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Issue 6 ● April 2013 ISSN 2227-4065

Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism 18 - LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia - Sentosa Development Corporation, Singapore - The Bushcamp Company, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia - ActiveUkraine, Lviv, Ukraine

07 Feature

WTTC Global Summit & Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

12 Feature

Disaster Risk Management

37

Point of View

Walking the Walk – Do What You Can

See Inside

Heritage Tree Angsana, Sentosa Island


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Contents

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18 41 17

Kumud Sengupta Managing Editor email: m.ed@sostinternational.com

32 Reuben Brand

Contents

Editor email: ed@sostinternational.com

SOST April 2013 03 Editorial 04 Feedback:

SOST gets feedback from around the world

05 News & Events: SOST shares news and updates on its activities

07 Feature: WTTC Global Summit & Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

12 Feature: Disaster Risk Management

16 Destination Focus: Morocco

Anita Martins Art Director

18 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism: In the Spotlight:

- LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia - Sentosa Development Corporation, Singapore - The Bushcamp Company, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia - ActiveUkraine, Lviv, Ukraine

37 Point of View: Walking the Walk – Do What You Can

40 Market Intelligence:

ABOUT SOST Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism (SOST) is a complimentary journal published by Market Vision, for internal circulation and to our clients and subscribers. It is available to our website visitors on www.sostinternational.com

Elephants are in danger of extinction!

41 Green Showcase: The Great Ponsonby Arthotel, Auckland, New Zealand

44 Market Vision: -Travel & Tourism Research & Consulting -Sustainable Travel Development – Advisory Services

Market Vision Research & Consulting Services FZ-LLC P.O. Box 32394, Dubai, UAE Tel: +9714 3911241 Fax: +9714 3911245

www.market-vision.com


Kumud Sengupta Founder-Director, Market Vision

COMMENT Editorial 03

Welcome to the sixth issue of Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism, a journal for stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry.

SOST’s mission is to motivate stakeholders in the travel & tourism industry to adopt sustainable business practices with the message that sustainable tourism is ‘Good for the Planet and Good for Business’.

SUBSCRIBE TO CLICK HERE

SOST is delighted to have been the media partner with WTTC for the 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards which are one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism industry, recognising sustainable tourism best practices in businesses and destinations worldwide. We are thrilled that Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nido Resorts, Philippines won the Community Benefit Award this year. Congratulations to all the winners and finalists. In this issue, we cover the WTTC Global Summit and the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards event held in Abu Dhabi on April 9-10, 2013. Three finalists in various categories are showcased in our Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism feature. These are: The Bushcamp Company in Zambia, Sentosa Development Corporation, Singapore and LooLa Adventure Resort, Indonesia. We also feature ActiveUkraine, a responsible tour operator in Ukraine. In Green Showcase, we take you to The Great Ponsonby Arthotel, a small bed & breakfast hotel in Auckland City, New Zealand, which embodies the values and core principles of sustainability. The impact from extreme climate events has made managing risk a pre-requisite to business survival and a critical responsible tourism duty of care for visitors. Our special feature on Disaster Risk Management for tourism destinations is contributed by our guest author Christopher Warren, Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – Australia. Destination Focus features Morocco which is promoting sustainability of its artisan and handcraft culture through artisan themed tourism circuits in the medinas of Marrakech and Fes. Our contributing writer for the column Point of View is Joe Staiano, founder of Seattle-based tour operator Meaningful Trip. He shares insights on responsible travel and what the travel trade could do to be part of this growing and important trend in his article Walking the Walk – Do What You Can. We are pleased to announce that SOST is media partner for Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Awards event to be held as part of ITB Asia in Singapore, 23-25 October, 2013. Last but not the least, I’d like to encourage you to visit our website – www.sostinternational.com and subscribe to SOST. We hope you enjoy this issue. As always, we look forward to your comments and feedback. Let us know what else you would like to read about.

Happy Reading!

Kumud Sengupta Managing Editor Certified Assessor & Consultant for Sustainable Tourism Founder-Director, Market Vision


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Feedback

Feedback

SOST was launched in March 2012. This is the sixth issue of the publication. SOST has gained quite a following among the travel trade and the tourism community at large. Since we launched our website a couple of months ago, our subscriber base is growing daily. Please continue to read SOST, and provide us with your feedback and suggestions. Thank you so much. -SOST Team

SUBSCRIBE TO CLICK HERE

Thanks for sharing SOST with us. Ingrid Faroyvik, Chief Communication Officer Fjord1, Norway Thank you for bringing this to the world. Through awareness, change begins to manifest itself. Fern Stanford, Human Resources & Facilities Manager Bugaboo Greater Los Angeles Area Thank you. Very interesting publication. Gustavo Bassotti, Manager Tourism Development Tourism & Leisure - Europraxis Consulting Barcelona Area, Spain Very useful journal with interesting articles, practices and trends! Ioannis Evagelou, Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality IMI University Centre Luzern Zßrich Area, Switzerland I just read the newest issue of SOST and as always it’s a great read. Dr. Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner, Long Run Initiative Coordinator Zeitz Foundation, Kenya

Thank you so much for considering us to be featured in SOST! I really appreciate this opportunity and will certainly help spread the word around about SOST. Marcela Torres, Sales and Marketing Manager Southern Cone Journeys, Santiago, Chile I have just discovered your publication SOST. Great initiative, congratulations for passing the green word! Manuel Miroglio, Consultant and Professor Responsible Tourism, Mexico Thanks for sharing this. It is an interesting read. Congratulations on putting together this publication and I commend your efforts on this. I am sure this will generate a lot of interest and engagement at a B2B level from the trade professionals. Mahesh Sundaresan, COO Ikon Advertising & Marketing Dubai, UAE The articles are in-depth and well researched. SOST is a great resource for researchers and consultants. Abdul Azim Business Consultant Doha, Qatar

Sponsorship and Advertising SOST is read by a diverse audience consisting of professionals in the tourism industry, tourism business owners, destination marketers and academia. It has particularly found favour with those interested in sustainable and responsible tourism. SOST is promoted to (a) a database of subscribers and customers numbering over 10,000 travel and tourism industry professionals, and (b) online business networks with memberships exceeding 90,000. It is also read by visitors to its newly launched website: www.sostinternational.com. Launched in March 2012, four issues of SOST were published in the year. From 2013, SOST has become a bimonthly publication (six issues per year). For sponsorship and advertising details, please contact: advertise@sostinternational.com.


COMMENT News & Events 05

WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards announced The WTTC announced the winners for its 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards during a Gala evening at its Global Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 9th April 2013. SOST, as media partner for the Awards, was present at the event and met several of the winners and finalists. We are thrilled to announce that Ten Knots/ El Nido Resorts, Philippines featured in SOST September 2012 issue

was the Winner in the Community Benefit Award category. Read our exclusive interview with Mariglo Laririt, Director for

Sustainability and Environment Protection for El Nido Resorts, in the WTTC feature in this issue.

SOST signs media partnership agreement with Wild Asia

We are pleased to announce that SOST has signed a media partnership agreement with Wild Asia for its 2013 Responsible Tourism Awards, one of the first tourism awards in Asia specifically focused on sustainable tourism best practices. Launched in 2006, the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Awards are back for 2013 with an extended selection of categories to honour innovative businesses that have excelled through the practice of responsible tourism. Now in their seventh year, the Awards are open to accommodation and tour operator businesses across Asia in all shapes and sizes, budgets and locations. Grounded in the UN World Tourism Organization’s Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, the Awards have helped to shape international standards for environmentally and socially sound tourism. The Wild Asia Awards remain the only Asia wide awards committed to recognizing sustainable tourism and to

date have seen more than two hundred entries.

Rewarding Responsible Practices For Finalists of the Responsible Tourism Awards, the accolade and recognition validates business’s efforts in responsible tourism. The Awards give these enterprises an international platform to showcase their achievements in environmental best practices and support for local communities, demonstrating to the world that their businesses care. The 2013 Awards’ Winners will be announced at Asia’s biggest business-to-business travel trade show ITB Asia in Singapore this October, as part of the international responsible tourism networking events.

Transparent Judging Each year, Wild Asia works to improve the judging and transparency of the Awards. As a result, the 2013 Awards see an exciting international panel of judges, all with a minimum of 10 years responsible tourism experience from all corners of Asia. The 2013 Panel includes representatives from prestigious platforms such as the International Ecotourism Society, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Sustainable Travel International, and PATA.


COMMENT News & Events 06

Furthermore, each one of our Finalists will undergo rigorous judging and have a full report published on the Wild Asia website highlighting their achievements and why they were selected. These insightful reports will act as practical tools for inspiring other tourism operators to adopt their methods of best practice.

and biodiversity by actively supporting and protecting their natural assets. l Best in Resource Efficiency This award recognizes excellence in waste, water and energy management and sustainable architectural design in order to minimize your business’s environmental impact.

2013 Categories Best in Community Engagement and Development This award recognizes exceptional commitment to supporting the local community and economy in which your business operates. l

l Best in Cultural Preservation This award recognizes engagement and efforts by tourism businesses in preserving, enhancing and promoting local cultures and heritage.

Best in Protection of Natural Areas and/or Wildlife Conservation This award recognizes tourism businesses’ consideration of their local environment l

Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider This award recognizes the accommodation provider that excels in all of the above categories by taking into consideration all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring accommodation of the year.

l

all the key principles of responsible tourism (maximum positive impacts to the local community and minimum negative impacts to the environment) and awards innovation for this most inspiring responsible tourism business of the year. Already, over 400 downloads on application forms in the first 3 weeks; applications received from India, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam! If you believe you should be rewarded because you are making a difference, download your application form from the Wild Asia website tourism.wildasia.org, to get the international recognition you deserve. Deadline: May 23, 2013

l Most Inspiring Responsible Tour Operator (NEW) This award recognizes the tour operator that excels in all of the above categories by taking into consideration

Dwarka Exclusive cottage resort on beautiful, secluded, unspoilt stretch of virgin Dwarka beach, South Goa A place to relax, bask in nature’s beauty, watch dolphins and beautiful sun sets! Open from November 1st week till May 1st week

Web: www.dwarkagoa.com | E-mail: dwarkagoa@gmail.com


Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013

COMMENT Feature 07

WTTC Global Summit and Tourism for Tomorrow Awards The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the forum for business leaders in the Travel & Tourism industry, held its 13th annual Global Summit in Abu Dhabi on April 9-10, 2013. This is one of the most influential Travel & Tourism events globally, bringing together almost 1000 industry leaders, to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Travel & Tourism today.

Alongside the Global Summit, the WTTC announces the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, one of the world’s highest accolades in the Travel & Tourism industry, aimed at recognising best practice in sustainable tourism within the industry worldwide. SOST is proud to have been a Media Partner for WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

The Global Summit The title of this year’s Global Summit was ‘A Time for Leadership’. Industry, national and world leaders – from chairmen and chief executives to presidents and government ministers – came together in Abu Dhabi to discuss the industry’s responsibilities as it plans for future growth in international travel, whilst meeting its moral and commercial obligations to people, the planet and profits. Over the next 10 years, Travel & Tourism GDP is set to grow by 4.4% on average per year, outpacing growth in the wider economy and other industries, notably retail and public services. By 2023, Travel & Tourism’s total economic contribution is forecast to account for 10% of global GDP, US$10.5 trillion dollars and 1 in 10 jobs. Total Travel & Tourism employment is forecast to increase by more than 70 million jobs over the next decade, with two-thirds of those additional jobs in Asia. Asia will continue to lead growth, with annual average growth of over 6%, driven by

increasing wealth among its middle classes. By 2023, WTTC forecasts that China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest Travel & Tourism economy, measured in total GDP terms and the size of the outbound market. David Scowsill, President and CEO of the WTTC called upon the global Travel & Tourism industry “to grasp the mantle of leadership in order to influence”. He stated, “I believe that we are now showing the kind of leadership that is befitting of an industry that can generate growth, jobs, prosperity and sustainability at both global and regional level, like no other industry on this planet. With leadership, however, comes responsibility. The world is changing dramatically. Global economies are shifting, populations are growing, social classes are fluctuating, and the world’s wealth is being redistributed. Consequently there will be a shift in the ‘world order’ of Travel & Tourism. This is our Time for Leadership”.


