How should we understand Airbnb? Good or Bad?

The Airbnb consumer proposition is appealing to significant market segment, but by no means all. Garry Wilson Managing Director – Product & Purchasing, TUI Group pointed out at WTM this month that operators like TUI are in a different market place offering a different fully integrated product to consumers. Nathan Blecharczyk, one the founders of Airbnb, argues that the willingness of people to stay in the home of a stranger demonstrates the demand for personal connections while travelling and that Airbnb enables travellers to “experience a place like you live there”  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 offers a significantly differentiated product and they are extending that differentiation, bringing hosts and guests closer together: “….going for a bike ride on their favourite bike route or doing a game of Frisbee, something as simple as that …. connecting with real people having a good time, that’s something not currently available in the professionalised world of hospitality.” more

In November Airbnb launched Trips. Tourists will be able to create itineraries as well as book accommodation via the Trips upgrade to the Airbnb app. more 

This year’s Industry Report for WTM London included the results of a poll of 1,145 British holidaymakers, all of whom had taken at least a seven-day summer holiday overseas, or in the UK, in 2015. Only 12% of UK holidaymakers reported that they had used Airbnb and of those only 60% said that they would use it again. Of those who have not used it 30% have no intention of doing so. This does not suggest that Airbnb has been as disruptive as some commentators have suggested. more

From a resident’s perspective, it is more complicated.

The experience of a neighbouring homeowner or tenant having occasional house guests, whether they are paying for the privilege or not, is very different from living next to a licensed or unlicensed property wholly let for significant parts of the year – particularly if your neighbourhood is perceived as a great place to party. If the property is owned by a non-resident even the rental income will almost certainly not enter the local economy and it is highly unlikely to be taxed. Unlicensed property rentals are in some cities and resort areas a significant part of the black economy.

If you are running a business and successfully avoiding tax on your income you are likely to favour Airbnb as your route to market. As you are unlikely to be present at the same time as your paying guests you do not suffer the noise or the unruly behaviour experienced in areas like Barconeleta or Kreuzberg.

If you are a local person with noisy and disruptive neighbours you are likely to protest and demand that the local authorities act to protect the quality of your life in your neighbourhood – and ensure that the property owners who are making significant money from letting out whole properties are paying tax.

A resident may be more sympathetic to a neighbour who has friends to stay or paying guests. Your neighbour is there to ensure that their guests treat the shared neighbourhood and its residents with respect. Income earned from housing paying guests may enable people to pay the rent and stay in an area where housing costs are rising. If you like your neighbour and his or her guests are not disruptive, you are likely to be sympathetic.

However, if the number of people sub-letting in your neighbourhood is growing and if more and more properties are being wholly let for weeks at a time, with mounting levels of disruption and inflation in rental costs you are likely to be hostile.

Airbnb is growing fast and its “implied valuation at its most recent funding round was $30 billion; the market capitalization of Hilton Worldwide Holdings is $22 billion. Airbnb’s 2.3 million-room inventory is bigger than the three largest hotel chains — Hilton, Marriott International Inc. and InterContinental Hotels Group Plc — combined.” source

Cities are developing new forms of regulation to differentiate between whole property lets through Airbnb or other distribution channels and the occasional renting of spare rooms to guests to provide a supplementary income and help out with the rent – that is the sharing economy. Unlicensed properties rented out for large part of the year are not. These properties may or may not be licensed and if the owner is never or rarely resident there may be health and safety issues.

Cities will respond to regulate those renting out property through Airbnb in diverse ways, dealing with the issues which arise in particularly cities and neighbourhoods, planning, zoning, licensing, taxation, building regulations and a host of other regulation and management strategies are available and are likely to be deployed when issues arise. The major driving force in most cities is the housing shortage and rising rents.

Berlin: since May 2916 private tourism rentals are being limited by a new law Zweckentfremdungsverbot – prohibiting improper use. Homeowners are permitted to rent out only spare rooms rather than entire homes. more

Barcelona has fined homesharing websites Airbnb and Homeaway 600,000 euros ($633,600) each for advertising and renting out apartments to tourists without a license. Airbnb and Homeaway were identified as repeat offenders having illegally advertised 3,812 and 1,744 properties respectively. An additional nine rental sites are expected to also face fines up to 30,000 euros for failing to follow regional tourism laws. The Mayor argues that “It shouldn’t be possible that thousands of apartments are operating without a license, illegally, without paying tax and at the peril of neighboring residents,” Airbnb is appealing. more

Dublin:  there are reported to be 2,000 Dublin properties available on Airbnb’s website alone. Frank McDonald, chairman of Temple Bar Residents’ Association, cited one instance where a two-bedroom apartment advertised for sale through for €425,000 had a declared income of €79,000 through Airbnb in the previous year. Rising rents are making families homeless and the city is accommodating them in hotel rooms. “… if you look up the website, you will find that there’s only 1,200 to 1,300 apartments for letting to live in in the city at the moment. … And yet there’s well over 2,000 available for short-term holiday use. That is something that is, in my opinion, a deeply antisocial phenomenon at a time when the city has a housing crisis.” more

London: Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has raised the possibility of an ‘Airbnb law’ over “concerns” that the rental service may be affecting the availability of long-term rentals in the capital. In his letter to MPs, the Mayor  said that he “supports the right of people to benefit from renting out their homes for short periods” – but this “must be balanced against the need to ensure that Londoners are not adversely affected”. “If boroughs are finding that the legislation needs to be revisited to make sure that we find a better way of balancing the benefits of the sharing economy with the protection of local residents and the retention of housing for long-term use, then I will be happy to work with them and discuss with Government whether any changes may be needed.” more

