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Lessons from Hawaii’s clean energy transformation for transportation

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Past and future? A red sports car and an EV drove up to a beach. Credit: Shutterstock / Theodore Trimmer

After a decade-long concerted effort, Hawaii has managed to more than double the amount of electricity the state generates from clean power, boosting it from 9 percent in 2010 to around 25 percent this year, according to a recent report. That’s a major achievement and will help Hawaii reach its first-in-the-nation goal of powering 100 percent of the islands’ electricity needs with solar and wind by 2045.

Roberts Hawaii — which operates close to 900 vehicles including tour buses, hotel shuttles and school buses in Hawaii — is not yet purchasing electric vehicles for its fleet. However, it has a pilot project with the state of Hawaii and the Honolulu airport to test out vehicles that use batteries, natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells.

The Director of Transportation for the National Resources Defense Council, Amanda Eaken, pointed to the electricity industry’s tight control of supply and demand as a possible tool for making transportation cleaner.

Read the full article here.

By Katie Fehrenbacher for GreenBiz

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'green' events planning

In line with 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, it is important that we take steps towards implementing sustainability in our day-to-day activities. This includes events – a major component of our industry.


There are many things that event planners, service providers and meeting participants may do as a means of contributing to sustainable and responsible event management.

Here are a few simple ‘green’ meeting tips:

1. Use online registration to reduce paper usage

Forget about archaic paper registration methods. Use an online registration tool. Online registration and ticketing not only eliminates excess printed materials but also saves time. Participants love being able to register from any device at any time. Check out Eventbrite, an example of a low-cost online event registration mobile app that can be used to promote and manage your event events.

2. Use electronic communication and marketing

Save a tree by going digital. Send out invitations, real time information, announcements and updates through online media and other online channels. electronic devicesDraw attention to eco-friendly aspects of your event with digital signage and information.

3. Choose a green venue

The venues, and their facilities, have a huge impact on the sustainability of your event. Consider first whether the building itself is certified, for example, by the US Green Building Council. Select an event site that’s easily accessible by foot, bicycle or public transport. This reduces the carbon footprint of your event. If your event is attracting international delegates, give them ‘green’ hotel options.

4. Encourage sustainable transportation

Choose energy efficient, hybrid or electric vehicles for your event. Encourage delegates to travel by public transportation by making it easy for them to navigate. As an alternative, set up carpool service (e.g. liftshare.com) or shuttle bus service for your attendees. Find out more about how to commute in an eco-friendly way; check out 30 ideas on green event transportation.

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5. Recycle and reduce waste at events

Provide bins for recycling and composting to minimise waste-to-landfill. Make recycling stations highly visible and accessible. Liaise with the venue management team about arrangements for composting food waste and donating any excess food to local charities.

6. Minimise energy use

Using natural light instead of artificial light reduces bills and helps the environment. Where electric lighting is required, make the switch to LED bulbs. Switch off lighting and equipment when it is not being used.

7. Go local

Use local vendors for ancillary services such as food, décor, gift items, and rentals. This reduces emissions and gives important support the local economies. Hire local staff to reduce travel times, costs and pollution.

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8. Inspire sustainable practices

Educate and inspire attendees by making your ‘green’ event practices highly visible to all stakeholders, including the public and the media. Encourage responsible behaviour among all stakeholders and foster understanding and appreciation of sustainability by adapting the PATA Responsible Business Travel Guidelines. Finally, check out our favourite 5 tips to become a responsible green delegate.

 

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Tourism, Transportation And Security Part 2

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Tourism, Transportation And Security: Tourism and more

July 2016 – As noted in the June edition of Tourism Tidbits, there is a symbiotic relationship between tourism and transportation. Tourism, as we know it, cannot survive without a good and safe transportation system. Although the inverse is not absolutely true, much of the transportation industry depends on tourism.

Although, some forms of transportation would appear to be independent of tourism, for example the trucking industry, tourism is such a major economic factor that without it even the trucking industry would have less goods to deliver and thus suffer. Thus, although there is not a perfect symbiotic relationship between the two, tourism and transportation industries are closely connected and to a great extent mutually dependent.

Because most of tourism is based on non-essential spending (business travel has been the one major exception to this rule and with the continual development of the internet and simultaneous “tele-castings”, this too may change), tourism is highly dependent on safe and secure, efficient and affordable transportation. In this moth’s edition and the second part of this series, Tourism Tidbits explores some of the challenges facing these combined industries and also turns to some of the transportation methods not mentioned in Part I (see last month’s Tourism Tidbits) of this two part series. Once again, the material found below is meant only to create dialogue and should not be considered in any way a formal recommendation.

Tourism transportation centers and methods need a great deal of upgrading in many parts of the world

Too many sea and airport terminals are outmoded. Bus and rail terminals are known in many places around the world as, at best, dirty and expensive and often are seen as dangerous or as unintended homeless shelters. Rest rooms tend to be dirty, and food services when available overcharge and under-deliver. Rarely do terminals reflect the culture of the locale, although some airports, such as the airports in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada provide some local flavor upon deplaning. For the most part, transportation terminals are boring, are inefficient in handling passengers, dirty and not pleasant.