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Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013

co-operation to “make a global movement of people for tourism, change billions of lives, and help us build the world we want.”

Keynote speakers included His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and former US President Bill Clinton. Welcoming the gathering of almost 1,000 industry leaders to Abu Dhabi, Al Muhairi said the staging of the summit in the UAE capital represented a key milestone in the emirate’s tourism evolution, and Abu Dhabi was looking to the international industry to look beyond its differences and work together to improve the quality of life for destinations and their people. He said: “Our ancestors left us a legacy of traditions to be proud of, and our mission is to maintain and develop them as assets of the nation for the benefit of future generations”.

Presidential Perspective: Travel and tourism industry has potential to challenge global economic interdependence and influence course of 21st century Former US President Bill Clinton challenged industry leaders to take the mantle of economic responsibility with tourism as the game changer. Tourism sector development and its role in economic prosperity, is a longterm challenge. “I worry a great deal about the interdependent world we live in. If you look at the mounting inequality along with

mourning prosperity, along with political and financial instability and the challenges we have from climate change, I think it’s fair to say that the future of the 21st century has not yet been written,” he said. He spoke about the potential of ancillary economic benefits generated via tourism which are often overlooked, yet provide unlimited opportunity for creativity and big picture thinking. Linking into the issue of sustainability, which is a key focus for the Clinton Foundation, he said: “I predict that over the next 20 years, the travel and tourism industry will lead a reexamination of our energy industry policies. The fact that you have such a great stake in a global stable environment gives you enormous credibility.” He stressed that by simply expanding tourism and in ways that promote sustainability, [this] “reminds people of our common humanity”.

How the industry can prepare for the next 1 billion international travellers Speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, Taleb Rifai, UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary-General called on the global tourism community to unite in the spirit of

Rifai reminded delegates of the dual role of tourism as an enabler for developing world nations to “lift communities out of poverty.” “[Tourism] has become one of the most important economic sectors and social activities of our time. [It] accounts for 45% of exports in developing countries and thus can help developing worlds play a more active and competitive part in the global economy. Tourism can, and must, play a role in our shared efforts to create a new sustainable world,” he said.

Speakers also included Professor Ian Goldin, Director, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, who painted a picture of the economic trends, environmental developments and consumer patterns which can be expected in the future. Daryl Hannah, American Actress and Activist, David de Rothschild, Adventurer and Environmentalist and Laura Turner Seydel, Chairperson, Captain Planet Foundation, highlighted the environmental constraints, which will challenge the sustainability of the industry in the future. For other discussion topics, and details of the various sessions at the Global Summit, please visit the WTTC website: www.wttc.org


Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013

COMMENT Feature 09

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Businesses and destinations that are leading the way in sustainable tourism were recognised at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Ceremony held on April 9, 2013, as part of the WTTC 13th Global Summit. The Awards showcase and celebrate Travel & Tourism businesses and destinations around the world, who are successfully balancing people, planet and profits. The four 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Award winners were:

from the countries of Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro united to create the Peaks of the Balkans transnational hiking trail, with the goal of opening both minds and borders. The initiative provides a framework for recovery, in an area once driven by conflict, by preserving the natural, cultural and spiritual heritage of the region as well as restoring mutual trust, collaboration, safety, and economic opportunities. Peaks of the Balkans offers training, capacity building and support for the development of tourism micro-enterprises, as well as facilitating trans-border movement for visitors. The Peaks of the Balkans project demonstrates the power of the collective cross-border efforts of three countries to promote destination stewardship as part of the broader Balkans Peace Park Project.

Community Benefit Award winner: Destination Stewardship Award winner: Peaks of the Balkans – Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro Following conflict and civil war, representatives

Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nido Resorts, Philippines El Nido Resorts plays a vital role in community development - 90% of all staff - including senior level positions - are from the local area.

It actively supports staff development and the creation of community enterprises. Examples include micro-finance support to employees who now own and manage recycling facilities, provide boat transfers and excursions and produce a diversity of fresh, local farm products, among other businesses. In addition to providing wages and benefits to employees that go beyond national requirements, training and education is emphasised, including a BeGREEN course for all staff, promoting environmental best practices.


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Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013

El Nido Resorts also purposefully educates guests on how their vacation can be good for the planet and local people. It has always believed in partnership with local communities, demonstrating the power of tourism to address poverty alleviation, improve local livelihoods and protect cultural and natural heritage for future generations.

Conservation Award winner: &Beyond, South Africa &Beyond’s conservation efforts have been at the core of its company mission for nearly three decades, starting at Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, where they restored degraded farmland habitat and successfully re-introduced rhino, along with lion, cheetah and elephant, among other endangered species. Today, Phinda’s rhino population is among the healthiest in Africa and &Beyond has donated six white rhino to the Okavango Delta to boost population numbers there. At Mnemba Island in Zanzibar, &Beyond created new breeding grounds for highly endangered antelope and their populations have now tripled. In India, &Beyond carried out a groundbreaking wildlife relocation of 50 Gaur (Indian bison) in collaboration with the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, aimed at stopping their local extinction in Bandhavgarh National Park. These efforts are accompanied by scientific research and carried out in partnership with conservation organizations and universities, demonstrating the power of successful private-public partnership through tourism for protecting rare wildlife.

Global Tourism Business Award winner: Air New Zealand Over the past eight years, Air New Zealand has achieved a 15% reduction in carbon emissions during a period when its business was also growing. Among other things, this impressive level of carbon reductions was achieved by investing in a more fuel efficient fleet, as well as improved operating practices such as reducing aircraft weight through the installation of dehumidifiers which remove 400 kg of water weight from an aircraft, using optimal routes, and enabling glide paths. They have also been active in supporting the development of sustainable aviation biofuel resources, and working with aircraft engine design companies to achieve greater environmental efficiencies. All of their ground fleet is run on biodiesel and 3,500 staff participate in the company’s Green

Teams. Air New Zealand is also committed to the protection of New Zealand’s natural heritage, working in partnership with the Department for Conservation on conservation and tourism initiatives and providing air transport for the relocation of threatened species.

2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards Winners and Runners Up: •

WINNER: Peaks of the Balkans, Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro Runners up: Sentosa Development Corporation, Singapore Tourism Council of Bhutan, Bhutan

David Scowsill, President & CEO, WTTC, said: “As the Travel & Tourism industry plans for the next 1 billion international travellers crossing country borders each year, it’s essential the growth is facilitated responsibly and sustainably, without destroying the planet in the process. These four awardees are shining examples of how businesses can balance people, the planet and profits effectively. It’s important to celebrate those businesses that are seizing the opportunity and to learn from them, if we are to have a sustainable industry in the future”. Costas Christ, Chairman of the Judges, Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, added: “This year’s winners join a growing list of exemplary organisations, destinations, and businesses from around the world that are on the front lines of demonstrating that doing well and doing good is not only possible, but represents the future of business success in an emerging and greener global economy. They have shown that embracing sustainable tourism principles and practices is not a part time activity, but a fundamental responsibility of the Travel & Tourism industry to both current and future generations on this finite and fragile planet we all share.”

Destination Stewardship Award

Community Benefit Award

WINNER: Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nido Resorts, Philippines Runners up: Loola Adventure Resort, Indonesia Siraj Center, Palestine •

Conservation Award

WINNER: &Beyond, South Africa Runners up: The Bushcamp Company, Zambia Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, Australia •

Global Tourism Business Award

WINNER: Air New Zealand Runners up: Abercrombie & Kent, USA ITC Hotels, India

SOST interviewed one winner and three finalists for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. The finalists are featured exclusively in the Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism – In the Spotlight feature in this issue.

About the Award Categories: Destination Stewardship Award The Destination Stewardship award recognises businesses, who have implemented a sustainable tourism programme at the destination level, incorporating social, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits as well as multi-stakeholder engagement:

Conservation Award The Conservation Award goes to a company, which has made a direct and tangible contribution to the preservation of nature, including the protection of wildlife, expanding and restoring natural habitat, and supporting biodiversity conservation:

Community Benefit Award The Community Benefit Award recognises companies and organisations, which directly benefit local people, by supporting community development and enhancing cultural heritage.

Global Tourism Business Award The Global Tourism Business award goes to an international company with at least 500 employees, and 8 tourism enterprises in one or more countries, whose achievements combine corporate success with sustainable tourism principles and practices

Content & Images: World Travel & Tourism Council


Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013

COMMENT 11 Feature

Ten Knots Development Corporation / El Nido Resorts, Philippines township planning. We’ve proven that if you partner with the community, you obviously have a longer welcome. We want to create something really sustainable to unlock the potential of the industry and create livelihood, to make sure they – the local community don’t get left behind.

The winner of the Community Benefit Award -Ten Knots Development Corporation/El Nido Resorts, Philippines, was featured in SOST in the September 2012 issue. Kumud Sengupta, Managing Editor, SOST spoke with Mariglo Laririt, Director for Sustainability and Environment Protection for El Nido Resorts, at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi. Here are excerpts from the interview: Kumud: Congratulations on winning the Community Benefit Award. What does this award mean to you and the staff at El Nido? Mariglo: Thank you so much. We are so thrilled. This is the mother of all awards. We were finalists in 2007. We looked at the numbers, how we were doing then, and now. Local employment, local produce, supply chain ... at so many levels, deliberate actions bring about good changes. In the past 5 years since the previous nomination, we learnt many lessons and built on that e.g. back then, we had 78% local staff versus 90% today, purchase of local produce has gone up from 26% to 51%, and so on. The Award gives a nod to our efforts and achievements, in the chain of supplies, everyone levels up. I think

among all categories, the community benefit category really resonates very deeply with me, so I am very pleased. Kumud: As you’ve said to me before, El Nido is all about the environment and the community, and this accolade recognizes that commitment. So, what’s next for El Nido? Mariglo: We are gearing up towards a bigger project that is aimed at unlocking the wealth in the local community - the human capital. Within the next 5 years, and we’d really like it to done as sustainably as possible in terms of technology and software, we hope to move to the next level of development, which is

Kumud: You had mentioned about Island Resort Management earlier. Is this tied to this project? Mariglo: Yes, that’s right. We are looking at creating a curriculum so that the local students’ fundamentals are strong, e.g. in accountancy, management, engineering... hopefully coming up with a tertiary level of education where we can provide resources for those who can’t go to Manila. At the same time, this would help minimize brain drain. This ties in well with tourism. We currently have 90% local employment, but 10% is from Manila, for management and engineering positions. Wouldn’t it be great if we can scale up from within the community, and increase our local participation even more? Most islands are alongside marginalized communities. So we can create a model that others can adopt. Kumud: Thank you, Mariglo. We wish you the very best.

Editor’s Note: For the detailed In the Spotlight feature on El Nido Resorts, read SOST September 2012 issue: http://www.sostinternational.com


Disaster Risk Management

COMMENT 12 Feature

Disaster Risk Management Motivating tourism to protect destinations: the gap between extreme weather threats and preparedness By Christopher Warren

Despite scientific warnings that climate change will impact tourism, the private sector in many cases still appears unprepared for an increase in extreme weather events, the consequences of which will impact on tourism’s productivity and community resilience. Our contributing writer for this special feature is Christopher Warren, Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – Australia, who provides insights into the barriers and challenges to Risk Management and Preparedness, and recommends motivation strategies to incentivise action. The Context Tourism destinations in some global ‘hot spots’ are being challenged by the scale of powerful extreme weather events. Regions like the Caribbean, South Pacific and Australia have historically faced hurricanes, cyclones, flooding and bush fires; these events are not new. However, the scale and frequency of recent extreme weather events is a direct result of climate change,

according to the Climate Commission, which suggests that original predictions of weather changes may have been conservative. Despite scientific warnings that climate change will impact tourism, the private sector in many cases still appears unprepared for an increase in extreme weather events as demonstrated by recent

fires in Tasmania (lack of evacuation planning) and Cyclone Evan which hit Samoa (lack of advanced warnings and coordination). The consequences of a lack of preparedness and protection will impact on tourism’s productivity and community resilience. On a wider scale this will also put pressure on UNWTO’s expectations that tourism will make a positive contribution to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.


