Cruising has major negative social and environmental impacts

The visit by Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas to Southampton has raised again the issue of the pollution caused by cruise lines.

Harmony of the Seas

Noxious emissions and air pollution near airports is a major problem but pollution around marine ports is also an issue. In London and Southampton air pollution caused by marine transport is a major issue and there is evidence that it damages residents’ health.  Harmony of the Seas has two four-storey high 16-cylinder Wärtsilä engines which would, at full power, each burn 1,377 US gallons of fuel an hour, or about 66,000 gallons a day.

The Guardian has a dramatic graphic revealing the scale of the emissions and quoting Daniel Rieger of the German environment group Nabu.

“Cruise companies create a picture of being a bright, clean and environmentally friendly tourism sector. But the opposite is true. One cruise ship emits as many air pollutants as five million cars going the same distance because these ships use heavy fuel that on land would have to be disposed of as hazardous waste.”   More

Paul Mills, a journalist, has written about being an undercover waiter on a cruise ship.

“It was hard to feel good about leaving the boat. With debts to pay off, a shortage of jobs at home and families to feed,quitting just wasn’t a realistic option for many of my colleagues. What’s more, it had long become apparent that many of them were getting a far rougher deal than I was.I met an Indian dishwasher, earning approximately $2 an hour,on an eight-month contract without a single day off, who had to borrow money to pay a $3500 agency fee to join the ship. He reckoned he would probably have worked about a year without managing to save anything. Given he hadn’t seen his family for a year and a half and had one of the most physically demanding jobs on board, his story is the one that made me most immediately angry and upset.” More

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For seven consecutive months the global average temperature has been at least 1C above the 1951-80 mean for that month.

Last month was the hottest April on record globally – and the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records. Nasa data shows that the global temperature of land and sea was 1.11C warmer in April than the average temperature for April during the period 1951-1980. more

The BBC have a graphic which shows how the average global temperature has risen

“The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for April 2016 was 1.10°C (1.98°F) above the 20th century average of 13.7°C (56.7°F)—the highest temperature departure for April since global records began in 1880. This value surpassed the previous record set in 2010 by 0.28°C (0.50°F). This was also the fourth highest monthly temperature departure among all 1,636 months on record, behind March 2016 (1.23°C/2.21°F), February 2016 (1.19°C/2.14°F), and December 2015 (1.12°C/2.02°F). Overall, 13 out of the 15 highest monthly temperature departures in the record have all occurred since February 2015, with February 1998 and January 2007 among the 15 highest monthly temperature departures. April 2016 also marks the fifth consecutive month (since December 2015) that the global monthly temperature departure from average has surpassed 1.0°C (1.8°F) and it is the 12th consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been broken, the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137 years of record keeping.” more


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The ancient Town and Port of Faversham has a new Mayor

Last night Faversham invested its new Mayor in the presence of  Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of Cinque Ports and Constable of Dover Castle, Faversham is a member of the Confederation of the Cinque Ports and many Mayors of the Cinque Ports were at the investiture last night.

It was as though Faversham had rediscovered its Port and the importance of Faversham Creek – Lord Boyce had visited the Purifier Building and seen the work of the Faversham Creek Trust.  He reminded those present of the importance of maritime Kent and of Faversham’s contribution to it.

Our new Mayor Shiel Campbell was entrusted with the Wand of Office, the emblem of straightness and integrity of rule.  In her acceptance speech, Shiel

  • committed herself to bring back mutual respect to relationships in the town.
  • to develop means by which the Town Council could be more proactive in planning and development matters
  • complemented the Faversham Creek Trust and its efforts to raise £125,000 for the Swing Bridge

There were gasps of surprise and delight at her support for the work of the Faversham Creek Trust.

Proceedings were closed by the Mayor’s Chaplain, the Revd Simon Rowlands with a prayer for Faversham’s safety, prosperity and welcome.

Last night it felt as though the tide turned in Faversham and that the Town was no longer turning its back on the Creek.

In Shiel’s own words: 

“There are three things I would like to promote in my Mayoral year:

Firstly, to build on and extend the levels of communication and co-operation with town residents and businesses.  It is a natural progression of the digital age that we live in that information can be quickly and easily sourced via websites and I would like to see this encouraging more people to come along to the Town Council meetings and take part, in a co-operative, collaborative way.  I believe we can get much more done by working together and building bonds.  So much more is achieved with a congenial conversation over a coffee than a correspondence clash via the local papers.

