World Tourism Day 2018: Tourism and the Digital Transformation

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Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated the 27th of September as World Tourism Day (WTD), to mark the anniversary of that date in 1970 when the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness of the global role and importance of tourism. Each year, WTD has a different theme, and for 2018 that theme is Digital Transformation.  

So why should tourism have an international day, and why has digital technology been chosen as the theme?   Continue reading

National Parks Week UK

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Keswick, Lake District National Park. Image from Pixabay

National Parks Week is an annual festival championing what is special about national parks in the UK. This year’s festival takes place Sunday 22 to Sunday 29 July and aims to publicise how people can get outside and discover national parks in the UK, with many special events organized to showcase places and activities within these areas. Continue reading

Tourism creates 8% of global carbon emissions – can they be curbed?

The global carbon footprint of the travel and tourism industry has long been a concern, with aviation in particular being a major source of greenhouse gases, and the major component of the estimated carbon cost of tourism. But a new analysis published in Nature Climate Change says that the carbon footprint of the industry is much higher than previously estimated. Gossling and Peeters (2015) estimated that in 2010, the global tourism system caused about 1.12 Gt CO2, or about 2.5–3% of global CO2-equivalent (CO2e) emissions. But the latest analysis by Lenzen et al. (2018) claims that in 2013 tourism’s global carbon footprint was 4.5 GtCO2e, four times more than previously estimated, accounting for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The new assessment is bigger because it includes emissions not only from travel, but also the full life-cycle of carbon in tourists' food, hotels and shopping. 

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Cutting plastic bottle use in adventure travel

Earth Day 2018 is on Sunday April 22, and the theme for this year is ending plastic pollution. One of the biggest sources of plastic waste from the general public is single-use plastic bottles, and tourists are a big source of this waste. Even those of us who rarely use disposable drinks bottles when at home often use several a day when travelling. Western tourists travelling to developing countries where they do not trust the local drinking water are regular high users, often buying single-use bottles for all the water they use. The travel trade is trying to reduce this use, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) committed to curbing the use of single-use plastic bottles as one of its strategic initiatives in 2018. To get a picture of the current situation among ATTA members, ATTA teamed up with Travelers Against Plastic (TAP) to create and distribute a survey to the ATTA and TAP’s database of adventure tourism businesses. The results show that despite high levels of awareness and concern, most adventure travel firms still use plastic water bottles on many of their trips. 

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Water, tourism and gender – how tourism can increase inequalities. From the work of Dr Stroma Cole

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March 22 is World Water Day, designated to focus our attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century. But of course water is essential for life, and thus affects every aspect of human development, as well as the ecosystems that support us. Today, 2.1 billion people still live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods. Earlier this week, on a visit to CABI Headquarters in Wallingford, CABI book author Dr Stroma Cole gave a talk on gender equality and tourism in which, with World Water Day this week, she focused particularly on water issues, and how women bear the brunt of the problems which can be created when tourism development increases demand for water. Dr Cole, a senior lecturer in tourism geography at the University of the West of England and a Director of Equality in Tourism, has worked on tourism and water inequality in Indonesia, Costa Rica and India, and in her presentation focused particularly on the situation in Labuan Bajo, a rapidly growing gateway town to Komodo National Park in Indonesia.

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Invasive species, climate change and tourism impacts the greatest threats to natural World Heritage

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A new report from the IUCN looks at conservation prospects, threats, protection and management of natural World Heritage sites. The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 2 summarises the key trends in the state of conservation of natural World Heritage sites, the threats and pressures they are facing, and the effectiveness of their protection and management. The top three current threats are all areas in which CABI works, with invasive species, climate change and tourism impacts, in that order, being assessed as the most significant threats to natural World Heritage. 

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World Travel Market debates Responsible Tourism and Overtourism

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This week, a number of CABI staff attended the World Travel Market, the annual gathering of the travel industry in London. Among a packed Responsible Tourism programme at the event on Tuesday 7 November was a panel session looking at what the priorities for Responsible Tourism should be for the next five years. Fifteen years on from the Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism, new challenges have arisen, and issues such as climate change have become more urgent. So what should policy makers, tourism companies and destinations be focussing on? A poll leading up to the WTM on the Responsible Tourism blog had put carbon emissions as the most pressing priority, followed by water and then waste. But did the panel agree? 

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