A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the progress TUI is making in implementing their 2015-2020 Better Holidays, Better World strategy. They have understood that, to make real progress on the sustainability agenda, it is important to track progress and to report the impacts. Earlier this year Thomas Cook launched “Make a Difference with Every Holiday”, closely linking the customer journey to their sustainability strategy. In the source market the emphasis is on contributing to social, charitable and community causes, on the journey they have a 2020 target to achieve a 12% increase in fuel efficiency over their 2008/9 baseline and that all of their own brand hotels would be Travelife awarded by 2020. Both Thomas Cook and TUI have aligned their priorities with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and set clear targets against which they report.
Increasingly travel and tourism sector businesses are reporting on their sustainability performance alongside their financial reporting and using the Carbon Disclosure Project, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, FTSE4Good, Ethibel Excellence Index, ECPI Ethical Index €uro and STOXX Global ESG Leaders Indices. The challenge is to communicate to consumers what this means in practice – we shall be looking at this challenge at WTM London in November.
Wilderness Safaris published their Sustainability Review last year. Intrepid published its first Integrated Annual Report in 2017 with details of its responsible business practices, employee engagement and wellbeing and its relationships with the communities they operate in. &Beyond also published its first Impact Review reporting on its achievements in pursuit of its three ‘C’ principles: “Care of the Land, Care of the Wildlife, Care of the People.”
At the heart of Responsible Tourism is transparency, the willingness to go beyond mere assertion and greenwashing. The process is simple, identify the issues which matter where you do business, identify the issues you can address through your business, tell your customers what you are doing and why, where appropriate enlisting their engagement, and report the impacts of your Responsible Tourism initiatives.
In the World Responsible Tourism Awards we look for examples which inspire, educate, and challenge. We launched the Awards to recognise leaders and inspire others to follow. We explain why the judges made the decisions they did; transparency is a core value of Responsible Tourism, and we believe that it is our responsibility to explain why a particular leader has been awarded. Only by explaining why, can we hope to inspire and educate others in what they might do to make tourism better.
Glynn O’Leary CEO of Transfrontier Parks Destinations explains why it makes sense to apply for the Responsible Tourism Awards.
This year’s Awards close at midnight on August 6th – the judges can only select from amongst those that apply:
- ‘Best for Managing Success’ looks for destinations that are coping with the demands of so called ‘Overtourism’.
- ‘Best for Communicating Responsible Tourism’ seeks to recognise either a campaign by company or organisation that has raised awareness of an issue, changed behaviour or a marketing campaign using the aspirations of Responsible Tourism.
- The ‘Best for Employment Conditions’ award will be given to the company leading the way to ensure quality work for its staff.
- ‘Best for Local Economic Benefit’ is for ensuring best practice in benefiting the local economy through employment and local sourcing.
- And finally, the ‘Best for Wildlife’ award will be given to the company or organisation who impresses the judges the most with its work using tourism to improve the conservation of species and/or animal welfare in the wild.