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Issue 2 ! June 2012 ISSN 2227-4065

Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism

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08 Feature

A More Sustainable Future for the Events Industry

11 Interview

Teifi Caron, Sustainability Officer, Australian National University

22 Market Intelligence

SOST shares news and research findings on sustainable tourism from around the world

See Inside

Two enterprises, one an eco-dive resort in Thailand and the other an eco-lodge in Tunisia, share best practices they follow in their sustainable tourism journey.


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Contents

Contents 14

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Kumud Sengupta Managing Editor

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email: SOST.med@market-vision.com

Reuben Brand Editor email: SOST.ed@market-vision.com Anita Martins Art Director

SOST June 2012 03 Editorial: Sustainable tourism is Good for the Planet and Good for Business

14 Best Practices in

Sustainable Tourism:

SOST inaugural issue, March 2012 gets feedback from around the world

Two enterprises, one an eco-dive resort in Thailand and the other an eco-lodge in Tunisia, share best practices they follow in their sustainable tourism journey.

05 Feature:

20 Point of View

04 Feedback:

Sustainable Tourism Makes Business $ense

08 Feature: A More Sustainable Future for the Events Industry

11 Interview: Teifi Caron, Sustainability Officer, Australian National University

Responsible Employment in Tourism

22 Market Intelligence: SOST shares news and research findings on sustainable tourism from around the world

ABOUT SOST Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism (SOST) is a complimentary journal published by Market Vision, for internal circulation and to our clients and subscribers. Market Vision Research & Consulting Services FZ-LLC 902, Grosvenor Business Tower, TECOM C Zone P.O. Box 32394, Dubai, UAE Tel: +9714 3911241 Fax: +9714 3911245

23 Market Vision: Sustainable Travel Development – Advisory Services

www.market-vision.com


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Kumud Sengupta Founder-Director, Market Vision

03 COMMENT Editorial

Welcome to the second issue of Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism, a journal for stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry. Our mission is to motivate stakeholders in the tourism industry to adopt sustainable business practices with the message that sustainable tourism is ‘Good for the Planet and Good for Business.

The first issue of Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism (SOST) was published in March 2012, and I am very pleased with the encouraging response we have received from tourism stakeholders around the world. I sincerely thank all those who have written to us with their comments, suggestions and feedback. We are listening, and will pay heed to words of advice from each one of you. SOST was launched with the mission to motivate stakeholders in the tourism industry to adopt sustainable business practices with the message that sustainable tourism is ‘Good for the Planet and Good for Business’. Earlier this month at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, this message was reinforced when I made a presentation titled ‘Sustainable tourism makes business $ense’. Excerpts from the presentation are included in this issue of SOST. SOST provides information, insights and analysis of global sustainable tourism trends. It showcases destinations and travel companies, particularly in emerging economies, which are making a conscious difference to the Planet with their sustainable business practices; practices that are impacting positively on the environment in which they operate and upon their business profitability. We hope to inspire, educate and guide small, medium and large companies every step of the way on their journey towards responsible, sustainable and successful businesses. In this second issue, we present to you two businesses, one an eco-dive resort in a small island in Thailand and the other an eco-retreat in a small town in Southern Tunisia, that are fine examples of sustainability in action. We also interviewed Teifi Caron, a Sustainability Officer at the Australian National University in Canberra, to understand the role this educational institution plays in sustainability education. A special feature by our contributing writer Meegan Jones, Author of Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide, takes our readers through the paces of organizing successful, sustainable events. Our new column Point of View has another contributing writer Andreas Walmsley, Senior Lecturer for Business Development at York St John University, sharing his thoughts on Responsible Employment in Tourism. 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. We are delighted with the very encouraging and positive response to our inaugural issue. Professionals across the tourism value chain and members of the academic community from different parts of the world have written to us with their feedback and suggestions. Thank you so much. - SOST Team The first issue of ‘Spot on Sustainable Tourism’ (SOST) was both entertaining and educational offering engaging interviews with industry leaders and thought provoking statistics. I particularly enjoyed the ‘In the Spotlight’ sections where SOST highlighted a tour operator and a lodging property. This contrast illustrates the variations in the sectors and also illustrates how the principles of sustainability are universal. If the content remains of this calibre, it is sure to become the go-to resource for sustainable travel and tourism professionals worldwide. Robert Chappell, Director of Standards & Certification Sustainable Travel International, USA

Congratulations! SOST is a very well produced journal. What an achievement for us to be featured in your journal’s inaugural issue. Thank you and all the very best for the future. Clemente Edmond, Owner & Manager Dwarka Eco-resort, India

Thank you very much for the copy of SOST you sent to me. Clear communication is the first important step to achieving sustainability and you have made an excellent start with your well-produced journal. Phillip Marston, Researcher Tourism & Hospitality Institute for Sustainable Development, Switzerland

The SOST publication is interesting especially the case studies which are informative. This could essentially evolve into a quarterly magazine similar to the World Heritage Publication. Brijesh Thapa, Director and Associate Professor Eric Friedheim Tourism Institute, University of Florida, USA

Very interesting read - sustainable tourism is not normally top of the mind for most of us despite all the talk about global warming... SOST brings alive the issue and imparts a sense of urgency, with content that is lucid and compelling! Vikas Verma, CEO Wah Restaurants Pvt Ltd, India

SOST is excellent, very educational. I enjoyed reading the articles and interviews. The research information in the Market Intelligence section was also very revealing. Look forward to the next issue. Mallaika Fazal University of Toronto, Canada

Happy to see someone taking the initiative to promote sustainable tourism. The journal is easy to read, well presented, persuasive. Showing examples of small operators practicing sustainability is a great idea. Carry on with the good work. Mohamed Ali Dubai, United Arab Emirates


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Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable Tourism Makes Business $ense Last month SOST Managing Editor Kumud Sengupta made a presentation titled Sustainable tourism makes business $ense at the Arabian Travel Market 2012, the travel and tourism event held annually in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Featured here are key excerpts from the presentation supplemented by data sourced from other published sources. Defining sustainable tourism As per the UNWTO, sustainable tourism is: ‘Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.’ Making tourism more sustainable means taking these impacts and needs into account in the planning, development and operation of tourism, across cities, resorts, rural and coastal areas, mountains, and protected areas. It applies to all forms of business and leisure tourism.

