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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


WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards finalists

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is pleased to announce the 15 Finalists for its 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The 2017 Finalists cut across five continents in the following categories: Community, Destination, Environment, Innovation and People.

The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, now in its 13th year, showcases business practices of the highest standards that balance the needs of ‘people, planet and profits’ within our sector.

The 2017 Awards fall within the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, all 15 Finalists illustrate great commitment to “support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals”, as the International Year calls for.

Following a rigorous 3-phase judging, which includes an onsite evaluation, Winners of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at the 17th WTTC Global Summit, taking place in Bangkok, 26 – 27 April 2017.

David Scowsill, President & CEO of WTTC said: “I am extremely pleased to once again see such inspiring business leadership amongst this year’s Finalists. This year saw a 36% rise of applications, which shows not only that more and more Travel & Tourism companies are looking to operate sustainably but also an increased interest to share company best practices and thereby educate peers and governments.

As the Travel & Tourism sector continues to grow, WTTC currently estimates global Travel & Tourism to have grown by 3.1% in 2016, we have to ensure we safeguard the environment, local communities and cultural heritage, and our Awards programme calls on tourism businesses to showcase just that.”

Awards Lead Judge, Graham Miller, Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Surrey, said: “The 2017 Finalists illustrate how widespread the notion of sustainable tourism has become. While sustainability used to be focused around the preservation of nature, this year, the organisation’s missions are, amongst other things, centred around innovative value creation for societies, travel technology for those with accessibility needs, and empowerment of the young workforce.”

The Finalists of the 2017 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which is Headline sponsored by AIG Travel for the second year, are:

Community Award Finalists, whose organisations are committed to sustainable tourism leadership in local community development, empowerment and cultural heritage

  • Cinnamon Wild Yala, Sri Lanka
  • G Adventures, Canada
  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Destination Award Finalists, who show commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations:

  • Botswana Tourism Organisation, Botswana
  • City of Bydgoszcz, Poland
  • Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, Finland

Environment Award Finalists, whose organisations and companies achieved environmental best practice through biodiversity conservation, protection of natural habitats, addressing climate change, and green operations:

  • Biosphere Expeditions, UK
  • Caiman Ecological Refuge, Brazil
  • Misool, Indonesia

Innovation Award Finalists, who provided innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges faced by Travel & Tourism in implementing sustainability in practice:

  • NATIVE Hotels and Accessible Tourism, Spain
  • Soel Yachts, Netherlands
  • The Mapping Ocean Wealth initiative led by the Nature Conservancy, USA

People Award Finalists, who are dedicated to the development of capacity building, training and education to build a skilled tourism workforce for the future:

  • Desert & Delta Safaris, Botswana
  • STREETS International, Vietnam
  • The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation’s China Hospitality Education Initiative (CHEI), China

The Winner Selection Committee is chaired by Fiona Jeffery OBE, Chair of the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards and include a further 15 independent judges from within the Travel & Tourism sector.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Chair, said: “Now more than ever it’s important to highlight how tourism positively connects people across the planet and brings great social and economic benefits to destinations. The 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Award Finalists demonstrate a commitment to long term vision in preference to short term gains and provide inspiring examples of responsible leadership in their businesses. The true value of the awards is the insight and learning which can be shared across the industry and I’m looking forward to hearing their stories during the WTTC Global Summit in April 2017.”

For the full list of finalists and more about the Awards, read more here.

Click here for the original article by WTTC.

To view the announcement of the 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Finalists, presented by Lead Judge Graham Miller, please click here.

Copyright @ WTTC 2017

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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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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.


Industry Awards Your Organisation Should Apply For

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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.


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

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




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

  • 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



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

  • 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


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

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



4) World Legacy Awards

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

  • 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

  • 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



7) Awards from PATA

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Four weeks left to apply for WTTC’s 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards!

