Sustainable tourism in an age of pandemics, climate change, biodiversity loss, political violence, insecurity and lies
The story so far...
In 1992 it looked like the good guys and gals had won. The United Nations Environment Program Rio Earth Summit was an earth and integrity revering event with earth shattering agreements and consequences.
Sustainability and integrity were the key words and it was not just window-dressing. Companies would have to produce corporate social responsibility accounts reporting on their actions as well as their profits, “Agenda 21” was to engage the world and all of its citizens in real movements to engender global harmony and sustainability. Sustainable Development and Sustainable Production and Consumption were to be the watchwords. “Global to Local” was the catchphrase. Responsibility was to be taken by every single individual for us all.
After all - didn’t the whole world get it? We were then nearing, or had already overshot our consumption limits - just one symptom of our addictive over-consumption international tourism had shot up from 25 million to 500 million passengers in just 30 years. Our common world heritage - biodiversity, culture, environment, everything, was daily being eroded. If this generation was to hand down anything of value of their successive generations they had to slow down, act jointly and act more responsibly.
A groundswell of work, initiatives and actions started right there - mainly sponsored or initiated by the United Nations - in particular the COP climate change conferences which were meant to keep our greenhouse gas emissions below the danger levels for human existence on Earth.
The idea of sustainable tourism and sustainable tourism development started right there.
But this positive, responsible activity to keep our human population, and the Earth it inhabits healthy was not to everyone’s satisfaction.
Using the empty word “Freedom” the selfish naysayers started right there to promote inaction risking the destruction of the Earth and its inhabitants. To extend their own profits, wealth and domination - whatever the cost to others.
So battle was joined and sustainable tourism, to a large extent, had the responsible best of it. In 2002, for instance The Cape Town Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations was organised as a side event preceding the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and was attended by 280 delegates from 20 countries. This resulted in the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism - in effect the global sustainable tourism rules.
But international tourism was still rising uncontrolled and dramatically. And the major tourism-related polluters - the airlines - were still emitting 80% of tourism greenhouse gases.
Massive conferences in Gothenburg and at Davos with major scientific documents took place in 2007 and 2008 building up to a global initiative at COP15 - the UN Copenhagen Climate Change conference in 2009 - all to bring tourism within the plan and global emissions generally under control so the world could be kept safer.
By the end of 2008 hopes were very high but by mid 2009 strangely they were fading.
As it happened dirty work was afoot and even with the heartfelt intervention of then US president Obama - COP15 was a total disaster. The selfish naysayers had managed derailed the process.
Why did they do it? That’s easy. They did it for their own profit and power. How did they do it? Given that the process was for the general good, that would seem more difficult.
But when you’re fighting principles, people and global salvation with unlimited cash resources - it’s a lot easier. The formula was (and still is) simple, it includes, but isn’t limited to - massive billion dollar political lobbying, enormous global disbursement of destabilising lies, bullying and extortion.
Just like the CORSA greenwash lie that got the airlines out of taking responsibility for their emissions - read about it later.
So here we are, nearly 29 years on from the Rio Summit, 12 years from COP15 and just 6 years on from the Paris “agreement” and because of Coronavirus not only has the clock stopped - but in international tourism figures it has strangely gone back to 1992. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation It looks like international passenger figures will be about 500 million again in 2020. Ironic - eh?
So now we’re back to base camp 1992 - what’s in store for us? What to prepare for? Where are the opportunities? Who will be the winners and losers? What can we do as individuals?
These are the questions that Sustainable Tourism Report 2021 will seek to answer.
