Extension of EU COVID-19 and protected area tourism survey: North, West and Central Africa

The EU study to understand the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife tourism in protected areas, financed by the EU project on “Wildlife economy: sustainable tourism in protected areas”, is being extended to seek more responses from North, West and Central Africa.

The survey is available in French and English, and includes questions that allow us to compare the period before the crisis with now, and estimates for the foreseeable future. It also asks what type of support might help (relating to the local value chains, and during different phases; conservation; business operations, policy interventions etc.) and on what terms these might work.

Français: Étude COVID-19 – aires protégées et tourisme
Nous demandons également quelle sorte de soutien serait utile (en relation aux chaines de valeurs locales, et durant les différentes phases ; conservation ; opérations commerciales, interventions politiques, etc.) et sous quelles conditions ce soutien pourrait être apporté.  Ce questionnaire devrait prendre 20-25 minutes à compléter. Veuillez compléter ce formulaire d’ici au 31 Mai 2020.

English: EU study on COVID-19 and protected area tourism – extension
If you are a tourism operator offering accommodation, tours, or activities in protected areas (e.g. national parks, reserves, community conservation areas, transfrontier conservation areas etc), please complete this form by 31 May 2020 using this link:

 

JRC map of responses received in the first phase from Africa

PA_on_countries_count

Link here to draft results from the first phase for review and comment

 

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The challenges of sustainable tourism: Interview with Dr. Anna Spenceley

Booking.com update logo

Dr Anna Spenceley is an author and tourism consultant with over 20 years’ international experience, and an expert in sustainable and responsible travel. She is also the chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist Group, a board member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Anna sits on the Travalyst Independent Advisory Panel, and is a signatory to Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

Picture anna

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the travel and tourism industry over the next few years when it comes to sustainability?

I think the biggest challenge is mainstreaming sustainability into all tourism – whether it is a business trip to Tokyo, a camping holiday in France, a conference in New Zealand, or staying with family in another part of the country. I want to see a transition to us integrating good purchasing decisions into our consciousness – so that it becomes the usual way of travelling – and ensuring that there is sufficient volume of accommodation and tours practicing sustainable approaches available to meet that demand.

Where do you think the industry is doing well in terms of sustainability, such as reducing environmental impact, reducing overcrowding and keeping local communities safe and intact? And where do you think it needs to improve?

There has been real progress in addressing waste in the hotel and restaurant sector – particularly with regards to food and single use plastic. There are new and improved tools to support animal welfare. Popular destinations are finding innovative and creative ways to manage overtourism, including using mobile phone apps, local licensed guides, fee systems, dispersing visitors to a broader range of attractions, and using GSTC-recognised certifications. For local communities, there are good efforts made in some destinations, and by some travel companies and local authorities, but these tend to be patchy and fragmented. More needs to be done to safeguard local people’s livelihoods and their cultural heritage, outside of the UNESCO World Heritage Site area of influence and protection.

How can we encourage people to continue to travel while also ensuring we protect the planet and the people on it?

We need to give people more options, more meaningful and trustworthy information, and tools that they can use to make good travel decisions. The frameworks that Booking.com and its Travalyst partners are collaborating on provide an ideal entry point to this. Ensuring that the information has credibility, while being showcased by champions such as the Duke of Sussex, will really help to make this change. This needs to be coupled with support from governments and financial bodies to provide supportneeded by tourism businesses to transform their business models. Good planning and policy frameworks coupled with proactive regulations that galvanize thriving tourism industries, and encourage innovation, and maximize localemployment, entrepreneurship and associated benefits. The education and not-for-profit sectors can also providesupport to ensure credibility, and provide guidance, tools and training where needed. There is clearly an increasing demand for sustainable travel, and we need to support this trend.

What are the biggest opportunities for industry collaboration to create positive change for travel and tourism?

I think collaboration in itself is part of the biggest opportunity. Working together to tackle the big questions, and putting aside commercial competition when it comes to addressing bigger-picture challenges such as climate change, waste, nature and culture conservation, gender equity and poverty. For example, big hotel groups andmajor tour operators can make a massive difference want to see a transition to us integrating good purchasing decisions into our consciousness – so that it becomes the usual way of travelling – and ensuring that there is sufficient volume of accommodation and tours practicing sustainable approaches available to meet that demand.