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) claims that landlords are taking their flats off the open market, and advertising them instead on holiday websites like Airbnb. The RLA says 41% of properties advertised on Airbnb in the capital are multiple listings – involving one owner advertising several properties. “Given the pressures faced in the capital it is important that properties advertised as being available for more than 90 days a year are genuine holiday lets with appropriate planning permission,” said RLA policy director David Smith. “Otherwise, as well as taking rental stock off the market for those looking for somewhere to live, they are also putting tenants in a vulnerable position without all the protections offered by a tenancy agreement.” more


New York: Airbnb is contesting new legislation which would enable the state to fine people who advertise vacant apartments in a multi-unit building for 30 days or less. Fines could be as high as $7,500 for repeat offenders, threatening Airbnb’s operations in the state. Residents are allowed to rent out a room in their house or apartment as long as they are also staying there. more

San Francisco: Airbnb started in the city, there is now conflict between the city and Airbnb over enforcement with city moving to fine Airbnb for all the unregistered properties it markets. Airbnb denies that it should be responsible for checking that all the properties it lists are registered. more and the detail

Nathan Blecharczyk co-founder of Airbnb argues that it is part of the solution to rising rents because it helps make them affordable: “Airbnb can make it more affordable to have an apartment in London by making sure it’s fully utilised, whether renting your extra bedroom, or when you’re away on a trip and getting extra bucks to subsidise your rent.” more

Airbnb, good or bad? It depends on the circumstances and the ability of local authorities effectively to regulate.


WTM November 2016 Disintermediation and Destination Management   Video

The growth of budget scheduled airlines, Airbnb and a host of other intermediaries enabling travellers and holidaymakers to engage directly without the services of a tour operator or registered and regulated accommodation provider in the destination is the latest ‘revolution’ in travel. How much has really changed? What are the implications for hotel companies and registered accommodation providers? How can these tourists and new tourism service providers best be managed in the destination?

Interviewer: Martin Brackenbury
Garry Wilson, Managing Director – Product and Purchasing at TUI Group
James McClure, UK & Ireland General Manager, Airbnb
Anja Hartung Sfyrla, Head of Business Development, VisitDenmark
Jordi William Carnes, General Manager of Turisme de Barcelona.
Nikki White Wright Director of Destinations and Sustainability at ABTA


Possible deregulation of property rentals in the UK 

There have been reports in Spain about the protests against Airbnb in New York

Reviews of Tom Slee’s What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy  trenchant critique of the sharing economy. more 


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Whose destination is it?

At WTM London this year we ran 25 events over the three days. It was the 10th anniversary of World Responsible Tourism Day and there were two brief films for the opening. The first looked back over the 10 years and the second looking forward at the major challenges. 

The challenge of overtourism came up in many of the sessions, there is increasing concern that in a significant number  of destinations we are running up against the environmental and socio-economic limits to growth – there will be several panels on this at WTM London in 2017. One of the outcomes of the conversations on the Responsible Tourism Stand this year was an agreement amongst a number of destinations in Europe and Asia to work together and share ideas about how to tackle the challenge.

The word “respect” came up repeatedly in the panels and during the conversations on the Responsible Tourism Stand. Central to the concept of Responsible Tourism is the aspiration to use tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit – in that order. Great places to live are great places to visit. There were three sessions discussing how to make the interactions between local people and tourists better. Better experiences for the hosts and guests and  respect, mutual respect, came up frequently.

The key policy question for government is whether the place and its residents will use tourism or whether the tourism industry will use the place. Sir Colin Marshall, when Chair of British Airways launching the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in 1994 pointed out that tourism and travel industry is “…essentially the renting out for short-term lets of other people’s environments, whether this is a coastline, a city, a mountain range, or a rainforest”. The industry collects the rent whilst rarely contributing to maintaining the asset.

The travel and tourism sector is 11% of global GDP and yet it looks to government, national and local, to fund a proportion, often a large proportion, of the marketing costs. Although there are places where the contribution from the public purse is small, for example, the budget for Barcelona’s destination marketing includes only 5% from the public purse. This is rare, too rare

Despite the scale of the sector and its profitability, destination marketing is largely funded by local taxpayers many, most, of whom will not benefit from tourism and may regard the use of their public space by tourists and day visitors to be an inconvenience and an irritation. The maintenance of public space for tourism, whether that is Trafalgar Square or St James’s Park in London or the market square and streets of vernacular architecture in “chocolate box” towns and villages, has to be funded – and tourism businesses contribute no more than the businesses which do not benefit from tourism. Similarly rarely does even half of the local population benefit directly from the tourism they subsidise. The local authorities have to clean and maintain the historic core of Venice which benefits tourism businesses as far away as Bologna and Innsbruck. The tourists take their trophy photos and enjoy the public spaces for free – at the expense of residents and the non-tourism businesses. Only 10% of visitors to Venice pay to enter the Doge’s Palace, and that is the most popular paid for attraction, Venice is free.

Where the funded attractions are outside the centres of cities, towns and villages, there may be little or no benefit to the local economy from the public expenditure. It is rare for an attraction to forego the revenue that can be captured from the sale of souvenirs and food and beverage, denying other local businesses any opportunity to benefit from the tourism that public funding has helped attract. Match funding is increasingly popular but this can exacerbate the problem, distorting the way a place is marketed – and the place does not “belong” to tourism. It is not for tourism to shape and communicate the identity of a place.

