Back in the 1980s, in the midst of Sri Lanka’s civil war, an initiative by the NGO Save the Children Norway, sought to promote ethnic and religious harmony through what they called ‘walkshops’ and ‘talkshops’ on the holy mountain, Adam’s Peak.
Up until the 1960s, Adam’s Peak – also known as Sri Pada (the sacred footprint) – was the greatest interfaith pilgrimage site on earth, attracting Buddhists, Hindus, Moslems, Christians and others in vast numbers. Prior to the civil war, members of these faith groups would climb together and worship by the imprint in the rock that they recognize as the mark of Buddha, Shiva, Adam (after he was expelled from paradise), and the apostle to the world, St Thomas. The indigenous god of the mountain, Saman, was also venerated. Except for perhaps Jerusalem, there is no other site with such widespread religious significance.
One of the aspects that motivated me to write a book which focuses on Event Management Security as the main object of study was the need to understand what we, the experts in terrorism and political violence, can do in order for tourist destinations to be protected.
Although some sociologists have claimed that religion is in decline, in many parts of the world the demand for religious tourism has notably increased. Even in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, every year thousands of pilgrims visit their sacred-destination, making religious tourism one of the largest segments of the tourism industry.
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.
2018 marks one hundred years since women were given the right to vote. The implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 5, ‘Gender Equality’, which came into force in 2016 shows how far we have come in our progress towards giving women equal rights a hundred years later. What we now have to show for this call to action is nothing short of a social landmark, with more women in higher paid roles and senior positions, meaning women subsequently have more of a voice in decision-making units. On Academic Book Week 2018 we are celebrating our female authors who have set an example of how we can head in the right direction towards giving women a voice of authority.
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.
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.
We spoke to CABI author and professor, Alfonso Vargas-Sanchez, about the disruptive power of technology and its impact on the management of tourism today. Here’s what he said about how Destination Management Organizations can adapt for the most sustainable growth and development.