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All posts tagged Responsible Tourism

A Flickr image of a seal taken at Scotland’s Forvie nature reserve. Verino77 via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

Watching animals in their natural habitat may seem harmless, but it can have serious consequences for the conservation status of wildlife. More than 1,400 species listed as Endangered and Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature are threatened by tourism. This can be a consequence of habitat destruction caused by tourism development or disturbance caused by tourists.

Consequently, we need to find ways to manage these activities so that the targeted wildlife can continue to thrive and the businesses that depend on it can remain economically viable. This is not an easy task.

The first obstacle on the path to managing nature tourism sustainably can be overcome by harnessing the power of the internet and social media. We can use this data to identify areas where wildlife is under strong pressure from recreational activities and intervene, perhaps preventing any significant impacts on the wildlife. We can also investigate whether nature recreation is helping countries to achieve biodiversity and sustainability targets, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. For example, we can look for associations between nature tourism growth and progress towards biodiversity and sustainability goals in different countries.

Read the full article here.

By Francesca Mancini of The Conversation.

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Residents in tourism hotspots have had enough. So what’s the answer?

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Photograph: Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

How do you solve a problem like tourism? It employs hundreds of millions of people, buoys entire industries – but can tear apart the very cities that benefit from it, alienating residents and causing irreversible damage to their culture and heritage.

Protests across Europe have spurred talk of “responsible tourism” and forcing the sector to factor in sustainability, but the problem is already at such a scale that doing anything about it seems akin to turning around a cruise liner.

What’s the way out of this mess?
Read the full article here to find out.

By  for The Guardian.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Wildlife encounters are one of the most exciting and memorable experiences you can have, but your safety and the animal’s welfare should be your highest priority.

Here are some tips on how to have an exhilarating and responsible wildlife experience:

  • If you can, visit animals in the wild or in sanctuaries where they are kept in the most natural conditions possible. If you’re looking for a more affordable option such as a zoo, do some research on the establishment’s stance on animal welfare before you purchase a ticket.

 

  • Don’t use animals as photo props. Critters such as the slow loris are adorable, but they get distressed when held; therefore, no matter how cute or seemingly harmless, avoid the urge to treat wild animals as cuddly toys.

 

  • Check if your tour operator has taken adequate measures to ensure safety for you and the wildlife. You can reduce uncertainty by booking tours through tour operators that have special accreditations, that show they follow sustainable tourism practices, such as PATA members Khiri and Buffalo Tours.

 

  • Appreciate animals just as they are and respect them. Some attractions may have your favourite creatures behaving in a way they normally wouldn’t in the wild. It’s best to avoid supporting such activities, as it is difficult to access whether the training methods used to tame the animals are responsible or not.

 

 

Spend sustainably because your refusal to engage in potentially dubious activities will bring down the business that profits at the expense of wildlife.

For more background information on the role of elephants in Asia and animal welfare, visit the links below:

If you’d like a more thorough understanding of animal welfare in tourism, check out ABTA’s Animal Welfare Guidelines.

 

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Enjoy the summertime while practicing eco-friendly habits. A little goes a long way in terms of sustainability, and every bit of effort counts.

Here are seven tips to help you go green this summer:

  • Stay hydrated by carrying your own refillable tumbler or water bottle. Refuse to use single use plastic bottles, cups and straws.
  • Get a few indoor plants, they can act as natural air purifiers and will liven up your space.
  • Save on your electricity bill by letting in natural daylight. Remember to turn off lights, fans and other electronic appliances when not in use. Switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Use eco-friendly deodorants to stay fresh this summer. They are better for your skin and, of course, the environment. If you can’t find them in the market, try this simple DIY.
  • Prepare a hearty meal at home and avoid processed foods. This will minimize waste generation and will also be beneficial for your health.
  • Ride your bicycle or walk to travel short distances. Use public transport to cover greater distance. If you can’t avoid driving, try staying within the speed limit, as this is more fuel efficient.
  • Instead of using the dryer for clothes, let your laundry dry out in the summer sun.
  • Shop for produce at local markets. This supports the economy and the community at large.

If you’re planning to go on holiday, try going green and help to preserve the beautiful destinations for generations to come.

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Participation in a community-oriented program in Nepal. Credit: Giving Way

The term “sustainable travel” has a green glow to it, connoting eco-friendly practices and environmental responsibility. But the human side of sustainability, as defined by the World Tourism Organization, addresses community impact, both social and economic, and is newly gaining traction among travel companies.

“There’s a lot of people who think ‘eco-tourism’ when they hear ‘sustainable tourism,’ but that’s a piece of the puzzle,” said Kelley Louise, the executive director of the Impact Travel Alliance, an industry nonprofit organization that focuses on sustainable travel. “Sustainability has a positive impact not only on the environment, but the culture and the economy of the destination you’re visiting.”

