Pamela Lanier

Croatia: International Conference on Sustainable Tourism

tipsyThe 6th International Conference on Sustainable Tourism was held in Opatija, Croatia, July 8 to 10 by the Wessex Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the Complutense University of Madrid and the Hydrographic Institute of the Republic of Croatia. The conference convened 32 scientists and experts to personally present their research and was broken into: tourism and protected areas, rural and heritage tourism, sustainable tourism development and strategies.

The Sustainable Tourism conferences offer a forum to discuss the varied components of tourism phenomena, ranging from biophysics, to socio economic and cultural aspects, as well as field studies and academic research on the entrepreneurial and institutional side of the industry.

The presentations were on topics with both vast geographical and subject diversity such as the effects of climate change on Alpine Winter tourism to the impact on Ghost crab populations on South Africa’s recreational beaches and on to the hiking journey along the Abraham Trail (Masar Ibrahim) in Palestine.

Amongst the cutting-edge subjects presented was the keynote address by Professor Ulrike Probstl-Haider ‘Green meetings: Eco certification of sustainable events in conference and business tourism’

Api-tourism: Transforming Slovenia’s honey traditions into a unique travel experience

– Ecotourism: sustainable indigenous policies and its effects in the Mayan communities of Southern Mexico

– The cultural landscape as a cross cutting resource for tourism products in low density rural territories of North West Portugal

– Portscape tourism in Japan from night boat tours to view the magical lights of Kawasaki port to scientific ice study tourism in Mombetsu

– The influence of park governance on tourism development in Kinabalu Park, Malaysia Borneo

– The perception of gastronomic events within the framework of sustainable tourism development

– From mystification to ‘cultural openness’: Gearing local communities for ‘tangible-intangible’ rural tourism development in North-East Nigeria

These diverse presentations serve to underline that tourism is an effective developmental tool because “Through interpretation is understanding, through understanding is appreciation and through appreciation comes the desire to protect.”

The papers were reviewed and accepted by the International Scientific Advisory Committee and other colleagues, thus ensuring the quality of this information.

All the papers published since the first meeting on Sustainable Tourism in 2004 are part of the WIT Transactions in Ecology and the Environment and archived in the Wessex Institute’s eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com) where they are permanently and easily available to the community and also available in book form.

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9th Annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference

The ninth annual Sustainable Enterprise Conference was held Wednesday April 30, 2014 in Rohnert Park at the green conscious and solar powered Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center. It brought together thought leaders from industry, academics, and environmental policy to present best practices and ideas to build a sustainable and equitable economy.
Amongst the topics focused upon was Sustainability in Business. Sheryl O’Loughlin, the former CEO of Clif Bar, shared her learning’s from leading and creating companies that have a core commitment to sustainability. Even small changes like using energy efficient lighting and performing energy audits, display why “It’s so important to just get started,” she said. “Those kind of small steps convince people that it can work and can be successful.”

“B Corporations-Building a Business to Do Good” detailed the burgeoning of B Corps of which there are now over 150 in the San Francisco Bay Area alone. Don Simon, who helped craft the California Benefit Corporation Legislation, led a discussion addressing the legal aspects while others discussed the certification process.
Other topics included resilient investing, sustainability in the wine industry, electric vehicles, and the impact local government can have for climate action.

Well known speaker Jay Shafer, founder of Four Lights Tiny House Company, talked about the trends in tiny houses, “I believe people should be allowed to live as simply as they choose. Since the recent housing bust, bank bailouts, and subsequent economic downturn, there has been increasing demand for well-designed, affordable homes, and more sensible laws.”

Given the Sonoma County location, the topics soon came around to the bounty of food, wine, and recreational opportunities, which have made Sonoma County famous the world over. Sonoma County Tourism’s president Ken Fischang pointed out that the county attracts over 8 million visitors per year and that those tourists generate over $1.5 billion in tourism revenue. “We are so rich with experiential and ecotourism opportunities,” Fischang said. “We want to promote the number one reason why people come here, which is Sonoma County’s natural beauty.”

Indeed, ecotourism, agritourism, and sustainable wine production were the topics of one of the day’s most vibrant sessions. Dr. Robert Girling of Sonoma State University stated “We all know the effects tourism has had on the environment — the fuel used, the development that displaces local communities,” he said. “In recent years, there has been a shift toward ecotourism, which improves the well-being of local people.”