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Four weeks left to apply for WTTC’s 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards! Anyone working towards a more responsible tourism industry can apply before the 14th of November 2016 in one of the five categories – People, Environment, Innovation, Community and Destination. The awards are open to individuals, organisations and destinations of all sizes, and winning is one of the best ways to bring your initiative to a wider audience, showcasing best practice to governments and other business, as well as instilling pride and motivation in those who work on your efforts.

Please watch this video featuring previous Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Winners and their contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Tourism for Tomorrow Newsletter October 2016

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Redefine Tourism Campaign

WTTC has launched a video campaign aiming to stimulate discussion about sustainable tourism among those who engage in or provide tourism, and for whom it is not normally a topic of conversation. Sustainable tourism has been in existence for many years. However, it is still considered a distinct niche activity involving upmarket Eco Lodges rather than a fundamental element of what all tourism could be. As the social and environmental pressures increase, and tourism itself continues to grow year on year, there is an urgent need for sustainable practices to become mainstream within the tourism sector. While the subject has been widely researched, discussed and debated, including at several WTTC Global Summits, there is a need to evolve the nature of the discussion and the language used into something more accessible to those outside the ‘sustainability’ community. The main post discussing the campaign and calling on action from people can be found here. The campaign has also been supported by 6 travel bloggers; their posts on sustainable tourism and the future of travel can be found here.


Accessible Tourism Focus – Interview with the creators of the crowdsourced Wheelmap project

Tourism for Tomorrow dy6rfemqvgzl1cjfxuhmWheelmap is a fast-growing crowdsourced map of accessible destinations and facilities around the world. Since its launch 6 years ago, volunteers around the world have marked nearly 700,000 places on the map, with approximately 500 newly marked places added every day. WTTC spoke with Silke Georgi from Sozialhelden (Social Heroes), the German nonprofit organisation behind the project.

WTTC: How has Wheelmap collaborated with the tourism industry?

Silke: We have recently concentrated our efforts more on the tourism sector than before and have found a strong partner in the ITB Tourism Trade Fair. They supported our most recent worldwide MapMyDay campaign – during which we called on people everywhere to mark places of touristic interest – and we are expanding that cooperation to include other areas as well.  We have also been working closely with Berlin’s official tourism bureau – visitBerlin – to promote accessible tourism in Germany’s capital. For that purpose we created the website together with them as an example on how to gather and present accessible tourism information to make it readily available for a city’s visitors.  We also have a very good contact with Martin Heng, Lonely Planet’s Accessible Travel Manager, who has been very supportive of our work while we have been spreading the word about Lonely Planet’s excellent guides on accessible tourism to our community.

WTTC: This year the theme for World Tourism Day is Tourism for All. To coincide you ran a campaign called MapMyDay. What was it about?

Silke: In December of last year we ran the first worldwide MapMyDay campaign together with the World Health Organisation for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We got a very broad spectrum of companies, organizations and individuals involved and it was a huge success. In our multimedia documentation you can find an overview of all the activities of the first campaign.  So we decided to build on this success and hold a second MapMyDay campaign for World Tourism Day, which very aptly had the focus n accessible tourism this year. We were able to motivate our partners in the tourism sector and our community of mappers worldwide to mark 3,000 new places during this campaign.

WTTC: How might Travel& Tourism companies looking to support accessible tourism get involved with the Wheelmap project?

Silke: The easiest way for tourism companies to get involved in Wheelmap is for them to mark their own locations on the online map according to their wheelchair accessibility. If you go to you can search for the restaurant, museum, café or tourist attraction you would like travelers to be able to locate on Wheelmap. If the place has a grey marker on the map, then its wheelchair accessibility has not yet been rated. By clicking on the place’s marker you can assign a red, yellow or green marker to the place, depending on its level of wheelchair accessibility. If the tourist place is not yet on the map it is also very easy to add it as a new location. Photos showing more details of the location can also be added – as well as comments, contact details and the website URL.