COMMENT Feature 05


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Sustainable Tourism

World regions: Inbound tourism, 2010-2030 International tourist arrivals, million 475

2010

2020

2030

620 535 475 355 204

Europe

Asia and the Pacific

248 150

199 50

Americas

85 Africa

134 61

101

149

Middle East

Source: World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)©

Need for sustainability Tourism is a resilient industry. The last 30 years have seen tourism grow four-fold. And despite challenges – man-made or natural disasters and events, the future is very bright. By 2030, international tourist arrivals worldwide will grow to 1.8 billion – almost double today’s figures. This growth will be seen in every world region. Huge investments are being made in the tourism sector worldwide to meet this future demand. And that has its upside and downside. The growth can offer many benefits, but can also be very demanding on host nations in terms of environment and social impacts. There is already talk of ‘Doomsday tourism’ – where visitors will rush to see fast disappearing cities, islands and attractions. To minimize the negative impacts that increased tourism can bring, sustainability must be at the top of the agenda for all tourism stakeholders. Else, over time the negatives will outweigh the positive benefits and will inevitably lead to economic deterioration. On the other hand, properly managed or sustainable tourism can help to maintain the attractiveness of the tourism destination as well as the tourism industry in that location. So, clearly, it is in every tourism business’s interest to adopt more responsible and sustainable practices. 1

Business case for endorsing sustainability Evidence shows there is a sound business case for endorsing sustainability practices in tourism. It is possible for every hotel or other tourism business to measure their return on investment (ROI) from green initiatives, both in terms of the sales/marketing benefits and cost savings. Whether the cost savings focus on water, waste, electricity or almost anything else used or produced, proper environmental management will measure these, before, during

and after steps are taken to reduce the associated environmental impact. The most important measurement will then be visible directly on the bottom line; how much is being saved, leading to direct impact on profitability.2 Needless to say, sustainable businesses are able to differentiate themselves in the market place and gain a competitive advantage. The enhanced brand image and reputation leads to more customer loyalty. In addition, positive word of mouth, attracting talent, retaining employees are some of the other very real benefits of adopting sustainability practices for any business, and not just in tourism. New products such as eco-tourism, nature trails, volunteer tourism can be developed to diversify the product offering targeting different customer segments. Global issues such as climate change, water scarcity, poverty and pollution impact on the destination communities and environments that tourism businesses send customers to, and on the quality of the customers’ holidays. So it makes sense to make efforts to address those issues. Protecting destinations, in common with the other reasons to be more sustainable, is about protecting and enhancing the future of tourism businesses. 3

Being a sustainable tourism company So what does it mean to be a sustainable tourism company? A sustainable tourism company is one that has evaluated both the positive and negative environmental, economic, and socio-cultural impacts of its business operations and changed the way it conducts business to optimize the experience of its clients and at the same time the wellbeing of the environment and host communities. This is the triple bottom line approach taking into account the 3 pillars of sustainability: ➜ Environmental sustainability - minimizing pollution of air, land, and water, and conserving biological diversity and natural heritage ➜ E conomic sustainability - generating prosperity at different


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➜R  esearch among 4,000 holidaymakers in 8 major TUI Travel source markets shows a clear aspiration for more sustainable holidays on a significant scale. Tuitravel says 1 in 2 customers would book a sustainable holiday, if available.4 ➜A  ccording to Travelocity.com ratings, travelers ranked green hotels higher than their non-green competitors. Further, a survey among more than 1,000 Travelocity customers reveals that green rating influences hotel selection for nearly twothirds of customers when prices are the same, with an additional one-tenth saying a green rating influences their decision despite price discrepancies.5 ➜A  ccording to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), more than two-thirds of U.S. and Australian travellers, and 90% of British tourists, consider active protection of the environment, including support of local communities, to be part of a hotel’s responsibility. ➜4  2% of German travellers think that it is particularly important to find environmentally - friendly accommodation; 74% favour hotels that employ local staff, and guarantee good wages and working conditions. 6 levels of society and addressing the cost effectiveness of all economic activity ➜ Socio-cultural sustainability - supporting social progress, respecting human rights and equal opportunities for all in society, with an emphasis on local communities In effect, sustainable tourism means companies have struck a suitable balance between all three pillars to help ensure the longterm vitality of the tourism industry. 1 To become more sustainable, four key aspects need to be implemented: ➜ Effective sustainability planning ➜M  aximizing social and economic benefits to the local community ➜R  eduction of negative impacts to cultural heritage ➜R  eduction of negative impacts on the environment Washington DC- headquartered Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) - a global initiative dedicated to promoting sustainable tourism practices around the world, has developed 37 Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, the minimum requirements that any tourism business should aspire to reach in order to protect and sustain the world’s natural and cultural resources. Building operations towards meeting these criteria should be every tourism business’s goal.

Rising consumer demand underscores the need for action Travellers are increasingly concerned about environmental impact, and expect tourism businesses to offer more sustainable products and services - be it destinations, accommodations, activities or transport. Research suggests that they are likely to patronize those businesses that demonstrate sustainability.

Governments and businesses are also demanding a green travel supply chain, and are implementing Green Procurement policies to improve their environmental and economic performance. Applicable to the travel and tourism sector, these policies encompass location, accommodations, transport, food and beverage, meeting facilities and exhibitions. These trends will gather further momentum, and strongly build the business case for sustainable tourism.

How to Integrate Sustainability into your Business? 1. Create a policy 2. Conduct a baseline assessment of impacts 3. Prepare and implement an Action Plan 4. Monitor and Report on progress

Bottom line: The future of tourism businesses is intrinsically linked to sustainability of destinations. Adopting a sustainable approach to business is an imperative and not an option. ●

Sources 1: www.unep.fr/shared/publications/pdf/DTIx1060xPA-MASTNepal.pdf 2: w  ww.hotel-industry.co.uk/2011/09/green-technology-for-hoteliers/ 3: www.tuitravelplc.com/sustainability/in-focus/business-case-forsustainable-tourism 4: http://sd2010.tuitravelplc.com/tui-sd2010/en/at-a-glance/ embeddingpage?active=6 5: h  ttp://www.foxbusiness.com/travel/2011/06/03/green-travel-satisfaction 6: http://www.ecotrans.org


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Feature COMMENT

Sustainable Events

Event organizing companies play a pivotal role in several billions of dollars worth of revenue generation worldwide. If not managed properly, events can have huge negative impact on the environment. Our contributing writer for this special feature is Meegan Jones, Author of Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide and A Short Guide to ISO 20121, President of Sustainable Event Alliance and Director of GreenShoot Pacific, a sustainable production consultancy based in Australia. She takes us through the steps - ‘how to’ prepare for a more sustainable future for the events industry.

A More Sustainable Future

for the Events Industry By Meegan Jones

Events have the potential to be resource-gulping and garbageproducing, but they also have potential to be model examples of a harmonious balance between human activity, resource use and minimal environmental impact. To look to the future and see one that is truly sustainable, we simply cannot use everything up and discard after a single use. Underscoring all of your operations and purchasing decisions with this simple truth will bring your event towards sustainability.

and effects their event has on the wider community, environment and long-term sustainable development.