Sustainable tourism means that more revenue stays in the local economy and goes to small businesses and mom and pop operators, said Malia Everette, who founded Altruvistas, an international tour company and foundation that promotes social responsibility and philanthropy in the travel industry. “You can really see the transformational power of travel,” she said.

“More and more people want to travel to experience something.” Pamela Lanier author and founder of Friends of Sustainable Tourism International said as she discussed the growing interest in Agritourism “They don’t just want to see something, they want to do and learn something, which they can put into practice once they get home. A car trunk full of veggies, eggs, honey, flowers, cheeses, and jams makes a memorable and delicious memento of the trip!”

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Milestones and Transitions: Alaskan Ecotourism Conference

The Alaskan Wilderness Recreation and Tourism Association brought together Alaskans involved with conservation through tourism from all over the state. The 22nd annual Alaskan Ecotourism Conference reinforced the paramount importance of nature in the Alaska experience and the local economy “proving undisturbed nature is a business asset shared by residents and visitors alike,” said AWRTA executive director Eric Downey. This conference marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act and commemorates 25 years since the Exxon Valdez ran aground, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil in the pristine waters of the Prince William Sound which spotlighted conservation issues. In attendance were wilderness dependent tourism businesses from eco-lodges to kayak guides, non-profits and Alaska Geographic, delegates from Alaska travel industry association BLM, park service, land managers, state fish, wildlife professors, and students from the University of Alaska, Alaska Pacific University, and the Wilderness Society.

Milestones and Transitions: Alaska Ecotourism Conference

One of the many views of the gorgeous Alaskan wilderness from the conference site

The opening keynote was delivered by Doug Scott as a well-known wilderness advocate and conservation lobbyist who discussed the establishment of over 100 million acres of parks and monuments in the Alaskan National Interest Lands Conservation Act including the Wrangell St Elias National Park and Preserve (which abuts the Canadian Kluane National Park-together they constitute the largest protected terrestrial area on the planet.)

Chez Chesak of the Adventure Travel Trade association discussed the results of their 2013 adventure travel survey which showed adventure travel has grown exponentially in recent years and now comprises a major segment of the overall leisure especially involving travelers form Europe, North and South America travel and fueled by the increasing use of social media in trip planning.

A big focus of the conference was the initiative to involve youth in succession planning for local businesses and the future of ecotourism and the innovative Alaskan educational initiatives. One of the disturbing facts which came to light is that wolf sightings have been reduced 90% in the past three years in Denali National Park largely due to state initiated aerial slaughter of wolves to increase moose hunting opportunities, including hunting the Toklat river pack which is the longest continuously studied group of animals in North America and have been almost decimated by this policy.

Pamela Lanier gave the keynote on the second day and discussed in depth “What works in Ecotourism Marketing Today” with a special focus on global word of mouth opportunities in social networking, and innovative offerings that bring in eco-travelers. Tourism in Alaska is one of the top three revenue generators and one in nine jobs are in the industry. Alaska has a big tourism promotion budget -$18.7 million which generates $3.9 billion in receipts ($78 million of which accrues to the state and muni governments in taxes) from an expected 1.7 million guests in 2014. The USGS estimated that Alaska’s National Parks alone generated $237 million in 2011.

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Sustainability in San Pancho, Mexico

San Pancho Ocean View

While trendy Sayulita and ever popular Puerta Vallarta are in the limelight, it’s sleepy but hip little San Pancho (San Francisco) Nayarit Mexico around the point from Punta Mita one bay away from Sayulita and in the lee of the Sierra de Valajo that is leading the Mexican Riviera in sustainability efforts.

The town itself is small and charming. Powerful waves crash on the north end of the beach, but the furthermost southern cove is popular with swimmers although everywhere on this coast, one must be wary of the undertow.

Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.

In 1992, the Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C. created the first marine turtle nursery for Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtles on the coast to combat the pressure on the local marine turtle population from human impacts on their nesting habitat. Poaching, tourism, and development had reduced the population to two hundred nesting turtles on the beaches yearly, sparking concerns of potential extinction. The founders, along with volunteers, protect nests in the now several nurseries; many of those left behind are removed by poachers. Because of their efforts, poachers remove 6% of the nests, an impressive decrease from the 95% poaching rate of the 1980s. Since those first years of the project, the nesting turtles have dramatically increased in number, and the Group recorded 1,165 nests in 2013.