Companies can organize a fun and informative team building day with their employees by heading off into those parts of town that are especially interesting for tourists and marking places in small groups using the Wheelmap smartphone apps. On our website there is a great deal of information on how to run such mapping events.

In addition, travel or tourism companies that have large amounts of data on wheelchair accessibility can get in touch with us about how to incorporate their data into the Wheelmap. They can also help spread the word to their business partners about the advantages of appearing (for free!) on the Wheelmap, which is the world’s largest database on wheelchair accessibility with over 700,000 marked locations. This can be done in newsletters, on a blog, on social media, in guide books and brochures, at conferences and in personal contacts.

For our new Wheelmap-inspired website “” we are working together with municipalities and tourism bureaus in Germany to collect detailed information on accessible tourism in German cities and to make it readily available to tourists. We are planning to expand this website internationally and will be looking for partnering possibilities in other countries as well.


Tourism and the SDGs: Goal 14 – Life Below Water

Tourism for Tomorrow icons-finalThe world’s oceans, seas and beaches are at the heart of tourism. Their images proliferate across the industry’s marketing and the experiences they offer motivate millions of people’s holiday decisions. Few, therefore, of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are as intertwined with tourism as number 14.

Titled ‘Life Below Water’, the 14th goal aims to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. It is one of just three of the 17 goals to explicitly mention tourism, arguing that tourism development must be a part of integrated Coastal Zone Management in order to help conserve and preserve fragile ecosystems and serve as a vehicle to promote the blue economy, and that “by 2030 [the world should] increase the economic benefits of SIDS and LCDs from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism”.

The breadth of experiences and services that the seas and coastal regions supply to tourism includes wildlife watching for bird, whales, dolphins and turtles. Fishing, or just enjoying eating fresh seafood while on holiday. Diving on the world’s coral reefs. Simply swimming or boating. Every single one of these activities relies upon clean waters to provide a healthy and sustainable habitat to marine life from corals to blue whales.

The seas, however, are in crisis, suffering from a range of threats that include overfishing, pollution and climate change. A report published in the journal Science in 2015 found that every year 8 million metric tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans each year. In the Caribbean meanwhile, 100 million tons of waste ends up in the ocean every year, with 89% of it created by shoreline activities that facilitate and involve visiting tourists.

This doesn’t just make for unpleasant looking beaches and murky seas. Marine animals including turtles, seals, dolphins and sea birds can easily mistake litter for food. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, plastic debris kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals annually, as well as millions of birds and fishes.

Depending upon how it is managed, tourism can help or hinder. In just the last month, there have been calls to ban most sunscreens from tropical waters as they are destroying the coral reefs; to regulate manta ray tourism to protect these endangered creatures; and to limit or stop cruise ships from entering the canals at Venice.

Yet tourism can also offer solutions. This year, one of the Tourism for Tomorrow finalists in the environment category was North Sailing, an Icelandic travel company that takes tourists inside the Arctic Circle.  The company’s schooner Opal was the first ship in the world to be installed with a Regenerative Plug-In Hybrid Propulsion System, meaning she neither creates any pollution nor disturbs the wildlife that people have come to see.

Elsewhere, destinations that are reliant on marine-based ecotourism are creating ocean sanctuaries to protect these precious resources. A 2010 Australian study calculated that shark divers bring Palau $18m per year, with each swimming shark worth $1.9m in diving and tourism. In 2015, the Pacific island’s government created the 230,000 sq miles Palau National Marine Sanctuary, establishing one of the world’s largest marine protected areas.

There’s much else that the industry can do. Hotels can participate in beach clean ups, such as the ones co-ordinated around the world as part of the Make Holidays Greener campaign each year by the Travel Foundation. Or they can offer guests opportunities to not only swim on local reefs, but to support their regrowth through cleaning and planting coral saplings. Travel companies and hotels alike can ensure that they promote responsible interactions with marine wildlife, whether when whale watching or while diving. For any company looking to do this, ABTA’s Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism, a Tourism for Tomorrow finalist in 2015, is an excellent place to start.


