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All posts in 2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

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This year is the United Nations’ International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. UN World Tourism Organisation Secretary-General Taleb Rifai declared it gave:

… a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued.

Sustainable tourism comes from the concept of sustainable development, as set out in the 1987 Brundtland report. Sustainable development is:

… development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

British environmental activist George Monbiot argued that, over the years, sustainable development has morphed into sustained growth. The essence of his argument is that little resolve exists to go beyond rhetoric. This is because environmental crises require we limit the demands we place on it, but our economies require endless growth.

At the moment, economic growth trumps environmental limits, so sustainability remains elusive.

 

Read the full article here. Written by Freya Higgins-Desbiolles for The Conversation. 

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There are about as many definitions of sustainable tourism as there are international travellers (1.2 billion at the last count), so how does a small business, multinational company, or even an industry association know where best to focus their resources when it comes to working towards a sustainable future?

The World Travel & Tourism Council recently undertook an exercise to answer just that question, and here is how they found the answer.

1. We laid out all the issues

Before we started asking people what’s important, we wanted to know what the scope of the conversation was. We investigated what others had identified and researched, and compiled a long list of issues to prioritise. We grouped the issues (43 in total) under eight headings, and you can find the full list HERE.

· Travel, tourism, and environmental impacts.

· Maintaining sustainable destinations in a changing world.

· Travel, tourism, and health.

· Travel, tourism, and human rights.

· Shifting innovation drivers in the Travel & Tourism sector.

· The evolving labour market and employment practices.

· Travel, tourism, and security.

· Responsible business practices and leadership.

2. We asked our membership

We then did a survey of all our Members, where they were asked to rate each of the 43 issues in terms of their relevance to the industry, using a simple scale of low/medium/high and severe impact over a medium term horizon.

Perhaps not surprisingly many of the responses focused on key issues of the day — security threats (Brussels airport bombing had just happened) and health pandemics (the Zika virus was in full swing); as well as day to day governance and compliance issues. It was clear that those issues that play out in the longer term — such as climate change — are perceived to be less significant amongst those who have more pressing concerns.

3. We asked the experts

Given the focus on issues of immediate concern we were keen to get a perspective from outside the sector. Individuals who are taking a longer term view of the issues and their impacts. We did this by speaking to a wide range of academics, economists, private sector specialists, and NGOs and intergovernmental organisation leaders from across the sustainability spectrum. To find out what they said read the full report HERE.

4. We defined our own success criteria

We chose to apply four ‘lenses’ to the analysis to help us identify where best our resources could be focused. These were:

· Long term — issues that will play out over the next 5–10 years or longer.

· Strategic — issues that will affect the ability of Travel & Tourism companies to create sustainable growth.

· Influential — issues where the Travel & Tourism sector is able to make a specific and unique contribution, relative to other sectors.

· Cross sector — issues where there is a need for collective action across Travel & Tourism as a whole.

5. We combined the findings

We mapped the priorities of the Members against those of the experts and were able to clearly identify a selection of the original 43 issues that were at the top of both lists. These included:

· Degradation of ecosystems, biodiversity, and landscapes.

· The impact of climate change on the attractiveness and the long term feasibility of certain destinations.

· Safety and security preparedness and response.

· Reduced travel to destinations affected by public health crises.

Read the full article here.

By World Travel & Tourism Council

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Recent research found 70% of people in middle- and high-income countries believe overconsumption is putting our planet and society at risk. Photograph: Seth Wenig/Reuters

 

This week, heads of state are gathering in New York to sign the UN’s new sustainable development goals (SDGs). The main objective is to eradicate poverty by 2030. Beyoncé, One Direction and Malala are on board. It’s set to be a monumental international celebration.

Given all the fanfare, one might think the SDGs are about to offer a fresh plan for how to save the world, but beneath all the hype, it’s business as usual. The main strategy for eradicating poverty is the same: growth.

Growth has been the main object of development for the past 70 years, despite the fact that it’s not working. Since 1980, the global economy has grown by 380%, but the number of people living in poverty on less than $5 (£3.20) a day has increased by more than 1.1 billion. That’s 17 times the population of Britain. So much for the trickle-down effect.

Orthodox economists insist that all we need is yet more growth. More progressive types tell us that we need to shift some of the yields of growth from the richer segments of the population to the poorer ones, evening things out a bit. Neither approach is adequate. Why? Because even at current levels of average global consumption, we’re overshooting our planet’s bio-capacity by more than 50% each year.