Secondly,  with four proposed major housing developments affecting the town, one from each point of the compass, the time is right to have some sort of forum to discuss and shape ideas and to address the fine detail regarding space and design within each development.  To have one good strong voice to advise and negotiate with the developers at the outset and not at the end.  It may also be that we can look at the knock on impact of all this development upon: traffic, transport, parking, cycling, walking, green corridors etc and a single port of call for discussions about major infrastructure requirements like roads, schools, surgeries and so forth.  There will be more of this at the Annual Town Meeting on the 23rd May.

Thirdly: I have been attending the Ladies’ Coaching sessions at the Recreation Ground on a Wednesday morning for 11 years, I have never done anything for that long and I still have lots to learn!   So, just for a bit of fun, and to encourage a more active local business integration, I hope to set up a Tennis Tournament, to rival former Mayor Ken Neame’s Industrial Bowls Tournament. 

Finally, the Mayor’s Charity, In recognition of the amazing work that was done by this charity last year, in having the vision and drive to think outside the box and find a way to make possible what seemed impossible, then in being part a very tricky deal of match funding from several separate bodies and giving us an outstanding example of what can be done when you turn from conflict and controversy to collaboration and co-operation.  Lastly in raising the £125,000 needed to get the whole show on the road in an eyewateringly short 5 months.  I am immensely pleased to announce that the Creek Trust will be my principle charity for the year. 

This group has restored a derelict building and helped to bring the Creek back into good use, it has set up boatbuilding apprenticeships and courses for the long-term unemployed.  It has been a long hard road and feelings have run high, but much has been achieved on both sides and now is the time to put the pain behind us and make the most of what we have, working together towards a bright and vibrant creek to be enjoyed by all.  This afternoon, the Admiral of the Cinque Ports, Lord Boyce was shown around and I know he was very impressed by all that he saw.”

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Airbnb – bringing hosts and guests closer together

Speaking in India Nathan Blecharczyk told the BBC the willingness of people to stay in the home of a stranger showed the demand for personal connections while travelling.

Airbnb enables travellers to “experience a place like you live there” – in 191 countries and 34,000 cities. “What we’ve demonstrated is there’s an immense appetite to travel more authentically and immerse yourself in culture… as opposed to having a commoditised experience,”

Airbnb is planning to bring hosts and guests closer together:

“Maybe that’s someone going for a bike ride on their favourite bike route or doing a game of Frisbee, something as simple as that,” he said.

“But connecting with real people having a good time, that’s something not currently available in the professionalised world of hospitality.” More

Co-founder Blecharczyk on responsibility: 
“The responsibility is between guest and host, ultimately,” Blecharczyk says. What Airbnb has, in place of responsibility, is an investment. “If trust is compromised, our brand gets hit, trust in homeshare gets hit. And so we have a vested interest to make sure such things don’t happen. And if they do, to take care of it.”   More

From May 1st in Berlin private tourism rentals are being limited by a new law known as Zweckentfremdungsverbot – prohibition of improper use

“The law, which allows homeowners to rent out only spare rooms rather than entire homes, was passed in 2014 but included a two-year transition period that has now elapsed.

Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s head of urban development said it was “a necessary and sensible instrument against the housing shortage in Berlin.”

Those caught breaking the new law could be fined up to 100,000 euros (£78,500). More


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Southend, domination by London commuters and the threat to local identity

On April 5th the Evening Standard reported that house prices ‘rise by £3,000 a minute as you approach central London by train’. “Living just 20 seconds further away from one of London’s major transport hubs can shave an average of £1,000 off the cost of a home, according to research by estate agents Savills.” Housing costs in Faversham, my hometown, have risen by 26% over the last five years and by 39% over the last ten years.

This in tonight’s Evening Standard 

Southend is not just London extended

Readers of the Evening Standard who live in Southend-on-Sea will have enjoyed Ruth Bloomfield’s jolly article [“Home for tea and a dip in less than an hour”, Homes and Property, April 20]. They will probably feel proud to be part of the “influx of London commuters … breathing new life” into our erstwhile “old-fashioned Essex seaside town”.

However, Southenders, especially those under 40 and working locally, may not enjoy the “impressive price rises” quite so much as they save to buy a home for their families. They may also feel their part of Southend is under invasion as small businesses are being forced to close and are being replaced by growing battalions of estate agents and solicitors’ offices greedily jacking up house prices.

I love living in Southend precisely because, unlike London, it does not have lots of dress shops and wine bars — instead, we have specialist  and idiosyncratic shops. I enjoy the company of characters I see every day, most of whom do not enjoy yachting, tennis, horse riding or going to art classes.

This is my home — and I hope it will be for many years to come.
Paul Miller


Local identity matters.