San Pancho is also home to entreamigos, a community learning center for local children and families. Entreamigos began as arts and crafts classes on the street in front of a store for local art, a one-woman operation by Nicole Swedlow. It now occupies a sustainably renovated warehouse and its offerings include a library, a computer lab, a recycling program, a re-sale shop, an organic community garden, eco-design workshops, arts, sports, and other community events and programs.

San Pancho Street Photo

We love the Hotel Cielo Rojo, a charming boutique establishment that draws on the ecological and artistic sensibility of the town with antiques and traditional textiles. Hotel Cielo Rojo has a fabulous chef and has declared itself a non-GMO zone and innovator in serving wonderful locally sourced fruits, veggies, fish, and meats. Their sheltered patio restaurant, Bistro Organic, is the spot for the discerning to dine morning to night. The three restaurants on the beach at the foot of the main streets are quite good, and the huachinanago fried with mojo de aho fresh tortillas and beans is not to be missed.

So if a trip to old Mexico sounds appealing, be sure to check out San Pancho and its many charms.

“Enjoy in a timeless paradise” – San Pancho slogan

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Stand-out in conservation and ecotourism in Mexico

ambassadorWhile trendy Sayulita and ever-popular Puerta Vallarta are in the limelight for tourists, there is a sleepy but hip little town in Mexico that is leading the Mexican Riviera in sustainability efforts.

San Pancho (San Francisco) Nayarit Mexico is forging the way forward in ecotourism and is located just around the point from Punta Mita one bay away from Sayulita and in the lee of the Sierra de Valajo.

In 1992, the Grupo Ecologico de la Costa Verde, A.C. created the first marine turtle nursery for Olive Ridley and Leatherback turtles on the coast to combat the pressure on the local marine turtle population from human impacts on their nesting habitat. Poaching, tourism, and development had reduced the population to two hundred nesting turtles on the beaches yearly, sparking concerns of potential extinction. The founders, along with volunteers, protect nests in the now several nurseries; many of those left behind are removed by poachers. Because of their efforts, poachers remove 6% of the nests, an impressive decrease from the 95% poaching rate of the 1980s. Since those first years of the project, the nesting turtles have dramatically increased in number, and the Group recorded 1,165 nests in 2013.

San Pancho is also home to entreamigos, a community learning center for local children and families. Entreamigos began as arts and crafts classes on the street in front of a store for local art, a one-woman operation by Nicole Swedlow. It now occupies a sustainably renovated warehouse and its offerings include a library, a computer lab, a recycling program, a re-sale shop, an organic community garden, eco-design workshops, arts, sports, and other community events and programs.

“Enjoy in a timeless paradise.” – San Pancho slogan

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Upswing in Sustainable Tourism Worldwide

Fogo Island Inn

Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland Canada
Photo credit: Alex Fradkin

As I read through the extensive messaging from the travel press at this time of year, one thing stands out in my mind: that responsible travel, ecotourism, sustainable tourism, and agritourism are increasing in popularity every day. There is a convergence of ecotravel and luxe in places which were once solely back-packers’ havens. Years ago, who would have expected a luxury eco-inn in Newfoundland? But that is precisely what the Fogo Island Inn, designed by Ilse Crawford, has accomplished with flair with its artistic collaborations and a pervading sense of natural drama. Other good examples are the Pikaia Lodge, which is located on a large tortoise reserve in the Galapagos Islands, and Bale Mountain lodge in Central Ethiopia, which has an in-house naturalist to help guests understand the five distinct habitats which make up the park, home to rare animals like the black-maned lions.

On other fronts, established ecotourism pioneers like Inkaterra are reaching out to new endangered sites such as Cabo Blanco, a fishing village in Northern Peru, where they have opened a new hotel and are helping to revive the area’s marine life by working with the locals on sustainable fishing practices. Meanwhile, rising culinary superstar, Alex Atala, author of D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients, has shined a spotlight on sustainable farming efforts among the Amazonian peoples and helped launch the ATÁ Institute to further work with Amerindian leaders to protect the land and heritage of their people.