When I was handling incoming groups I arranged a tour of Kent apple farms for a group of Polish apple growers. They wanted to visit London for one day – I was shocked by their choice of the itinerary for their experience of London: Buddy Holly at the theatre, lunch in Chinatown and a visit to the Trocadero Centre at Piccadilly Circus, souvenir shops and amusement arcades – few Londoners ever went there. Such a limited view of London – with considerable effort I did persuade then to take a ride on the open top bus tour and see some of the sights. Their image of London was impoverished by the marketing messages they had received from popular media and the London marketers.

The content and funding of destination marketing matters – the destinations belong to those who live there and fund their maintenance.



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2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards


Winners of the 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards Announced

DUBLIN, Oct 06, 2016: The winners of the prestigious 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards were announced today at an awards ceremony at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.

The awards are a response to demand from the Irish trade for a new type of awards showcasing the best in Irish responsible tourism. The 2016 Irish Responsible Tourism Awards aim to inspire replication, to excite media interest, to encourage competition and celebration from across the tourism industry on the island of Ireland.



The Irish Responsible Tourism Awards are part of a growing family of worldwide responsible tourism awards which are all linked to the World Responsible Tourism Awards, founded by Winners of each of the categories will be longlisted for the World Responsible Tourism Awards – a great opportunity for the Irish trade to raise international awareness.

The shortlist for the awards, which attracted entries from almost every county in Ireland, was announced in early September following assessment by a panel of industry experts chaired by international responsible tourism expert Professor Harold Goodwin. The award categories and the winners of the Silver & Gold awards are:

Best for Natural Heritage Tourism

  • GOLD: Doolin Cave (Co. Clare)
  • SILVER: Burren Nature Sanctuary (Co. Galway)
  • SILVER: Sea Synergy Marine Awareness & Activity Centre (Co. Kerry)

Best for Accessible & Inclusive Tourism

  • GOLD: Gleneagle Hotel Group (Co. Kerry)
  • SILVER: Mobility Mojo

Best Local Authority Initiative for Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD: Lough Muckno – Monaghan County Council
  • SILVER: Westport Smarter Travel Bike Buffet – Mayo County Council

Best Tourism Accommodation for Local Sourcing

  • GOLD (joint): Sea View House (Co. Clare) and Fuchsia Lane Farm Holiday Cottages (Co. Tipperary)
  • SILVER: Hotel Doolin (Co. Clare)

Best Destination for Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD: Mulranny (Co. Mayo)
  • SILVER: Inishbofin Island (Co. Galway)
  • SILVER: Sheep’s Head Way (Co. Cork)

Best Innovation in Responsible Tourism

  • GOLD: The Blackfriary Community Heritage and Archaeology Project (Co. Meath)
  • SILVER: Great Lighthouses of Ireland

Overall Winner: Mulranny (Co. Mayo)

Judges for the awards include:

  • Harold Goodwin (Chair of Judges)
  • Catherine Mack (
  • Kevin Griffin (DIT tourism lecturer and former-EDEN awards judge)
  • Paddy Mathews (Fáilte Ireland)
  • Annabel Fitzgerald (Irish Water & formerly Coastal Programmes Manager An Taisce)
  • Mark Henry (Central Marketing Director, Tourism Ireland)
  • Cyril McAree (Managing Director, Hotel & Restaurant Times)

Fáilte Ireland’s Head Investment & Innovation, Paddy Matthews said, A more environmentally conscious and community-centred approach to developing tourism in Ireland is becoming more and more mainstream… and so it should. It results in more genuine and authentic experiences for all our visitors.”

The awards took place at the 3nd Irish Responsible Tourism Conference organised by the Irish Centre for Responsible Tourism. The Irish Centre for Responsible Tourism was established in 2013 to promote responsible tourism on the island of Ireland.

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Seoul Declaration on Fair Tourism

The Seoul Metropolitan Government hosted the ‘Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum 2016 (SIFT)’ with Seoul Tourism Organization, Seoul on 20-21 September 2016, this Declaration was the product of the conference.

1. Fair Tourism encompasses inter-generational and intra-generational equity. It means managing tourism so that it is fair for the current stakeholders and fair to future generations because it delivers sustainable tourism: tourism that does not deny resources of natural and cultural heritage and environmental and social resources for our children and grandchildren. The year 2017 has been designated by the UN as the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development’ Sustainable tourism cannot exist without sustainable life, and the two are inseparable in any tourist destinations all around the world.

2. Korea welcomed 13 million visitors in 2015, of which some 10 million (78.7%) came to Seoul, the nation’s capital. Mega-cities are at the center of tourism in many countries. In this context, more attention is needed to ensure that tourism remains a happy activity for both the tourists and the local people. Seoul recognizes that tourism should benefit local people and that great places to live are great places to visit.

3. The ‘Seoul International Fair & Sustainable Tourism Forum 2016’ not only raises issues and calls for changes regarding the importance of fair tourism and tourism development, but also aims to initiate practical mid-to-long-term solutions and policies for implementation. All forms of tourism can be fairer, benefiting local people, their culture and environment as well as creating meaningful and memorable experiences for our guests. Fair Tourism is inclusive tourism ensuring that tourism is accessible to all.