Signage and roadways need major over-halls

Some areas of the world have done an excellent job in upgrading highways and services provided along these highways. Other parts of the world, make land travel a dangerous and unpleasant adventure. Too great a distance often separates traveler services from each other, signage is often either non-existent or poor, and for those who do not speak the local language, an exercise in stress management. Furthermore in too many locations highway landscaping seems to be of a cookie cutter variety, that is one road looks like another.

Visas and visa wavers

Perhaps no topic is more highly contested than the use of visas. Visas exist for three reasons, (a) as a tax on visitors entering a specific nation, (2) to protect the nation from unwanted visitors, and (3) to make a political statement. Prior to the growth of international terrorism the use of visas was on the wane with nation after nation adopting visa waver programs. That trend has now been reversed and this means that travelers going from one nation to another may need to jump through additional hoops before they can set foot on an airplane or ship.

Issue concerning land transportation

There are three major forms of land transportation that most tourists/visitors use. These are car, motor coach (bus) and train transportation. Each has it own issues and challenges.

Cars and rental cars

Cars (privately owned or rented) tend to be used by people who are independent travelers. Their great advantages are flexibility and changeability. It may be for this reason that car travel is tourism’s number one mode of transportation with estimates as high as 77% of the travel market. Currently gas prices are low and these low prices means that travelers have the cost factor as an advantage, Rental cars also benefit from low gas prices, but many rental car locations are located in airports that add numerous additional fees. These add-on fees are not only infuriating to many visitors, but can drive the cost of the rental car up considerably. Another issue is that drivers must not only deal with toll roads but that many of these toll roads are not manned and the driver, being a tourist may not have the proper toll sticker. Once again, tourism suffers as the replacement of customer service with machines means that there are less people to ask and the experience is much more homogenized. It should be noted that the independent car traveler pays the same gas taxes and tolls as does the local driver.

Bus and Coaches

Although most motor coaches are technically “buses” there is a great difference between them. Buses tend to be either used in local destinations or between destinations. In some parts of the world, buses come well equipped with wifi, toilets and often serve refreshments. In other parts of the world they are a traveler’s challenge. Buses, as opposed to motor coaches, tend to provide basic transportation. Motor coaches may have an affinity group, tend to be part of a specific tour and develop their routs to meet the needs of their clients. Buses are dependent on terminals. Motor coaches usually pick visitors up at a pre-set location, such as a hotel and take them to pre-set destinations. Both industries are benefiting currently from low gas prices but are heavily taxed. A major issue revolving around motor coaches is their arrival brings some 3-40 passengers to a location for specific times and these vehicles need convenient places to park especially as often older travelers have a tendency to gravitate to this form of transportation.

Rail transportation

Railroads in many countries are primarily freight movers, but in other lands such as Japan and Europe rail traffic is a popular form of tourist travel. Trains have several advantages over airplanes. Among these advantages are: they provide more space for luggage, they usually go to the center of a city and until recently they have been perceived to be safer than planes. European nations especially have invested great sums of money in high-speed rail lines. Travel by rail is often faster than by plane when one considers the total trip, home portal to final destination and allow for passengers to see the scenery. In other parts of the world, train stations are often substandard and customer service is an almost unknown concept.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article Tourism & More, Inc.

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Tourism, Transportation and Security Part 1

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Tourism, Transportation and Security: Tourism and more June 2016 – The connection between tourism and transportation is so close that often people use “travel” as a synonym for tourism. In fact, in many languages, tourism is another way to express travel. Even in English it is hard to miss the connection between the words “tour” and “tourism”. Transportation methods allow us to travel. Unfortunately, in an age in which elegance has given way to a form of pedestrian practicality, and terrorism is psychologically connected to transportation systems, the tourism industry cannot avoid transportation issues. With the exception of hiking, transportation companies are linked to tourism in four major areas. These are aviation security, maritime security including cruise security, railroad security, and road-/highway security including buses, private cars and vans. Furthermore, there are those in the green movement who seek to limit travel due to climate change. No one know the full impact of limiting travel, especially air travel, on tourism, but we may guess that both long-haul destinations and international travel will be impacted if there are less travel opportunities. Below Tourism Tidbits presents and overview of these four areas and how they impact tourism along with suggestions for improvements.

Aviation

Flying has gone from an integral and pleasurable part of the tourism experience to something that must be suffered through. In today’s world flying has not only lost its elegance. Although in relation to cost of living and current wages, flying is not expensive, it is perceived to be expensive. All too often smiles have been replaced with frowns, and airplane seats have become exercises in endurance. We cannot blame all of aviation’s problems on the airlines. They too are captives to government regulations, and often must implement policies, which they would prefer not to enforce. Despite this fact, the public has a tendency, as is true in all forms of tourism, to bundle its frustrations and find the airline industry guilty. This frustration is especially high due to the à la carte manner in which airlines now charge and to the low cost of fuel. The result has been a difference between a perceived price and a true price. To add to the frustration airline passengers must undergo a number of other difficulties. Among these are:

  • Poorly designed terminals that result in long lines
  • Great distances between gates or difficulties from transiting from one terminal to another
  • High costs of basic services at terminals coupled with poor quality
  • The high cost of parking
  • Slow baggage delivery and/or lost baggage
  • A great deal of interconnected bureaucratic layers that tend to undercut each other rather than aid each other.