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Africa Responsible Tourism Awards

On April 1st, I chaired the judging of the African Responsible Tourism Awards in Johannesburg with the benefit of the expertise of carefully chosen professionals from throughout the tourism industry in Africa.  Details of the judges can be found here

The judging of the Responsible Tourism Awards always creates and exciting and rewarding day as the judges debate,  back and forth, about who should win and why. It is an exhaustive process, often the difference between winning Gold and winning Silver is small. It is a significant achievement to be shortlisted and those who win medals should all be proud of their achievement.

The African Responsible Tourism Awards are part of a growing family of Responsible Tourism Awards run according to the principles and procedures established by the World Responsible Tourism Awards.


Overall Winner: Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya
“Prior to setting up Naboisho Conservancy, four years of consultation with the 554 landowners lead to 94% of them signing over their land to a holding company with their own appointed directors who have in turn entered into a management agreement with Naboisho Conservancy. The community gets direct and tangible benefits from wildlife conservation; no other activity provides as much income to as many people as Naboisho Conservancy. With these direct benefits there is less need for the community to rely on other destructive practices such as intensive farming and over grazing by too many cattle. This in turn furthers the cycle for a sustainable future for community driven wildlife conservation.  Naboisho Conservancy pioneered controlled livestock grazing and holistic rangeland management. The co-existence between wildlife and cattle, where the interests of wildlife and traditional Maasai livestock practices are mutually respected and genuinely integrated is remarkable. The term ‘Naboisho’ literally means “coming together” in the Maasai’s Maa language and this is exactly what Naboisho Conservancy represents.”

Best for Beach Tourism Gold Winner: Nkwichi Lodge
“To help bring the world’s most biodiverse freshwater lake and a 120 000 ha of lakeshore and escarpment under formal protection – in partnership with 16 villages – are remarkable achievements.  Gold Award winner Nkwichi Lodge on Lake Malawi is completely solar powered and plastic-bottle free. It is the engine behind sustainable agriculture and aquaculture farms where skills are built and produce for the lodge and community cultivated, a maternity clinic, schools and boarding house for girls, a range of community enterprises that generate income and reduce travelling distances, and community sport teams and events that also celebrate local culture.”

Best for Beach Tourism: Innovation  Gold Winner: Shark Spotters
“Shark Spotters’ solution to safe beaches removes the fear factor from enjoying Cape Town’s beaches while working to protect sharks, particularly the Great White Shark – a globally threatened species. This pioneering and innovative approach netted a Gold Award.  Spotters positioned on the mountainsides surrounding swimming beaches look out for sharks near shore and use a series of flags as a warning system. Community members benefit from employment and skills development, and beachgoers get to learn about sharks and their place in the ecology.”

Silver Winner: Baobab Beach Resort
“The judges appreciated the wide range of in-house environmental management practices that reduce water and energy use and help to manage waste at Baobab Beach Resort. Efforts to protect children from exploitation, conserve the coastal forest environment, reach out to communities through tours for guests and a weekly village market, contributed to a Silver Award.”


Best Contribution to Cultural Heritage Conservation

Gold Winner: Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve|
“The Gold Award went to Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, custodian of over 130 unique San rock art sites. At its heart Bushmans Kloof is about the conservation of this remarkable heritage and culture. Over the past few months Bushmans Kloof has been one of the main sponsors of a unique troupe of dancers from Wupperthal – a small, impoverished village in the area. Die Nuwe Graskoue Trappers has not only been reviving the art of the Rieldans – a traditional dance form – but has also placed Wupperthal on the world map – taking the 2015 World Champions of the Performing Arts by storm.” |

Silver winners: Segera Retreat  &  Wilderness Safaris
“Silver Awards went to Segera Retreat in Kenya for the range of traditional cultures with which travellers can authentically engage to the benefit of local livelihoods and the conservation of diverse cultures and to Wilderness Safaris for their efforts, since 2011, to ensure that their safari camps express and present the cultural heritage of the local communities.”


Best Operator for People with Disabilities

Silver winners: ATKV Goudini Spa Flamingo Tours
“Equitable access to holidays for people of all abilities and incomes remains a big issue in Africa. The judges’ decision not to award a Gold in this category reveals that much work still needs to be done in the tourism sector.  However, there are two Silver Awards. The judges recognised that ATKV Goudini Spa sets a good example of creating an accessible leisure environment not only for people with mobility limitations, but also people who are blind and deaf.  The resort’s relationship with the disabled community is admirable.  And the affordability of the product is especially important for a people who are burdened by significant financial constraints.   Similarly, Flamingo Tours caters for a wide spectrum of functional limitations, and like ATKV Goudini Spa, is very committed to run an operation that does not harm the environment.”