On the subject of farm-to-table and agritourism, I am excited about innovative sites like Eatwith (eatwith.com), which are enabling home cooks to invite out-of-towners into their private dining rooms. A couple of others are Feastly (USA) (eatfeastly.com), Traveling Spoon (Asia) (travelingspoon.com), and Bookalokal (International) (bookalokal.com). I feel this concept adds a new dimension to eating local; not only are guests partaking in a locally grown, locally prepared meal, but also within a local context beside residents. Other distinctive developments in the food realm include the Barlow in Sebastopol in California’s wine country. The Barlow, a former apple processing plant, is now a collection of local food producers, wine-makers, and artisans, the aggregate of which equals a unique learning experience.

On the viticulture front, the area of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy, Salamanca, Spain, and the Central Coast wineries of California with a special nod to Tolosa Vineyards have done a great deal to institute sustainable viticulture practices. Also, I am loving the delicious red blend from Pasa Robles’ Paperboy Wines. Their motto “eat, drink, and recycle” is apt as their green bottle separates a liner from its recycled paper container for easy and complete recycling. Alongside the wine production of California’s Central Coast, the experiential has flourished: yurts at Tree Bones Resort in Southern Big Sur, delicious dry-cured Baker’s Bacon “bacon the way it’s supposed to be”, and the rapidly emerging wine trail in the Santa Lucia Highlands. All form a tremendous eco-destination package, the jewel of which is the Monterey May Aquarium which is doing ground-breaking work in marine ecosystem preservation. In world-famed Napa and Sonoma, the Boisset family is tapping their vast European experience to introduce advanced biodynamic practices and an entire hands-on biodynamic learning experience at Raymond Vineyards in Napa.

The scope of conscientious travel has expanded and matured. Ethical Traveler’s 2013 list of the world’s best ethical destinations includes Latvia, Mauritius, Palau and Uruguay on the list for the second year running along with Costa Rica, a perennial winner. I am excited to note that amongst new additions are Samoa, Cape Verde, and Ghana, proving that there is a whole planet full of destinations which have awakened to mindful, sustainable travel.

Correlating with the continued growth and focus on tourism are developments in transportation infrastructures which pave the way, literally, for the trend to persist. An expanded international airport in Livingstone, Zambia, has great potential for boosting tourism in the surrounding area which includes the Victoria Falls. Wonderful news for nearby ecolodges like Tongabezi Lodge, located just upstream of the Falls.

I am predicting that all these innovators will soon become not only trend setters, but also thought leaders within the environmental travel community. As was clearly shown at the Tenth World Wilderness Congress and the 2012 World Conservation Congress which were attended by thousands of experts from the scientific, government, and NGO communities as well as environmentalists and travelers: virtually the whole planet has finally awakened to the fact that human presence is having an unprecedented negative impact on our home world.

Tourism is one of the few areas that shine an independent and personal spotlight on environmental changes and efforts toward sustainability for the record-breaking number of people who traveled internationally in 2013.

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Thoughts on responsible travel, ecotourism, and agricultural tourism

http://www.eturbonews.com/41377/thoughts-responsible-travel-ecotourism-and-agricultural-tourism

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Introduction to Eco-Tourism

With more than 800 million tourist trips a year, 200 million people employed in travel and a profit of nearly 7 trillion a year, it is evident that tourism can be a springboard for economic development in developing countries and should be viewed as a stimulus to alleviate poverty in these areas.

Although tourism provides enormous potential for growth in impoverished areas, irresponsible tourism can significantly damage the natural and cultural resources that make these areas so desirable to visit in the first place. Poorly planned and managed tourism attractions are unsustainable, harm the local community and destroy irreplaceable natural environments.

Examples where environmentally degraded conditions have inhibited tourism include beaches in the UK being closed as a result of radioactivity, air pollution levels in Mexico City discouraging travel to the area and algal blooms making water impenetrable and unattractive to tourists.

Given the negative impact that travel can have on the environment and nature, it is important for tourists to seek alternative and responsible styles of travel that reduce adverse effects on the ecosystem and encourage sustainability.

The recent growth of sensitivity to ecological issues and awareness of conservation has shifted the way people view travel and energized the rising industry known as eco-tourism. Eco-Tourism, as defined by ICUN, is “environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features – both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations.”

