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'Responsible Tourism claims should be validated'

As readers of this blog will know I am very critical of proposals for global certification schemes, the most recent presentation I have made about this, a PowerPoint with sound, can be downloaded here).

In Kerala I argued that we need to see tourism businesses reporting on their performance against their policy commitments – the claims made by the businesses as much a part of the contract with the consumer as claims about the view  or the food.

Mere claims of being responsible is just not enough. Hotels should make specific measurable
claims about what they are doing. Only then will it be possible for
consumers to blow the whistle, call the hotel's bluff, as they do on other elements of the hotel's claims.

Local government and tourism businesses need to define the priorities, the issues which matter in the destination. Cape Town is pursuing this strategy (read more) Then, work out the
figures: electricity consumed per bed night or water used per bed night
or total local employment generated.There should not be a central
body reporting on performance and checking it veracity – this will empower consumer to choose operators and accommodation which are delivering their claims. The consumer is empowered to choose between the hotels and opt for the one with the best energy performance
or which purchases the larger part part of it goods and services locally. The
consumer will also find it easy to find out if the claims were untrue,''

We need to see a focus on performance and delivery rather than on processes and effort. It is surprising how little we know about the actual savings in water, waste or carbon emissions from certified hotels – let alone the economic impacts and employment practices.

Read more about the Symposium in India

Read more at Responsible Tourism Reporting

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