Positive psychology research suggests how best to influence guest behaviour

Tourism for Tomorrow positivepsychTravel companies and organisations looking to motivate their customers and guests to undertake more sustainable actions should focus on activities that both are character strength-building and promote human happiness, says recently published research. In a paper titled “Using character strength-based activities to design pro-environmental behaviours into the tourist experience”, such approaches are said to be the most effective form of approach.

Written by Griffith’s University’s Christopher Warren and Alexandra Coghlan, and based on research at the Australian eco-cottages run by Christopher Warren, the paper looks at six real-world examples from Christopher’s ecotourism venture. These include activities such as getting guests to save their food scraps and feed them to the chickens; enabling guests to plant a native tree; and encouraging them to select natural ventilation at night instead of air conditioning.

In each of these and the other examples, guests are informed of the environmental context of their actions, so they see how they both benefit themselves and wider sustainability goals. The authors conclude that “targeting character strengths such as self-regulation, citizenship, hope, perspective and social intelligence may be an effective way to drive change towards more sustainability-oriented behaviours”.


INNOVATION FOCUS: Nat Geo launches ‘Urban Expeditions’ multimedia series to explore sustainability in cities

Tourism for Tomorrow national-geographic-logoWe live in an increasingly urbanised world, with a staggering 180,000 people moving into an urban area every single day.

In response to this escalating phenomenon, National Geographic has launched a multimedia series to identify cutting-edge research and exploration projects that are leading the way in sustainable urbanisation in the three key areas of food, buildings and transportation.

The ‘Urban Expeditions’ initiative is a collaboration between National Geographic and technology provider United Technologies Corp that seeks to focus on these three issues and introduce viewers to progressive leaders across the various disciplines. “National Geographic has a long history of investing in bold people working to better understand the world around us and to develop solutions to our most pressing challenges,” said Brooke Runnette, Chief Program and Impact Officer at National Geographic Society. “The issues around rapid urbanisation are only getting more complex, and the Urban Expeditions project allows us to continue to support and explore projects that will be instrumental to solving them.”


PATA Tourism New Frontiers Forum heads to Bangladesh

Tourism for Tomorrow pataThe theme for the next PATA Tourism New Frontier Forum is ‘Designing a sustainable tourism brand – an integrative approach to building a responsible coastal destination.’ This year, the conference heads to the Royal Tulip Sea Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, coinciding with Visit Bangladesh 2016. Over the course of three days from November 23-25, sessions will explore themes such as ‘Re-defining Fair Trade and Promoting Tourism to Bangladesh’; ‘Building a Sustainable Tourism Destination with Living Heritage Communities’, ‘Rethinking Sustainable Coastal and Marine Tourism Development’ and ‘Development and Marketing of Heritage Trails.’ The first day of the three day event will see delegates step out of the hotel on a ‘Technical Tour and Tourism Marketing Treasure Hunt – a one-day field session where they will be challenged to explore Cox’s Bazar and the surrounding area. Delegates will be encouraged to engage with the culture and people of the destination, while using a range of digital tools to promote what they discover.


DESTINATION FOCUS: Best countries for adventure tourism announced in annual Adventure Tourism Development Index 

Tourism for Tomorrow atdi16-1Each year the Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI) declares which are the top ten countries in adventure travel competitiveness among both developing nations and developed nations. For this year’s edition of the report, which was published at September’s Adventure Travel World Summit in Alaska, the top ten developing countries were: Czech Republic, Israel, Estonia, Chile, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Poland, Republic of Korea and Romania.  Meanwhile, the top ten developed country destinations were: Iceland, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Finland, Austria, and Denmark.

