Leeds: “A thriving cultural city where locals play pavement chess, people thank the bus driver (and the bus driver calls them �luv�) and where the tourist can experience a different way of living in a city.” I nominated Leeds as one of the 50 most authentic places on earth in British Airways Highlife
Along of course with Faversham, Mark Jones writes in this month's BA Highlife
“Let�s call on an expert. Harold Goodwin is Britain�s first Professor of
Responsible Tourism and is trying to get the idea of authentic tourism
off the ground. We meet in Faversham, Kent, the spiritual home of
authentic tourism and have dinner at the Tapster, a fine, barn-like
structure of old Kentish red brick and brown weatherboard. We look out
of leaded windows onto an old vineyard and Harold says, �How old would
you say this place is?� I reply, �Um, 17th century?� �No. 1988,� he
The next day, Harold whisks me around the town. It�s a place of
nooks, crannies and unexpected encounters � an 18th-century shipyard, a
half-Elizabethan, half-Regency Guildhall, a Tudor grammar school,
Victorian almshouses. Harold says this about Faversham, as he says
about all his favourite authentic places: �It�s got a high degree of
local distinctiveness � a strong sense of place. It welcomes visitors
but does not see them as its main livelihood.�”
Mark Jones concludes ” authentic places are those which are comfortable in their own
skin. An authentic travel experience is when you get under the skin of
that place. An authentic tourist is someone who is changed by a place
and doesn�t seek to change it. Let�s celebrate them.”
This week the UK government has led the world and
held the first auction of carbon
credits. The British government has auctioned the right to produce 4,000,000
tonnes of carbon for �54,400,000. Using the British government�s DEFRA
standard, that amounts to �1,000,000 return flights London
DEFRA currently uses a Shadow Price of Carbon which they
value at �26 per tonne.
In this week�s auction each tonne realised about �13.61 � so these permits to pollute went for a bargain
price, although the auction price is very close to the current market price. �16.15 or �13.62. These permits to pollute have been sold to the intermediaries (Barclays
Capital, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas and Morgan Stanley) at nearly half price – if the price was determined by the pollution caused. The market price is not currenly high enouth to reflect the damage caused by the pollution. If
they had sold at DEFRA Shadow Price of Carbon, based on an estimate of the
pollution cost, they would have raised an additional �50,000,000. Imagine if
that had been used to fund investment in new technology for carbon reduction or
As Mike O�Brien, the Energy and Climate Change Minister of
�Today�s first Phase
II auction demonstrates continued UK leadership in reducing carbon
emissions as part of the fight against dangerous climate change. The EU ETS is central to keeping the price of tackling
climate change as low as possible to industry and the economy.
We want more
auctioning in the future � and are already planning to auction 100% of the
allowances needed by the power sector from 2013. This auction highlights the
importance of using the market to drive down emissions and create incentives
for the development of low carbon technology.� Emphasis added.
At these prices it is not self-evident that there is any
incentive to reduce carbon emissions � business as usual is not so expensive.
The cash raised from a limited number of intermediaries who
will sell the permits on is going to the Treasury and will not be ring fenced
for climate change adaptation or developing new technology. As with Air Passenger
Duty which doubled in February 2007 the Treasury is using �green taxes� to
bolster government revenues.
The British Government is
on generating revenue for general government
expenditure through green taxes.
failing to implement the polluter pays
principle � climate change caused by UK emissions is causing
climate change which is impacting on primarily poor communities around the
world. The money raised is not being used to compensate those suffering for
droughts and floods caused by the UK�s green house gas emissions
and contribution to adaptation and mitigation. The polluter should be
paying for remediation � we are not.
providing a license to pollute: carbon
credits are being used to license � at a 50% discount � business as usual.
In 2009 the UK
government plans to auction a further 25 million tonnes of pollution. This is
part of the UK
government�s plans for implementing the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme
Phase II (2008-2012). The EU ETS works
on a �cap and trade� basis, EU governments will set a cap and then allocate
allowances, the total allocations being limited by the cap. If installations
exceed their allowance and cannot cover the excess pollution with allowances or
permits to pollute, they will be face financial penalties currently set at �100
(�84) per tonne, the permits are cheap at �13.61.
This year for the first time Responsible Tourism was addressed across all four days of the World Travel Market and there was a Responsible Tourism Fringe event on the Tuesday evening. On Monday the WTM published the WTM Global Trends Report by Caroline Bremner of Euromonitor who reported that in all regions �the desire for environmental responsibility, social interaction, authentic travel experiences and fair trade practices� are key to successful business in the next few years. On Thursday Xavier and I ran the first WTM Responsible Tourism Conference on the Business Case for Responsible Tourism attended by many who have not previously engaged with Responsible Tourism.
WTM's World Responsible Tourism Day Spotlight focussed on the individuals who make tourism more responsible – it is a good read, although Cheryl Mvula's reference to the “Goodwin girls” is a bit embarrassing.