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Disaster Risk Management

It is argued here that impact from extreme climate events has made managing risk a prerequisite to business survival and a critical responsible tourism duty of care for visitors. And that to encourage tourism providers to take action we need to apply parallel motivations which deliver better prevention and preparedness.

Why is Risk Management not motivating? While risk management may not initially be one of the most fascinating and stimulating aspects of tourism, it is increasingly vital for resilience and responsible care of visitors. The very fact that the subject has such a low level of motivation is in itself a key to the wider problems we face in regards to acceptance and action on climate change. Risk management is defined by UNEP as “the probability of harmful consequences, or expected losses (deaths, injuries, property, livelihoods, economic activity disrupted or environment damaged) resulting from interactions between natural or human induced hazards and vulnerable conditions,”1 It is a very broad subject. To be of value this article focuses on extreme weather events, because they appear to be a growing concern, and offers positive recommendations. From my research there are many barriers

and different contexts which prevent tourism providers taking care of their business, their guests and importantly, their destination. As an example, Table 1 highlights the Barriers and Contexts facing tourism providers in Australia, a country which accepts that bush fires are a natural phenomenon, which might constitute why tourism providers take the psychological position of denial to justify inaction. In most cases lack of action by tourism providers is accepted because the majority of tourism complies with a similar level of denial. Lack of action and involvement by local tourism organisations only helps to make the situation ‘normal’ and so socially acceptable. Our task is therefore to make risk management planning in tourism ‘normal’ by integrating its methods into business performance, focusing mainly on the positive commercial benefits rather than tackling head on the barriers and contexts. The complexity of barriers and context suggests that there will not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. It also indicates that role models can be an important device to encourage social change. Before discussing recommendations, it is important to recognise the scale of the challenge.

Table 1: Barriers & Context Why don’t tourism providers take the logical step to prepare for bush fires?

Barriers • Lack of money - reducing the risk from bush fires is expensive for tourism operators • Lack of knowledge – not aware of what action to take or not aware that they are in a high risk area • Lack of time to plan and implement a mitigation plan

Context • No action because - free rider problem – where tourism providers do nothing to protect the destination, leaving the resources to be provided by others. • See threat in ‘the bush’ not in their village • Not all owners are present e.g. holiday homes • Their bush fire survival plan does not consider the threats outside the perimeter of their property’s fence line • In many cases the tourism providers can be new to a region and not benefit from long term knowledge of previous bush fire events • Have previously had a bush fire and believe that it won’t be back for a long time


Disaster Risk Management

COMMENT Feature 0140

The Economic Challenges Tourism as a global industry is growing rapidly despite recession in the Euro Zone. Last year UNWTO reported a 4% increase in passenger arrivals to 1.035 billion. The Asia Pacific region recorded one of the strongest increases with a 7% increase, the South East Asia segment rose 9% and spectacular growth was recorded in Cambodia (24%) and Myanmar (43%). These figures demonstrate the growing economic importance of tourism to less developed countries. This demonstration adds weight to the UNWTO’s claim that tourism is a serious economic pillar to growth and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Even in a prosperous country like Australia tourism in regional areas accounts for 46% of total national tourism expenditure and subsequently provides more direct employment than agriculture, forestry and fishing combined. Growing the visitor economy in rural areas is seen as an economic priority. Set against this economic growth trajectory are the impacts from extreme weather events which destroy infrastructure and damage the tourism economy. These factors might be made worse because sustainable tourism seeks to utilise the benefits of the visitor economy to build community resilience. This is achieved by encouraging wide economic linkage between tourism providers and indirect businesses. When extreme weather events damage the natural environment reducing its attractiveness, making buildings unsafe and breaking communications, the economic knock-on effect grows. For example local farmers are encouraged to supply tourism. Thus the impacts of extreme weather events damage tourism and its source of food which are encouraged to be interdependent, as demonstrated recently in Samoa. In other words, the more we grow tourism and the better we interlink it with the local community, the more economically vulnerable communities are to disasters.

Climate Change and Risk From a big picture point of view, there have been many academic papers in the last decade warning of the impacts on tourism from climate change. A risk mitigation goal to increased travel costs has not been achieved (Boeing, as an example, predicts the number of planes will double by 2030 and passenger numbers will triple) nor have we

seen many measurable low carbon tourism goals achieved. Thus as tourism grows, so does its contribution to CO2 pollution, which subsequently contributes to climate change which stimulates extreme weather events.

• ‘7 Days in a row over 39C for Australia as a whole’ • ‘Hottest January’ on record • ‘Hottest Summer’ on record • ‘Hottest Day’ on record for Australia as a whole This translated into insurance damages of

From a regional point of view, risk adaptation is a tourism strength. A disaster in one country simply means tourists can (and do) quickly adapt and switch to another venue. While from a global perspective this enables tour operators and travel companies to maintain income, destinations in ‘hot spots’ lie vulnerable (tourism climate ‘hot spots’ as identified by UNWTO/UNEP/WMO 2007). Their vulnerability can also be longer lasting as ‘safer’ destinations competitively market against them. From a ‘hot spots’ point of view, extreme weather events propelled by climate change are therefore a serious immediate risk for tourism providers, communities and governments, especially for small countries where tourism accounts for a significant proposition of GDP like British Virgin Islands (80%), Saint Lucia (50%) and Fiji (25%). As the frequency of extreme weather events grows, so the emergency resources will be stretched. This means that emergency services will only be able to focus on primary infrastructure leaving communities to protect and prepare for themselves in secondary rural areas. This is a key issue professionals must recognise; sustainability should also include local destination protection by tourism.

Australian Example Developed countries face challenges. Consider a country like Australia where the Climate Commission described the December 2012-February 2013 as the ‘Angry Summer’:

AUD$89 (US$91) million from bush fires in Tasmania and AUD$33 (US$34) million in the Warrenbungles mountain range in New South Wales (average annual bush fire insurance damage claims is AUD$77 (US$79) per annum). There was also the loss in visitor expenditure. A relatively small bush fire in the Shoalhaven away from habitation still had impact. This is a council region on the south coast of New South Wales with a population of 95,000 and visitor population during the summer peak period of an additional 350,000. An independent report identified that holiday makers cancelled their bookings and operators, who bank on the peak season, lost sales that cannot now be recouped. This is because tourism is consumed at the point of production and you cannot store and sell tourism later. Thus lost bookings are gone forever. A similar situation was recorded in the directly affected area of the Warrenbungles and in neighbouring regions which did not have any bush fires. These economic impacts only compound the country’s low tourism sector productivity.


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Feature

Disaster Risk Management

Risk costs are naturally larger in countries such as the United States. The impacts by Hurricane Sandy saw several events cancelled and a 2.5% drop in hotel occupancy across the nation. The state of New York alone required a US$42 billion in disaster aid.

Facing Our Challenge The specifics of exactly how much tourism has lost from, for example incentives and meetings cancellations in America or beach holidays in Australia are unknown. The industry prefers to focus on delivering a message that everything is back to normal. Yet the losses in sales are not recoverable. As explained above, many tourism providers do not appear to spend time and resources to make a risk management plan. The impacts of extreme weather events are seen as potential threats and as such intangible in the pace of daily routines. From my Australian research it is evident that tourism providers in bush fire prone areas generally did not have any bush fire plan. Yet even after the fire event, they honestly did not expect to introduce one, because the ‘threat had passed’ and daily tasks swamped their workload.

Where to Focus Risk Management can be divided into four categories: Prevention: identifying hazards, risks and mitigating the dangers. This has been traditionally focused on legislation, building codes and land use. • Preparedness: developing a preparedness plan and training, to better handle any crisis event. • Response: led by government emergency services. • Recovery: set in motion steps to return the destination back to its original state. While the emergency services should focus on saving lives, tourism professionals should focus on helping tourism operators and communities protect their livelihoods. Limited resources means we must focus on prevention and preparedness because reducing the risk of an extreme weather event’s impact is a better strategy than coping with its results and costs afterwards. The question is: how does one motivate tourism businesses to adopt a Risk Management approach? Between theory and practice can lie an agent of change. Overall, it is recommended that a parallel motivation strategy is introduced to incentivise action.

Motivate Through Improvement

Business

1. Creating better experiences and developing linkages are recognised as methods to grow the visitor economy, while from the tourism providers’ point of view increasing sales income is important. Therefore consider integrating risk management strategies into campaigns which seek to improve experiences and raise income. In other words use the development of the visitor economy as a method to raise awareness of the need for Risk Management and combine Prevention and Preparedness plans as part of the visitor experience. 2. By improving the visitor experience, operators may well be in a position to either charge more or achieve a higher guest satisfaction level with subsequent increase of sales through word of mouth. 3. Visitor experiences can be created from Locally Distinctive values. By linking product development to community values and the conservation of cultural heritage, tourism providers might be encouraged to take Prevention and Preparedness measures as they learn of the values of local assets and their interconnectedness with their own livelihoods. That is to say they will be encouraged to look further than their own property and be encouraged to acknowledge the interwoven nature of tourism in destinations. 4. Develop new product ideas by flagging the threat and the solution becomes a new experience e.g. establish a bush fire museum which exhibits local scarred memorabilia; work with the Blue Cross and involve the community in its own story and conservation of records and artefacts; buy sheep to eat the grass reducing the threat of grass fires and offer this as an interpretive guest experience. 5. Work with aboriginal or indigenous communities who are seeking to revitalise their knowledge and practices to steward the land and implement traditional land care practices.

Criteria for Success at Community Level • Change Management requires willingness to work as a group and give volunteer time • An Individual leader or a catalyst (such as an

• • • •

event that brings people together through a shared traumatic experience) that ignites actions Community led to maintain long-lasting impacts External expertise and guidance Funding Integration of Prevention and Preparedness that combines the Local Distinctiveness (local historical societies) the mitigation and adaptation strategies to create a competitive edge

Above all is the understanding that there is no ‘one size fits all’, each tourism provider and each community has to have their own unique plan. To conclude, tourism professionals should encourage greater participation in Prevention and Preparedness by using a benefit led plan, through community consultation, that awakens tourism providers to their rich cultural heritage and incentives to stimulate action. Thereby, they should encourage tourism operators to both develop experiences which reflect the unique characteristics of their area and to recognise the need to nurture and take action to protect the destination themselves.