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Do a thorough analysis of your event’s ‘business as usual’ performance to identify sustainability issues and opportunities for improvement. Criteria for consideration could include: • engagement and communications • destination/venue/accommodation choices • energy supply and conservation • sustainably sourcing materials and supplies • waste prevention and segregation • production transport • participant travel • water supply and conservation • biodiversity and local environment protection including waterways • local community • labour practices, health and safety • cultural, religious, heritage, indigenous and archaeological sensitivities • inclusivity, accessibility, transparency, anti-corruption

o matter the type of event - a meeting for 100 people in a hotel, a conference for 500 delegates, an exhibition for 10,000 visitors, an arena sporting match for 50,000 spectators, a street parade, a rock music festival, arts festival, food fair, school fete, religious celebration or a formal ball every coming together of people for a purpose can be produced with consideration for sustainability. With the introduction of new standard ISO 20121: Event Sustainability Management Systems [1], the release of new sustainability reporting protocols by the Global Reporting Initiative [2] and the soon to be launched events certification SEMS Certified [3], the sustainability spotlight is well and truly on the event industry. The curtain has been lifted, and our backstage areas bared! Responsible event organisers, or at least those who are interested in PR risks, must address sustainability. Those who wish to demonstrate leadership will look further and consider the impacts

Commitment The first step is to commit to sustainable production of the event and embrace the higher principles of sustainable development within the organisation. Top management need to be onboard so efforts are supported with allocation of time, people, budget or other resources. You also need to engage the event production team and stakeholders.

Skills Do you know what it is you have to do? Sustainability in event management is a broad subject and can become quite detailed. Your team may need to gain skills in sustainability to effectively implement plans and solutions. Join the Sustainable Event Alliance [4], download or buy guides, undertake professional development training, hire a consultant or engage a ‘greening’ team member.

Identify the Issues, Impacts, Risks and Opportunities


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“A key to sustainability is disclosure. If you decide to delve into tacking sustainability issues, declaring it up front and letting your stakeholders know how you have done is essential.”

• direct and indirect economic impacts • greenhouse gas emissions • enduring legacies and leadership You need to weigh up issues against each other in order to prioritise and determine what you will tackle. Sustainability is a journey, and acknowledgment of issues and planning for continual improvement is essential. No one expects you to do everything all at once. Just ensure you can explain your plan of action for various issues if asked by stakeholders. Use the lens of ‘significance’ and ‘relevance’ to prioritize issues. Consider the likely impact of failing to act, and how big an impact is, compared to others. Think about how important the issue is to stakeholders. Just because something is not as major an issue in terms of size of impact, if it’s important to stakeholders, this may push the issue up the priority list.

Policy Now you’ll be ready to establish a Sustainability Management Policy. This includes the ‘required’ and ‘preferred’ aspects for various procurement and logistics elements of event production. You would also include overarching objectives and indicators against which to assess sustainability performance.

➜ Legacies: Think of production ‘greening’ as cleaning up your own backyard. The real sparkle happens when you harness the power of your event to showcase sustainability-in-action, to involve participants and leaving lasting legacies in changing attitudes and behaviours. Think about what positive things your event could leave behind. Maybe its money, but maybe it’s a new thriving enterprise or job skills, maybe its physical infrastructure, or perhaps you may undergo a rehabilitation program to local bush land. Maybe offering your event as a promotional vehicle to a local community campaign means all the difference for success. Or going plastic bag and bottled-water free can inspire local businesses and the town to do the same.

Performance Measurement & Disclosure Begin with the end in sight is a good adage for performance measurement. If someone is reading your performance report, what is it they want to know about? This will lead you to not only what to measure but what to manage in the first place. The Global Reporting Initiative2 has created an Event Organizer Sector Supplement. This details more than 30 indicators of sustainability performance that you could choose to report on.

➜ Event Production Logistics: Once you have your need to consume under control, focus on the operational logistics of your event. Reduce the amount of energy needed, conserve water, don’t use toxic pollutants, reduce transportation needs, use renewable energy supply. Choose the green option.

At a minimum I would suggest measuring: ➜ Waste volumes including diversion from landfill ➜ E nergy consumption in kilowatt-hour (kWh), litres of fuel by types, proportion of renewable energy used, and resulting greenhouse gas emissions ➜T  ransport impacts of event attendees, including mode of travel, number of people in each car (if relevant) and resulting greenhouse gas emissions. ➜ Production air travel, for talent and crew. ➜ Significant additional ground production transport. ➜ Water consumption and waste water removal (relevant for outdoor events dependent on type). A key to sustainability is disclosure. If you decide to delve into tackling sustainability issues, declaring it up front and letting your stakeholders know how you have done is essential. ●

Everything flows from our need to consume. Be frugal, cut budgets, get creative. Use products, materials and supplies made from sustainable materials. Re-use. Repurpose. Salvage. Hire, don’t buy.

Sources

Take Action and Implement Initiatives ➜ Buy less and better stuff: I believe reducing the impact of an event’s production in many ways comes down to how much and what type of materials and supplies are used or purchased. What are items made from, how are they manufactured, where do they need to travel from to get to you, how do you use them and how you are going to dispose of them when you are done?

➜ Social and Economic: Nurture the communities that host your events through giving back to them. Consult and communicate with the community. Be sensitive to noise, light, traffic congestion and other disruptions to local amenity. Involve local people, volunteers, contractors and businesses.

1: Short Guide to ISO 20121: www.greeneventbook.com 2: Global Reporting Initiative: www.globalreporting.org 3: S  EMS: http://www.semstoolkit.com 4: S  ustainable Event Alliance: www.sustainable-event-alliance.org 5: Incredible Cup Company: www.firebrandlive.com 6: T  urnstile 21: http://www.visyclosedloop.com/index.php?id=33


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Sustainable Events

Latitude Festival, Suffolk, United Kingdom – Best Practices in Sustainable Event Management Latitude Festival is held in the Suffolk region of the UK on a property that is usually a working farm, nestled against forests and with a lovely reed-edged lake as a centrepiece. Up to 35 000 people camp at the event for three or four days, with the potential for waste and other impacts to be immense. The festival has taken to heart all aspects of environmental protection, ensuring detailed attention to all event planning and delivery. In the lead up to the event, all those who’s involvement could have an impact on the event’s sustainability outcomes are communicated with and are encouraged to play their part. This can include artists and their production teams receiving information about the sustainability aspects of the festival and encouraging them to consider their own touring impacts. Food traders and caterers are advised the type of food and beverage packaging that must be used, in order to optimise the waste diversion from landfill. Compostable is a must and the bins at the event are set up optimise collection of food service ware and food scraps. This is reinforced through having 100 volunteer stewards ‘Green Messengers’ who stay with the bins and let the audience know where to put what. This has an effect of successfully capturing 13 tonne of compostable food packaging and waste. A reusable beer cup is at the bars, with a deposit/return system in place. This effectively removed tonnage of waste which would otherwise have hit at best the recycling or at worst the landfill. The cups can be used up to 100 times before themselves being able to be recycled.