Therefore, eco-tourism effectively blends the preservation of natural resource and wildlife with the socio-cultural and economic impacts on the local community. This unique way of viewing travel supplies the tourist with a deeper understanding of the consequences of his or her actions, a feeling of connection to the destination and a sense of fulfillment for enabling communities to sustain themselves.

The benefits of responsible travel to the environment, the local community, the traveller and future generations of visitors is notable and should be considered an important platform for conservation education, promoting the understanding and appreciation of other cultures and raising funds to support protected areas.

With the principles of eco-tourism in mind, it is possible to examine and evaluate individual accommodations around the world for their level of eco-friendliness. There are three measures that a property should enact in order to be considered ‘green’: green initiatives, community involvement and eco-cultural opportunities. Green initiatives are the steps that the accommodation takes to reduce the adverse affects on the environment through applying energy-efficient technologies, reducing waste and pollution and using sustainable products.

Community involvement entails the social, cultural and economic effects that the property and visitors have on the local inhabitants. Not only should local culture, traditions and values always be respected during the building and management of a property, but there should also be a commitment to supporting and strengthening the local community.

Eco-Cultural opportunities are activities and experiences made available to visitors that allow them to discover and appreciate the beauty of the natural environment, wildlife and local culture. Arts and crafts, hiking, cooking classes and canoeing are only a few examples of activities that allow guests to delve into the destination and engage with the environment.

There is an increasing number of green travel destinations dedicated to reducing their impact on the local environment by implementing these measures. These groundbreaking properties “reduce their draw on energy and use renewable forms of power, they conserve water, and they reduce the amount of waste they create through re-using and recycling.”

Not only do they utilize green sources of energy and promote conservation, but many are also dedicated to important social policies that ensure the money your vacation will be infused into the local communities through purchasing local produce and employing local people. Policies such as these ensure that visitors and accommodations give something back to the people that live at the destination all year long.

It is too often forgotten that “we visit their bars and restaurants, their national parks and beaches, and so by staying at a locally run hotel, buying locally produced goods and shopping at local markets, we’re giving something back to these places we so love to visit.”

Source: Examiner.com

World’s largest Conservation Congress takes place in Spain

Image via unesco.org

The Tenth Conservation Congress took place in Salamanca, Spain, concurrent with the city’s celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyages to the Americas. While ironic, this actually felt fated and hopeful, as did the entire WILD10, the world’s largest Conservation Congress.

I can only concur with the following issued statements from WILD10:

“Wild nature is not a luxury, but essential to health and prosperity. Protecting and enhancing wilderness preserves beauty, culture and identity, as well as ecosystem services. In addition to providing prosperity and livelihoods, wilderness is also essential for our spiritual wellbeing.

“Wild nature is still under pressure, but there are developments that allow for more wilderness in the future: Urbanization and changes in land-use practices, a growing recognition of the value of wilderness, the interdependence of nature and culture, and a growing movement for a wilder world, all help create a more stable and healthy planet and society.

Past experiences and new opportunities [have been] outlined to show how the business sector can act as a powerful vehicle for conserving – or even enhancing – wild values at the same time as creating income and new jobs.

Some exciting, groundbreaking initiatives from Africa, Australia and other continents [have been] presented to show how the delegation of management responsibility of wildlife management to local communities has generated strong comebacks of many species as well as contributed to investments in culture, social infrastructure, income and jobs. In regions like North America and Europe, private landowners have already played the same role.

The Congress brought to light many features of the “wilderness” concept, emphasizing that wild nature can indeed embed peoples and cultures, and sustain livelihoods. It also stressed that wild nature is not a luxury to be enjoyed by a few but an essential patrimony to sustain the health and prosperity of everyone. Wilderness… sustains the climate of the planet and provides fresh water, clean air, pasture, forest products, fisheries, wild foods and medicinal plants. Wilderness is also the embodiment of beauty, culture, identity and spiritual experience for millions of people.

WILD10, ICLS (Indigenous & Community Lands and Seas) is advancing a vision for the future of conservation—for the protection of all life—inclusive of and rooted in best practices of First Stewards, local communities, and mainstream conservation.