Reference UNEP (2008 p.8) Disaster Risk Management for Coastal Tourism Destinations Responding to Climate Change Images source: Rural Fire Services, Australia 1

Christopher Warren, DipAd, TAE, MSc., is Director of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism – Australia. He is a board member of the Tourism Industry Council of New South Wales, policy advisor to EcoTourism Australia, member of UNEP’s Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism and member of the Australian Regional Tourism Network. He is a specialist tourism consultant in local economic development, new product development and responsible tourism marketing, and is a speaker and qualified trainer. Web: www.icrtourism.com.au Blog: www.chriswarrenonline.com.au


Destination Focus

Destination Focus: Morocco Morocco promotes sustainability of its artisan and handcraft culture through artisan themed tourism circuits in the medinas of Marrakech and Fes! The tourism industry, driven by market demand and an increased sense of social responsibility, is becoming increasingly sustainable and seeking solutions that improve their business practices while maintaining their profitability. Tourism suppliers are looking for assistance in becoming more sustainable and the market is increasingly looking for sustainable purchasing options. The government of Morocco has been noticing these trends and in order to capitalize on them, they have set out in their Vision 2020 plan that they are now in the process of rolling out, the following two main objectives: 1) Raise the destination to be in the top twenty of the touristic destinations in the world, and 2) To become a model of sustainability in the Mediterranean area.

a major impact on the local economy and is a powerful tool for the promotion and conservation of its cultural heritage. Through a hands-on partnership approach with local and regional craft and tourism authorities, knowledge sharing, and sustainable marketing practices, the first steps have been taken towards achieving sustainability of this initiative and product through the demonstration of the value and impact that tourism and the sale of handcraft products to tourists has on the local economy. By branding these circuits as unique ways to experience the authentic handcraft culture and the history and architecture of Fes and Marrakech, each city’s Regional Tourism Boards will continue to benefit from tourism and local artisans will be able to sustain their livelihoods and continue the rich culture of handcrafts in Morocco l

One way in which they are doing this is by capitalizing on their unique cultural heritage and promoting their artisans and traditional Moroccan handcrafts, through the creation of artisan themed tourism circuits. These newly created circuits in the Medinas of Fes and Marrakech by the Ministry of Crafts, in partnership with the Millennium Challenge Corporation are established pedestrian routes that will guide and inform visitors as they explore the art, history and culture of the Medinas. Six thematic circuits were created in Fes: Monuments and Inns, Artisans, Fes Jdid, Palaces and Gardens, Knowledge and Knowhow, and Walls and Ramparts. Five circuits were created in Marrakech: Iron and Clay, A Thousand and One Doors, The Art of Wood, The Leather Route, and One Souk to Another. The circuits highlight the architectural, cultural and historical gems that these two Moroccan cities have to offer. Each circuit showcases the types of crafts that can be found in the Medinas - leather goods, woodcarvings, mosaic tiling (zellige), metal works and pottery. Some of the historical monuments found along the circuits date back to the 9th century and were built by artisans themselves. These edifices show the extreme attention to detail, the complexity of the craftsmanship and the expertise and talent that Moroccan artisans possess to create such beautiful works of art. Tourism, which is one of the primary sources of income for the stakeholders along the handcraft value chain in Fez and Marrakech, has

Content and images: Solimar International

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COME DISCOVER IN THE MEDINAS OF FEZ AND MARRAKESH

THE CRAFT THEMED TOURISM CIRCUITS Discover in the medinas of Fes and Marrakech, craft themed tourism circuits, which will guide your steps through workshops where generations of men and women have worked day after day to preserve Moroccan craft skills. In Marrakech, you can experience artisans hard at work sculpting wood, tanning leather, molding clay or bending iron. Discover and enjoy a female tradition par excellence, the art of the thread and needle. Find colorful carpets adorning the walls of the Zerbia souk, a principal place of sale near the Rahba Kedima square. In Fez, you will appreciate the work of generations of artisans. Nestled in traditional inns or huddled in the narrow streets of the medina, small workshops, which still manifest Fassi craft in all its glory, will open their doors. Strolling through the medina, you will not be disappointed, by the diversity and quality of textiles made by local artisans. The Center for Training and Qualification in Handcrafts.

Adorn yourself with a thousand splendors in the colors of Moroccan craftsmanship.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

In the LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia  Finalist – Community Benefit Award WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, 2013  Winner – Asia’s Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Operator WildAsia’s Responsible Tourism Awards, 2012

Dr. Marc v an Loo & I sabelle Laco ste, Co-fou nders, Loo Adventure La Resort

LooLa Adventure Resort, located on Bintan Island in Indonesia, is the top overseas destination for Singapore-based schools – both national and international schools, at all age levels and group sizes, including level camps (it runs about 100 school trips each year). Established in 2000, LooLa is 100% operated by local community members, with significant support for capacity building, training, and professional development programmes that are also automatically linked to wage increases. LooLa is the winner of WildAsia’s Responsible Tourism Awards as Asia’s most inspiring responsible tourism operator of 2012, and was one of three finalists for the Community Benefit Award category in the just concluded Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013. In this interview, Dr. Marc van Loo, Owner & CEO of LooLa Adventure Resort, shares with us the founders’ (Marc and his wife Isabelle) motivation behind setting up LooLa, the underlying company philosophy that guides its efforts and the sustainable business practices the company follows.

SOST: You started LooLa Adventure Resort way back in 2000. How did it come about? What was the motivation? Dr. Marc van Loo: After back-packing for a year in Asia in 1990, and falling in love with Indonesia, I wanted to show that it is possible to open a resort in Indonesia with local people that would showcase their natural hospitality, and combine it with exciting activities that fit the environment to produce an experience with international appeal SOST: What is LooLa’s core sustainability philosophy? Dr. Marc van Loo: This came about organically, but it started with the classical Dutch philosophy (I am Dutch) which goes under the name “polder model” (after the immense joint efforts of Dutch citizens in centuries past to

keep the sea out and drain low-lying lands - the so-called “polders”). This model has as its core the simple philosophy that to achieve success in any venture that involves various stakeholders, the stakeholders, including the initiators, must take great care to develop their venture in such a way that all stakeholders benefit. This is known in the English language as developing a “win-win scenario”, but it comes naturally to the Dutch. This is why it was only natural for me to start a resort that would employ local people from the area around the resort, and to give them ownership very early on. That was also why it made perfect sense to make sure that the local community as well as the local government would be happy with us, and to ensure that we craft company policies that would help achieve this.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

The interesting thing, culturally speaking, is that Indonesia and Holland are unique and united in their affinity with the polder-model and their strong preference for genuine consensus decision-making (after serious discussions), so it was a natural match. Lastly, the polder model recognizes the environment and nature also as a stakeholder, so, again, we did our best to develop our programs in such a way that the natural desire of people to do the right thing would be enabled very easily for them at LooLa, via exciting and fun activities that automatically conserve energy and promote the natural environment. SOST: What are the key tenets of your sustainability policy and how do you ensure its implementation? Dr. Marc van Loo: The modern definition of responsible tourism recognizes four components: 1. The business brings benefits to the local community: at LooLa, materials are sourced locally; our staff is 100% local and receives significant personal development training, as well as the right to run their own

LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia

(shop) business on & off site. The company furthermore spends close to US$100,000 per year on CIP (community involvement projects) in cooperation with its guests 2. The business respects local culture: as already mentioned, but in addition, our staff has the right to take time off during national holidays such as Hari Raya, even though these are peak holiday times 3. Resource efficiency: by boldly deciding not to offer air-conditioning and charging extra for hot showers, we achieve a very low ecological footprint 4. Respect for natural environment: we have planted over 10 hectare of mangroves and trees and have a chemical-free insect control program After simply doing what felt natural and right for many years, we have now realised that we can accelerate good developments by quantifying and measuring desired outcomes and see how successful we are. Quantifiable targets are powerful targets, which can be used

to great advantage with staff motivation as well. SOST: LooLa has been very successful in incorporating the local community and in supporting local community development projects. Could you enlighten our readers on these aspects? Dr. Marc van Loo: The basic formula is extremely simple, and could be adopted, we feel, by many other tourism operators. Many guests are very happy to contribute to the local community if you make it easy and attractive for them to do so. So we simply offer our clients the opportunity to pay a few dollars more (about US$20 per day) to engage in a meaningful activity such as road or bed building, personally donating mosquito nets and explaining what they’re good for, building volleyball fields, inviting orphanages over for a games day at LooLa, and so on. Clients love this, and the vast majority (in particular school groups) take us up on it. That means that all these community efforts are a joyful occasion for the locals, our guests and our staff, and they aren’t just revenueneutral for us, they actually enhance sales because people like the model. In short, the polder-model at its best!


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

We have, through our guests, planted about 10 hectare of forest, be it mangrove, jungle reforestation, fruit trees or vegetable gardens. We have furthermore adopted what we believe might be a world-first: a chemical free antimosquito-system that runs on a little water and a little electricity (automated Ovi-traps).

LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia

SOST: What kind of Environmental Education & Training do you provide to your staff? And do you have an Environmental Code of Conduct for guests? Dr. Marc van Loo: The code of conduct for our guests is extremely simple, actually: be yourself, but bring a smile, and if there is anything you want to ask, just do so (Indonesia doesn’t do political correctness – as long as you stay friendly, you can talk about anything you like). Environmental education is, in all honesty, something that is developing organically, and isn’t something that is specifically designed by us. Environmental concerns didn’t rate highly on the agenda of our local staff at first, but Indonesians are very guestoriented, so things started with our guests kindly and patiently educating our staff on the hitherto unheard-of ideas about sustainability. Winning awards provided an enormous boost in this respect. Seeing the criteria in writing started a sustained effort by our staff to meet these standards. There is nothing like entering awards or using Tripadvisor ratings, or direct mandatory guest feedback (all linked to transparent bonus schemes) to drive progress and we are making very enthusiastic use of this after we figured that out.

SOST: What measurable impact has LooLa made on the local environment in which it operates? Dr. Marc van Loo: We have, through our guests, planted about 10 hectare of forest, be it mangrove, jungle reforestation, fruit trees or vegetable gardens. We have furthermore adopted what we believe might be a world-first: a chemical free anti-mosquito-system that runs on a little water and a little electricity (automated Ovi-traps). And of course, our business provides employment to local Indonesians, leading to a measureable improvement in their household incomes, and quality of life. SOST: Your primary customers are Singapore-based national and international schools. What is the typical group size that comes to LooLa from these schools? What programs and activities do you have for the school children, and how do they benefit? Dr. Marc van Loo: We have groups as small as 20, and the largest would be 300, which are then spilt into smaller groups of 2530. As a former teacher, long experience taught me that the key to successful education is to keep the kids engaged.


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LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia

COMMENT 21 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

We have an Environmental Code of Conduct for our resort guests, advising them about our Green policies and practices and their role in supporting them.

That is why we started with a very rich activity program which sees kids kayaking, sailing, climbing (wall and tree), ziplining, skywalking, dragon-boating, doing archery, hill-trekking and seaflat marine-walking, boat and boomnetting, doing survivor island, etc. Kids love doing community work, especially if you put them in a position whereby they take ownership (our favourite model): just introduce yourself to a target community, say you have some money and a truck-load of energy, and what can we do that we both enjoy and think is useful?. Once the students set themselves a goal to finish a stretch of road until that next coconut palm, they typically do not give up until they have reached their self-proclaimed target, and the locals very happily participate in these efforts. Again, in my view, this is the polder-model in action: make the activities in such a way that they are exciting for everyone involved. All programs last a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 4 days. All activities are holistic in nature and address several educational objectives automatically in their design, such as the values of teamwork, leadership, perseverance, overcoming challenges and understanding each other.