 

Read the full article here.

By Jason Hickel from The Guardian

 

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Since this year’s Earth Day falls on a weekend, PATA decided to celebrate a little early. For this year’s Earth Day, our Green Team invited Mr Poonyos Kumpolkunjana, founder of Paper Ranger a local Bangkok non-profit, to give our team a workshop, titled, “Everyone can be a hero.”

 

On Tuesday, 18 April, Mr. Kumpolkunjana came to the PATA Engagement Hub and spoke to our team about how easy it is to make something useful out of paper waste, then showed us how to make notebooks using our office’s used paper! Our team had a lot of fun crafting notebooks out of paper waste.

 

Mr. Kumpolkunjana from Paper Ranger showing how its done

 

Everyone joined in, including Dr. Mario Hardy, the CEO of PATA

 

Proud participants presenting their work

 

His foundation arranges workshops with various groups, and donates the handcrafted notebooks that result from these workshops to schools throughout Thailand. Learn more about Paper Ranger here, and to book your own workshop, contact paperranger@live.com.

 

Recycling is a crucial concept in sustainable management, especially in an office environment. For more information check our green tips of this week here.

 

 

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Photocredit: Shutterstock

 

Earth Day, Saturday, 22 April, is all about environmental protection.

 

We’ve all heard about the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), which help to reduce pollution caused by waste, conserve natural resources, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Many industries, including the tourism sector, are big contributors to environmental pollution; however, with proper waste management, a business can improve its business reputation, reduce waste costs and save energy. Reducing the amount of used paper in the offices can make a considerable positive impact.

 

Here are some ideas on how to reduce your paper waste in the office, even after Earth Day:

 

  1. Share files internally:

With Google Docs you can work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet. That means you do not need to share printed papers anymore. Other programmes that offering interactive document editing features include Microsoft Office 365 and Basecamp. For file storage and sharing, Dropbox or WeTransfer are popular options.

 

  1. Multitask:

Consider to invest in a dual or multi-monitor setup. According to the CIO Magazine and the Kyocera Environmental Survey 2011 employees print documents for cross-referencing them with another document. Giving employees more screens can also boost productivity at the same time. LCD monitors typically outlast computer upgrades, so this is one cost you’ll only need to pay once.

 

  1. Communicate with staff:

Explain to staff why it is important to minimise paper use and encourage them to join in the movement. Perhaps a competition that tracks the number of pages printed per person and shared with the team can be implemented and can incentivise staff to use less paper. Of course, this works best if staff are supported with paper saving facilities (online document stores, dual monitors, etc.).

 

  1. Make printing inconvenient:

An easy but effective way to save paper may be to reduce the number printers or paper available. Without fewer available printers in the office, employees are more likely to print less. This tactic can also help to save printer costs.

 

Sometimes, printing is absolutely necessary. Follow these rules for eco-friendly printing.

 

Successfully reducing the use of paper is a not done overnight. It takes effort and continuous education to move away from paper and establish a culture that shuns waste. Adopting the right tools can go a long way toward creating an environment to support a paperless office.

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Logo from Tourism & More, Inc.

 

 

 

As of the writing of this article, Europe continues to have multiple terrorism attacks.  Tourism & More sends its prayers to all those who are victims of terrorism

No matter in what area of tourism you may be, the simple fact is that tourism is a customer-oriented business.  Without customer service, not only your marketing will eventually fail, but also the business’ viability will be in question. Good service is to tourism what oxygen is to the body. It is the lifeblood of how the industry works.Providing good customer service is often a challenge. Tourism, Many of the frontline positions tend to receive only entry-level pay. The hours are long and neither the financial nor social-psychological awards are great.   Often customers take out their frustration on these very people, even when the frontline person can do nothing or has no decision-making authority.  Thus, the people who often have the least amount of authority are often the most abused and at times most frustrated.

One of the results of these problems is that often frontline positions have a high rate of tur  The lack of training then results in poorer customer service that produces a downward spiral.

Often employers present customer service skills as a necessary part of the job or something that employees simply have to do.  Additionally, and all too often, frontline personnel in tourism are not treated as professionals and this lack of professionalism is then reflected in their attitude toward our customers.