The report is due to be published on 5 November 2020. It is the 19th annual Sustainable Tourism Report which has been published since 2003
The report will normally cost £200 €220 $260
A limited number of pre-publication review copies are available for £10 €11 $13 HERE
What they have said about the Sustainable Tourism Report:
"The suite of reports is brilliant. Packed full of facts from: across the sector, worldwide cases and by a range of stakeholders. A great way to keep up to date with major issues of sustainable tourism and provide my tourism students with knowledge to underpin critical thinking and employability." Dr Angela M Benson Principal Lecturer - Sustainable Tourism Development Adjunct Associate Professor University of Canberra, Australia
"What a great read! Whether you are a consumer, travel agent, tour operator or tourism board, this guide provides sage perspective and relevant examples that ultimately will help propel the entire travel industry forward!" Greenloons
"Just finished with reading the Sustainable Tourism Marketing Guide. It provides a both comprehensive and detailed approach focussing in particular on destinations. What I liked most is an excellently presented genesis of modern tourism which I think is crucial for the understanding of sustainable travel. The guide builds a step-by-step understanding of basic underlying concepts, implementation and best practice. I learned a lot!" Lorenz Töpperwien @tourBlogging
"The Sustainable Tourism Report provides a refreshing and no-nonsense guide to understanding sustainable tourism and how it sits against the backdrop of global issues we face today. With easy-to-read marketing strategies and lists of key players in the industry, it will assist any tourism stakeholder who wishes to transition to sustainability." Cherie McClosker, advocate of Phillipines Fair Trade:
"I would like to tell you how much I enjoyed your Sustainable Tourism Report 2008. Not only was it an excellent distillation of the current state of a rather vast domain, but it also conveyed -- thanks to your editorial style -- the confusion, urgency, and in some cases irony of our situation at this point. I so enjoyed your tone and point of view". Linda Rivero - Peace Through Travel:
"Thanks for producing such a fine report. I would like to put up a link from my website to an abstract or summary of your report, so that visitors to my website can order it I have finally had an opportunity to read your fine report. I loved your description of the Tourism Development Master Plan … will they ever get there? I wish you lived next door so that we could have a really good chat!" Kate Daniel of Journeys Ahead
"A must-read for those working in sustainability and for colleagues that you're seeking to engage." Simon Pickup Sustainable Tourism Manager - ABTA
"Again struck just the right balance between informing on international policy development; the latest trends in sustainable tourism practice and innovative developments in the private sector. "'¨ Cape Town Tourism
"The Annual Sustainable Tourism Report is the most comprehensive resource of its kind. It seems to hit the hot topics every year and gives me food for thought whilst providing concrete links to further indepth content. An important publication." Chris McHugo Chairman Discover Ltd owners of the Kasbah Du Toubkal, Marrakech, Morocco
"The Sustainable Tourism Report helps us to share interesting and topical issues with our teams world-wide, keeping them up to date with news and developments in sustainability. They are also great to keep as reference documents and are stored in our online sustainability library providing easy access for all Thomas Cook employees." Jo Baddeley, Sustainable Destinations Manager Thomas Cook UK & Ireland
"This is a really useful resource for any 'not for profit' membership organisation like us to be able to share with members. It clearly identifies the key issues and trends of increasing importance to visitors as well as providing some great examples of 'best practice' and case studies. In short there is something for everyone - whatever their size and wherever they are on the sustainability continuum." Eva McDiarmid The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions
When you come on a Best of Romagna FAM trip you’ll meet an extraordinarily powerful woman and have a unique, maybe life changing, experience with her.
Nestling in a Ravenna garden there is a small plain golden stone building...
Step inside with us and you will encounter an extraordinarily exquisite interior. Everywhere are glistening mosaic religious pictures and patterns bathed in the soft light of the ancient alabaster windows. The effect is instantaneous and long-lived.
This tiny space inspired Cole Porter to write “Night and Day”, Gianni Versacci to design a beautiful range of materials, both Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung had spiritual experiences here, Byron and Wylde were also deeply affected. Klimpt saw visions of new paintings.
This is the last empress of Rome’s mausoleum which she built herself over 1600 years ago to send us and others deeply spiritual messages.
Galla Placidia, Empress of Rome, Queen of the Goths, hostage, widow, woman, fighter - the world’s most powerful person of her epoch... lives here in spirit.
This is her amazing story of death, power, sex and intrigue - no wonder the mosaics glow!
When General Theodosius grabbed the Roman empire he summoned his two year old daughter Galla Placidia to his court in Milan.
He granted her the title of “Most Noble Girl” and gave her her own household and independence. He died when our noble heroine was just three.