4. Marking 2016 as the new start of its tourism policies, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has reviewed, through the SIFT (Seoul International Fair Tourism) Forum, whether its tourism policies are fair and sufficiently embrace and protect the public interest, as Seoul experiences very rapid growth in tourism numbers, putting increasing pressure on local communities, the city’s infrastructure and environment.

5. We stand at a turning point where it is now essential to ensure the Seoul Metropolitan Government more pro-actively manages tourism in the city. This will require a whole of government approach including the tourism department, planning, building control, transport, environment and waste management. Only through a whole of government approach can Seoul Metropolitan Government effectively manage tourism to benefit, rather than harm, local communities and their environment. The rights of citizens to enjoy their residence and neighborhood needs to be protected by the city government.

6. Tourism policies should not just aim at growth and development, but embrace the principle of ‘tourism for a sustainable life.’ What polices and solutions are needed? How should they be implemented so that both the local inhabitants and the tourists can enjoy fair and sustainable tourism? What must the policy makers, academics, civil society and experts do in their capacity? New paths and principles are set forth in this ‘Seoul Declaration on Fair Tourism’, Seoul aspires to be a leader in fair urban tourism for not only Seoul but other mega-cities in Asia and beyond.

7. We travel as local, domestic or international travelers to share different cultures and environments and to enhance the quality of our lives, and sometimes the lives of those we visit. A core value of Fair Tourism is respect. We travel to other people’s places and we must recognize our responsibility to treat local people and their natural and cultural environment with respect. Respect requires that local people have a significant say in how tourism is managed in their neighborhood. When tourist activities cause inconvenience to the local residents or damage the local environment and culture, they are no longer fair and therefore no longer welcome.

8. The UN has declared 2017 as the ‘International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the City of Seoul plans to ensure that tourism contributes to the sustainable development of the city by using tourism to make Seoul a better place to live in. Achieving this objective requires the active engagement of their elected representatives, all government departments, the tourism industry, local communities and civil society. Policy makers must continue to seek and implement policies that ensure that all forms of tourism are fair. This requires that citizens are effectively engaged in the planning, decision-making, implementation and monitoring of tourism policy and practices in the city and in their neighborhoods. They choose what aspects of their lives they want to share. We recognize that more emphasis must be placed on the yield that the city gets from tourism, the jobs and sustainable development created, rather than on simply arrivals and bed nights.

9. The tourist industry serves an important role in connecting the tourists and local inhabitants and thus promoting cultural and economic exchanges. The industry must work to develop fair and creative tourism models that can promote more exchanges while respecting the lives and cultures of both the tourists and the local residents. The tourism industry must re-evaluate the values that must be preserved, while introducing new tourism products that respond to the changing needs.

10. Fair and sustainable urban tourism development should further be expanded to not only mega-cities but also to small and medium sized towns and cities as well. Local activists, field specialists, local government officers, industry experts, scholars and policy makers should share experiences and cooperate with one another to achieve this goal.

11. The paradigm of fair and sustainable tourism development should be shared among mega-cities in Asia. This calls for active leadership of the city governments in mega-cities. We hereby declare that fair, sustainable, tourism development by no means discourages tourism, but rather seeks to realize a more bountiful life based on mutual respect and cooperation among the local inhabitants, tourists and the tourism industry as a whole.


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RT Conversations at WTM – new for 2016

Every year at WTM London we have about 2000 participants across the various Responsible Tourism  events, it is a big success but we want to reach still more people and excite them about what they can achieve by using a Responsible Tourism approach.

We have reduced the number of Awards so that there is time for the winners to be interviewed on stage and for the audience to hear from them about what they have done and why.

This year we are building on our success last year in engaging a wide range of people in conversations on the Responsible Tourism stand – on the show floor and far more participative. The idea is to get the host(s) to get a conversation going, no set piece presentations – no death by PowerPoint: some video, some storytelling, images, conversation, controversy; a real chance to forge new business relationships, to inspire, educate and challenge.

All sessions on the Responsible Tourism  Responsible Tourism  Stand AF100


13:00-14:30 India: Enhancing the Tourist Experience

Responsible Tourism is about using tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. 2017 is the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Development through Tourism. WTM is launching a new feature of WTM London, showcasing some of the ways in which tourists can engage positively with local communities purchasing local goods and services, contributing to the conservation of natural and cultural resources and valuing their community. Come along to meet leading local tour operators, their source market partners, members of local communities and national government and tourist board leaders.

14:45-15:45 Responsible Tourism Potential of the Republics of Central Asia

Come and meet representatives of the new and emerging sustainable tourism destinations and hear first-hand what they have to offer in sustainable and eco-tourism. Discover more about these fascinating countries and their culture, customs and historical sites as well as the genuine hospitality of the people. See their breath-taking scenery and  the potential they each have to offer to  tourists looking for an alternative tourism experience.

17:15-18:00 How can businesses report on their Responsible Tourism  Impact?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals apply to developed and developing economies alike. There are opportunities for businesses to use this framework to report on their positive impacts and to secure profile and market advantage. How can we most efficiently report on the contribution businesses make to the sustainable development through tourism?

Harold Goodwin & Jen Bobbin

13:00 – 13:45  Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Travel & Tourism

Last November Professor Kevin Anderson gave a graphic presentation on the scale of the challenge of climate change. Then came Paris and the intergovernmental agreement to reduce emissions so as to constrain the rise in the average global temperature to below 1.5°C. Climate change has continued to accelerate with new records being broken for the hottest month on record and many more extreme weather events. A hosted conversation, an opportunity to discuss what has been achieved since Paris, what has worked and what hasn’t an opportunity to share reflections on why more has not been achieved and to discuss possible solutions.

