US snowsports sector shows tourism industry leadership on climate action

Earlier this month, representatives of all sectors of the US snowsports industry sent a letter to the White House – calling for strong climate action in Paris. The Protect Our Winters letter was signed by 92 global brands, 53 resorts, 50 professional athletes and 13 trade groups and associations – the largest group of snow sports representatives ever assembled. Signatories include such household names as resorts Aspen, Vail  and Jackson Hole, along with skiwear and equipment manufacturers such … [Read more...]

Blue Planet Tourism – time for some fresh water thinking

That tourism uses a lot of water is hardly news. Daily fresh towels. Infinity swimming pools. Golf courses surrounded by desert. The endless irrigation of hotel grounds to keep them looking pristine. The list goes on, and that’s without including the embodied or virtual water that it takes to produce most of the products we consume, and generally consume more voraciously on holiday. For example, every time anyone eats a 300g steak, it can take up to 4,500 litres of water to produce that meat. … [Read more...]

Why is tourism industry so quiet about climate change?

Last week 80 major British firms sent a letter to the prime minster calling for the UK to be at the forefront of actions to address climate change. Published in the Financial Times, the signatories came from a wide range of industries and included the likes of Coca Cola, Unilever, BT, Tesco, Marks & Spencer and SKY. There was, however, not a single tourism company on the list. Why not? Of course none may have been asked, but if ever there was a time to make extra effort to position yourself … [Read more...]

Innovator Spotlight: Making ski-holidays more sustainable with Snowcarbon

Jeremy Smith speaks to Daniel Elkan, who founded Snowcarbon to make it easier for skiers travelling to the Alps to get there as sustainably as possible. 1: What inspired you to create your business? I set up Snowcarbon to help other skiers have a more sustainable and enjoyable journey to the Alps. Many people who fly or drive to the Alps would actually prefer to travel by train if they were able to find out how to do it, or persuade their friends to. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, you … [Read more...]

Who are the real climate change innovators in tourism?

When ResponsibleTravel.com announced the call for entries for the annual World Responsible Tourism Awards a few days ago, there was one new category I was particularly pleased to see introduced. According to the blurb on responsibletravel's website, the new "Award for Innovation for Carbon Reduction" will recognise "an innovative and transparent approach to reducing carbon" I like the way this award has been framed. First, that key word "transparent". Over the years there has been too much … [Read more...]

Beyond the bucket list: My dream destination for 2015

I wasn't going to join the ritual of list making that takes place at this time of year, especially as I already had a go in 2014. But then people I respect kept reinventing the bucket list, and I wanted to get stuck in too. First Bret Love and Greenglobaltravel asked five of the world's leading responsible tourism experts for their ideas for countries that actually 'deserved' our tourist dollar. Then last week in these very pages Harold Goodwin chose not to look for destinations for 2015, but … [Read more...]

10 things I learned from WTM 2014 and its responsible tourism programme

Having sat in almost every single seminar and event throughout the four days last week, I had plenty of chances to learn from some of the leading experts in the Industry. Here are 10 key facts and figures I learnt, and where possible a link to a video of them at WTM this year.  1) Elephants could soon be gone from Africa Colin Bell said that due to the escalating poaching crisis, the continent was losing 30,000 elephants a year to poachers, translating to 1 every 15 minutes. So bad has poaching … [Read more...]