The Responsible Tourism Movement is diverse reflecting the different cultures and environments where individuals and groups are pursuing the principles of Responsible Tourism � principles which include diversity, respect and transparency. One of the principles of Responsible Tourism is that all forms of tourism can be more responsible � the development of WTMWRTD reflects that principle and ambition � each year we are more successful in engaging the mainstream industry. Our purpose is to change the way that travel companies do their business and to ensure that tourism contributes, in the words of the Cape Town Declaration, to �make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.� This can only be achieved by engaging with the main stream industry.
Tribes Travel has grown from a small start �up to a significant player in the UK market with a clear set of principles; many of today�s new initiatives will succeed others will not. Success in the market place is critical to sustainability and to changing the world. It is perhaps worth reflecting that it was in the class room of the ICRT at GreenwichUniversity in 2001 that the priorities were to create a market place (www.responsibletravel.com) and awards (www.responsibletourismawards.com). Justin Francis (who was in the ICRT class of 2001) and I co-founded responsibletravel.com. Other sites have been established by ICRTs and by alumni (see www.responsibletourismpartnership.org/RTWorld.html). Justin established the awards and invited me to chair the judges. There are a range of other organisations also making awards for Responsible Tourism.
On Tuesday the ICRT ran a seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility. Xavier�s comment that “companies that constantly speak about corporate social responsibility are unlikely to be practising it.” Xavier called on firms to focus less on marketing their policies and more on putting them into action. One of the other themes taken up by the trade press was the need for local government intervention.
Not only does WTMWRTD now have a fringe the Minority Rights Group International organised a press conference at Carlton House Terrace in central London to draw attention to the plight of the Endorois.
Since their eviction in the 1970s, the 60,000-strong cow-herding community no longer has access to vital grazing grounds, or to ancient sites for naming or initiation ceremonies, imperilling their culture and survival.
Leader of the Endorois people, Wilson Kipkazi, says, “We welcome visitors to our country. But loss of our lands has forced my community into poverty. It is high time that we benefit fully from the income generated through tourism.”
While in LakeBogoria, tourists can visit reconstructions of typical Endorois village and watch locals perform traditional dances, yet they remain oblivious to the dispossession of the Endorois.
“Often tourists are unaware of the impact of their holidays on local communities – in our case conservation must go hand-in-hand with the protection of the Endorois' way of life”, says Wilson Kipkazi.
The Responsible Tourism Movement has come of age – there is still a great deal to be done.
Today saw the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards, Ed Fuller of Marriottt in the Hot Seat and two panels chaired by Stephen Sackur of BBC World and the ICRT WTMWRTD Reception….. and the presentation of thought provoking Hard Rain � Our Headlong Collision with Nature.
The World Travel Market's World Responsible Tourism Day goes from strength to strength, each year with Fiona Jeffery's leadership the issues of Responsible Tourism are raised with the destinations, hoteliers, transport providers and operators; WTM offers a unique opportunity to raise the issues with the mainstream industry. We'll go on doing it.
There were 80 ICRT alumni and friends at the ICRT Reception tonight, an opportunity to network and to reflect on the progress the Responsible Tourism Movement has made over the last year. Laura McGowan signed the MoU between the new ICRT Canada and the hub ICRT at Leeds Met and alumni caught up with former class mates and discussed the agenda for the 3rd International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations (May2009) with Yashin Dujon and Kenrick Theus of ICRT Belize
This year�s Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards were well received and reflected the engagement of some of the larger tour operators in taking responsibility for the impacts of their businesses and the sustainability of the industry. It was particularly pleasing that there was so much support for the awards to Jane Ashton of TUI and Diana McIntyre-Pike from Jamaica (see pages 34 & 35 of r:travel and page 19 of Spotlight.) For the first time this year there was a lunch for the winners and highly commendeds sponsored by BBC World � they also covered the awards: video
Details of all the awards can be found at www.responsibletourismawards.com . Competition gets tougher every year, this year it was good to see the achievements of some of the larger companies being recognised, demonstrating that the Responsible Tourism Movement now includes large businesses as well as the smaller specialist businesses in the UK and in destinations on five continents who did so much to establish the approach. For details of the judging process see r:travel pp.94-5.
The presentation Hard Rain � Our Headlong Collision with Nature combining the prophetic music of Bob Dylan with the photographs of Mark Edwards caused those who saw it to reflect on man�s impact on our planet; and the scale of the challenge that confronts us if we are to ensure that the planet remains habitable for us, and the species with which we share the earth and its seas. . The Hard Rain Project & Photographs
The first Hot Seat with Stephen Sackur of BBC Hard Talk interviewing Ed Fuller of Marriott was entertaining and informative. The Hot Seat will become a regular feature of WTM World Responsible Tourism Day. The two panels hosted by Stephen Sackur with hoteliers and tour operators were screened in the boulevard and raised many of the key issues around green house gas emissions, local economic development and water consumption challenging the panellists on their responsibility for sustainability.