14:00-14:45  ‘How tourism can help the refugee crisis’.
2016 year has revealed even more about how Europe and the rest of the world is affected by the refugee crisis. Our tourism businesses are affected by these conflicts, and tourists are starting to make different choices about where they travel based on what destinations they consider to be safest. So what can tourism do to help the refugee crisis? What power do tourism organisations have to build resilience? And how do we protect local communities? Join the discussion to find out more.

15:30 – 16:30 How can we ensure the travel and tourism are accessible to all? 

What  is being done to make travel and tourism accessible for all and to discuss what more should and can be done.  Ensuring accessibility for all is about a lot more than wheelchair access. Why are not more tourism and accommodation providers ensuring that there is access for all?

10:15-11:00  Meet the 2016 Gold and Silver Winners
Tour opportunity to meet the Gold and Silver Winners of the World Responsible Tourism  Awards.

11:00 – 12:00 Responsible “Better” Volunteering Responsible Tourism Stand

Angela Benson has just completed a series of research seminars on responsible volunteering engaging the industry, academics and NGOs. Angela will be hosting a discussion about what should be included in a new British Standard on volunteering and a new International Standard. What needs to be addressed in order to ensure that the communities benefit, that children are not put at risk and to ensure that the expectations of volunteers are met or surpassed? What do we need to change in order to get better volunteering?

12:30-13:30 The Gorillas, Tourism and Poverty Reduction at Bwindi in Uganda  Responsible Tourism Stand

All round the world when land and habitat is protected for wildlife local communities lose out, more needs to be done to ensure that they too benefit from the tourism attracted by the resources they used to ‘own’. Conversations between international and local tour operators, lodge owners, the Ugandan Tourism Board and those working on the initiative to discuss how tourism in and around Bwindi can be shaped and improved so that local people, particularly the economically poorest, can benefit more from the tourists attracted by the opportunity to see the gorillas. There is more to Bwindi than the gorillas and great opportunities to extend length of stay in this part of Africa.

Come along and join the conversation if you have a tourism interest in Bwindi and the gorillas or if you are interested in the issue.

13:30-15:00 Enhancing the Tourist Experience in Africa Responsible Tourism Stand

Responsible Tourism is about using tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. 2017 is the UN’s International Year of Sustainable Development through Tourism. WTM is launching a new feature of WTM London, showcasing some of the ways in which tourists can engage positively with local communities purchasing local goods and services, contributing to the conservation of natural and cultural resources and valuing their community. Come along to meet leading local tour operators, their source market partners, members of local communities and national government and tourist board leaders.

15:30 – 17:00 Guides – educators and cultural brokers Responsible Tourism Stand

We have brought together a group outstanding guides to talk about how they approach their challenging role of enabling tourists to have positive encounters with local communities, their culture and environment. How do they see their responsibility? What do they think makes a good guide? How do they ensure that encounters are respectful, that hosts and guests create great memories and that the tourists have a great experience? Some short talks, some video and a conversation.

Full details of each of the conversations will be on the WTM website – link 

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Turning the Tables at WTM

Following the success of last year’s event, we are again running a  Responsible Tourism Speed Networking again at WTM. Speed Networking reverses the tables fo an hour the buyers take the tables and the sellers get the chance to approach the buyers.

Tuesday 8th November 09:00 – 10:00 Responsible Tourism Speed Networking

Responsible Tourism Speed Networking is a not to be missed initiative helping to drive business and add value to both responsible tourism buyers and Exhibitors. The Speed Networking format enables Responsible Tourism buyers and exhibitors to meet for 6-minute mini-meetings to discover whether they have similar business interests that they would like to pursue during WTM. On the show floor, the sellers take the booths and the buyers visit. In the speed networking, the buyers have the tables and the sellers visit them.

WTM Responsible Tourism Speed Networking is a not to be missed initiative helping to drive business and add value to both responsible tourism buyers and Exhibitors. The Speed Networking format allows for Responsible Tourism buyers and exhibitors to meet for 5 minute mini meetings to discover whether they have similar business interests that they would like to pursue during WTM London.

*Please note: the buyers will be seated at the tables and the exhibitors will move around the tables and approach the buyers. Enter as a trade visitor as normal and book a buyer’s table in the speed networking. People want to sell to the buyers do not need to register – they just run up and queue to meet the potential buyer(s)  of their choice !

Time and Location
Date: Tuesday 8 November
Time: 08:30 for a 09:00 start. Finish at 10:00
Location: Hall Entrance S10, Global Stage Networking Area, ExCeL

Register here

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Brexit and UK outbound

It is still early days, the impact of the decline in the purchasing value fo the £ has not yet worked through, the larger companies have hedged into next year buying € & $ ahead. But unless the £ recovers, which seems very unlikely, holidays will cost more next year. For smaller companies who have not hedged a 10% decline in the value of sterling hits their margins very hard.



First Choice, the home of all-inclusive holidays has released new research which has found almost 60% of us feel in desperate need of a break and some political respite after the nation voted to leave the EU at the end of June.

Mark Hall, Director of Product at First Choice said: “Despite the political upheaval, holidaymakers are not being put off booking their holidays.  More than ever before they want to flee the UK, spend time with their families and switch off.  All inclusive holidays are increasing in popularity as customers want peace of mind and control over their holiday budget, so they don’t have to worry about what they’re spending while away.” more

Easyjet has been widely reported to be pursuing registering an air operator’s certificate in a European country.