The campsite are a whole different aspect to waste control and here, campers receive a triple bag personal waste kit – green or clear for recycling, black for landfill and paper or biobags for compostables. Waste Points are set up in the campsites, managed by local waste campaign group Bright Green. Their Mean Green Recycling Machine team rove the campsites and accept not only waste, but discarded camping equipment at the end of the show. An energy innovation in place at Latitude Festival comes partnered with London’s Arcola Theatre in the form of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell power supply. Other sustainability aspects at Latitude Festival have included compost toilets, solar powered toilet blocks, solar heated showers, staff campsite leave no trace competition, waste as art programs, and bars and décor made from reclaimed timber and materials. www.latitudefestival.co.uk


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Teifi Caron

Interview

Teifi Caron Teifi Caron is a Sustainability Officer dealing with Projects and Community Outreach for ANUgreen at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra.

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e has a Bachelor of Science (Environmental and Resource Management) and Master of Climate Change from the same university. In this interview, Teifi Caron speaks to SOST about sustainability at ANU and how the university is nurturing the future global leaders, citizens and travellers towards a more sustainable tomorrow.

SOST: Please tell us about ANUgreen, the University’s environmental management program, and its range of environmental initiatives. What impact have these efforts had across the campus? Teifi Caron: ANUgreen is the University’s environmental management program, run by the Facilities and Services Division. The program was established in 1999 under the ANU environment policy. The Sustainability Officers that comprise ANUgreen work to reduce the University’s environmental impact by implementing the University’s environmental management plan (which is overseen by the Environmental Management Planning Committee) and other environmental management commitments. The Plan includes targets such as carbon emission reductions, potable water reductions, increased percentages of journeys made

using low carbon methods, etc. We have dedicated officers in the areas of Heritage, Waste and Recycling, Energy, Water, Sustainable Landscapes, Green ICT, Community Outreach, Biodiversity, Transport and Pollution Prevention. As a result of our work, the ANU has an integrated approach to environmental management that collaborates with the academic side of the University. Our efforts deliver lower energy and water costs, a more liveable campus which flourishes with biodiversity corridors and beautiful landscapes and a vibrant, healthier community focused on furthering sustainable knowledge in practical and theoretical terms across the campus. We have won numerous domestic and international awards for our work which of course also brings the University recognition.

SOST: What is the key to ANU’s success in implementing sustainability programs? Also, tell us about the ANU Sustainability Learning Community (SLC). Teifi Caron: I believe the key to ANU’s success in implementing sustainability programs is the collaboration between academic and administrative units on the campus. We integrate teaching and research with the practicalities of executing sustainability

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Teifi Caron

initiatives, which means that we approach sustainability issues from a range of perspectives and have a more inclusive approach to stakeholder engagement. This approach is rare in the tertiary education industry. Let me give you an example of a project in action: two years ago we won a Federal Government grant to create a Green Precinct on our campus. Practically, we carbon neutralised the Student Association building with solar PV arrays, installed fourth generation synthetic turf on our main sports ovals and placed a 5 million litre water storage unit underneath – the water from which we use to irrigate other areas of the campus, and installed new water and energy meters for collection of real-time data. Linking this with the educational aspects of the University, we worked with students from a Corporate Sustainability course in the College of Business and Economics to establish how much the University had saved in terms of dollars, water and emissions reductions. This information was then relayed back to Federal Government as part of our mandatory reporting but at the same time, it gave valuable work experience to students, included a range of stakeholders in the project and the students were so excited about their efforts on the project that they spread the word about the great sustainability initiatives underway on their campus. In other words, it gave more ownership of the University’s sustainability actions to its student community. This is the concept under which the Sustainability Learning Community (SLC) at the ANU operates – linking knowledge with practical elements. The SLC is a network of students and staff from across the university who tackle every-day environment and sustainability-related issues in the campus community.

SOST: Does ANU have educational programs that are focused on environmental issues and sustainability? Are there specific programs on tourism? Teifi Caron: ANU is very committed to environmental issues and sustainability. Our Fenner School of Environment & Society is unique in Australia. There are very few places in the world where economists and hydrologists, historians and ecologists,

foresters, geographers and climatologists work together on the big environmental problems facing contemporary society. We have the Climate Change Institute whose vision is to build and support a cohesive, interactive community of climate changerelated researchers and teachers at the ANU. The ANU Water Initiative is a cross-disciplinary, university-wide initiative that brings together ANU researchers and educators in the water domain. ANU offers several undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs and courses focused on environmental sustainability - too many to name here, in fact. We currently have more than a hundred PhD students in the Fenner School of Environment & Society. The best thing about the courses and programs focused on sustainability at the University is the breadth of disciplinary knowledge on offer. Every faculty now offers relevant courses from Climate Change Law to Environmental Development Economics to Renewable Technologies and Engineering Solutions. Thus, although there aren’t any specific programs on tourism, the interdisciplinary curriculum makes it relevant for any industry including travel and tourism. Having said that, students have plenty of opportunities to be involved in project work, and undertake internships within the tourism sector. What is important to realize is that ANU is developing a future work force that understands sustainability, no matter what discipline they may have majored in, and which has the suitable knowledge and practical experience to lead change within and outside the organizations that they may work with in the future.

SOST: As a Sustainability Officer, your work also entails community outreach and education for sustainability. How do you engage with students and what learning opportunities are available to them at ANU? Teifi Caron: An essential aspect of pursuing sustainability goals within the University is engaging the entire community, both staff and students, in reaching our goals. ANUgreen engages with students through paid internships, student volunteerism and linking with relevant environmental courses to bring in practical sustainable elements into the teaching curriculum. A major project of the ANU Sustainability Learning Community is the student-run Campus Organic Garden. The Social Economic Environmental Sustainability @ Work Program guides and supports staff and students in offices, labs, and halls/colleges to incorporate sustainability practices into their everyday operations Most residential halls and colleges have a green group that works to improve their environmental performance and to raise awareness of environmental issues. Each year a number of events are organized that raise awareness about sustainability and celebrate the positive actions taken by members of the ANU campus community. These include: Celebrate


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Sustainability Day, Earth Hour and the Great Green Debate held around World Environment Day.

incredible scales in reaping primary resources from the environment and have vast resources to invest into more sustainable practices.

SOST: What are your views on sustainability in the tourism sector?

SOST: Finally, based on your experience and close interactions with youth at ANU, do you think there is a case for promoting sustainable tourism to this demographic, which not only makes up a significant 20% of worldwide international tourism arrivals, but is also key to shaping the future of tourism demand?

