An excerpt from the UNEP Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector.
Tourists are traveling more often and to more distant destinations, using more energy-intensive, fossil fuel-based transport and the sector’s greenhouse gas (GHG) contribution has increased to 5 percent of global emissions. Other unsustainable practices, such as excessive water use, waste generation, and habitat encroachment are threatening ecosystems, biodiversity, and local culture.
But if done right, tourism can be a positive force for both the local economy and the environment. Sustainable Tourism aims to reduce poverty by creating local jobs and stimulating local business, while establishing ecologically sustainable practices that preserve resources and reduce pollution. Currently, only a minimal of tourism profits touches the people living in and near tourist destinations. Increasing local involvement can not only generate income but also encourage communities to protect their environment.
Investing in energy efficiency and waste management can reduce GHG emissions and pollution and also save hotel owners and service providers money. Under the right circumstances, natural areas, biodiversity, and cultural heritage—three of the main reasons people travel in the first place—can all reap the benefits of sustainable tourism.
The sustainability of coastal tourism destinations depends partly on their ability to adapt planning and management practices to the impacts of climate change and also to increase their ability to reduce disaster risks.
Climate Change Mitigation refers to efforts to reduce or prevent emission of greenhouse gases. Mitigation can mean using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behavior. Protecting natural carbon sinks like forests and oceans, or creating new sinks through silviculture or green agriculture are also elements of mitigation.
Mitigation by the Tourism sector can be achieved by reducing energy use, through changing travel behavior, by improving energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy, carbon offsetting strategies, sustainable destination planning and management, tour operators’ choice of destinations and packaging of travel products, as well as other changes in business practices.
A number of studies present strategies available for increasing the effectiveness of mitigation activities in relation to tourism and climate change. Best practices from case studies for different stakeholders and local context have been formed as a guide to mitigation tools, covering techniques, policies and measures in various scenarios. Various mitigation strategies in the transportation and accommodation sectors as well as for tour operators, consumers and destinations have long been available and should be implemented.
The overall objective of climate change mitigation strategies, policies and activities in the tourism sector is to contribute to the achievement of “carbon neutrality” in the sector. For hospitality and tourism establishments, “carbon neutrality” can be defined as a set of policies that it uses when it estimates its known greenhouse gas emissions, takes measures to reduce them, and purchases carbon offsets to “neutralize” those emissions that remain. Carbon neutrality signifies an establishment that has a zero net contribution of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This includes all activities directly controlled by the company, including travel, purchasing of goods and services, and daily behavior of staff. Carbon neutrality can be achieved by improving the way the organization operates (e.g. through “green” procurement), by improving efficiency of operations (e.g. communications and meetings) and equipment (e.g. vehicle transport and building). Carbon neutrality also recognizes offsetting as an option (last resort) to achieve full neutrality.
The Tourism Sector is composed of a wide range of businesses, from small, local operations that service a single local market to very large transport, hotel and tour operator companies that serve global markets across entire regions and which sell or facilitate millions or tens of millions of tour packages to foreign destinations each year. The industry provides tourists with products and services such as accommodation, transport, food and drink, attractions to visit, and souvenirs to purchase.
It is clear that the industry shapes demand through its marketing strategies, but consumers (tourists) ultimately make the final choices. Recognizing that tourists have an important role in creating business interest in sustainable tourism products, the sector must consider mitigation options and should be increasingly proactive in addressing climate change.
Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.-SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Educational programs for hotels, destinations – LGUs, host communities, private stakeholders and the grassroots and tour operators with Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria. Training programs include Environmental Conservation, Good Governance, Climate Resilience, to address global challenges of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals: poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and climate change. WASTE TO ENERGY solutions are now offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
Sustainability Guru Asia Pacific was honored to be part of the invite-only World Travel & Tourism Council -WTTC- Global Summit Japan in Sendai & Tokyo. Summit reports started with the Tourism for Tomorrow 2012 Awards & Winners. The following is a re-post from the WTTC 2012 News & updates starting with the First Session in Sendai, Japan.
“We are here to hear what we have learnt from the crisis,” said Mr Takamatsu, CEO, Japan Tourism Marketing Company, and session moderator. “The objective of this session is to look at the best ways to manage a crisis with case studies from Japan, but also other countries and the Travel & Tourism industry,” he added.