The French have a saying: “Tout c’est dans la presentation/everything depends on how you market it”.  That statement also holds true for customer service. If we present the training as merely customer service, that often produces a “so what” attitude.  If, on the other hand, we present the same training as “life skill enhancement” then the value of what we teach goes far beyond that of a frontline tourism professional.

Change for-the-job training to life skills and we may succeed in changing the attitude of some of our more problematic employees.   When we present this training as a professionalization process used to empower our frontline personnel to make decisions that impacts the way a guest is treated, we are on the road not only to better customer service but also to happier employees.  To help you implement these attitudinal changes Tourism Tidbits suggests considering some of the following principles:

 

– Remind our frontline personnel that in life just as in tourism the key to winning over difficult people is to exhibit: Empathy, coupled with patience. Most people in life can accept that things do go wrong, but what they cannot accept is an attitude that states: “I could care less.” Hospitality is based on caring.  Work with your personnel to exhibit a healthy questioning attitude.  When we involve ourselves in the other person’s problems, we turn anger into an experience and we become our customer’s host rather than a mere employee.  Be careful not to confuse empathy with sympathy. Good customer service is always empathetic but never sympathetic.  In a like manner remember that visitors are in a new environment and often feel lost. Patience and the ability to state the same fact two or three times is a life skill that goes a long way toward personal success.

– Teach Crises come about when we have a tourism breakdown and we refuse to adapt to a new situation. Things do happen, planes arrive late, hotel rooms may not be ready, food may be served too cold or too hot.  Learning how to adapt to new situations is essential not only in tourism but also in life.  This need for adaptability means that have to allow our frontline people to make rapid decisions.  Chains of command rarely work in life and almost never in tourism.

– Just as in life remind your front line personnel that every customer is different and almost every situation is unique.  Often in life we become jaded and take the position that we have heard it all before.  In tourism, as is the case in most things in life, people want to be taken seriously, want to be heard and want to believe that their case is being handled in a unique and special format.   That means that we must learn to listen attentively and be sure that the other person understands that we are hearing their issue.  Remember that hearing an issue does not mean agreeing with it, but it does mean that we recognize the emotions of the other person.

– Communicate in a clear and calm manner.  Often problems arise when we do not say what we mean.  Avoid pronouns.  Make sure that you use clear and precise language.  Try to stay on topic and do not allow telephone calls to interfere with your problem solving.  It is essential to remind frontline people that most customers want a problem solved quickly and efficiently. They are not seeking friendships but rather solutions. In today’s world of hypersensitivity use words carefully and a joke can easily be perceived as an insult.

– Be Knowledge. One of the worst things that a frontline employee can do is provide false information.  A good rule of life is if you do not have an answer, do not create an answer just so that you can look smart of efficient.  On the other side of the equation, it is essential for management to provide frontline personnel with as much up-to-date and accurate information as possible.

All of us need to have a thicker skin and remember that a job is only a job.  In tourism as in life all of us will need to confront situations outside of our control (remember with the exception of natural complainers, that our guests are speaking to us because they have had a terrible day). This is where empathy comes into play and we remember that we have the power to turn someone’s awful day into a wonderful day.

 

 

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Songkran Festival (Shutterstock)

 

Songkran is the Thai New Year festival celebrated from 13 – 15 April. It is one of the country’s most important public holidays. Songkran is a Buddhist festival also celebrated in many other parts of Asia including Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and parts of China. Each country has its own unique rituals and celebrations.

Water holds considerable significance during Songkran. It is a vital part of the celebrations as it is used for the ritual cleansing. However, this ritual expands inevitably into a giant fiesta of water splashing. If you visit these countries during this New Year period, be prepared to get very wet!

Songkran is a joyous time and an important festival for all Buddhists but it is important to act responsibly and conserve water – our most precious natural asset.

Here are some thoughts to consider when celebrating Songkran this week-end:

 

  1. Celebrate in traditional style

Celebrate Songkran traditionally by sprinkling a small amount of water over the hands of elders to receive a blessing for the upcoming year. This is a gentle and very meaningful gesture in Buddhist society.

 

  1. Use spray bottles – not water guns

It may be tempting and probably a must to take part in a water fight but you should consider using spray bottles as an alternative to the water guns.

 

  1. Visit a temple

Many temples offer Songkran activities and traditional shows where you may learn about the core concept of the water festivals in the company of local residents and fellow visitors.

 

Check South East Asia’s best temples here.

