizations who are part of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate Programme. UNWTO, the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism, is responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism worldwide. At this meeting delegates from around the globe will be discussing trends, best practices and transformative ideas, with a special focus on the upcoming 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. I’m here as part of the delegation from Hostelling International, which is a Vice Chair of the Affiliate Group.

UNWTO’s leader is Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. He is widely recognized for his inclusive, forward looking efforts to build a travel and tourism sector that embraces economic, environmental and social aims. In this first of a two part interview, he speaks about millennials, tourism and peace. By Russ Hedge. Read more.

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