“easyJet is lobbying the UK government and the EU to ensure the continuation of a fully liberal and deregulated aviation market within the UK and Europe. This would mean that easyJet and all European airlines can continue to operate as they do today.
As part of easyJet’s contingency planning before the referendum we had informal discussions with a number of European aviation regulators about the establishment of an AOC (air operator certificate) in an European country to enable easyJet to fly across Europe as we do today.
easyJet has now started a formal process to acquire an AOC.
Until the outcome of the UK/EU negotiations are clearer easyJet does not need to make any other structural or operational changes.
We have no plans to move from Luton – our home for 20 years.” More in the FT

Today EasyJet shares fell 5%+ as the markets opened after the airline reported an 8.3% drop in revenue per seat for the three months ending June 30, although some of the damage was reduced by a 3.8%  improvement in cost per seat. They also reported that

“Commercial and operational performance during the quarter was impacted by the Brussels attack and Egyptair tragedy, significant disruption due to air traffic control strikes and congestion, runway closures at Gatwick airport and severe weather causing 1,221 cancellations.” More

Low Cost Holidays
The Low Cost Travel Group ceased trading on 15th July, based in Mallorca and registered with the  Balearic Islands authorities it did not have an ATOL and it was not a member of ABTA. Approximately 27,000 customers were reported to be in resort and a further 110,000 who had booked with Lowcost but have yet to travel.

Low Cost Holidays moved its base to Mallorca and lodged £1.09m with authorities in the Ballearics – enough to pay out just a few pounds (£7.78)  to each customer. More



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Maybe economic efficiency is not all it’s cracked up to be

Neil Irwin writing in today’s New York Times has suggested that the chasm opening up on both sides of the Atlantic is between the economic elite who favour a “dynamic globalized economy” – bankers, trade negotiators, international business people and mainstream political leaders.

“Efficiency sounds great in theory. What kind of monster doesn’t want to optimize possibilities, minimize waste and make the most of finite resources? But the economic and policy elite may like efficiency a lot more than normal humans do.”

” Perhaps the pursuit of ever higher gross domestic product misses a fundamental understanding of what makes most people tick.”

There has been a rejection of expert opinion in the USA and the UK and Irwin asks “what if those gaps between the economic elite and the general public are created not by differences in expertise but in priorities?”

“If there is one crucial lesson from the success of Mr. Trump and Brexit, it is that dynamism and efficiency sound a lot better to people who are confident they’ll always end up being winners.”   Read much more here

Seems obvious to me ……

The winners and losers of Brexit…

“As Naomi Klein argued in The Shock Doctrine, disaster capitalism operates by delivering massive shocks to the system and then using the ensuing period of anarchy, fear and confusion to reassemble the pieces of what it has broken into a new configuration. This is what was done in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and it is ultimately what is at stake in Brexit. The right wing of the Tory party has succeeded in throwing the UK’s affairs into complete confusion. The losses may be enormous: the preservation of the United Kingdom in its present form is far from certain. The winnings may, at first sight, seem modest: £350m a week will not be available to save the NHS; the free movement of labour will have to be conceded; and Britain will lose its place at the EU negotiating table. But the potential winnings for ruthless politicians are nevertheless enormous: the prize is the opportunity to rework an almost infinite range of detailed arrangements both inside and outside the UK, to redraw at breakneck speed the legal framework that will govern all aspects of our lives.”

Disaster capitalism: the shocking doctrine Tories can’t wait to unleash
Howard Hotson more in The Guardian 


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Muddling through Brexit – still no one knows what will happen

What happened?

10 days on it is still hard to make sense of what has happened. It is clear that those who voted for Brexit wanted to send a message to the Westminster and Whitehall establishment, to some extent the Brexit vote had some of the characteristics of a by-election rebellion. At least some of those who voted for Brexit were just wanting to protest and they did not expect or want to win – and they are saying so to camera.

Ipsos Mori interviewed 1,077 people poll for BBC Newsnight on 29th and 30th June.

  • 5% of Leave voters would now reverse their vote
  • 2% of Remain voters would change their vote.
  • More than a third of people believe Britain may end up remaining in the European Union even after the vote for Brexit. 22% said they did not know if the UK would follow through with its Brexit vote, while 16% are convinced the country will defy the result.
  • 48% want a general election before negotiations begin, so voters can give their verdict on each party’s plans for life.
  • 59% of respondents were not confident the Government will get the best deal for Britain – rising to 76% of Remain voters.
  • 38% said that losing access to the single market would be a price worth paying for new curbs on immigration
  • 42% including 18% of Leave voters, said Britain should continue to allow EU citizens to live and work in Britain in return for access to the single market.

As Brenda O’Neill has pointed out in The Spectator “Brexit voters are not thick, not racist: just poor. By forcing Britain to quit the EU they have given a bloody nose to an elite that views them with contempt”

Where are we now?

The Brexit side made a great many promises some of which have already been denied by Brexit leaders.

As the Labour Party goes through it paroxysm over the its leadership and purpose it is not unreasonable to ask whether the referendum was really about the leadership of the Conservative Party. If it was then there has been a great deal of collateral damage.