SOST: What positive impact has being a responsible tourism company had on your business? What measures are taken to monitor performance and progress in meeting sustainability targets (environmental, socio-cultural and economic)? What operational cost savings have been achieved? Dr. Marc van Loo: Simply put: we are a successful company exactly because we practice sustainability, in particular where it concerned our local staff and the local population. This is what has always attracted people to LooLa: so close to Singapore, yet they get to see and experience “the real Indonesia”. So I wouldn’t say so much that our policies save money, rather, they MAKE money. We save enormously on water and electricity simply by not offering hot showers or air-conditioning. People who come to our resort accept that there is no real need for these luxuries but it means that the petrol burned by our generator is less than that of our two vehicles, and that water-usage is only about 15 liter per person per day. We have now decided that it is possible for us to gain at least 90%, possibly 100%, of our water directly from rainwater, and we will be putting the infrastructure

in place in the next three months. We have furthermore understood in these last few months that putting waste water gardens in place is not very difficult so that is also on the program. Finally, we have discovered last month that the price of solar technology has come down so much that it is financially quite easily feasible for us to provide daytime electricity entirely via solar power panels and batteries, and we intend to install these systems within the next few months as well – the architect design will be ready in two week’s time!. SOST: From your experience in leading LooLa and knowledge of the industry and customers, what trends do you see for the travel and tourism industry in the future? Do you see a growing interest in sustainable tourism or eco-friendly travel? Dr. Marc van Loo: Absolutely. The Tripadvisor surveys are absolutely right: the vast majority of people, if they have a choice between two destinations that are comparable in most respects, will choose the eco-resort, it’s that simple. And the more customers experience eco-tourism, the more they demand it. This is an irreversible progress that will only accelerate, especially through peerpressure.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

SOST: How can the conflict between the need for environment protection and the economic interests of tourism businesses be mitigated? What’s your sustainability message to the travel trade? Dr. Marc van Loo: The world is also very rapidly realising, and this includes local people in developing countries, that the local environment is simply a moneyspinner that must be preserved. Resorts and hotels and the tourism industry know this too. This simple economic reality drives a spiritual awakening as well. Our local staff used to kill snakes that they would find as a matter of course, but after studying the eco-award criteria, we asked our staff the question: how would you feel if your kids would never see a snake anymore in their lives? It didn’t take them long to decide that this would be really terrible and sad. So they now adopt, to the merriment of our village, a policy of relocating snakes, rather than killing them. I see such things as unavoidable. Our resort proves that people, at their core, crave a connection with nature, even if they have seen no nature in all their lives (many of the students visiting our place have never left the city). It is deeply embedded in all of us, and with our modern communication technologies and social media, this message will spread faster and faster. The only problem with

LooLa Adventure Resort, Bintan, Indonesia

tourism is that it increases travel costs and therefore global pollution. I hope that the detrimental effects of travel will be offset by the empowerment of local communities and local environments everywhere. SOST: LooLa won WildAsia’s Responsible Tourism Awards as Asia’s most inspiring responsible tourism operator of 2012, and was one of three finalists for the Community Benefit Award category in the just concluded Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013. What do these accolades mean to you and your staff at LooLa? Dr. Marc van Loo: First of all, while preparing for the application, there are so many questions for which we have to

prepare answers, and that process itself is a great learning experience for the entire team. As far as winning awards is concerned - it’s not so much for me as for my entire team for whom there hasn’t been a bigger motivation and greater morale booster than these accolades. They are all local people who always thought of themselves as ‘very small guys’ from a tiny little village and less than everybody else. Such awards, the recognition and the resultant media attention they bring, puts the entire team in the spotlight, providing them an impetus to improve and do better. They want to win again! For us at the management level, this allows us to go to the next level, towards setting higher goals in achieving sustainability.

SOST Assessment

LooLa Adventure Resort demonstrates compliance with several indicators for baseline certification under the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). ➜Having a waste management policy, implementing systems to measure the volume of garbage it recycles and composts as a

percentage of total garbage it produces, documenting toxic and non-toxic chemicals/cleaning supplies on site and having a system for tracking energy consumption and calculating green house gas emissions are some of the areas that need to be worked upon, in order that the company may be certified as a GSTC-aligned sustainable tourism business.

SOST Assessment is based on the business’s response (self-reporting) to a series of questions on sustainability policies and practices in line with GSTC-complaint criteria. It is undertaken by SOST’s Managing Editor – a certified auditor for sustainable tourism. It does not purport to be a ‘verified’ third-party assessment.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

In the Sentosa Development Corporation Sentosa, Singapore

 Finalist – Destination Stewardship Award WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, 2013

Mike Barc

lay, CEO, S entosa De

velopment

Corporatio n

Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) manages the development of Sentosa Island, a 470 hectare island linked to the city of Singapore that has seen significant tourism development in the past 40 years, and welcomed over 19 million visitors in 2011. Sentosa Island, known as Asia’s Favourite Playground, is home to an array of themed attractions, award-winning spa retreats, lush rainforests, golden sandy beaches, resort accommodations, world-renowned golf courses, a deepwater yachting marina and luxurious residences. Given the fragile ecological environment and highly urbanised context, SDC has implemented important environmental planning to maintain the island’s natural charm for all visitors to enjoy. SDC was one of three finalists for the Destination Stewardship Award category in the just concluded Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013. In this interview, Mike Barclay, CEO of SDC, shares with us details

about the company’s sustainability policies, practices and specific projects in partnership with its ‘Green Partners’. Prior to Sentosa, Mike was the Regional Vice President Asia Pacific for the International Air Transport Association (IATA). SOST: SDC has a strong commitment to sustainability, and has implemented important environmental planning in the development of the Island. Can you provide us some details about the steps that have been taken, and the key sustainability features of Sentosa Island? Mike Barclay: As the master planner and place manager for the island, we combine careful land use planning with responsible operations. We also

encourage our private developers and operators on the island to engage in environmentally sustainable business practices. Careful planning and land use The island was designated by the Singapore government to become a leisure and tourism destination 41 years ago. As developments intensified over the decades, two nature areas on the island have been protected and kept off-limits to development. The coastal fort at the western tip of the island and the surrounding forest and coast have also been left untouched. Developments are concentrated along the coastline and clustered to optimise land use.

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Sentosa Development Corporation, Sentosa, Singapore

COMMENT 24 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

We have implemented, and are implementing, ways to reduce electricity and water consumption, such as using energy-efficient lights and with motionsensor capability. We have also retrofitted our building water points with watersaving devices. Nature and heritage conservation and protection There are 30 heritage trees on Sentosa, the densest concentration of heritage trees in the country. These trees are of botanical and historical significance and we nominated them to be recognised and protected by the national park authority (National Parks Board).

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Similarly, there are 16 buildings which were given the conservation status by the planning authority (Urban Redevelopment Authority) in 2004. These buildings were built by the British between the 1880s and 1930s to accommodate garrisons for the coastal defence of the island and the harbour. They are historically significant. Vehicular traffic management Measures are in place to help reduce vehicular traffic. To encourage carpooling, vehicles entering via the causeway bridge are charged an admission rate regardless of the number of people in the vehicle. Other modes of entry via the electric train, ropeway cable car and the pedestrian boardwalk have been introduced and priced affordably to provide a more environmental-friendly way of entering the island.

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Resource use and management We have implemented, and are implementing, ways to reduce electricity and water consumption, such as using energy-efficient (LED or T5 fluorescent) lights and with motion-sensor capability. We have also retrofitted our building water points with water-saving devices and obtained the water efficient building certification from the national authority (Public Utilities Board).

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Key sustainability features of Sentosa l Two nature areas of secondary forests (Imbiah Hill and Serapong Hill) with rare and endangered plant species. l Fort Siloso, the heritage fort and surrounding coastal forest and cliffs l Healthy cluster of rare Bakau pasir mangrove in the golf course lake l 30 heritage trees of botanical and historical significance l 16 buildings with conservation status

SOST: With the aim of establishing Sentosa as an innovator and leader in sustainable tourism, you have developed a Sentosa Green Plan. What are the strategic objectives of this Green Plan, and how is it implemented? Mike Barclay: The strategic thrusts of the Sentosa Green Plan are: l To maintain island charm and environmental sustainability in the midst of increased visitations and land use developments. l To protect and enrich Sentosa’s natural resources (flora and fauna) towards preserving our unique proposition to guests and residents. l To conserve resources and reduce carbon footprint through leveraging eco-friendly and sustainable business practices/standards and innovations. SDC sought its Board’s endorsement to set up a sustainability unit in 2009 with dedicated manpower and budget. The sustainability unit under the Corporate Planning Division is responsible for overseeing the execution of the Green Plan through mobilising other departments to engage in sustainable operations.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

There is regular engagement with private businesses operating on the island (known collectively as Island Partners) on sustainability issues as well. There is regular management reporting to ensure that progress is being tracked and the key performance indicators reviewed. SOST: As a responsible tourism company, how do you maintain a balance between achieving tourism development goals, conserving the fragile environment where you operate, and meeting the needs of the local community? Mike Barclay: We recognise that there are opportunity costs to pursuing either fullscale development or land preservation. We are continually striking the balance and firmly believe that development and conservation can go hand-in-hand when there is a strong organisational commitment to sustainable development. Sentosa offers many differentiated leisure products within a compact area, and nature and heritage co-exist alongside state-of-theart leisure offerings. The island generates

Sentosa Development Corporation, Sentosa, Singapore

approximately 17,000 job opportunities. It remains accessible to the underprivileged through our annual community-giving week, where the island and attraction entries become free for them for a day. SOST: What are the key tenets of your sustainability policy, and what measures are taken to monitor performance and progress in meeting sustainability targets? Mike Barclay: Our conservation policy is to keep the island 60% green and open. We do this through land use conditions for our own development projects and those undertaken by private developers. Satellite imaging is used regularly to monitor the extent of vegetation cover on the island and the biodiversity in our forests and sea is monitored with the help of independent nature groups. Similarly, we have an in-house arborist and landscaping team to monitor the heritage trees. Energy consumption, water and air quality are also tracked. SOST: You provide Environmental Education & Training to staff and also have an

Environmental Code of Conduct for guests. Please provide more details about these initiatives. Mike Barclay: Under the Sentosa Development Corporation Act, it is illegal to poach wildlife or cut the trees on the island. Signs are placed around the island to remind guests not to feed the wildlife (in particular, the macaques) and to watch out for the peacocks while driving. Lunch talks on green topics are organised and the Green Plan and various initiatives are shared during internal staff Townhall sessions. There is a permanent office recycling programme – second-hand items are collected on a quarterly basis from staff for donation to thrift shop. There is also an annual Clean and Green workshop for the hotel and island operators. Aside from this, staff are sent on courses offered by the World Wildlife Fund, Building & Construction Authority (on green building and sustainable facility management) and other environmental-related training providers.


Sentosa Development Corporation, Sentosa, Singapore

COMMENT 26 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

SOST: SDC strongly believes in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and is actively involved in supporting local schools and community organizations. In what way do you support these organizations? Mike Barclay: We have a long-term partnership with a special needs school, APSN Tanglin School, in the neighbourhood. They send their students to the island on work and internship programmes. The students also come to the island for free for recreation. Our staff would conduct career talks for them and raise funds for the needy students. There is an annual community-giving week during the public school holidays in September. Underprivileged children and their caregivers are invited to the island to enjoy the attractions for free. During the same week, there are job shadowing sessions for 14- and 15-year-old students from the local schools. A charity dinner is also held to raise funds for charities. Our Sentosa Nature Discovery centre is open to school groups. Teachers can bring their students to learn about nature and conservation with our guides. Our native forest restoration programme also involves schools and as well as companies wishing to be involved in tree planting as part of their own CSR efforts. SOST: You work with a number of Green Partners on projects aimed at protecting the island’s rich heritage and landscape. Please provide us some details about these projects. Mike Barclay: Yes we work with a number of Green Partners. l With the park authority, National Parks Board: o Environmental Impact Assessment for development projects with impact to the natural environment l With the oldest, independent nature group in Singapore, Nature Society: o Biodiversity surveys o Tree planting l With a prominent local blogger and nature lover, Ria Tan: o Intertidal shore surveys l With a local university, Nanyang Technological University: o Testbed project to build and install a marine turbine to harness energy from tides

We have seen moderate growth in our electricity consumption despite a larger growth in visitations. This has been achieved through implementing corporate-wide electricity conservation measures. SOST: What positive impact has being a responsible tourism company had on your business image, your clientele, your competitive standing and on your business profitability? Mike Barclay: We receive feedback from our guests that they appreciate the greenery which welcomes them as they enter the island from the urban city. Our island charm is part of Sentosa’s unique proposition to all visitors. Offering many differentiated leisure offerings on a small land area requires us to be innovative in our planning and development. We look at clustering our leisure products and

reusing land plots to ensure that the island remains exciting while keeping the island charm. We have seen moderate growth in our electricity consumption despite a larger growth in visitations. This has been achieved through implementing corporate-wide electricity conservation measures. For example, we examined the relevance of a water feature at a traffic roundabout. It was converted to a landscaped roundabout and this conversion saved us about 20% in electricity and water use while still retaining the aesthetics.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

SOST: Sentosa was one of the finalists for the Destination Stewardship Category Award in WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013. What does achieving this recognition mean to the management and staff of Sentosa? Mike Barclay: It is an affirmation of our efforts, including those of our hotel and other private operators on the island. The nomination inspires everyone to do more and better for the environment, as we manage and operate our business activities on the island. SOST: From your experience in leading Sustainability Practices at Sentosa, and knowledge of the industry and customers, what trends do you see for the travel and tourism industry in the future? Mike Barclay: There is a growing segment of travellers asking for more transparency and accountability in the way we operate. We see them in

Sentosa Development Corporation, Sentosa, Singapore

the guest feedback. In particular, the free-and-independent travellers (FITs) are becoming more knowledgeable on environment issues and that comes with higher expectations of leisure operators. They are also looking for more authentic experiences and keeping the environment as natural as possible is certainly something they value.