Where do you think the industry is doing well in terms of sustainability, such as reducing environmental impact, reducing overcrowding and keeping local communities safe and intact? And where do you think it needs to improve?

There has been real progress in addressing waste in the hotel and restaurant sector – particularly with regards to food and single use plastic. There are new and improved tools to support animal welfare. Popular destinations are finding innovative and creative ways to manageovertourism, including using mobile phone apps, local licensed guides, fee systems, dispersing visitors to a broader range of attractions, and using GSTC-recognised certifications. For local communities, there are good effortsmade in some destinations, and by some travel companies and local authorities, but these tend to be patchy and fragmented. More needs to be done to safeguard local people’s livelihoods and their cultural heritage, outside ofthe UNESCO World Heritage Site area of influence and protection, by nurturing and forging market linkages with smaller enterprises and entrepreneurs in destinations where they work. This supports local economies, families, and ensures that they will continue to welcome visitors long into the future.

What does the future hold for travel and tourism? Are you optimistic?

I’m always optimistic. Where we can turn big and scary challenges into simple and practical steps that we can all use to improve how we travel – such as traveling light, with trust, slowly and carefully – then collectively we can make major changes. People like Greta Thunburg have shown quite vividly that one committed champion can inspire millions towards action – and also that when youth collectively take action, their parents and grandparents listen. However, there is much to be done, and we cannot be complacent, or only rely on others to do good. We have to all take personal responsibility in our own lives, and encourage our families, those we work with, and for, to take positive action and support sustainable tourism.

 

Source: Booking.com (2020) Sustainability update 2019

COVID-19 and protected area tourism survey: Draft analysis for comment

In the framework of the study financed by the EU “Wildlife economy: sustainable tourism in protected areas”, a study was undertaken to understand the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife tourism in protected areas, considering the impact on protected areas, businesses and local communities.  A survey was designed with questions that would allow us to compare the period before the crisis with now, and estimates for the foreseeable future. It also asked what type of support might help (relating to the local value chains, and during different phases; conservation; business operations, policy interventions etc.) and on what terms these might work.

The draft data analysis (focussing on Africa as a first phase) is now available for review – click here 

To provide comment and feedback on the draft analysis, please do so by clicking here, or paste this link into your browser: www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19_tourism_feedback

If you would still like to contribute to the study (particularly if you work in North, Central or West Africa), you can find information here in French and English.

JRC map of survey responses globally

countries

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EU study on COVID-19 and protected area tourism

EC logo

In the framework of the study financed by the EU “Wildlife economy: sustainable tourism in protected areas“, we want to understand the impact of COVID-19 on wildlife tourism in protected areas, considering the impact on protected areas, businesses and local communities.

To do so, we have a set of 40 questions for those offering accommodation, tours, services and activities in protected areas to visitors.

The study will allow us to compare the period before the crisis with now, and estimates for the foreseeable future.  We also ask about what kind of support might help (relating to the local value chains, and during different phases; conservation; business operations, policy interventions etc.) and on what terms these might work.

Individual responses will be held in confidence, and the results will be collated to motivate EU policy interventions.

If you are providing accommodation, tours or activities to visitors in protected areas, kindly complete this form by Friday 24 April 2020 using this link or paste the site into your internet browser: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19_Tourism

Please also share the link widely.

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COVID 19 and sustainable tourism

Coronavirus image

It seems that everyone involved in the travel sector has been affected by the coronavirus COVID 19 pandemic.

There are an increasing number of interesting studies and articles and think-pieces that have been published on this topic.  Some of these share information on the impacts of our dramatically changed travel patterns on industry and destinations, some include suggestions of proactive approaches, and some provide market insights.

This is an evolving database of these papers, which I hope will provide quick-links to people looking for insights and ideas.  It may also help us in the future, as we try to understand the implications of this massive global challenge.

The resources fall under the following headers:

  1. Ideas to help resilience and recovery
  2. Market research and intelligence
  3. Impacts on tourism and destinations
  4. Virtual tours and ideas to keep us inspired

I will add to this page over time, and please let me know if you have links you think would be useful to add.