Two of the leading Brexit campaigners are going to be there on the side lines demanding more, much more – exercising power but without responsibility.  It is not clear that Farage, Johnson or Gove expected to win – they certainly had no plan for what to do when they did win. |It is not even clear that they expected to wine

As Fathom Consulting pointed out on 24th June the UK electorate has bought “a pig in a poke”


Boris Johnson has written in the Telegraph today about the “hysteria, a contagious mourning of the kind that I remember in 1997 after the death of the Princess of Wales” amongst part of the public. Johnson is right tThe tear widens as David Cameron resigns.

Boris Johnson was at home with a small team, watching the prime minister resign live on TV.

Victory, one insider said, was the moment it all went wrong.

Another told me Boris felt he was staring down both barrels of a gun. He had rather a nice life – did he really want to be PM?hat there is lack of clarity about what happens next, and that fuels fear. He has quit the field, withdrawn to criticise from the side-lines, abrogated responsibility. The Brexit campaign was fought by divergent groups who could agree only that they wanted to leave the EU and get their country back. They could not agree on a programme for action after the vote.

It is not clear that either Johnson or Gove expected to win – they were silenced for a few hours by the unexpected victory.. BBC Journalist Mark Mardell gives an insider’s account of what happened

04:45 BST

A mobile phone rings in the Gove household.

His wife, Sarah Vine – as she explained in her Daily Mail column – hears her husband’s phone go off.

Then this exchange.

“Michael, guess what? We’ve won!”


She wrote in her column: “Given Michael’s high-profile role in the Leave campaign, that means he – we – are now charged with implementing the instructions of 17 million people.

“And that is an awesome responsibility.”

As the mobile phones go mad: “‘You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off,’ I said, in my best (ie not very good) Michael Caine Italian Job accent.

“In other words, you’ve really torn it now.”

The tear widens as David Cameron resigns.

Boris Johnson was at home with a small team, watching the prime minister resign live on TV.

Victory, one insider said, was the moment it all went wrong.

Another told me Boris felt he was staring down both barrels of a gun. He had rather a nice life – did he really want to be PM?


On 26 June Johnson wrote in The Telegraph

“I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe – and always will be” and

“It is said that those who voted Leave were mainly driven by anxieties about immigration. I do not believe that is so. After meeting thousands of people in the course of the campaign, I can tell you that the number one issue was control – a sense that British democracy was being undermined by the EU system, and that we should restore to the people that vital power: to kick out their rulers at elections, and to choose new ones.”

This is certainly not what many of those who led the Brexit campaign, and who voted for it, thought was the Brexit. objective.

On 4 July Johnson opines that

“It was wrong of the Government to offer the public a binary choice on the EU without being willing – in the event that people voted Leave – to explain how this can be made to work in the interests of the UK and Europe.”

It was surely the responsibility of those wanting a Brexit to make clear what they thought the alternative to Remain was – they failed to achieve that.

Johnson has made clear his aspiration:

  1. There is no risk whatever to the status of the EU nationals now resident and welcome in the UK, and indeed immigration will continue – but in a way that is controlled, thereby neutralising the extremists.
  2. It is overwhelmingly in the economic interests of the other EU countries to do a free-trade deal, with zero tariffs and quotas, while we extricate ourselves from the EU law-making system.
  3. We can do free-trade deals with economies round the world, many of which are already applying.
  4. We can supply leadership in Europe on security and other matters, but at an intergovernmental level.
  5. The future is very bright indeed. That’s what Geldof should be chanting.

But it is still very vague – no commitment on immigration numbers, nor agricultural support, nor the NHS …….

So what next?

Harold Macmillan when asked what a prime minister most feared responded: ‘Events, dear boy, events’. Now that the campaign is over events will unfold, in the real world of negotiating with 27 countries – each of which has a sovereign mandate over the terms of our disengagement – the idea that we might get full access to the single market without paying into the EU budget and accepting free movement of labour seems highly unlikely. Economic and political realities will crowd in.

So where does that leave us.

With Theresa May as the likely next leader of the Conservative Party, triggering Article 50 and beginning to negotiate terms – no manifesto – the Leavers are divided about what Britain voted for beyond the simple idea of Brexit.

The Labour Party is distracted in an existential crisis.

Tim Farron the Liberal Democrat leader argues that there needs to be a democratic  mandate for the form of Brexit which is negotiated, whether a referendum or a general election..  The Liberal Democrats argue that one person a minute’ joining Liberal Democrats to fight Brexit .

The legalities …. 

Professor Dougan explains to the  that all markets have regulations which are enforced by judicial systems – if you want to trade in a market you have to accept the rules. Treasury Committee

Professor Michael Dougan, of Liverpool University, assesses UK’s position following vote to leave the EU and concludes that a democratic mandate is required to implement the results, Parliament will need to pass a great deal of legislation.

However, once Article 50 is activated the “UK is cut out of EU decision-making at the highest level and there will be no way back unless by unanimous consent from all other member states.”

“Once the UK tells the EU that it is withdrawing under Article 50, “the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it,” the rule says.

However, the UK will carry on taking part in other EU business as normal, but it won’t participate in internal EU discussions or decisions about its own withdrawal.”  BBC

Mishcon de Reya, lawyers acting for a group of business people and academics, argue that it would be unlawful for a prime minister to trigger Article 50 without a full debate and vote in Parliament.

“Kasra Nouroozi, a Mishcon de Reya partner, said: “We must ensure that the government follows the correct process to have legal certainty and protect the UK Constitution and the sovereignty of Parliament in these unprecedented circumstances.

“The result of the referendum is not in doubt, but we need a process that follows UK law to enact it.