There are certainly financial benefits of being more sustainable in your operations e.g. reduced electricity, water and waste disposal bills. In terms of employee recruitment, an organisation with sustainable business practices is more attractive to the young job-seekers, who are increasingly passionate about green issues.

SOST: What are the long term benefits that tourism destination managers can expect from being involved in sustainable business practices that include environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects? Can this be a competitive advantage? Mike Barclay: As mentioned, travellers are now looking to visit places which are unique and authentic – something which cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Conserving nature and heritage alongside building state-of-the-art leisure offerings will present an exciting and unique experience for them.

SOST: And finally, what’s your sustainability message to the travel trade? Mike Barclay: We take care to balance careful land use planning with responsible operations. This has allowed for nature and heritage to be showcased alongside stateof-the-art leisure offerings. Only through the pursuit of this balanced approach to development, Sentosa has been able to build its reputation as a sustainable and attractive tourist destination. There is every reason to believe that others can do that too.

SOST Assessment

We take care to balance careful land use planning with responsible operations. This has allowed for nature and heritage to be showcased alongside state-of-theart leisure offerings.

➜ SDC/Sentosa Island demonstrates compliance with several indicators for baseline certification under the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). ➜Having clear guidelines regarding its supply chain

purchases, having a system for tracking energy consumption and calculating green house gas emissions, and encouraging clients to ‘buy local’ are some of the areas that need to be worked upon, in order that the company may be certified as a GSTC-aligned sustainable tourism business.

SOST Assessment is based on the business’s response (self-reporting) to a series of questions on sustainability policies and practices in line with GSTC-complaint criteria. It is undertaken by SOST’s Managing Editor – a certified auditor for sustainable tourism. It does not purport to be a ‘verified’ third-party assessment.


COMMENT 28 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

In the The Bushcamp Company

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

 Finalist – Conservation Award WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, 2013

Andy H ogg, Fo

unding

Partne r, The B ushcam

p Comp

any

The Bushcamp Company operates six exclusive tented camps in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. By partnering effectively with local conservation NGOs, it has been successful in strengthening anti-poaching patrols and surveillance, as well as contributing to wildlife research and monitoring.

Bushcamp also focuses on improving the livelihoods of local communities as an effective means of building grassroots support for protecting wildlife in one of Africa’s most remote protected areas. In this interview, Andy Hogg, Founding Partner of The Bushcamp Company, explains how it all came about, what they do and where they are going with their conservation and community efforts. SOST: The Bushcamp Company was started way back in 1999, when 4 camps were brought under one roof

in the southern section of the park. How did it all come about? What was your motivation behind setting up the company? Andy Hogg: It was 1998 when we got the chance to put in our tender bid for the Mfuwe Lodge which once used to be a National hotel of the government. I had a couple of sites already and so did my partner. We joined together to form The Bushcamp Company in 1999 bringing together all of our camps under one roof. We wanted to pass on this unique experience to our guests of staying in

very small, very personal camps, going on walking safaris which were not that well known at that time, and to experience our warm hospitality. Being at our lodges, guests begin to appreciate that it is the smaller things that count e.g. waking up to the chirping of birds, being surrounded by breathtaking nature, being able to smell the flowers, and so on. It is really a wonderful and intimate experience. Our tag line appropriately communicates our promise to our guests: ‘From a vehicle you see Africa. On foot, you feel, hear and smell Africa.’


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

The Bushcamp Company, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Our work on the conservation side is important to us as we need to ensure that the area has the product (the wildlife) that is at the core of our business. From the business point of view, we need the business to be okay to be able to sustain continuing support on the conservation and community benefit platforms. SOST: Sustainable Tourism forms the basis of how you run your safari operations. Can you give us some more details about the environmental best practices that you follow? Andy Hogg: We try very hard and that’s the bottom line. We would like to do things properly, but we also need to have the funding to do it. The important thing is our heart is 100% in the right place. We know what we would like to do, what we want to do, and what we need to do. However, sometimes the funding just isn’t there. For instance, let’s talk about solar. We’ve got 8 camps and it’s taken us time, but over the years we’ve managed to make every camp almost completely solar, with freezers, fridges, geysers, solar cookers and lanterns. We knew we needed to do it, but it took

us nearly 5 years to complete it. So, yes, we do try very hard, and we also put a lot back into conservation and the local community. Our work on the conservation side is important to us as we need to ensure that the area has the product (the wildlife) that is at the core of our business. From the business point of view, we need the business to be okay to be able to sustain continuing support on the conservation and community benefit platforms. SOST: As a company, you are committed to wildlife conservation and to the people of South Luangwa. What policy initiatives support the realization of this commitment? What exactly do you do? Andy Hogg: Some years ago, I went to 4-5 of the other safari operators in the Luangwa

and suggested that we start a fund to support the conservation efforts of the South Luangwa Conservation Society and the North Luangwa Conservation Project in our area. In 2009, we set up the Luangwa Conservation and Community Fund along with some of the other Luangwa safari operators, agreeing to introduce to our rates a donation of US$10 per person, per night, for each client that comes to any of our properties. These funds are then split evenly between conservation and community projects. The US$5 for conservation goes to the South Luangwa Conservation Society, and the other US$5 dollar goes to the individual operators who may use it to fund private community projects, such as building a classroom or funding the local children’s school education.


The Bushcamp Company, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

SOST: Which are some of the community projects that you support? Andy Hogg: Zambia’s Luangwa Valley is the country’s premiere destination for wildlifebased tourism, but this natural heritage is under threat from poaching and other illegal activities. We are a proud supporter of three local wildlife organisations that work together on various conservation efforts to address these issues and conserve the Valley’s wildlife. We recently funded an airplane for them for their aerial antipoaching and research activities. In terms of community projects, our philosophy is that education is the key to a successful future, and so we financially support three local schools. With generous donations we have been able to pay teachers’ salaries, build classrooms and staff houses, provide access to clean water and take the school children into the park on game drives. Last year we funded two boys’ dormitories and this year we need to fund the girls’ dormitory. In addition, we fund 300 children to send to school. We work with another organization that gives us enough money to buy 3,000 mosquito nets for distribution to the local community each year. We encourage tree planting projects and try and support vegetable market-gardens in Mfuwe, buying vegetable and herbs for our bush camps locally, as well as buying products such as honey, peanut butter and rice produced by COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation). We also have a little charity called ‘Charity Begins at Home’ which especially supports the education of girls with at least 50% of the funds, since many girls drop out of school as they are required to help look after the family, do chores in the house and they also face the challenges of teenage pregnancy and early marriage.

COMMENT 30 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

SOST: Do you provide any environmental education and training to your local staff? Andy Hogg: We recognize that our local staff are our most important asset; many of them have worked with us since the beginning. We train them to be the best that they can be and encourage them to progress and develop their skills and responsibility. We also provide regular training to the tour guides. SOST: How do you sensitise your guests to the local environment and to behave responsibly? What opportunities do you give them to be involved in the local community and contribute to its development? Andy Hogg: We obviously tell people what we do, but we want them to get involved in the right spirit and with the right intent. In our rates, it is highlighted that they are paying US$10 per person per night towards our different conservation and community projects. While we encourage individuals and families to visit our school projects, and get involved even in simple activities such as playing soccer or football with the school kids, we are also sensitive to the fact that not everybody wants to get involved. Those who do, ask us what they can do to help and many are happy to volunteer. On our website, we suggest to our guests that if they have space in their luggage, they could bring small gifts for Student Prizes at our local schools. They can also sponsor the education of orphans and poor children; the sponsorship fee covers school fees, uniform, school materials and transport, and starts from as little as US$80 per year for a Grade One student. We believe that our guests enjoy their safari with us even more knowing that they have contributed directly to ensuring the ongoing survival of the Luangwa’s wildlife and

environment, as well as the development of its community. SOST: Having been in business for so long, do you believe you have made a measurable impact in the local environment in which you operate? Andy Hogg: Absolutely. Just from an education point of view, if you look at 300 children getting educated, the majority wouldn’t have had the opportunity without our support. When you go to the classrooms and the dormitories with all the basic facilities in place, you can quite easily see the difference that has made – more and more parents are sending their children to school now. To us, that is a big achievement, and that is the way we’d like to measure our impact. From the business point of view, it’s a tough business, and we don’t make a lot of profit. Operationally, we have to perform well for our agents and their clients and deliver the best holiday experience. There are challenges of course, as with any other business, but as I have said before, clients don’t mind paying a little extra towards our conservation and community efforts as long as we do well by them. And we are proud of the fact that we continue to delight them. We have developed long term relationships with many of our clients and guests who provide ongoing support for our various initiatives. One of our lady guests from Austria has been funding 30 children to go to school for the past 9 years. Last year, a journalist did a great story about us in a men’s journal, and he is now himself funding the education of two children here. When people like these try to make a difference, you realize the longer term impact of your business on the local economy and the community.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

SOST: What is your sustainability message to the travel trade? Andy Hogg: In my view, commitment to maintaining and preserving the environment and the tourism product is essential for sustainability of businesses like ours. If everyone involved in the travel trade were to think along the lines of our Luangwa Conservation and Community Fund, they can make a big difference. When you start adding up the US$10 per person per night, across several travel companies / tour operators, it is a lot of money. We are raising about one million dollars now, which is split between conservation and community projects in our area. Used sensibly and creatively, such efforts can lead to a win-win situation for both the travel businesses and the local community in which they operate.

The Bushcamp Company, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

SOST: The Bushcamp Company was one of the finalists for the Conservation Award in WTTC’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2013. What does achieving this recognition mean to the management and staff of your company? Andy Hogg: To be selected as a finalist is a great honour, and we are very proud that our Conservation and Community projects

Commitment to maintaining and preserving the environment and the tourism product is essential for sustainability of businesses like ours.

have been recognised by the World Travel and Tourism Council. Such recognition has come at a time of serious concerns for the future of our wildlife and local communities. It has helped us to raise awareness of the threats, and has substantially boosted our donor funding. For our staff, it is an acknowledgement of their hard work and dedication, and they truly deserve that.

SOST Assessment

➜The Bushcamp Company demonstrates compliance with most indicators for baseline certification under the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). ➜Having clear guidelines and a system for tracking energy

consumption and calculating green house gas emissions, and having a ‘do no harm’ code of conduct for its guests are some of the areas that need to be worked upon, in order that the company may be certified as a GSTC-aligned sustainable tourism business.

SOST Assessment is based on the business’s response (self-reporting) to a series of questions on sustainability policies and practices in line with GSTC-complaint criteria. It is undertaken by SOST’s Managing Editor – a certified auditor for sustainable tourism. It does not purport to be a ‘verified’ third-party assessment.