Teifi Caron: My opinion is that tourism is always more rewarding if you can improve the communities to which you travel. Thus, we are seeing the rise of eco-tourism and volunteering projects. Tourism companies must embrace this ethos as there are more than enough environmental, socio-cultural and economic problems around the world that need capable travellers and global knowledge to help address them. Having completed a voluntary aid-work project in Costa Rica, I can give you some data on what makes it such a beacon of long-term sustainable tourism ventures. Almost one quarter of the country is protected to conserve the valuable biodiversity contained within its borders. It has one of the highest abundances of bird species in the world, which is incredible for such a small nation. Travellers are aplenty in Costa Rica marvelling at the natural beauty such as its volcanoes, beaches, rainforests and landscapes. Volunteering projects include protecting turtles’ eggs, working with locals on plantations, environmental education in local schools, etc. It was a great learning experience and I believe that tourism destinations and businesses can learn a lot from Costs Rica about sustainable tourism management. In particular, I feel that big businesses should be more involved in leading sustainability in all sectors including tourism, as they have huge influence over Government, can modify ecosystems on

Teifi Caron: Yes, absolutely. Youth today are so sensitized to environmental and social issues and sustainability not only on campuses like ours, but the world over. They are increasingly seeking environmentally friendly travel experiences, volunteering opportunities in local communities etc. Travel operators need to pitch their product more directly to this cohort of travellers if they want environmentally conscious customers. I would love to see a company offering ecotourism holidays solely to the younger generations. ●


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism COMMENT

In the Eco Koh Tao

Eco Dive Resort, Thailand

Eco Koh Tao is owned by a concerned consortium of foreigners and local Thai business owners on the small island of Koh Tao in Thailand’s South East. ‘WITH KOH TAO being an exceptionally popular destination for divers, it made sense to develop an environmental education centre to promote the conservation and preservation of the ecosystem which so many divers exploit every year for their own enjoyment and pleasure. From a professional perspective, it is our home & place of work and as such needs to be protected to protect our livelihood & our future,’ says Nathan Cook, Managing Director, Eco Koh Tao. In this interview, Nathan provides insights into best practices adopted by his company for sustainable tourism. SOST: Eco Koh Tao specialises in preparing and instructing divers and dive professionals emphasising the eco-diving aspects of marine conservation. Could you enlighten our readers on what that means, and why is this important? Nathan Cook: The oceans are the lifeblood of planet earth. They provide three quarters of the oxygen we breathe. As divers we see the magic of the oceans creatures first hand and can relate to its beauty & therefore are better placed to understand its importance. As dive professionals we have an even more important role to play in instilling a stewardship role on anyone who enters this magical realm. It is the dive professional’s role to highlight the importance of the ocean in our survival and how as a diver you can do your bit to protect it. SOST: You are also involved in a number of environmental and marine conservation projects. What are these projects, and what is the motivation behind this involvement? Nathan Cook: Eco Koh Tao collaborates with a number of dive businesses and local stakeholders to undertake marine conservation projects that have a threefold aim. One is to educate divers, local

businesses, tourists and the wider public about the importance of coral reefs to the health of the ocean as a whole. Secondly, we want to undertake projects to preserve the environment for future generations to enjoy and benefit from. And finally, undertaking scientific research enables us to pass on the knowledge and wisdom so that those that follow in our footsteps do not have to expend as much energy as us learning from the past. We will have done the trial and error for them. The primary motivation comes from wanting to protect the reef that is our livelihood and that of the thousands of people that rely upon them for their survival. SOST: It is estimated that 25 percent of the world’s coral reefs have disappeared in the last 20 years and another 25 percent are severely threatened. What are the implications for the dive tourism industry? Nathan Cook: With the increasing threat to coral reefs worldwide the health of coral reefs takes on even greater importance. The reefs are home to 25 percent of all know fish species with many commercially viable ocean species (for example Tuna) using reefs in their nursery years. Divers and dive tourism relies on healthy reefs to provide the kind of spectacle that draws people there in the first place. With continued degradation of reefs dive tourists will quickly lose interest and entire economies will be affected. It is important to remember that dive tourism is not just boats and dive shops, it is hotels, resorts, restaurants, general stores, ferries, planes and all the other services dive tourists use in the expenditure of their vacation time. For an island like Koh Tao, which relies so heavily on the reef as one of its largest draw cards, its degradation will become a major setback.


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“While many environmental activities are designed for the betterment of our business, the knock on effects are always going to be beneficial for the wider community, whether it is building artificial reefs or recycling batteries to protect the soil. It all contributes to the greater good for all.”

SOST: What responsible and sustainable business practices do you follow in running your business operations? Do you have an established sustainability policy for your business? Nathan Cook: Yes, we have a Sustainability Policy and Action Plan that includes environmental and social goals and a system for monitoring the company’s performance towards its goals, which is communicated to all our employees. Our clients and the general public are also kept aware of our sustainability policy and business practices. We do extensive recycling of waste with a particular focus on trying to reduce our waste. The famous adage – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is written in this order for a reason. We posit that if you can reduce your consumption and reuse products, then there is no need to recycle. Water conservation policies are paramount on an island that has limited water supplies during our busiest months. Working with local businesses that complement our services has been difficult for us. We have great influence over the operational aspects of our dive business but the Dive Resort – accommodation and infrastructure is owned and managed by other parties who don’t always see eye to eye with our conservation policies and getting upgrades that matter can sometimes be difficult. It is frustrating but we have to work within the parameters that we are given and work on the theory that we will do what we can within the scope of our operations. With the limitations we have, I believe we have achieved a great deal. SOST: How does your business contribute to the local community? Nathan Cook: Eco Koh Tao collaborates extensively with local community groups Save Koh Tao and their marine conservation branch Marine Conservation Koh Tao. These organisations operate as information dissemination centres with the aim to help coordinate projects and initiatives that are then promoted through individual centres like ours. Many environmental initiatives have been undertaken by Eco Koh Tao the benefits of which are received by the wider community. For example if we go out to repair mooring buoys on one of our dive sites, those moorings are available for use by all the potential dive schools.

These moorings prevent dive boats dropping anchors and damaging the reef. We have developed artificial reefs that are available to everyone to use in the conduct of their business. New divers are often clumsy and proximity to high quality natural reefs can pose a problem when undertaking training. These artificial reefs provide alternative locations for high impact activities like training new divers. So while many environmental activities are designed for the betterment of our business, the knock on effects are always going to be beneficial for the wider community, whether it is building artificial reefs or recycling batteries to protect the soil. It all contributes to the greater good for all. 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? Nathan Cook: Being a responsible tourism company has led to a change in the type of customers we are receiving. More environmentally focused travellers and divers are seeking us out as quality providers of an environmentally sound service. When we started out in 2007 we were rather unique in the quality and depth of focus we took to Eco-diving as such. As a result marketing kudos came our way and we were seen as industry leaders in our region. Over time competitors have seen our development and mimicked our operations trying to reach our level of standing within the eco diving sphere on Koh Tao. I guess you could say that to be copied is the highest form of praise.