Best for Poverty Reduction

Gold Winner: !Xaus Lodge
“The judges were particularly pleased to see so many worthy entries on the longlist for this category, as in the World Awards, competition is tough. More and more businesses understand the importance of using tourism to address poverty, in the Awards more emphasis is now being placed on the evidence which businesses can provide of their positive impacts. The Gold Award went to !Xaus Lodge a community-owned, commercially managed lodge in the South African part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The judges were particularly impressed by both the scale of the contribution and the transparent quantification of the economic and social benefits flowing to the economically poor and marginalized communities of the Khomani San and Mier from their lodge.”

Silver WinnersChitabe Camp & Sani Lodge Backpackers and Drakensberg Adventures & Simien Lodge
“There were three Silver Awards reflecting the strength of the longlist in this category. Chitabe Camp in the Okavango Delta was recognised for its commitment to raising the living standards of their employees to ensure that their whole family is raised out of poverty through higher than inflation annual salary increases, annual school education donations and generous profit share pay outs. Sani Lodge Backpackers and Drakensberg Adventures has made a major contribution to local livelihoods and poverty reduction over many years and by involving Basotho stakeholders created opportunities  for communities to proudly showcase their unique cultural practices, engaging with guests in an authentic manner, thereby earning their respect. The Simien Lodge in the remote Simien Mountains National Park of Ethiopia has adopted a broad approach to addressing poverty by improving livelihood standards and education, by encouraging creativity in sports and contributing to the conservation of cultural and natural heritage, consistently addressing local issues identified by the community.”


Best Accommodation for Responsible Employment

Gold Winner:  Spier
“The judges were looking for examples of businesses able to demonstrate an exemplary responsible approach to the employment and treatment of staff. This was a strong longlist reflecting the progress being made in raising employment standards by an increasing number of businesses. The Gold went to Spier in the Western Cape of South Africa for the transparent reporting and the breadth of their approach to improving the employment conditions of their staff ranging from addressing the issue of safety on public transport to their provision of Individual Learning Spend budgets to support the development of skills and knowledge, for personal development and innovation for the employee and their family for example by using it to pay school fees.”

Silver WinnersChobe Game Lodge & Leriba Hotel
“Silver Awards went to Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana and Leriba Hotel in Gauteng, South Africa. The judges were impressed by the breadth of the approach being taken to improving employment conditions of the staff at Chobe Game Lodge and in particular by their success in addressing gender issues, with a full team of 14 female guides. At Leriba Hotel & Spa there is a broad commitment to upliftment, training and recognition. The Green Diamonds initiative was created when Leriba Hotel Group identified the need to empower its employees above the standard legal requirements. The judges were particularly impressed by their ABET centre which provides continuous staff development training.”


Best Responsible Tourism Marketing Campaign

Gold Winner: Great Plains Conservation
“In the Marketing Campaign category the judges looked for an example of a company which had run a successful campaign. The judges gave the Gold Award to Great Plains Conservation operating in Botswana and Kenya for their success in raising awareness of the importance of conservation through traditional and social media and in converting the public into ambassadors for wildlife. In just one talk in 2015 in China the Jouberts reached 195 million and Great Plains Conservation’s social media channels are followed by over 1.5 million daily.

There were businesses on the longlist which use Responsible Tourism well in their marketing but there were none to which a Silver could be awarded for a particular campaign.”


Best for Public Policy and/or Support

Gold winner:  National Department of Tourism, South Africa
“It is 20 years since the new post-apartheid government in South Africa adopted Responsible Tourism as a fundamental part of its national tourism strategy recognising that tourism has a responsibility to make a significant contribution to making South Africa a better place to live in and uplifting the quality of life, particularly of the disadvantaged and economically poor. This was recognised in the Cape Town Declaration of 2002 which launched the Responsible Tourism movement internationally. This Public Sector Policy category was designed to focus attention on those government agencies which have adopted clear policy frameworks to encourage tourism businesses to take more responsibility – we placed less emphasis on “support” because tourism businesses too often look for financial incentives or subsidies. In a period when, internationally, governments generally have been reluctant to regulate, progress in securing private sector engagement and compliance has been slow although some businesses have contributed a great deal, many have failed to respond to the challenge.

The National Department of Tourism in South Africa won Gold for its steadfast commitment over 20 years to the principles of the 1996 white paper, the legislative and policy work and support programmes which have flowed from it, including the Responsible Tourism Standard, Tourism Incentive Programme and the adoption and application of Responsible Tourism principles by provinces and cities and by agencies like SANParks.”