COMMENT 32 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

In the ActiveUkraine, Lviv, Ukraine

Responsible Tour Operator Oksana Arkhyp chuk, C Active o-foun Ukrain der & M e

arketin

g Mana

ger,

Established in 2011, ActiveUkraine considers itself to be the home of Ukraine’s dynamic tours, authentic experiences and responsible travel. ActiveUkraine was started by three young people, coming from different backgrounds, cultures and traditions, with a common passion for adventure and commitment to living sustainably. In this interview, Oksana Arkhypchuk, Co-founder and Marketing Manager for ActiveUkraine, shares with us the founders’ motivation behind setting up the company, the underlying company philosophy that guides its efforts and the sustainable business practices the company follows. SOST: ActiveUkraine started with the vision to be Ukraine’s best tour operator guaranteeing authentic experiences and responsible travel. Please tell us about the sustainable tourism business practices you follow. Oksana Arkhypchuk: When we started the company two years ago, we decided that we will focus on responsible tourism. We saw the rising trend for responsible tourism in the

travel world, and since all of us, the founders, shared a common passion for adventure and commitment to living sustainably, we decided to make this our company’s business philosophy, and key differentiating point vis-à-vis the other players in the market. When deciding on how to implement the sustainable travel approach in our day-today operations, we focused on the three key areas: economical impact, cultural connections and environmental awareness. We wanted to make sure that ActiveUkraine brings positive contribution to Ukraine’s communities in all the three dimensions. So, for instance, we do a lot of promotion for rural and off-the-beaten places in Ukraine, that are away from the mainstream tourist routes. Any visit there makes a strong impact on the local community. We strongly encourage our travelers to stay in familyowned guesthouses, instead of large chain hotels. Most of our tours include visits to

local families, with travelers directly ‘paying’ towards the community – either through joining traditional family dinners, or taking a master class from a local artisan. We also try to avoid the large imported souvenir bazaars, but instead make sure to take our guests to the houses of artisans, where they can see the creations first hand and even try making some of them on their own! Culturally, we try to engage our travelers with local people as much as possible. Our city tours, where tourists get to enjoy lunch with a local family, have been such a hit! We also make sure to showcase the non-urban lifestyle: our travelers spend a day in the countryside, learning to live like an average villager; they visit Hutsul shepherds, and learn more about the special ethnic group of Ukrainian highlanders. We are also one of the first travel companies in Ukraine to develop special tours with a focus on Crimean Tatar communities in Crimea.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

ActiveUkraine, Lviv, Ukraine

We help tourists not just see Ukraine, but experience it, from within and through the eyes of locals – thus a lot of focus on interactions with locals in all our tours. For environmental focus, we include a responsible travel cheat sheet for our travellers in the welcome package. It gives them some suggestions on how they can be proactive during their trip to Ukraine. We also offer unique volunteering opportunities with Nature Reserves, such as working in the bear sanctuary in Synevyr National Park or clean up in Mizhrichya National Park. A lot of our tours have an adventure element to them, and thus take place in the conservation areas. We work very closely with the areas’ management and make sure that our guests follow the reserve’s guidelines. For example, we bring trash bags with us and help pick up along the way.

Lastly, we encourage our travellers to use public transportation as much as possible, be it during the Kyiv Off the Beaten Track tour or Ukraine Holiday.

see Ukraine, but experience it, from within and through the eyes of locals – thus a lot of focus on interactions with locals in all our tours.

SOST: What motivated you to focus on sustainable tourism? Oksana Arkhypchuk: We wanted to not be just another typical sightseeing tour provider. While there are a lot of tour companies in Ukraine that offer regular tours, as well as active adventures, we wanted to differentiate ourselves by bringing in the ethical aspect to our tourism options. We wanted our tours and holidays to make a difference.

Finally, we saw a rising need in responsible travel from the travellers in our target market. Simply being a good travel company does not just cut it anymore. Travellers start asking for companies that have an articulate mission, clear values and commitment to making an impact with their tours. So choosing to focus on sustainable travel was not just because of our passion, but also a calculated market needs–driven approach. We continuously strive to update our trips and operations policies to align better with the sustainable tourism ideal.

Also, we wanted to help tourists not just


ActiveUkraine, Lviv, Ukraine

We have working partnerships with two Nature Reserves and include reserve’s specialists and management in our tours. No one knows the places and their environmental needs more than them!

COMMENT 34 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

SOST: Tell about different kind of tours and experiences that you offer. Oksana Arkhypchuk: All of our tours can be divided into few groups. First, we offer sightseeing trips, but present them with a twist. As I mentioned, we add local interaction element to our city tours, such as visits and lunches with a local family, master classes with local artisans, and tasting traditional home-made food. We show off-the-beaten track areas in the city, focusing on green spots, such as cycling in Kyiv parks, or hiking in the nature reserve next to Lviv.

can participate in the daily life of the locals: collect hay and make haystacks, collect honey from the beehives, milk cows or sheep, and bake food in the oven.

Secondly, our major difference is our focus on countryside areas and rural communities in Ukraine. We offer day trips and weekend getaways in rural Ukraine, both next to the capital Ukraine and major cities, as well as in the Carpathian area. People in the Ukrainian countryside still live very simply and lead the lifestyle that is often not present in richer countries anymore. Our travellers

And last, a less typical area in tourism genealogy tours – is also a part of our offerings. We help people, whose ancestors emigrated from Ukraine in early 20th century, find their family and lost relatives in Ukraine. Most of the tours focus on visiting rural areas and meeting village elders, which wonderfully aligns with our vision and values.

Third, our active adventures, including hiking, cycling or rafting, are also popular with the travellers. We focus on off the beaten areas and nature reserves in Ukraine. We have working partnerships with two Nature Reserves and include reserve’s specialists and management in our tours. No one knows the places and their environmental needs more than them!


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

ActiveUkraine, Lviv, Ukraine

We also provide an opportunity for the travellers to donate to their chosen cause in Ukraine – a small envelope with the message to collect all the Ukrainian change is a simple idea, but goes a long way!

SOST: How does your business provide a chance for travellers to contribute to sustainable development in Ukraine. Oksana Arkhypchuk: We decided that promoting the opportunities is the most important part in bringing sustainable travel to life. Not all travellers are aware of how they can contribute to the local communities, and simply providing information on the top is crucial in creating the awareness. We run a blog where we highlight the topics on all aspects of travelling to the Ukraine, and being a responsible tourist.

SOST: What trends in tourism do you see in the future? Is sustainable travel gaining momentum? Oksana Arkhypchuk: More and more travellers are interested in travelling more ethically. They want to know more about the destination itself, how their visit can contribute to the local community and how they can have an experiential vacation, instead of just a ticking-off travel list. Many want to visit off the beaten track areas and beautiful nature reserves.

As I mentioned, we also give out special welcome packages to all our guests, where, among other things, they receive a ‘Responsible Travel Cheat Sheet’, with detailed information and practical ideas for their trip. We also provide an opportunity for the travellers to donate to their chosen cause in Ukraine – a small envelope with the message to collect all the Ukrainian change is a simple idea, but goes a long way!

When travellers write to us in their inquiries, they often mention that they really liked the sustainable travel focus in all our tours, and that it is the ethics and values of our company that made them book a trip with us. I am sure that this trend will continue in the future as well, and more companies will be ‘forced’ to join in the responsible travel movement.


ActiveUkraine, Lviv, Ukraine

SOST: What long term benefits do you associate with adopting sustainable travel best practices? What message would you like to give to other tour operators? Oksana Arkhypchuk: Yes, sustainable travel might not necessarily bring immediate extra cash to your company’s cash flow, but the long term benefits are very clear. Adopting the responsible travel approach helps to differentiate your company from your competitors and to stand out

COMMENT 36 Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

in the eyes of your potential customers as a business with a soul. Additionally, it allows you to build deeper connections with the local community and thus offer stronger experiences for your travellers. If I had to give out one message to all the other companies that are just thinking about taking up the sustainable travel approach in their operations, I’d say: start small, but start now, from today.

It does not take big policy changes or accreditation to start implementing sustainable tourism practices in your company. Have a brainstorming session on how you can align your services with economical, cultural and environmental aspects. Include all your employees in the brainstorming activity. And start implementing one by one. Even small changes have noticeable impact on your travellers!

SOST Assessment

Adopting the responsible travel approach helps to differentiate your companyfrom your competitors and to stand out in the eyes of your potential customers as a business with a soul.

ActiveUkraine demonstrates compliance with some indicators for baseline certification under the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). H ➜ aving a written mission statement and a code of conduct pledge for both onsite management and off-site tourism activities is the first step towards compliance.

C ➜ lear guidelines regarding its supply chain purchases, waste management policy and a system for tracking energy consumption are some of the areas that need to be worked upon, in order that the company may be certified as a GSTC-aligned sustainable tourism business.

SOST Assessment is based on the business’s response (self-reporting) to a series of questions on sustainability policies and practices in line with GSTC-complaint criteria. It is undertaken by SOST’s Managing Editor – a certified auditor for sustainable tourism. It does not purport to be a ‘verified’ third-party assessment.

This interview was done by our contributing author Anula Galewska, based in Berlin, Germany. Anula advises small and medium travel companies on how to successfully implement sustainability policies and expand their business internationally, with focus on Central Eastern European and CIS markets. She coaches and advises ActiveUkraine on sustainable tourism best practices. She has a master’s degree in sociology and social entrepreneurship and is an Accredited Auditor and Consultant by GreenGlobe™.

www.anulagalewska.com


Point of View

Walking the Walk – Do What You Can Our contributing writer for the column Point of View is Joe Staiano, founder of Seattle-based tour operator Meaningful Trip. World explorer and responsible travel professional, Joe shares insights on responsible travel, and what the travel trade could do to be part of this growing and important trend.

Responsible Tourism, Why Care? You may have heard these statistics before - tourism directly contributes US$2 trillion to global GDP and directly supports 100 million jobs. When expanded out to indirect and supply chains, the total contribution is US$6.6 trillion in GDP and 260 million jobs. This represents almost 10% of global GDP and 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. For those in the travel trade who like numbers and you should, you can check out the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Economic Impact Research. The forecasts are for tourism to double by 2023. As SOST reminds us, the future of tourism businesses is intrinsically linked to sustainability of destinations. Adopting a responsible, sustainable approach to business is an imperative, not an option.

Defining Responsible Tourism The sub-niches and definitions vary as much as the travel options and destinations themselves – Responsible Travel, Ecotourism, Geotourism, Voluntourism, Sustainable Travel, Slow Travel and many more. Irrespective of how you define it, the

important point to note is that the last few years have seen tremendous growth in responsible travel, as travellers seek out experiences that are more authentic, more planet & culture friendly, and also make a positive difference by giving back in, and to, the destinations that they visit. With subtle differences in definition and approach, all these niches strive to deliver a common outcome - The Triple Bottom

Line – that is, environmental, socio-cultural and economic positive impact. I would define all these niches simply as ‘Meaningful Travel’ - experiential, sociallyresponsible travel that allows travellers to give back, make a difference, and deepen their understanding of ‘place’ based on the issues, concerns and perspectives of the local inhabitants and communities.

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Comment Point of View

Several travel businesses donate a percentage of revenue or profits towards local or global development issues, as part of their corporate social responsibility. environments that allow people to immerse themselves in a unique way of giving back.

Various Giving Models Oftentimes when people (including the travel trade) hear the term Responsible Travel they assume that this means volunteer travel. Well, this isn’t the only way to be responsible or to be a ‘meaningful’ traveller. Here are a few examples of the different ways in which to ‘give back’, and make a difference to the places you (or your customers) travel to: u

u

Service Trips

Typically, service trip participants team up with forest service rangers or park service personnel to restore wilderness areas, maintain trails, clean up trash and campsites, and remove non-native plants. Example is the Sierra Club, the oldest outfitter of environmentallyfriendly travel, with over 100 years of experience. Sierra Club provides opportunities to explore the world with other environmentally-conscious individuals on ‘adventures with a cause’.

Volunteer Travel (Voluntourism)

Volunteer travellers share their skills, knowledge and passion with others in foreign lands. In return, they experience unique cultures first hand, develop new friendships and realize personal fulfilment. They may be doctors, nurses, carpenters, teachers, business owners, or just individuals desirous of contributing towards a ‘good’ cause - perhaps build a school in Nepal, or work on an irrigation project in Asia. Non-profit organizations such as Globe Aware develop short-term volunteer programs in international

u

Charity Travel

Some companies use charity travel as a fundraising vehicle to raise money for worthy causes. Typically an additional fundraising amount is asked to be raised over and above the actual trip expenses. Discover Adventure UK and Social Tours Nepal are examples of

organizations that organize such trips. u Percent of Proceeds Several travel businesses donate a percentage of revenue or profits towards local or global development issues, as part of their corporate social responsibility. Their travel clients feel good to be contributing, albeit indirectly, by dealing with such companies.