Organizations promoting social impact travel aim to emphasize not just big do-good trips, but to educate travelers about their smallest decisions, such as eating at a locally owned restaurant.

Read the full article here.

By Elaine Glusac for The New York 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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Reap swift financial benefits by developing your country with mass tourism or opt for long term, low impact eco-tourism. Which would you choose?

Done right, sustainable tourism offers livelihoods for communities, meaningful travel experiences for tourists and protection for indigenous species and ways of life.

Read the full article and watch the video to find out what Botswana Tourism did here.

By World Travel & Tourism Council for Medium.

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WTMvideopanel (Credit: Griffith Institute for Tourism Insights)

 

When reflecting on the last decade of work on climate change and tourism, I can make three observations:

1. The climate is changing faster than predicted

Every year we are witnessing new records in climate extremes. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains several websites to report and visualise climate extremes and anomalies. The Figure on the right, for example, shows a long term trends. Not only are temperatures increasing faster than expected, but  so do the rise in sea levels, the intensity of storms, and the retreat of Arctic sea ice.

What does this means for tourism? Very clearly operating in – often vulnerable – locations becomes more costly and riskier. Thus, tourism industry and Government are now forced to get much more involved (and invest!) in adapting to changing conditions. In many cases, adaptation has to respond to negative impacts on assets and attractions. The Great Barrier Reef and recent coral bleaching events is a prominent example.

 

Read the full blog entry to find out more about the other two observations made as well as suggested action points here. 

The blog accompanies a video presentation recorded for the World Travel Market Responsible Tourism Day, 6 November 2017. The panel to which the video contributed was entitled: The Major Environmental Challenges: Carbon & Water RTT, and chaired by Mr Christopher Warren, Crystal Creek Meadows, NSW, Australia.

By Susanne Becken for Griffith Institute for Tourism Insights.

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

Read the full interview with Diana Korner here.

By Travindy for Travindy.

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Credit: Michelle Groothedde, PATA

 

There has been much recent speculation and discussion about elephant welfare in tourist elephant camps. With ill-informed media coverage in the West showing the apparent mistreatment of elephants many camps are out of business – leaving a great number of elephants, mahouts, and communities without a source of income.

 

Media and lobby groups have placed considerable focus upon the welfare of the animals without giving due consideration to other factors. These tips will help you to be better informed.

 

Make sure you are well-informed before visiting the elephant camp

Elephants are wild animals and can therefore be dangerous. Read the information provided on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of interacting with elephants and listen closely to the mahouts’ advice.

 

Elephant welfare

Sometimes it is obvious to see if an elephant has been mistreated. Look for marks on their skin and check that the skin is dark. Look at the condition of their feet and nails? Are the elephants too fat or too skinny? Sometimes using a hook is necessary for a safe handling of the elephant but this should not be abused.

 

Signs of a purple ointment used for healing wounds may give a hint as to whether an animal has been abused. If you see any abuse or mistreatment, report this to the camp management. View more examples of other things to look at are the price of an elephant camp, appropriate use of chains, and water and food supply.

 

Elephant riding

Despite all the activism against this topic, it is important to respect different positions regarding riding or not riding. However, all riding should only be performed responsibly under strict guidance and rules. If elephant rides are offered, for how long? Where do they go? How are riders sitting on the elephant? Is there a weight limit? Read about responsible elephant riding here.

 

Consider culture

Keep in mind that working and living with elephants has been part of Asian cultures for thousands of years. They are effective working animals because of their intelligence and ability to build special relationships with humans.

 

Elephants are generally admired in these cultures and are a valued part of Asian civilisation and it is, therefore, in a community’s best interest that elephant attractions are well managed – taking in account the welfare of the elephants and the communities in which they operate. If presented well, these attractions may be very educational and informative. Read more about the elephant’s role in Asian culture and communities.

 

‘Be a mahout for a day’

Tourism experiences with elephants have made a general shift from old-fashioned circus activities to a more interactive experience that brings you closer to the elephant. Try being ‘a mahout for a day,’ an experience where the tourist spends a day with the mahout and his elephant to learn more about their day-to-day life at the camps.

 

Be wary of media reports

Western perspective on elephant welfare has been highly influenced by stakeholder groups such as media channels and animal welfare organisations but one very important stakeholder group – the Mahouts – rarely have an opportunity to express their views. Mahouts develop a very special relationship with their elephants as they usually stay together for a lifetime. Unfortunately there are some camps that hire mahouts without any experience and they all too frequently resort to force to control their elephants.

 

Control of the elephant

For safety reasons, hooks and chains are sometimes needed to control the elephant. Read about the dangers of free-roaming here. Read the article about the ‘human cost of elephant camps’ to get more information on the sometimes necessary use of chains and hooks.

 

By: PATA Associate Intern Michelle Groothedde

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