Created by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and the International Institute of Tourism Studies at The George Washington University (GWU), the ATDI is the only country-level ranking for adventure tourism that incorporates data from non-subjective sources, with countries assessed across the following ten categories: Government Policy (that supports sustainable development), Safety & Security, Health, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, Adventure Activity Resources, Entrepreneurship, Humanitarian, Tourism Infrastructure, and Brand.

Written and edited by Jeremy Smith

Click here for the original WTTC newsletter. Copyright @ WTTC 2016


t4t-call-for-entries-2017_apply-nowFour weeks left to apply for WTTC’s 2017 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards! Anyone working towards a more responsible tourism industry can apply before the 14th of November 2016 in one of the five categories – People, Environment, Innovation, Community and Destination. The awards are open to individuals, organisations and destinations of all sizes, and winning is one of the best ways to bring your initiative to a wider audience, showcasing best practice to governments and other business, as well as instilling pride and motivation in those who work on your efforts. Please watch this videofeaturing previous Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Winners and their contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


WTTC challenges: T4T Logo_RGB

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) challenges Travel & Tourism organisations to show how sustainable they are by entering their sustainable business initiatives for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2017.

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC said: “I am pleased to announce that the twenty-eighth annual Tourism for Tomorrow Awards programme is now open for entries. Through the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2017 we shall highlight the commitment of the Travel & Tourism sector to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2015.

Companies and organisations that enter for these awards can show WTTC challenges: applynowgovernments and other tourism organisations how growth and successful business models go hand in hand with the safeguarding of local communities, the environment and cultural heritage.

Fiona Jeffery OBE, former Chairman of World Travel Market and Founder and Chairman of the international water aid charity Just a Drop, will be chairing the Awards for the third time. She commented: “Tourism is a force for good, it connects people from different cultural backgrounds and environments. The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards celebrate the achievements of ethical tourism businesses around the world that look to give back to local communities by enhancing livelihoods where they operate and protecting the environment and cultural traditions to ensure a sustainable world for the future.

I am delighted to be chairing again, and hope to again see many inspirational businesses apply for the 2017 programme.”

AIG Travel, Inc., the travel insurance and global assistance division of leading international insurance organisation American International Group, Inc., will be the Official Headline Sponsor of the Awards programme for the second year.

Jeff Rutledge, CEO, AIG Travel, Inc., said: “AIG is committed to furthering the sustainability efforts of the Travel & Tourism industry, and we are honored to continue our support of the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in 2017. Through education and the sharing of best practices, I am confident we can all make a difference by implementing eco-friendly business processes.”

Lead judge, Professor Graham Miller, chair in sustainability in business at the University of Surrey, will oversee a rigorous independent judging and on-site evaluation process carried out by an international panel of experts representing academia, non-profit organisations, government and the private sector.

This year applicants can enter in the following five categories: Community; Destination; Environment; Innovation; and People.

The 2017 Finalists will be announced in January 2016 and the winners will be announced during the WTTC Global Summit 2017 in Bangkok, 26-27 April 2017.

The 2016 award winners were; Community Award: Expediciones Sierra Norte, Mexico; Destination Award: Parkstad Limburg, Netherlands; Environment Award: The Botswana Rhino Conservation Project by Wilderness Safaris, Botswana; Innovation Award: Carmacal Carbon Calculator by ANVR – The Netherlands Travel Trade Association, Netherlands; People Award: Youth Career Initiative, United Kingdom & worldwide.

Have a look at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2017 Brochure.

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tourism as a driver of peace_WTTC2

Image Source: WTTC

Travel & Tourism has often been recognised for its ability to drive peace, security and understanding. World leaders, from John F Kennedy to Bill Clinton to Tony Blair, have highlighted the importance of the sector.  Now, for the first time, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has partnered with the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) to explore the links between tourism and peace. By WTTC. Read more.

Copyright @ WTTC 2016


This month’s issue of PATAconversations focuses on sustainability!



Our mission is to act as a catalyst for the responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry.
– Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA

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