On the other side of the ledger there have been several improvements. Among these are:

  • Many terminals now offer free internet service
  • Children’s play areas
  • Higher quality shops and restaurants
  • A greater number of executive clubs or work areas

In the background is the continual trauma of terrorist attacks against the airline industry. Although air travel is the safest form of transportation, the media’s emphasis on the air travel industry coupled with the some people’s fear of flying produces higher levels of anxiety than it does in other forms of transportation. It cannot be stated too strongly that should the tourism industry not deal with air travel’s real and perceived problems, it puts itself a great risk.

Air transportation security has so far been reactive rather than proactive

Until recently most security measures have been adapted to stop a repeat of an attack. Thus, one person had a shoe bomb, and millions had to remove their shoes. On the other hand all too little has been done to check those who are checking passengers and luggage nor is it clear how those who are working on the airplane prior to departure or upon landing are investigated and cleared.

The airline industry also must now have to deal with the issue of “climate change”

Pro-ecology tourism groups are asking people to fly less. Such a policy would not only destroy numerous travel destinations, for example, the Caribbean and Hawaii are to a great extent air travel dependent, but also make business travel either a great deal more expensive or almost impossible.

Issues Of Maritime Security

Maritime tourism or aquatic tourism covers a broad range of topics. The term includes everything from cruises to boating, from beach vacations to white water rafting. Each of these aspects has its own challenges and issues. In reality we can separate maritime travel and tourism from aquatic tourism. Aquatic tourism is anything that deals with travel or recreation and water. Maritime tourism is a subset and deals with travel versus pure recreation and by means of a commercial carrier, be that a ferry or a cruise ship.

Maritime tourism, especially in the cruise industry, has had a number of challenges

These include, shipboard fires, issues of piracy, issues of terrorism, issues of assault of all kinds from robbery to sexual assault, people falling or being pushed overboard and health issues such as the Nordau virus. To add to this extensive list, cruise companies must often deal with off-ship problems, such as crimes against their passengers while on shore, boarding issues and issues of passport control.

Aquatic tourism involves a number of other safety and security issues

These include issues of boat safety, water purity, swimming pool usage and vigilance, safety of equipment. When dealing with the ocean there are numerous problems of visitors not understanding that the ocean is both a place of enjoyment and a place to be respected and of caution. An example of how dangerous the oceans can be was the terrible tsunami that occurred in the Indian Ocean basis in 2004. In reality no one knows for sure how many people were swept out to sea and drowned but estimates are that well over 100,000 died that day in just a few minutes.

Both aquatic and maritime safety need to take into account that many people do not understand the ocean nor do they fully appreciate its force and might

What is true of the ocean is also true of rivers, lakes and even beaches. Tourism centers that use water transportation must make sure that signage is clear, that rules are not only understood but enforced, and that employees are well trained and highly professional.

By Dr. Peter Tarlow. You can find the original article Tourism & More, Inc.

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Reducing traffic congestion, carbon emissions and accidents while increasing travel speed

November 12, 2015 – Intelligent Mobility is an integrated approach towards achieving the global transportation industry’s three key goals of safer, cleaner and leaner mobility through creating vehicles that promote an eco-driving experience, are insulated from crash fatalities and are tuned to combat congestion. Read more.

November 01 2015 – A group of refugees in Berlin have banded together to map key resources across the city, including counseling, healthcare, German language lessons, accommodation, legal assistance, police and public transport facilities. Jeremy Smith Read more.

Urban cable cars: from transport solution to tourist attraction

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Photo: Cable Car in Columbia

Photo: Cable Car in Columbia

6 June 2015 – A transport revolution is storming through the developing world right now. Those who have visited Ankara or La Paz recently may know it. Anyone planning to go to Lagos or Mexico City in the next few years will encounter it. The humble cable car has been reborn, with not a snowflake in sight. Kevin Rushby. Read more.

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This is the second edition of the State of the Tourism Industry report and, like the first, the aim is to provide an overview of the tourism industry in Australia through the reporting of key indicators augmented by expert commentary provided by a range of representatives from the various sectors which contribute to tourism. The report was produced in partnership with the National Tourism Alliance (NTA). This year, for the first time, a survey of operators was also undertaken with the assistance of the NTA  who distributed the online questionnaire through their member organisations. The survey asked operators to rate the issues that had been identified in the previous year’s report in terms of the impact each was having on their sector and region.

by Liz Fredline, Leo Jago and Sheena Day

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State of the Tourism Industry 2006

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To make  more sustainable, we all have a role to play. Delegates, PCOs, clients, venues, and each supplier should all be part of the “greening” process. In this fact sheet, EarthCheck outlines a number of important tips on how to make conferences more sustainable without breaking the budget.

by EarthCheck

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