Given the events of the last decade – from America on September 11 2001 to Japan on 11 March 2011, dealing with the unusual is increasingly becoming business as usual in the Travel & Tourism industry.
According to the Annual Global Climate and Catastrophe Report published by Impact Forecasting, 2011 was one of the most active years on record in terms of instances of natural catastrophes, so there has never been a more pressing time to consider crisis management and disaster recovery.
Japan has learnt a lot since March 2011, Mr Idee, Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency (JTA), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism told delegates. “I can tell you that [after the earthquake and tsunami], the government immediately took measures to ensure that the region was safe from radiation and that there was total security regarding food safety.
We have also undertaken a wide range of measures to try encourage a recovery in demand, using high-profile visitors like Lady Gaga to help us in our promotions. And we are grateful to UNWTO and the United Nations generally for issuing reassurances to the world that Japan is open for business. I would like to express my gratitude to them for these measures.
We were delighted to see that WTTC’s latest report suggests that Japan’s Travel & Tourism recovery will be better than expected, with the percentage drop in inbound tourism in 2012 projected to be down in single digits over Japan’s peak tourism year in 2010”.
“Destination Tohoku” campaigns in foreign countries such as the United States help, and we are focusing on the travel trade – tour operator and travel agents – to communicate our messages. But we are promoting domestic as well as inbound tourism.
Mr Ogata, Vice Chairman, East Japan Railway Company told the Summit that in 50 years of operating the Shinkansen (Japanese “bullet-train”) there had never been an associated fatal casualty. JR East is the largest railway company in Japan – with 4,700 miles of network and 17 million passengers a day on 13,000 trains. Its top priority is safety.
Many lessons from past experiences of earthquakes, e.g. the use of reinforced pillars, early earthquake detection systems, seismometers, preventing trains from large-scale deviations, plus the education and training of its staff have secured a dramatic decrease in accidents. But in addition to taking countermeasures, it is essential to utilise innovative risk assessments. As a result, on 11 March 2011, there were no customer fatalities or injuries – though because of aftershocks, it took 50 days to restore full operation.
There were lots of lessons learned: e.g. even more early detection systems needed – plus better evacuation systems, and a strengthening of electrification masts.
Bert van Walbeek, Chairman of PATA’s Rapid Recovery Taskforce, and Managing Director, The Winning Edge gave the Summit “Five Points in Five Minutes”:
• Educate and train all stakeholders • Accept joint responsibility
• Respect and understand ‘Mother Nature’
• Co-operate on travel advisories
• We all need to work together to address the problem, in terms of crisis management and prevention.
Dirk Glaesser, Coordinator, Risk and Crisis Management, UNWTO reminded the Summit that whilst crises do occur, it’s the way we prepare for them and manage them that is critical. UNWTO works not just through United Nations systems but also through TERN – the Tourism Emergency Research Network, which groups together public and private sector organisations and associations involved in tourism. “The whole purpose of TERN is sharing knowledge and best practice, and communicating between partner organisations/associations and the outside world, through media,.
It’s all about planning and preparedness,” said Glaesser, “the importance of correct assumptions and strategic contingency planning.”
In the Panel Discussion which followed, Raymond N Bickson, Managing Director & CEO, Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces, said: “ Whether natural disaster or terrorist attack or other man-made disasters, including health concerns like H1N1 and bird flu, the crisis management tools are all very similar across the board. What helps recovery is the public and private sectors working together – plus India has its own national chapter of WTTC and this has helped us enormously.”
Robert Laurence Noddin, CEO and Representative in Japan, AIU Insurance Company, Japan Branch, told the story of the Japanese crisis from the insurance industry standpoint: “ We had to overcome or deal with three major issues: impact on transportation, getting support to customers and staff; and the availability of data and how to use, controland communicate it. The sheer scale of the disaster meant that there was huge damage, so we needed to call on an unprecedented number of support staff to assess the damages”.