“The outcome of the referendum itself is not legally binding and for the current or future prime minister to invoke Article 50 without the approval of Parliament is unlawful.

“We must make sure this is done properly for the benefit of all UK citizens. Article 50 simply cannot be invoked without a full debate and vote in Parliament.”

“UK: lost, divided and alone: The Brexit vote was a insurrectionary protest against neoliberalism, globalism and cultural contempt. It will break up the UK, and split England forever”???
Read Paul Mason in Le Monde

Whilst it seems very unlikely that MPs would deny the will of the people expressed in the referendum they might attach a process requiring that the “deal” be put to the people before being implemented.

The future is unclear – but at some point there will likely be a democratic mandate by referendum or general election. We could be in for a long period of uncertainty.

Posted in EU | Comments Off on Muddling through Brexit – still no one knows what will happen

It is going to be a messy divorce – if it happens….

When people divorce they want a fresh start, sometimes they already have a new partner in mind. Less often they just want to be clear of a relationship which although once significant  enough to them to generate a marriage, no longer is.

Many headed Hydra

In the Brexit divorce the party suing for divorce is a many headed hydra – during the campaign many promises were made,  some of which have already been disowned by Brextiers. The Brexiters never has and agreement about what they wanted post Brexit.

The Brexiters are already divided and planning to exclude the man who started it all. Nigel Farage’s supporters are not going to accept that and neither is Farage – he will be there constantly criticising the Brexit deal – it is plain foolish to think he can be sidelined. More

In may ways the referendum was like a by-election – there was a strong anti-Westminster vote. Some clearly voted Out and were surprised and dismayed when they won.

Over the next weeks the consequences of the Out vote will become clear, one of the Outers will emerge, from the coup in the Tory party, as leader and the  struggle to develop a negotiating position, to find a consensus, will begin.

Uniting the Hydra will be very difficult. With no manifesto for the Out side in the referendum there is no programme against which they can be held to account. However, everyone who voted Out had a clear idea of what they expected to get and they expect to get it. They were promised their dream and they expect to be given it.  I blogged yesterday about the back tracking already taking place.

Then comes the problem of actually divorcing – of completing the legalities. It is not clear that the Conservatives, under a new Brexit leader, will have the necessary parliamentary majority to pass the large number of documents necessary to accomplish a Brexit. It is not as simple as leaving there is a mass of legalisation to be repealed and new policies and laws agreed.

Then will come a general election, as the new PM tries to secure a working majority. There will have to be a manifesto, the proposals for Brexit will have to be laid out in some detail and by then it will be harder to criticise the Remain side’s concerns as merely scare mongering, there will be evidence in peoples’ everyday lives of the consequences of Brexit.

So the Brexit may not happen. It is not over

It is now becoming clear that divorce proceedings are delayed while a government not yet formed decides what it wants. If Boris Johnson becomes PM it looks as though what Britain wants will be substantially different from what I surmise the Leave voters thought they were voting for.

“It is said that those who voted Leave were mainly driven by anxieties about immigration. I do not believe that is so. After meeting thousands of people in the course of the campaign, I can tell you that the number one issue was control – a sense that British democracy was being undermined by the EU system, and that we should restore to the people that vital power: to kick out their rulers at elections, and to choose new ones. “

“I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be. There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU. 

British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. As the German equivalent of the CBI – the BDI – has very sensibly reminded us, there will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market. Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing – all the things we need to do together to make our world safer. “

The only change – and it will not come in any great rush – is that the UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation: the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal. This will bring not threats, but golden opportunities for this country – to pass laws and set taxes according to the needs of the UK. 

Yes, the Government will be able to take back democratic control of immigration policy, with a balanced and humane points-based system to suit the needs of business and industry. Yes, there will be a substantial sum of money which we will no longer send to Brussels, but which could be used on priorities such as the NHS. Yes, we will be able to do free trade deals with the growth economies of the world in a way that is currently forbidden. 

“There is every cause for optimism; a Britain rebooted, reset, renewed and able to engage with the whole world. This was a seismic campaign whose lessons must be learnt by politicians at home and abroad. We heard the voices of millions of the forgotten people, who have seen no real increase in their incomes, while FTSE-100 chiefs now earn 150 times the average pay of their employees. We must pursue actively the one-nation policies that are among David Cameron’s fine legacy, such as his campaigns on the Living Wage and Life Chances. There is no doubt that many were speaking up for themselves. “

Read more in the Telegraph

Ironic that we appear to have inadvertently kicked out our PM in a referendum rather than an election, that Boris appears to be writing of ever closer union and of being in the single market without accepting the regulations of the single market and the free movement of labour so fundamental to it.

There is at least one Conservative MP who does not think Boris wanted to win the referendum and that he used it to oust Cameron. She may be right.

Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times does  not believe that Brexit will happen either.

And the Brexit campaigners didn’t have a post-Brexit plan


We are all migrants – House of Commons speech

Inter-generational conflict

Regional madness

Project Farce is Boris delusional?

Kelvin Mackenzie of The Sun admits ‘buyer’s remorse’ after voting for Brexit

The Sun has also got around to telling its readers what Brexit will mean, and they are not happy read the story

‘Go back home’ – Bitter backlash post EU referendum more

Sean O’Grady I voted Leave – but looking at the reasons, it’s undeniable that we’ll stay in the European Union after all read

Posted in EU | Comments Off on It is going to be a messy divorce – if it happens….
Harold Goodwin