Salli Felton, CEO of The Travel Foundation in the U.K., shows how mass tourism can get out of hand. There’s a solution, she says: Measure success in terms of impacts, not arrivals. The tools for doing so already exist. But does the will to use them? Continue reading →
When exactly does tourism become ‘too much’ for a destination? I set off to the Tourism Eco Forum in Barcelona to find out…
Cheap flights, mega cruise ships, overcrowding, the rise of the sharing economy – contributing factors to a situation where locals don’t feel at home in their own cities.
Barcelona and Venice are two prime examples; both have thrived from tourism, but now sit divided. ‘Must-sees’ on the global tourism circuit, their popularity has caused pressures that have led many residents to question whether the economic contributions of the visitor economy are really worth it.
Both cities were represented at the Forum, with destination management organisations (DMOs), tourism departments and ministries from across Europe, alongside international tourism experts from organisations including the GSTC and UNWTO. A series of panels and workshops throughout the day aimed to share perspectives, create dialogue and inspire collaboration.
After listening to and contributing to various panels and discussions, both inside and outside of the conference programme, I determined three common threads that can be useful to aid the creation of sustainable urban destinations:
- A clear vision for tourism that is shared by all stakeholders – governments, citizens, businesses – and a move towards a model of destination management, rather than destination marketing
- A recognition that tourists must contribute (through taxation or otherwise) to measurably and transparently improve infrastructure for locals and visitors alike
- A legislative environment that balances market forces with supporting local residents, services and businesses; inspiring regeneration and avoiding ‘over gentrification’
Of course, it’s always good to discuss such issues at high-level meetings, but the real change happens when destinations start ‘walking the walk’. That’s why I was extremely heartened to find the Forum ran in parallel with the Vilamon Responsible Tourism Festival, which sought to engage hundreds of locals with the initiatives running in and around Barcelona to make tourism more inclusive, to address issues caused by tourism and to give the public a voice in how tourism should be shaped in their city – ¡Hurra!
By Graeme Jackson – Head of Partnerships
High season on the Island of Sal is during the winter in Europe, when people seek to enjoy our year-round sun and warm welcome. But Cape Verde has another peak season, one with a more local flavour – summer time!
It is estimated that more Cabo Verdeans live abroad than in Cape Verde itself… and it is during the hottest months of the year that many of our diaspora return to visit friends and relatives.
Interestingly, this homecoming event also happens for another species – Loggerhead Sea Turtles (Caretta caretta) which, like many islanders, leave their birthplace to travel the world, but always come back – females will often return to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs.
Cabo Verde is the 3rd most important nesting site for Loggerhead turtles in the world and the only significant nesting one on the eastern side of the Atlantic. This species is considered endangered by the IUCN, threatened by hunting and loss of habitat.
As ecotourism is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, nature tour options such as turtle watching are growing. However, the lack of supervision, linked to poor scientific knowledge of the target species by some guides and tour operators, has generated adverse impacts on the turtles and consequently on the tourist experience – threatening the sustainability of the activity itself.
The Travel Foundation has partnered with Projecto Biodiversidade (a local conservation NGO) and is developing a tool to help providers deliver ecotourism excursions in a sustainable way. The project includes best practice training, and will lead to the implementation of a Nature Guide certification scheme.
The Travel Foundation has met with the National Directors of Tourism and of Environment who have embraced the idea and promised total engagement. A joint operational plan will be developed with the input of all stakeholders.
It is estimated that by the end of this year´s nesting season (June to October), about a thousand nesting female turtles will have laid eggs in more than 4,000 nests on Sal, and that about 246,000 baby turtles will hatch.
This is great news, but if we factor in about 20,000 tourists participating in turtle watching excursions, translating into an estimated half a million Euros of income, then the business case for protecting turtles is clear!
Written by Dalia Gomes, Project Co-ordinator, Cape Verde.
With a mission to train 250 craft traders in Montego Bay we felt our best approach would be to train local trainers to undertake the delivery. In doing so the expertise would stay in Jamaica with the potential to allow replication in other resorts.
Travel Foundation’s work on this programme is extremely awesome. I think it’s a great opportunity for the craft traders to be involved in something that will help them to be much more aware. I think it will broaden their horizons, and they will be able to use the skills that they gain in their day to day work. I don’t think there’s anything that tops this programme right now based on what I’ve seen and experienced so far. I think the craft traders who apply what they learn here will do extremely well in their business. So hats off to a great programme Travel Foundation.
– Cavelle Gordon
An hour into the training we knew our strategy was the right one. Let’s just say Jamaicans’ do not have the same ‘reserve’ as us British! Their delivery is loud and powerful with an energy as strong as the imminent Hurricane Mathew about to hit the island. They train like preachers in a gospel church with joy echoed by the participants in the room. And of course this can be the only way to do it with a target audience of Mo Bay craft traders, used to communicating in the local patois with their characteristic brassy banter.
This was fun training at its best with our formidable team of six – Cavelle, Cheryl, Marlene, Maxine, Natalie and Shelley. They revealed how filling a jar with coins could reinforce the learnings and lowering a bamboo stick with the whole group can demonstrate the importance of team work.
With modules including knowing the customer, business skills and working as a team, the trainers are set to deliver the programme to the craft traders over the next six weeks – barring any hurricanes!
I honestly believe that this is a great programme and will definitely impact positively the craft traders to maximise their profits because all the information we’re giving to them is actually practical information that they can build on and improve themselves. By improving themselves they will also improve earnings for their family members. For me it was amazing, a really great experience. It has taught me so much more and I’ve been a trainer for 9 years and I thought I knew something about training but this training for craft traders has taught me so much more. I will take this information and skills I learnt here to better and perfect my craft. For learning to happen and to be effective you need to have trainers that engage you and that push you to make a change. And this is what happened in this training. I am extremely grateful for being here and for being given the opportunity to be a part of this training programme.
– Natalie Ellis
The last 3 days have been amazing; I have personally enjoyed the programme, drank it in. If you, yourself buy into it, then delivering it then becomes a little easier and I will say that I will put my best foot forward to do my part in the whole basis of what you [Travel Foundation] are trying to achieve.
– Cheryl Kelly
Our aims for the training are to enable the market traders to earn a living from tourism by increasing their income from sales and improving the experience for tourists.
Written by Julie Middleton, Head of Sustainable Practice