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Best Practices in Sustainable Tourism Eco Dive Resort / Eco Koh Tao

Customers often comment on the environmental focus of our business that was an influential factor in their decision to choose our dive services on Koh Tao. As a result profitability has been buoyed by such support. SOST: From your experience in leading Eco Koh Tao and knowledge of the industry and customers, how can the conflict between the needs of nature conservation and the economic interests of diving tourism be mitigated? Nathan Cook: Balancing the environmental and economic needs is often difficult and it is something that needs to be addressed and well understood at all levels of management. Developing sound environmental practices does not have to be a costly exercise, and some of the hardest aspects of operational procedures to change are simply long standing habits and procedures that have become the norm. Often management don’t see the benefits of investing in greener technologies or better practices because of the cost. In a very cost prohibitive environment like Thailand with limited resources we do what we can and try to ensure that we don’t compromise our principles. Marketing & selling your product is imperative because in this day and age we have seen that people will pay a premium or be drawn to businesses that profess to be eco friendly. Getting this message out to your customers is important to ensure they understand the initiatives you are undertaking to preserve the environment. SOST: What are the long term benefits dive tourism operators can expect from being involved in sustainable business practices that include environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects? What message would you like to give them? What does it take to start on this journey?

Nathan Cook: It seems obvious to me that by being involved in sustainable business practices makes perfect business sense in the name – sustainable. When you start a business the aim is for it to grow and prosper and be able to operate for the foreseeable future. In this day and age of climate change and increasing concerns about the state of the planet potential customers are going to be drawn to businesses that are doing something about it. The coral reefs and beautiful tropical island of Koh Tao is our resource. That is what people come to see, enjoy and explore and if it gets degraded, we will have nothing to offer people. So it is in our best interests to preserve the environment. Your home needs constant maintenance and repair and cleaning to continue to provide the sort of place you want to live in, so it is for the natural environment that is our livelihood. The journey is difficult and people often think of big changes to try and get the process of becoming more environmentally focused. But start with the little things that can be done today. And as you make the small changes the bigger initiatives will flow from that. Trial and error is massive because you can learn from other people’s experience but there is no experience like your own. ●

SOST Assessment ➜ Eco Koh Tao demonstrates compliance with a number of indicators under the Shore Excursions Standards. ➜ Having an integrated waste management and water management policy and plan, using company records to calculate its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and having a purchasing policy that gives preference to environmentally friendly products are some of the areas that need to be worked upon, in order that it may be certified as a sustainable tourism business SOST Assessment is based on business owners’ responses (self-reporting) to a series of questions based on STEP Shore Excursions Standard criteria (Sustainable Travel International). 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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In the DAR HI

Eco-retreat, Nefta, Tunisia

Dar HI is a design eco-retreat or eco-lodge located in the historic centre of Nefta town, south of Tunisia at the frontier of the desert between Chott El Jerid and dunes of sand. NEFTA IS FAMOUS for its location in a natural geological site and also for the thousands of palm trees with dates that are appreciated worldwide: the Deglet Nour dates. Designed by French architect Matali Crasset, Dar HI is the brainchild of Philippe Chapelet and Patrick Elouarghi who also own several other HI hotels including the ones in Nice and Paris. The property is a marvel of indigenous architecture, a contemporary version of the traditional Tunisian dar – a boutique hotel in traditional townhouses. It comprises 17 units arranged in four different concepts varying from sand dunelike form to traditional design to rock wren to stilt houses that overlook the local life and the palm trees. Opened at the end of 2010, Dar HI offers thalassic therapy ‘in harmony with nature and the environment’. In this interview, Laurence Shukor, Communications Director, Dar HI, shares with us some amazing details about Dar HI’s unique concept and its features, and explains the sustainable tourism policies that govern the operations at this contemporary eco-lodge. SOST: Dar HI is a green sustainable hotel, a new concept of hospitality and serenity. Could you enlighten our readers on the Dar HI concept and what is unique about it? Laurence Shukor: Dar HI was conceived as an eco-retreat or ecolodge that would be ecological and also completely accepted by the inhabitants of Nefta, both architecturally and socially. Thus, Dar HI was built in a typical Tunisian building style, much like the dar – a boutique hotel in a traditional townhouse. It is built as a

village with a traditional boundary wall around it that follows the movement of the land. The design architect Crasset collaborated with a Tunisian architect and consulted with local artisans at every step of the design and construction phase. Crasset observed their construction methods and used the same traditional processes in the eco-lodge. The result is a construction marvel that is in total harmony with Nefta’s landscape. Dar HI was built with 100% indigenous building materials and using local manpower. Dar Hi has brought a completely new concept to Tunisia, one that is based on ecology and sustainability. SOST: Ecology and fair trade are the foundations of Dar HI. Can you please elaborate? Laurence Shukor: HI LOVES ECOLOGY. That is the guiding philosophy and fundamental truth behind every HI hotel. Dar HI follows an ecological approach and has been built with total respect for the environment. ➜ Dar HI’s architecture is typical of houses in Nefta, with walls made of whole bricks that have a distinctive ochre colour, and roofs and house doors made of palm wood. To preserve the local theme, paint was replaced by natural lime thela with natural dyes. ➜D  ar HI is in a motor-free zone, with vehicles parked further away. From the parking area, Dar Hi is approached by foot, as you would do in a house. At the entrance, guests take off their shoes and wear traditional Tunisian slippers called ‘babouches’. ➜W  ater is provided from a natural hot spring in the desert which not only provides geothermal heating to the hammam (Turkish bath) and the swimming pool, but also helps to irrigate the oases. This water is also present in small ditches around the pill (stilt) houses. ➜F  ruits and vegetables are grown in Dar HI’s own organic garden. ➜L  ocal cooks create traditional Tunisian cuisine with a hint of international flavour. No high gastronomy nor imported


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Eco-retreat/ DAR HI

“Dar HI employs people from the surrounding villages, values their skills and preserves and utilises the local biodiversity. It encourages the villagers to reuse the forgotten agricultural lands, and has committed to buy their production to encourage the cooperative system.” products, but a self sufficient and local development approach. ➜T  he employees at Dar HI have all been recruited from the neighbouring villages. Even the masseurs at the Spa are local, who have been trained by our wellness experts.

in Tunisia. In a way, we educate our staff and our customers to adopt this concept and carry on outside of the eco-lodge. • Guest amenities are locally procured, and in line with ecotourism ideals.

SOST: Does Dar HI have an established sustainability policy? What does Dar HI do to reduce the environmental impact of its operations?

SOST: How does Dar HI contribute to the local community?

