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
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.