Meaningful Trip has formed partnerships with various non-profits & NGOs, and our tours lend support (in the form of a donation of 5% of proceeds) to global development issues such as: women’s empowerment, education, health, poverty-alleviation and social justice in the destinations or regions we serve. We also make a small donation to domestic charities such as Feeding America, tackling hunger and poverty in the USA. Operationally, Meaningful Trip banks at a small community bank, follows best practices and even uses a web host provider that is wind powered.


Point of View

Walking the Walk – Do What You Can Irrespective of what method or channel you choose to adopt to be a responsible traveller or a responsible travel business, the ultimate goal is to ensure that the benefits and the support you provide to, and in, the travel destination transcends the actual trip, and has a longer lasting positive impact. At Meaningful Trip, each of our trips addresses and lends support to one or more of the global development issues such as: women’s empowerment, health, education, poverty etc. We would like to believe that we help travellers find meaning in their everyday lives. We believe that meaningful travel, and each individual who travels on

At Meaningful Trip, each of our trips addresses and lends support to one or more of the global development issues such as: women’s empowerment, health, education, poverty etc. We would like to believe that we help travellers find meaning in their everyday lives.

this journey, can help change the world for the better. Personally, I would like to believe that Meaningful Trip, in as much as we can, is helping travellers become more ethical, more responsible, and engaged global citizens. So, my point of view is simple and straightforward. There are plenty of channels, options and opportunities available to get involved and to do your bit in helping save the environment, the people and the planet. You need to have the will to not just talk about it, but to want to ‘walk the walk’. As a final takeaway, I’d like to share a short story that I heard at last year’s TIES’ Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference in Monterey, California,

where I was a presenter. Judy KepherGona, Executive Director of Basecamp Foundation Kenya, a “For-CommunityBenefit” organization that supports the development of sustainable tourism destinations, narrated this inspiring story of ‘The Hummingbird and the Elephant” which goes as follows: A forest is ablaze on fire. A hummingbird and an elephant are in a clearing with fire raging all around them. The hummingbird whisks off and after a bit of time returns and drops a drop of water onto the fire. Then whisks off again, and returns and drops another drop onto the fire, and again... “What are you doing? How is this helping?” cries the elephant. “I’m doing what I can”, says the hummingbird. So, go on: Be the hummingbird! Walk the walk, do what you can.

Joe Staiano has two decades of experience in responsible travel, and personal destination knowledge spanning 75 countries on 7 continents. He has worked on responsible tourism efforts in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He is involved with global nonprofits, volunteers with refugee families as part of the International Refugee Committee (IRC), volunteers as a trip leader for Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings (ICO) program and regularly helps feed homeless persons in Seattle. Meaningful Trip is 1-of-only-2 USA tour operators to sign the ECPAT International’s CODE of Conduct to help fight trafficking and exploitation of children. www.meaningfultrip.com

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Market Intelligence

Elephants are in danger of extinction! Elephant poaching doubled & illegal ivory trade tripled in recent years In 1930, around 5-10 million elephants roamed the plains of Africa. Now, less than 1% of this figure remains and is rapidly diminishing on a daily basis. Populations of elephants in Africa continue to be under severe threat as the illegal trade in ivory grows - with double the numbers of elephants killed and triple the amounts of ivory seized, over the last decade. According to a new report entitled “Elephants in the Dust – The African Elephant Crisis”, increasing poaching levels, as well as loss of habitat are threatening the survival of African elephant populations in Central Africa as well as previously secure populations in West, Southern and Eastern Africa.

It will also encourage them to make well-informed consumer choices. Wild fauna and flora listed under CITES that is illegally obtained is part of the types of goods that tourists should not buy. The campaign will seek to engage the tourism industry including hotel chains, travel agencies and airlines to lend support in raising awareness among tourists and help contribute to limiting these illicit markets.

The report - produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC) - says that systematic monitoring of large-scale seizures of ivory destined for Asia is indicative of the involvement of criminal networks, which are increasingly active and entrenched in the trafficking of ivory between Africa and Asia. At sites monitored through the CITES-led Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme alone, which hold approximately 40 per cent of the total elephant population in Africa, an estimated 17,000 elephants were illegally killed in 2011. Initial data from 2012 shows that the situation did not improve; in fact, overall figures may be much higher. This has grave implications on the livelihoods of millions of Africans who depend on tourism for a living. On 8 April 2013, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) agreed to launch a campaign calling on tourists to help reduce demand for illicit goods and services linked to transnational organized crime. To be launched later in the year, the campaign aims raise awareness among international tourists about the type of illicit products offered for sale during their travels.

Source: CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) http://www.cites.org/eng/news/pr/2013/20130306_ivory.php http://www.cites.org/eng/news/sundry/2013/201300409_UN_tourist_campaign.php Image courtesy: GRID-Arendal, a centre collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) http://www.grida.no/photolib/detail/forest-elephants-loxodonta-cyclotis-in-the-dzanga-sangha-reserve-central-african-republic_f86f Photo credit: Peter Prokosch

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Green Showcase

The Great Ponsonby Arthotel Auckland, New Zealand The Great Ponsonby Arthotel (http:// www.greatpons.co.nz) is a small Bed & Breakfast hotel located in Ponsonby, a vibrant, safe, historic area of Auckland City, New Zealand. It has 12 rooms of varying sizes, which include studios, villas, and a Penthouse Suite. The Great Ponsonby is the recipient of the Qualmark Enviro Gold Award accreditation - New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality, awarded to businesses that exceed the highest level of environmental and social

responsibilities. It is also accredited as a Four-star plus ‘Guest and hosted’ accommodation by Qualmark. Co-owners Sally James & Gerard Hill are passionate about sustainability and work actively within the industry with Heritage and Character Inns and with the Tourism Association of New Zealand to define and implement the necessary conditions for promoting sustainable tourism. They have restored several houses

over the years using recycled New Zealand native timbers when possible. However, they say, “Our greatest challenge has been to renovate our 1898 wooden villa without destroying the character to be a warm, fuel efficient hotel. We recycled timber and windows where possible, recycled the roofing iron as fencing and bricks as paving”. The Great Ponsonby Arthotel features in our Green Showcase, as it embodies the values and core principles of sustainability.


The Great Ponsonby Arthotel

Green Showcase

Co-owners Gerard Hill & Sally James We realise our business impacts on the wider environment in which we live and depend on, and so we and our staff try to minimise our impact without compromising our guests’ enjoyment or comfort. We are not alone in these ideals and appreciate the co-operation of and suggestions from our guests. Sustainability features Local contractors and local products are used where possible l All the buildings are insulated with wool in the walls and ceilings, and insulation under much of the floor l Under floor natural gas heating with thermostat control is used as it is the most environmentally effective l All the villa rooms have furniture crafted by a Danish craftsman in New Zealand using rimu, a native timber. l Some of the studio accommodation (Palm garden studios) is designed to avoid the heat of the summer sun, but to enjoy the winter sun; l Some rooms, where air conditioning is not necessary, have fans only l All curtains have thermal lining l Trees that attract the Tui bird (species l

endemic to New Zealand) are not pruned when the birds are nesting

Green practices l The

Great Ponsonby is the first accommodation provider in New Zealand to extensively use eco products for guest amenities, laundry and for cleaning. These are highly biodegradable and made from sustainable resources l The hotel grows its own herbs with fertiliser from its worm farm l The hotel’s hedges provide Autumn Feijoas (popular fruit) for jam, breakfast fruit and bread l All fallen leaves and organic food scraps are composted l The hotel serves Fair trade, organic coffee including Cuban blends that support Cuban farmers and comes to New Zealand by ship

l

Eggs purchased and served are free range and organic l Stationary is printed on 50% recyclable paper with vegetable inks l Paper products are from sustainable resources l Biodegradable bags are used in all the rooms l Guests are encouraged to counteract their carbon footprint by helping reforest Motuihe Island or pay NZ$75 (US$63) to plant their own kauri tree (native tree of New Zealand) and get yearly reports about its progress Sally and Gerard are deeply committed to the environment and say, “We realise our business impacts on the wider environment in which we live and depend on, and so we and our staff try to minimise our impact without compromising our guests’ enjoyment or comfort. We are not alone in these ideals and appreciate the cooperation of and suggestions from our guests”.

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Green Showcase

The Great Ponsonby Arthotel

walls and ulated with wool in the All the buildings are ins der much of the floor n un ceilings, and insulatio

The hotel g ro fertiliser fr ws its own herbs w ith om its worm farm

Furnitur e from Rim is crafted by a D an u, a nativ e timber ish furniture m a . All curt ains hav ker living in New e therma l lining Zealand

The hotel serves Fair trade, organic coffee, free range and organic eggs, fresh seasonal fruit, homemade bread, jam and yoghurt.

bon footprint to counteract their car Guests are encouraged their own ng tuihe Island or planti by helping reforest Mo kauri tree

The hote l’ and brea s hedges provid e Autum d n Feijoa s for jam , breakfa st fr

uit


Market Vision

Travel & Tourism Research & Consulting Established in 1997, Market Vision is a research and consultancy firm with specialization in the tourism & hospitality sectors. We undertake research and consulting assignments across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) and Asia markets, and globally in collaboration with an international network of research and consulting partners. Our tourism & hospitality consultants & associate global

in-depth experience in of tourism development, decades of professional in the industry.

tourism development organizations and organizations in the travel trade viz. hotel groups, travel agencies, timeshare developers, resort developers, airlines, etc.

We have vast experience in travel and tourism research, and undertake market, trade & consumer studies on behalf of international trade organizations, national tourism boards,

Market Vision’s directors and consulting partners are regular speakers at various international travel & tourism conferences and events. ●

partners have various aspects developed over work experience

Sustainable Travel Development – Advisory Services sustainable tourism development embraces the triple bottom line of environmental protection, social responsibility, and economic health. Simply put, business practices that protect and enhance the environment and support community development are more profitable and competitive in the longterm. Market Vision, along with its strategic partners, provides strategic planning, technical

assistance, and implementation support to destination management companies and travel and tourism businesses of all sizes. We start with a single focus: to improve your triple bottom line and help you achieve substantial resource savings by leveraging untapped opportunities and implementing a sustainable path to profitability through immediate and long-term return on investment. By staying focused on high priority areas and

improving your organization’s positive impacts, you’ll quickly discover that sustainability equates to profitability. Our team includes accredited auditors and consultants who will help you prepare for and achieve GSTCrecognized independently-verified ecocertification. Contact us to find out how we can help you gain competitive advantage and increase profits through the more productive use of resources. ●

For more information, please contact us on: Market Vision Research & Consulting P.O. Box 32394, Dubai, UAE Tel: +9714-3911241 Fax: +9714-3911245 Email: enquiries@market-vision.com Web: www.market-vision.com

For more information, please contact us on: ➜ General information: info@sostinternational.com ➜ Subscriptions: subscribe@sostinternational.com with ‘Subscribe’ as subject of email

➜ For our research & consulting services or our sustainable tourism business practice, please email Kumud Sengupta: kumud@market-vision.com ➜ ➜ For potential speaking engagements, please email Michelle Mallaca: michelle@market-vision.com

➜ Article or research paper contributions: m.ed@sostinternational.com ➜ Sponsorships and advertising: advertise@sostinternational.com ➜ Feedback & comments: info@sostinternational.com

Disclaimer: This journal is meant to provide general information and we hold no responsibility for the accuracy of the information and the contents of this publication should not be considered a specific advice. Contributions in this issue may include excerpts and secondary information sourced from various newspapers, magazines, web sites and the Internet at large. This is a complimentary journal for internal circulation and to our clients, subscribers and website visitors.

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Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism (SOST)  

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