Laurence Shukor: Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. Our sustainability policy provides the vision, goals and a framework for sustainability initiatives and our business operations, e.g. energy saving initiatives, maximize renewable energy sources when available, minimizing water consumption, recycling, etc. A well-prepared program sensitizes the staff and guests towards environmental sustainability. • Staff and guests are strongly encouraged to be respectful of and responsible for energy saving. • Water supply being a key issue in the desert, responsible use of water is encouraged, and considerable efforts are made to encourage reduced consumption. • A water recycling program has been established to maximize its use and minimize wastage. • Staff and guests are encouraged to recycle within the eco-lodge even if waste-sorting programs have not yet been established

Laurence Shukor: As mentioned, Dar HI was constructed using local products and local manpower. It employs people from the surrounding villages, values their skills and preserves and utilises the local biodiversity. It encourages the villagers to reuse the forgotten agricultural lands, and has committed to buy their production to encourage the cooperative system. Dar HI also has a bazaar that stocks traditional produce and other local objects and artefacts. Guests are encouraged to buy local products, visit local date factories, take cooking lessons etc SOST: Can you tell us something about the Palm*lab that Dar HI has initiated? Laurence Shukor: Palm*lab is a pluridisciplinary association initiated by Dar HI in collaboration with the inhabitants of Nefta. Its main goal is to research modern usage for the palm tree in different types of industries - architecture, furniture, everyday


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objects, cooking, skincare etc, and evaluate its market potential. It groups different experts around workshops and long term research that take place within Dar Hi. Dar HI has a dedicated space for the laboratory where specific research can be directed but also doubles as a pilot space where tests can take place since a large part of its interiors (furniture, furnishings, insulation) make use of the palm. SOST: What positive impact has being a sustainable tourism company had on your business image, your clientele, your competitive standing and on your business profitability? Laurence Shukor: Dar HI is the first Tunisian establishment to receive an SNCF award for responsible tourism. (SNCF is France’s national state-owned railway company and a recognized leader in eco-mobility.) We have opened Dar HI with this goal of responsible tourism; saving costs or making money was never the driving force behind this project. We measure our success by the positive environment and social impact we make in the local area. We are pleased that our project has helped the local economy and its people, and is helping to protect the natural green oasis of Nefta. We are one of the few hotels in the area that only employs local people, providing them their only source of livelihood. We believe that Dar HI has succeeded in its vision to be a protective haven, a retreat from the world’s hassle but in total harmony with local life, nature and the environment. Our guests, mainly from Europe, love it here, and we have repeat custom. From a competitive standpoint, to my knowledge there isn’t another quite like Dar HI. SOST: From your experience and knowledge of the industry and customers, what trends do you see for the travel and tourism industry in the future? Laurence Shukor: It is necessary for Tunisia and south Tunisia to promote a different type of tourism from that which can be seen in Djerba or the coast of Tunisia – that travel and tourism can go hand-in-hand with respect for the environment. Tourists are

also looking for different places and new experiences, and we see a growing interest in ecotourism, nature-based tourism, away from the madding crowd. SOST: What are the long term benefits hotel operators can expect from being involved in sustainable business practices that include environmental, socio-cultural and economic aspects? What message would you like to give them? Laurence Shukor: It is our responsibility as hotel owners to participate at our level in the protection and preservation of the environment and ecology in places where we operate. Dar Hi’s example has shown that it is possible to develop a project with ecology and sustainable development as its foundation, and without any major additional investment. So why not do it clean? ●

SOST Assessment ➜ DAR HI demonstrates compliance with many indicators under the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) ➜ Evidence of performance measurement and tracking systems, pledge to provide information on philanthropic opportunities, using company records to calculate its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are some of the areas that need to be worked upon, in order that it may be certified as a GSTC-complaint sustainable tourism business SOST Assessment is based on business owners’ responses (self-reporting) to a series of questions on sustainability policies and practices in line with GSTCcomplaint 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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Point of View

Responsible Employment in Tourism Our contributing writer for this new column Point of View is Andreas Walmsley PhD, Senior Lecturer for Business Development at York St John University, York, United Kingdom. Andreas’ interests revolve around the relationship between employment and responsibility. He has focused in particular on the management of human resources in tourism and the service industries more generally

H

istorically, firms have been suspicious of corporate social responsibility seeing it as antithetical to business. Today however there is wide acknowledgement that CSR and business performance are not necessarily at odds, but rather that they can complement each other. Indeed, according to Hollender and Breen’s recent book ‘The Responsibility Revolution: How the next generation of businesses will win’ 1, the future of business lies in meeting the demand in the marketplace for socially and environmentally responsible firms. In other words, engaging in CSR will no longer be an option for the successful firm. This is confirmed in a recent study on Corporate Responsibility Reporting published by KPMG in 2011 2. According to this report 95 percent of the 250 largest global companies now report on the corporate responsibility activities which in turn drives innovation and promotes learning, ultimately leading to an increase in the organization’s value. When we read of sustainable tourism we are often confronted with considerable efforts on the part of businesses to reduce their negative impacts on the natural environment. Sometimes we also see attempts to protect the host destination’s culture. While these are necessary and laudable goals, what is often neglected is a focus on tourism employment. Tourism employment assumes a key junction between the tourism industry and host communities. In fact, tourism is regularly promoted on the basis of its ability to bring in foreign currency and to provide employment, particularly to economically marginalised regions. Very rarely do we ask about the nature of tourism work. We cannot however sit back and ignore employment malpractices in the industry if we are serious about sustainability. The good news is that the relationship between responsible employment practices and business performance is positive. It is very clear that in a customer facing industry, ignoring the needs of employees is a sure fire road to failure. Arguably, short term gains may be made through exploiting the workforce, but long-term business success, and this is what sustainability is all about after

all, will only be upheld where management and employees work together, not against each other. Which business would not want committed employees? As Stefan Stern writes in the Financial Times: ‘Of all the nobrainers in all the executive suites in the entire world, winning the engagement of your employees must come near the top of the list.’3 Clearly, one of the goals of human resources management which ties in with a responsible approach to employment has been to find ways to improve employee commitment. There is no shortage of research that illustrates the link between levels of commitment and various measures of business performance such as customer satisfaction, reduced staff turnover and, ultimately, profit. What is then surprising is that managers, Stefan Stern adds, are ‘failing spectacularly to achieve that aim.’ The question then arises as to how to achieve commitment? How do we get the employee to see his or her work as more than ‘just a job’, and assume responsibility for getting things done? There is of course no one, sure-fire way of engaging an employee. People have different needs and wants and it would be disingenuous to propose there is a magic bullet that would, once and for all, solve this issue. However, it would be just as wrong to claim that little can be done to increase commitment and motivation, that employees are by their very nature lazy and that the only way to ensure they get the job done is by means of adopting a carrot and stick approach. Rather, the following tips and mini case studies will assist in engaging and motivating employees in line with a responsible tourism approach to doing business: First impressions count. Therefore ensure any new hires are provided with an induction as a minimum. The Landmark Hotel in London offers a Welcome Day as part of its induction for new employees. This includes (amongst other things) breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, a showround of all departments, a welcome by the General Manager and last but certainly not least an introduction to the hotel’s vision. Furthermore, as part