Silver winners: City of Cape Town & Ministry of Tourism, Morocco
Silver went to the City of Cape Town and Morocco. The 1st International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations took place in Cape Town in 2002 and there have been many initiatives to encourage businesses to respond to the social, economic and environmental challenges experienced in the City. In Morocco the Ministry of Tourism has secured support from other government departments, local authorities and the private sector for its Vision 2020. Based on a multi-stakeholder process, using UNEP’s Sustainable Consumption and Production approach, the Ministry of Tourism has taken the lead and created the policy framework – it remains to be seen how the industry responds.

Best for Wildlife Conservation

Joint Gold Winners Mara Naboisho Conservancy & Ol Pejeta Conservancy
“The Wildlife Conservation category had a very strong range of initiatives on the longlist many of them outstanding. This year the judges focussed on wildlife conservation initiatives which use tourism to benefit local communities and to conserve wildlife rather than on tourism businesses which contribute to conservation. There were two Gold Award winners in the category both in Kenya and both conservancies:  Ol Pejeta Conservancy and the Mara Naboisho Conservancy.

The judges recognised that these are two outstanding examples of how tourism can be used by conservationists to protect habits and species and to uplift local communities. The Mara Naboisho Conservancy has increased lion density and providing 142 jobs, secure income to 554 local Maasai households and further indirect benefits to ~10,000 local people. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy still maintains a herd of 6,000 beef cattle, it is one of the few conservancies in the world able to cover almost all of its basic operating costs (US$ 6 million) through its own, sustainable, commercially generated revenues from tourism and agriculture.”

Silver WinnerConservation Travel Foundation
“Silver went to the Conservation Travel Foundation, a non-profit organization in partnership with and supported by Ultimate Safaris in Namibia for its innovative Conservation Safaris where guests pay a premium in exchange for the privilege of being able to interact with those involved in local conservation projects, and get satisfaction from making a significant contribution to conservation.”


People’s Choice in Responsible Tourism

Winner: Marine Dynamics

“Voted for entirely by the public, the People’s Choice in Responsible Tourism Award allows members of the public to vote for the most inspiring category winner from 2015. Winner Marine Dynamics provide very high quality shark cage diving experiences. They are industry leaders, a commercial operation which operates to the highest conservation standards, where every trip has a marine biologist aboard to provide interpretation and collect data for scientific research. An operator that makes a significant contribution to conservation and the local economy.”


For more information on the African Responsible Tourism Awards and the sponsors visit

For the list of Finalists go to






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Restaurant abolishes “charity style” tipping

Bjorn van der Horst and Omar Romero plan to pay a flat salary they open Kojawan in London’s Edgware later this year. By banning the addition of tips to bills paid by card Horst & Romero intend to bring back the idea that working front of house is a vocation. With the flat wage plus cash tips staff at the Kojawan Korean-Japanese restaurant will be able to earn a competitive London wage.

You don’t have to feel obliged to give a tip. They are fairly paid. You will not be able to leave tips with a card, because then we’d have to create some system for that pot.
Will it make the food more expensive? Yes – we are making the entire dish worth it for everybody.”

 “We owe it to our hospitality industry workforce to give them the opportunity to be equal members of the skilled working class. Not through a charity-style tips system but through a true, respectful salary based on the skill set and performance of a professional doing their job.”

 Source Evening Standard 2016 02 24

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Mumbai imposes “no-selfie” zones


Since 2014, worldwide, there have been 49 known fatalities of people in pursuit of the perfect self-portrait, 19 of them in India.

The police in Mumbai has brought in a ban on selfies in 16 zones across the city after a rise in deaths related to people taking photos of themselves. BBC CNN


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New shipping routes through the Arctic?

Arctic - Potential Routes_0

New data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that January of 2016 was, for the globe, a truly extraordinary month. Coming off the hottest year ever recorded (2015), January saw the greatest departure from average of any month on record, according to data provided by NASA.

The record breaking heat wasn’t uniformly distributed — it was particularly pronounced at the top of the world, showing temperature anomalies above 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the 1951 to 1980 average in this region.

Read more in the Washington Post

Will The Arctic Be The World’s New Economic Hotspot?

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Discretionary spend squeezed in London

The Resolution Foundation reports that household incomes are, on average, 2.9% higher than before the financial crash in 2008.  Greater discretionary spend available for expenditure on travel and tourism?

No. When the costs of housing are factored in living standards in London have fallen by 3.9% since 2008.

The Resolution Foundation calculates that nationally median income is roughly 3 per cent higher than in 2007-08, standing at around £24,300.


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Harold Goodwin