Updated: 25 May 2020

1. Ideas to help resilience and recovery

Policy and development responses:

Funding & support:

Employment:

Resilience & recovery:

Opinions and think pieces:

Hotel, tour and aviation responses:

Top tips & best practices:

Collections of resources:

2. Market research and intelligence

Market updates:

Economy and investment:

Market intelligence:

COVID-19:

3. Impacts on tourism & destinations

Impacts during crisis recovery:

Impacts on the tourism economy & employment:

Impacts on the environment and wildlife:

Climate impacts:

Impacts on crowded destinations & overtourism: 

Closures and calls to ‘stay away’:

Booking platforms & sharing economy: 

Accommodation & tours: 

Cruise ships:

Airlines:

Travellers:

4. Virtual tours and ideas to keep us inspired

Virtual tours:

Articles:

 

Travalyst sustainability frameworks & advisory group

Amsterdam, 21 February 2020

Travalyst Coalition Announces Development of New Sustainability Frameworks to Help Travelers Find Sustainable Travel and Tourism Options

● Draft frameworks in development to showcase sustainable accommodation, aviation and experiences providers

● Frameworks are the starting point in Travalyst’s ambition to help people make holiday and travel choices that can better protect wildlife, communities and the environment

● Newly appointed independent advisory group of leading industry and sustainability experts to provide strategic guidance, ensuring global scalability and relevance

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – February 21, 2020 – Today the Travalyst coalition, a global partnership founded by The Duke of Sussex together with leading brands Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa, announced the development of draft sustainability frameworks to serve as a cross-channel guide for scoring sustainability practices across the travel and tourism industry. The first three frameworks for accommodation, aviation and experiences are being developed building upon existing standards, with the goal of making them easier to understand for consumers and businesses, and implement and scale across the broadest possible range of travel service providers.

These frameworks will serve as the foundation for an eventual scoring system that would be recognizable by anyone booking holidays and trips across all platforms. The goal is to highlight travel providers with strong sustainability practices already in place and offer people an easy way to understand and identify more sustainable travel options that are kinder and less destructive to local communities, wildlife and environment, but also highlight options that provide positive benefit. The implementation of these frameworks will also act as encouragement for further industry-wide adoption through ongoing outreach, feedback and improvement. These and all future efforts of the Travalyst coalition are being undertaken with strategic guidance from a newly appointed independent advisory group of leading sustainability and travel experts. The initial draft frameworks are being presented for feedback in a series of local industry roundtables and workshops in Scotland at the end of this month.

Scalable sustainability frameworks for the entire travel industry

Building upon the many excellent and thorough standards, initiatives and frameworks already in existence for specific destinations and types of travel businesses, the ambition of the Travalyst frameworks is to bring these existing models together through a universal system that is applicable for all travel service providers in the industry. For the accommodation sustainability framework, being led by Booking.com, this means exploring ways of measuring sustainable practices that have the most impact, for example through waste and water management, energy conservation and sourcing, as well as practices that affect the local community and environment, making sure that they can be applied to all types of accommodation and not just traditional hotels. At the same time, the current aim of the draft accommodation framework is to embrace and recognize the success of existing schemes, for example a property’s existing certification, as a measure and established standard of excellence that ultimately helps ensure recognition within the new system being proposed.

“We know from our research that 82% of our accommodation partners are interested in collaborating with us on the topic of sustainability and that 87% of global travelers think that’s it’s important to consider sustainable properties when travelling,” said Gillian Tans, Chairwoman of Booking.com. “Despite this tremendous interest on both sides, the majority of consumers still don’t know where to start. Even though 70% say that they’d be more likely to book a stay that was eco-friendly, we also see that 72% of travelers aren’t even aware of the existence of eco-labels. This represents a huge opportunity for us as part of Travalyst to help a wider range of accommodation providers showcase their sustainability efforts and in turn make it easier for travelers to find and ultimately book their properties.”

For the aviation sustainability framework being developed by Skyscanner, the focus is on bringing more transparency around carbon emissions for individual flights, while also exploring ways to highlight the overall sustainability practices of individual airlines. For the vastly diverse experiences sector, including everything from massive theme parks to individual tour operators, together with Tripadvisor, the ambition is to customize and weight the sustainability criteria accordingly, while still providing a consistent framework for evaluation and eventual scoring.