Her father dead, the empire split between her half-brothers, Honorius and Arcadius, Galla Placidia then joined the household of Stilicho (who was half Vandal) and his wife Serena (her cousin) she learned embroidery and had a classical education. On Stilicho's insistance, she became betrothed to Eucherius, his son.
Stilicho was military boss of the whole Roman empire . When Arcadius died he was succeeded by his son Theodosius II who was only 7 years old. Stilicho decided to help Theodosius rule - and told Honorius to stay at home in Italy.
As a result, Stilicho was accused of trying to take power and was executed together with his family including Galla Placidia’s betrothed Eucherius.
Galla Placidia managed to escape to Rome - and into further danger. Rome was under seige and she became hostage to handsome Ataulf, king of the Goths. She spent the next three years in the Goths wandering battling camp. Finally the Goths prepared to take Marseille and offered Galla back to the Romans in return for grain.
Although the Romans said they’d give the grain they reneged on the deal and Atauf decided to keep Galla Placidia for himself instead. By now Galla Placidia’s brother Honorius had become Roman Emperor.
Ataulf agreed to marry her and the deal was settled by the delivery of the heads of two of Honorius' enemies to his new Imperial Capital - Ravenna.
At that time, Ravenna was a very special place. Built on islands in the Adriatic lagoon with access via a golden gated causeway and with a massive military island port with sea and marshes all around it - it was totally impregnable.
Galla Placidia and Ataulf’s wedding was enormous - in a grand mansion near Narbonne, full of food and drink all kinds of strange people Ataulf was clothed as a Roman general - Galla Placidia in glorious silks. The bridegroom presented the bride with a hundred handsome young men dressed in silk clothes each bearing aloft two massive platters - one full of gold the other precious stones - all looted from Rome!
Happiness then disaster! After two years of wandering as the Gothic King and Queen, Ataulf was slaughtered by his rival Sigeric while bathing in Barcelona. All his six children by a previous marriage were brutally murdered too. Galla Placidia was forced to march in procession with other captives in front of her husband's murderer.
Seeing her plight was one of the factors that made the Gothic population now kill Sigeric and replace him with Ataulf's relative Walia.
Emperor Honorius had always lusted after his beautiful half-sister and now arranged a marriage for her with his friend, soldier and politician Constantius to bring her to Ravenna.
She returns to Ravenna, lives with Constantius and they had two children Justa and Valentinian.
Then Constantius was proclaimed Joint Emperor with Honorius making Galla Placidia Empress consort.
Unfortunately, Constantius died within months therefore leaving Galla Placidia Empress. However, due to the blatant sexual relationship between her and her half-brother Honorius, Galla Placidia and her children were exiled from Ravenna, running to her relative Theodosius I who was ruling the Eastern Roman Empire from Constantinople.
It was a terrible stormy journey from Ravenna to Constantinople and Galla Placidia and her little family just avoided death. Galla Placidia prayed to be saved, she promises to build a church for St John if they all get to Constantinople safe and sound, which they do!
A year later Honorius died and there was a power vacuum in Ravenna. A usurper called Johannes grabbed the power. In Constantinople, Theodosius prepared Galla Placidia's son Valentinian III to be emperor and shortly Galla Placidia and her family took the land route for Ravenna. They sent another force by sea commanded by General Ardaburius.
Two galleys of Ardaburius' fleet were captured by forces commanded by Johannes. As an aristocratic prisoner, Ardaburius could wander the streets of Ravenna - he took the opportunity to open the gate letting in Galla Placidia's troops who proceeded to cut off Johannes' right hand and then execute him.
Galla Placidia then took the throne in Ravenna as Empress-Consort to her son Valentinian III. She ruled for 12 years from 425 until 437.
In Ravenna she created a great Imperial Capital in the lagoon with glorious basilicas, fabulous palaces, beautiful parks, canals and grand administrative centres.
She built the church of St John to give thanks for her safe passage to Constantinople and her "mausoleum" a cruciform chapel originally adjoining the the Church of the Santa Croce which she also built in Ravenna.
So for 12 years Ravenna was the glorious island city at the heart of global affairs ruled over by the last Empress of Rome - Galla Placidia.