Songkran is a wonderful opportunity for mingling with locals and making new friends. Take time to consider how best to celebrate this year’s amazing Songkran Festival whilst remaining ever mindful of the need to conserve water.

 

Songkran Festival (Shutterstock)

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White rhinos graze on a ranch belonging to John Hume, one of the rhino farmers who sued to overturn South Africa’s ban on the domestic sales of rhino horn. PHOTOGRAPH BY WALDO SWIEGERS, BLOOMBERG/GETTY

 

It will soon be legal to buy and sell rhino horn within South Africa. The country’s constitutional court dismissed an application to appeal from the government to keep a ban on the trade in place, the South African government confirms.

This ends a lengthy legal battle that pitted rhino owners, who farm rhinos like livestock and want to be able to sell their reserves of rhino horn once again, against the government’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), which placed a moratorium on the trade in 2009 after a jump in poaching. Lower courts have sided with the rhino farmers, but the ban remained in place as the government’s appeal worked through the courts. Knowing that it may lose, the government began preparing for legalization earlier this year by issuing new draft regulations to govern the trade. They say that anyone with a permit will be able to buy and sell rhino horns and that foreigners will be allowed to export a maximum of two horns for “personal purposes.”

Read more on the legislation of rhino horn here.

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Plastic has dominated the in-flight experience, but airlines including Iberia and Qantas are experimenting with ways to reduce packaging. Photograph: Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images
Airlines generated 5.2m tonnes of waste in 2016, most of which went to landfill or incineration – and it cost them £400m.

You probably know about the waste problem in our oceans. But how about the one in our skies?

Airline passengers generated 5.2m tonnes of waste in 2016, most of which went to landfill or incineration, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates. That’s the weight of about 2.6m cars. And it’s a figure set to double over the next 15 years.

Toilet waste is included in that statistic. But so are miniature wine bottles, half-eaten lunch trays, unused toothbrushes and other hallmarks of air travel.

Once a plane has landed, huge volumes of disposable items are thrown away, says Matt Rance, chief executive of MNH Sustainable Cabin Services, a company that advises airlines on waste reduction. “It’s almost like taking a tube, tipping it upside down, emptying it out and then saying ‘right, fill it up with new stuff again’.”

The airline industry has taken flak for its growing greenhouse gas emissions as passenger numbers rise. But could its massive waste footprint be solved without affecting the sector’s growth?

 

Read the full article here.

By Olivia Boyd from The Guardian.

 

 

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No detail is too small, especially when it comes to cleaning. This idea can be applied to every area of hospitality, but today we are specifically referring to spring cleaning. When you think about spring cleaning, de-cluttering comes to mind, but have you thought about the cleaning products you use? Sustainable living starts with our daily routine, so let’s pay attention to how we can reduce our impact while doing daily chores and cleaning at work or home.

 

Cleaning products can contain harmful chemicals that end up polluting our soil and waterways. Below are some eco- and wallet-friendly substitutes for commercial cleaning products that do the job and are appropriate for office, hotel properties and even your home.

 

 

  1. Use baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) to clean silver items

Baking soda is a great cleaning product that is readily available and is quite inexpensive. When cleaning, add three parts of bicarb to one part with water and mix it, creating a paste. You can use this paste for any silver item. Once finished, rinse with water and wipe with a dry cloth.

 

  1. The microwave-lemon trick

Squeeze some lemon juice into a microwaveable bowl and cook for three minutes in the microwave. Afterwards, leave it to stand for approximately five minutes, then open the door and wipe out the microwave using a dry cloth. The microwave grime will come right off! If lemon juice is cost-prohibitive, vinegar works just as well!

 

  1. Dabble in vinegar

Speaking of which, vinegar can have multiple uses for cleaning. It works well to remove grease in the kitchen, and clears up cloudy deposits on wine glasses, and to clean mold and mildew in bathrooms. It even works well to works well to freshen up leather products – dab using a dry cloth and gently brush on. Here are more uses and recipes for vinegar as a cleaning product!

 

  1. Environmental friendly cleansers:

If using chemical or commercial cleansers inform yourself about ingredients and packaging. Check the ecolabel and be sure to read more on criteria to evaluate green supplies.

 

There are many ways to make a positive impact on our environment. While it can be intimidating to “go green“ in every part of our lives, every small step can make a big difference.

 

Read more on eco-friendly cleaning here.

 

 

 

 

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