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of the welcome process two training courses are offered: ‘Communication to Engage’ and ‘Landmark Spirit’ which is a workshop created by employees. The Landmark Hotel has understood that commitment arises where an employee feels part of the business, and shares its values and goals. Don’t spend a fortune hiring staff to then see them leave soon after their tenure has begun simply because they had difficulty fitting in. The Jumeirah Carlton Tower has recognised the need to improve staff retention rates and has developed a number of initiatives for staff. For example, the HRS Excellence Awards report that Jumeirah’s open door culture resulted in colleagues feeling that they were able to raise concerns or issues with management. This communication initiative was taken further with the establishment of an Employee Assistance Helpline for colleagues and their families to call at any time. In a similar vein, Sandele Eco-Retreat in The Gambia reaches out to employees and the local community. It invites the local community to participate in activities that are hosted at the centre and gives employees the opportunity to actively participate in decision-making. By forging close links with the community, from whence the majority of employees come, a sense of belonging is fostered. Trust is built up and commitment developed. Many of the problems surrounding commitment arise through mediation. That is, the employee is removed from the end-product or service. It is little wonder that commitment is low when the employee does not understand how his or her work makes a contribution to overall business success. Employees need to feel that they are jointly responsible for the success of the organisation. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ EarthCare Programme is a case in point. Here the initial idea and its implementation were employee led. Employees engaged because it was something they cared about. Every Kimpton hotel and restaurant has EarthCare champions. Anyone can be a champion, from front desk to the general manager. The champions meet twice a month to ensure compliance with current standards, develop tolls to train new employees, and keep EarthCare fresh in the minds of all employees. The message then is clear. Employees are key stakeholders of the firm and tourism that ignores their welfare and working conditions cannot be sustainable. Furthermore, firms that are seeking to minimise their negative impacts and enhance their contribution to society require everyone in the firm, from the managers down to the most junior members of staff to be committed to the firm’s values. Responsible tourism is everyone’s responsibility. ● Note: these examples are drawn from the publication ‘Responsible Tourism: The Role of Human Resources Management’ which can be downloaded from www.workingvisionsglobal.com

“Employees are key stakeholders of the firm and tourism that ignores their welfare and working conditions cannot be sustainable. Furthermore, firms that are seeking to minimize their negative impacts and enhance their contribution to society require everyone in the firm, from the managers down to the most junior members of staff to be committed to the firm’s values. Responsible tourism is everyone’s responsibility.”

Sources 1: Hollender, J. & Breen, B. (2011) The responsibility revolution. How the next generation of businesses will win, (San Francisco, Jossey Bass). 2: KPMG (2011) KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2011. Available at: http://www.kpmg.com/PT/pt/ IssuesAndInsights/Documents/corporate-responsibility2011.pdf 3: Stern, S. (2008) How to get staff to care about their work. Financial Times, 31 January 2008.

ANDREAS WALMSLEY (PhD) is a Senior Lecturer for Business Development at York St John University and has also held positions at Leeds Metropolitan University (International Centre for Responsible Tourism) and the University of Plymouth. Andreas’ interests revolve around the relationship between employment and responsibility. He has published articles in peer reviewed journals, contributed book chapters and presented at conferences on issues such as labour turnover, career development, entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility. He has focused in particular on the management of human resources in tourism and the service industries more generally. Andreas has provided consultancy services for a range of private and public sector organizations, including a recent study on corporate social responsibility and reporting in global hotel chains. Andreas continues to work on the training and development of human resources with an emphasis on achieving staff engagement with sustainability strategies.


Comment Market Intelligence

UK travellers spend more on eco-travel and transport IN THE UK, spending on eco-travel and transport has grown from £582 mn in 2000 to £3.3 bn in 2010. Purchase of travel from responsible tour operators has grown from £73 mn in 2000 to £105 mn in 2010. More than one half chose a product or service based on a company’s responsible reputation and nearly one-half recommended a company on the basis of its responsible reputation.

2000

£3.3 bn

Source: The Co-operative Bank’s Ethical Consumerism Report 2011

£582 mn

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Sabre introduces green hotels programme A NEW HOTEL certification regime will allow travel agents and travel management companies to select properties based on green criteria through the Sabre GDS. The development of the Eco-Certified Hotel Programme comes as demand for eco-friendly hotels rises and builds on the success of the Green Hotel Directory on Sabre’s Travelocity website. The new certification regime has been developed with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. The overwhelming response from consumers to the Travelocity Green Hotels Directory prompted Sabre to add it to the GDS. Although it is unclear the degree to which consumers will actually opt for a green option if it is more expensive than alternatives, many corporate travel policies are starting to compel travellers to choose hotels with good environmental credentials. The Eco-Certified Hotel Programme covers 4,700 properties globally that has been certified and will be clearly marked in the GDS so agents can identify them via an icon and unique amenity code. Sabre believes hoteliers with an eco-certificate will enjoy greater profile and said third party endorsement of environmental performance has been found in studies to be important for 40% of respondents. The trend of eco-friendly hotels and green travel is here to stay! Source: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk

2010

Do more for responsible and sustainable tourism THE TRAVEL AND tourism industry could “do more for responsible and sustainable tourism”, according to a survey conducted at the 2011 World Travel Market (WTM).    During WTM 2011, software and data consultancy exhibitor, SustainIt, conducted the survey of 200 WTM participants. The survey was done to understand the “industry’s experiences of sustainability and responsible tourism and work out whether the industry really is engaging in the principles of sustainability”.   More than seven out of 10 industry professionals including hoteliers, airlines,

resorts and tourist attractions said the travel and tourism industry could do more to reduce poverty and support sustainable local economic development in destination communities. Only 18 percent of those questioned have sustainable supply chains and procurement policies in place. An increasing number of companies offer their customers carbon offsets, but only 26 percent of companies were looking at their own carbon footprint.   Six out of 10 industry professionals felt their company could do more to

Industry professionals felt their company could do more to promote sustainability overall

promote sustainability overall, with only 29 percent of employees not knowing if they had any targets or objectives to meet in these areas. When WTM delegates were asked to identify the key responsible tourism issue for 2012, the survey ranked ’Increasing employee and customer engagement in sustainability’ as the top issue. Only 29 percent of respondents believe that their company is doing enough to promote sustainability and responsible travel/ tourism to its employees and customers. Source: http://www.conference-news.co.uk


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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 long-term. 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 GSTC-recognized independently-verified eco-certification. Contact us to find out how we can help you gain competitive advantage and increase profits through the more productive use of resources. ●

Insights ❘ Experience ❘ Results Established in 1997, Market Vision is a research and consultancy firm founded by marketing and research professionals with combined work experience of over 60 years. With our corporate office based in Dubai, UAE, and an international network of service providers and business associates, we execute, manage and oversee a wide range of projects around the world. Our tourism & hospitality consultants & associate global partners have in-depth experience in various aspects of tourism development, developed over decades of professional work experience in the industry.

For more information, please contact us on: Tel: +9714-3911241 Fax: +9714-3911245 Email: enquiries@market-vision.com Web: www.market-vision.com ➜ If you are interested in our sustainable tourism business practice, please email Kumud Sengupta: kumud@market-vision.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 and subscribers.

➜F  eedback, article or research paper contributions: SOST.ed@market-vision.com ➜S  ubscriptions: SOSTsubscribe@market-vision.com with ‘Subscribe’ as subject of email ➜S  ponsorships and advertising: SOSTsales@market-vision.com

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Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism (SOST)  

Spotlight on Sustainable Tourism is a journal for stakeholders in the travel and tourism industry, promoting sustainability in the travel an...

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