Special, really small FAM trips for very special people - all include foodie experiences, learning experiences and meeting fascination people.
We’ve just released our exclusive tiny group familiarisation program for 2021. Why not join it and fall in love - you and your clients will have the times of your lives!
Very small exclusive FAM trips will run next year on March 28; April 4; 11; 25 (full) May 2; 9 (full); 16; 23; 30.
Here are a few travel agents reports on our first FAM trips - click on the image to hear their story!
The fabulous travel industry as we know it is changing dramatically. Read all about it. Now.
The travel industry has done my generation proud. Riches, experiences (good and bad) and of course massive amounts of amazing free travel - we have had it all.
And every year it got better and better and bigger and bigger. It was all so simple
Until 2020 when my book “You Lucky People” chronicling the last 60 years of excess was published. In its 240 pages I describe my roller coaster ride and the global travel industry.
And now it’s all change. At its root travel and tourism is a very simple exercise. Transport & accommodation - that’s it. Marketing & people make it very very different. Read all about it!
You Lucky People is not an academic helicopter ride through the industry full of anonymous facts and figures - but the warts and all experiences of a real person in the real business. The great initiatives but also the scams. The wholesome life-affirming offers but also the dark side of tourism.
Package holidays, group travel, tourism for development, cruises, destination marketing, MICE, DMC’s sustainable tourism - lots of travel stories - and much more.
You Lucky People will take you on travel and tourism’s roller coaster 60 year ride and point you to the next 60 years.
Your signed copy of the the book will cost just £11/$15/€12 including delivery. Order it now.
It’s your industry - your history too!
BUY YOUR OWN SIGNED COPY ˙HERE
At least one day of each of our FAM trips is always spent in the company of Pellegrino Artusi to experience the very best of Italian food and wine.
Who? Ask any good Italian chef and he’ll know Pellegrino. Just under 130 years ago he researched and collated traditional recipes, quotes, comments and methods from all over the Italian mainland. The book was written in Florentine Italian - the language of the newly-established Italy and was, and still is a classic best seller. Italian emigrants took it in their trousseaux all over the world so they could still have a taste of home.
The Artusi foundation was established in Pellegrino’s home town - Forlimpopoli. It houses 2 restaurants serving Artusi recipes, a library and probably the best cookery school in Italy. All set in a stunning ancient nunnery.
Here our FAM participants have a full on and amazing fun Italian culinary experience.
First everybody gets their new aprons on and learns to create different sorts of pasta by hand from eggs and flour - so all the participants get and take home fab skills helped by master chef and sommelier Carla Brigliadori.
Then it’s time for a superb lunch showcasing the very best local produce. Of course it includes the results of our new students’ hard work - great pasta in sublime sauces. But also parmesan, prosciuttos and other delicious meats, squacquerone, marscapone, ricotta, superb olives and fruits and delicious veggies, honeys, piadina flatbreads and of course a local dessert and coffee. Naturally this feast is all washed down with the best of the many local wines.
And the spiritual element of our food feast is not missing. We’ll visit the exquisite nunnery chapel to enjoy its tranquility and its stunning works of art before we leave.
We are off to a beautiful spiritual hill linked to perfect produce. Bertinoro houses dozens of vineyards but the one we visit is the ‘Grande Dame’ of Bertinoro vineyards. Creators of wine for popes and presidents, our partner Graziella Pezzi at Fattoria Paradiso takes us around the grounds of this lovely vineyard with its peacock inhabitants before we sit down to the afternoon’s hard work - sampling a dozen or so of the estates superb wines, olive oils and balsamic vinegars.
That’s just one day of your FAM invitation - and don’t forget - a wonderful dinner is yet to come!
And more days of fascination, food and fun!
Find out more about our 2021 FAM program HERE:
Find out more about Best of Romagna HERE: http://www.BestofRomagna.com
Valere Tjolle is the travel and tourism insider. An entrepreneur, consultant, developer and journalist, he has been in at the beginning of almost every tourism development for the last sixty years. There is no one better placed to expose the seedy side of tourism nor its enormous opportunities to unite people across the globe.