Groundbreaking compassionate destination concept launched in Kerala

A new initiative has been launched in the city of Kozhikode in Kerala, which aims to ensure the city lives by the mantra of how responsible tourism should work in destinations: Better places to live, Better places to visit. CalledCompassionate Kozhikode, developed by the District Administration, in partnership with award-winning Indian responsible tourism pioneers The Blue Yonder, local organisations like Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, and many hundreds of local volunteers. And it is … [Read more...]

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...]

Inspiring ways tourism is helping refugees, and how it could do even more

If you only read some of the more reactionary publications around, you might be mistaken for thinking that tourism’s response to the growing refugee crisis was mostly anger at having holidays spoiled. “Holidaymaker misery” ran one headline. “British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays ‘awkward’ in Kos” announced another. But if you look beyond the bile there are some truly inspiring stories that deserve to be circulated and replicated far more. An initiative … [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...]

The billion tourist question. Overshoot or Opportunity?

This Thursday, August 13th, is Global Overshoot Day, which marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. First measured in 1987, when it fell on December 19, it has moved ever further forward, so that by the Millennium it fell on November 1; by 2011 on September 27, and this year falls at its earliest date yet. Over the last few months many commentators on tourism have observed the social equivalent … [Read more...]

How can cities meet the needs of locals and tourists?

Over the last few weeks there have been several stories in the press (including two on this blog) about issues to do with overcrowding at destinations and the hostility brewing between locals and visitors. The issue is out there – what is needed now is discussion on what to do about it. As Harold Goodwin wrote last week: in Barcelona, they are attempting to limit the numbers by freezing new tourist accommodation licenses. However, while quotas can potentially work in remote countries like … [Read more...]

Collaboration is the only way forward for sustainable destination development

Recently on the island of Bali, the risks inherent in developing tourism disconnected from the destination community have become clear. Local residents are angered by plans to build an artificial island in Benoa Harbour, whose 800 hectares of land will then host villas, apartments, luxury hotels, a theme park and a Formula One racing circuit. Waves of discontent are growing, seen most recently on Oct 18 when several thousand people attended a 12 hour concert held in protest at the plans. Yet … [Read more...]

Everyone working in responsible tourism can learn something from watching golf

Two very different events took place in Scotland last weekend with lessons for anyone working to develop responsible tourism. One was a gathering of activists and environmentalists for the New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation. The other was the biennial golf competition between USA and Europe known as the Ryder Cup. The purpose behind the Findhorn Summit is summed up on the event's homepage: 'If we do not create a positive, realistic picture of the future, we will not live into … [Read more...]

How to create great holiday experiences by engaging with sustainability (recipe includes fish)

I have just witnessed a masterclass in how to engage a group of holidaymakers in issues confronting a tourism business trying to operate sustainably. However, no one there came for a lecture in responsibility, or even felt that was what they were getting. What they came for, and spent over one hour in rapt attention at, was a masterclass in how to fillet fish. I am on the island of Tresco, situated 28 miles of the south west coast of England. This weekend has seen the annual Tresco and Bryher … [Read more...]