These first three frameworks for accommodation, aviation and experiences are now going through the first stages of industry validation, including roundtables to collect feedback from key stakeholders. Pilot activity, including data collection and verification with travel service providers is set to begin over the coming months with the ambition to start testing how to present potential preliminary scoring to customers on the founding partners’ platforms later this year.

New independent advisory group

To provide the independent and critical analysis that is essential to ensure broad adoption and success of Travalyst initiatives and activities, the founding partners have established an advisory group to assess and guide the work of the coalition. Including experts from travel, technology, academia and sustainability, the advisory group is being led by Forum for the Future and chaired by their CEO, Dr. Sally Uren OBE.

The current members of the Travalyst advisory group are:

Dr. Anna Spenceley, Chair of IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Tourism and Protected Areas Specialist (TAPAS) Group, Board Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

Darrell Wade, Co-founder of Intrepid Travel and Executive Chair of the Intrepid Group

Greg McDougall, Founder and CEO of the Harbour Air Group

Jeremy Smith, Co-founder, Travindy and Co-founder Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency

Marten Dresen, Founder and CEO of the Good Hotel Group

Dr. Xavier Font, Professor of Sustainability Marketing at the University of Surrey, and Head of Impact for Travindy

The advisory group will provide independent strategic guidance for all initiatives put forward by the Travalyst partners, ensure that final outputs have the potential to be scalable and replicable for the entire industry, and help drive positive change as ambassadors throughout the travel and tourism sector.

“I am excited to work in partnership with both the Travalyst Advisory Group and the initiative’s partners to help ensure that Travalyst delivers on its ambition to transform the future of travel and the tourism industry,” said Dr. Sally Uren OBE, Chief Executive of Forum for the Future and Chair of the Travalyst Independent Advisory Group. “We have the opportunity to respond to the climate challenge in a way that simultaneously drives socio-economic development, but taking it means wholesale systems change is our only option. Travalyst is hugely ambitious and the Independent Advisory Group will help the project maintain and deliver transformational change that will benefit both people and planet.”

On-going industry and destination collaboration

As part of Travalyst’s commitment to open up the coalition’s work thus far to wider industry feedback and specific input from key players in strategic destinations, the Travalyst partners are hosting a summit together with VisitScotland and Edinburgh International Conference Centre, which will take place at the EICC on February 26. Key stakeholders in travel and tourism from across Scotland have been invited to come together with Travalyst for a series of workshops and discussions to explore the sustainability challenges and opportunities at hand, gather critical feedback on the principles and frameworks that have been developed thus far and begin designing pilot projects for further collaboration in Scotland. Sessions will also include discussion on the challenges and opportunities around ensuring Scotland receives socio-economic benefits from travel, with an exploration of some of the activities of local social entrepreneurs.

Based on the outcomes and feedback gathered from this summit, the Travalyst partners will further refine the first sustainability frameworks, begin efforts to collect the necessary data from relevant travel service providers, and implement the first tests to validate findings and surface potential scoring options for consumers over the course of the upcoming year. The partners will also be using the learnings from the summit regarding community involvement to help develop a locally relevant strategy to implementing its frameworks as a pilot program, ensuring that the local community benefits from and ultimately embraces the economic opportunities associated with travel.

About Travalyst

Founded in 2019 by the Duke of Sussex in partnership with Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa, Travalyst was created to mobilize the travel industry as a catalyst for good. Travalyst is aiming to transform the future of travel for everyone, to give people better information to help choose holidays and trips that best support the destinations they’re visiting, including the local communities, wildlife and the environment. This first-of-its-kind initiative is dedicated to exploring and promoting solutions that will make travel more sustainable through collaborative partnerships that bring together the collective expertise and perspectives of local communities, policymakers, governments, non-governmental organisations, other leading businesses and social entrepreneurs; leveraging technology and strategic initiatives to help scale the global supply of sustainable travel options to meet the growing mass-market demand from consumers.

Individuals and organizations can learn more about supporting this work by visiting www.travalyst.org.

 

Source: Adapted from Booking.com’s post at https://globalnews.booking.com/travalyst-coalition-announces-development-of-new-sustainability-frameworks-to-help-travelers-find-sustainable-travel-and-tourism-options/