The Summit then listened attentively to the story as told by Mrs. Noriko Abe, the “Okami” of Minami-Sanriku Hotel Kanyo. Her story was a wonderful example of a member of the Travel & Tourism industry taking the initiative to help the community – in the aftermath some people had no accommodation, no food, no clothes. How to help them? “We had to help them. There was total confusion and incomprehension as to why this had happened to them. We offered support to 600 citizens – we started a school inside the hotel. Without help, we risked some of the younger Japanese leaving the community to go and live elsewhere. Or even committing suicide out of desperation, especially young mothers. Soour help in fact was a way of rebuilding the community and giving people a reason for living”. On the basis of this closing presentation, the first session of the first day of the Sendai Forum drew the conclusion thatTourism is not often seen as the cement of community solidarity, but it should be. It’s something very human, and can really help when crises strike.
Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc.- SSTDI supports the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Environment Initiative. SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation , Disaster Preparedness and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
Foreword. Our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. -SSTDI offers Capacity Building and Training programs to public and private stakeholders, host communities and grassroots in sustainable tourism development & stewardship to include Good Governance, Climate Change Mitigation , Disaster Preparedness and Management. Waste to Energy projects are offered to LGUs for their ecological solidwaste management and renewable energy solutions. For more information and assistance, contact us.
“Do we have to wait until a disaster overwhelms us before we make the radical changes necessary to protect our world for future generations? If we act now there is much that can be saved which will otherwise disappear forever.” ~ John Gummer
In these times of global warming and climate change, one is never prepared enough for the mighty forces of nature such as Japan’s Great East Earthquake, in some cases, man-made disasters, such as the Fukushima Nuclear Plant or the latest super typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines, where to date reconstruction and recovery is yet to be fully implemented .
Start at home. Now. For those especially in vulnerable and hazard zones like Japan & Philippines, everyone must be aware and be prepared for any disaster, natural or man-made.
Here are the six basic disaster preparedness at home that you must ensure:
1. Check safety around your house
- Organize flowerpots and propane tanks to prevent toppling, and check the intensity of block walls and roof tiles.
Before a disaster occurs: Check your house for safety measures! The DOST- PHIVOLCS call for compliance to building code after the earthquakes in the Philippines. Read article here.
2. Discuss with your family and household member about disaster measures:
3. Prevent injuries caused by broken glasses. Prepare slippers and sneakers close at hand. For a blackout at night, keep them in place. This is a simple and no-brainer practical prevention for further injuries.
4. Prepare rescue equipments. Prepare a pinch, saw, scoop, jack, flashlight, etc. These might be expensive, so share with your neighbors the cost and the use.
5. Prepare an emergency pack/ After a disaster, supply of essentials may stop for a few days. Plan for quantity of stockpiles and storage for essentials to be taken out in case of emergency.
Essential emergency supplies list
- Food and water (roughly 3 days of food for entire family and 3 liters of water per person a day)
- First-aid kit, medicine, etc.
- Portable radio, flashlight, batteries
- Cash and valuables
6. Join Disaster Prevention drills
In preparation for an emergency, create a cooperative structure with neighborhoods on a routine basis.
- Join disaster prevention resident groups
- Join disaster prevention drills
If you don’t have, organize one with your neighborhood or community pronto!
“We are now running out of time, and the question now is not what is happening to the climate, but how bad will it be before the world starts doing enough?” ~ Jonathon Porritt
The Philippines is situated along two major tectonic plates of the world – the EURASIAN and PACIFIC Plates. Aside from this, it has 300 volcanoes – 22 as active, an average of 20 quakes per day, 20 typhoons a year, five (5) of these destructive and 36,289 kilometers of coastline vulnerable to tsunami. The responsibility for leadership rests on the provincial governor, city and town mayors and Barangay chairmen in their respective areas.
Know more about the Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Center and how it should work for you and your community!
Learn the lessons of past disasters. The Philippines is not short of earlier numerous grants, programs and initiatives in disaster education and management. Share this useful Preparedness Procedures before, during and after Earthquake with your family and community. Do positive. Demand from your public officials on the information and skills. Seek the mass media support and use social media in raising awareness, care and vigilance.
“First, climate change is the greatest long-term threat faced by humanity… All countries will be affected, but the poorest countries will be hit hardest. Secondly, the costs of inaction far outweigh the costs of action.” ~ David Miliband