Indigenous peoples are currently the stewards of at least the same amount of wild nature as all regional and national governments and conservation organizations combined. Although indigenous peoples total just 5% of the world’s population, it is estimated that traditional land claims account for some 24%, or 36 million square kilometers, of the Earth’s surface. They inhabit more than 85% of the world’s protected areas (PAs), including many marine PAs. These territories span most of the last remaining biodiversity-rich wilderness areas and most of the major conservation priorities for this century. Examples [have been] given on how Indigenous people and the conservation community work together to protect culture and wild areas, and to identify new socio-economic development opportunities. At WILD10, mainstream conservation and over 50 Indigenous and community leaders representing 39 distinct indigenous nations and communities from 23 countries, [have participated] in this process.

The congress organizers issued a final declaration that stresses the contributions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and must be acknowledged as serious stakeholders and contributors to global conservation efforts, and making reference to the importance of asserting and adopting all international instruments that protect and recognize Indigenous Peoples and Local Community rights, such as the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Convention on Biodiversity Article 10(c) Sustainable use and Article 8(j) Protection and Recognition of Traditional Knowledge.”

With our planet’s resources and especially its wild places experiencing ever-increasing demands, WILD10’s message is a beacon of hope for all of natural creation.

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Accessible Travel and Responsible Travel Are The Focus of the Fourth and Final Round Table Talk

Accessible Travel and Responsible Travel Are The Focus of the Fourth and Final Round Table Talk Hosted by The Travel Tech Show at WTM and Amadeus

Travel businesses failing to take into account the disabled market are missing out on up to £80 billion of potential spending from that market. The headline figure was discussed at the fourth and final roundtable conversation which was organized by The Travel Tech Show at WTM and Amadeus and focused on disabled and responsible travel.

The event featured an in-depth and informed discussion as eight experts from both business arenas gathered to discuss the markets. But it was the figure from the UK Government’s 2012 Legacy for Disabled People, Inclusive and Accessible Business which provoked much discussion.

Ataxia South Wales Chairman Alan Thomas said the report showed the UK’s estimated 10.6 million disabled people have a combined annual spend on goods and services of up to £80 billion, adding: “It is a big market out there. What’s the travel industry doing about it? In a word, nothing.”

Thomas said the problems start as soon as he tries to book a holiday as many people in the industry see his wheelchair rather than the human being using it, leaving agents too embarrassed to deal with.

Enable Holidays Managing Director Lynne Kirby said such problems are endemic in a trade which has failed to educate staff how best to handle disabled people. She said: “Disabled customers have gone in to a shop and everybody disappears and I have to say hand on heart it is still happening.”

But Kirby believes the solution is simple, adding: “It is about getting the right information, but the travel industry doesn’t know the questions to ask.”

Amadeus Director of Marketing Rob Sinclair-Barnes added if the market is to be adequately served, it must be all encompassing: “Accessible travel is the only type of travel that has implications from the moment of departure from home to the moment of return.”

However, Virgin Atlantic Passenger Disability Adviser Geraldine Lundy said the trade would need to go even further to meet the market’s needs, adding: “It is even before they (disabled travelers) leave home. It is when they’re thinking about the holiday and booking it. It is about getting the information about where they want to go.”

Lundy said the information needs to be accurate to allow disabled people to make informed decisions. She added it must also take into account that some disabled people are blind or have learning difficulties and will need the information presented in a different way.

Sinclair-Barnes added as the Baby Boomers enter old age and face increasing health problems, the industry must take action. “It [accessible travel] is a growing market. I’ve found it quite astonishing how little [product] there is.”

Meanwhile the group discussed how responsible travel is facing its own problems, largely thanks to the market being so fractured.

Responsible Tourism Writer and Communications Strategist Jeremy Smith said: “There are too many people who are regulating responsible tourism and that’s one of the great problems. You have no idea who to trust.”

World Travel Market Head of Marketing and Communications Micaela Juarez agreed the system was Byzantine as it stands currently. She added: “Someone should form a body that comes up with a system that’s impartial. It is too vital an issue to be left to chance.”

Responsibletravel.com Head of Destination Partnerships Trudi Pearce added it is almost impossible to define responsible travel as its meaning shifts depending on where you are trying to implement the correct measures. Nor can it be simply marketed as green travel, she said, which can put off consumers, adding: “We have the slogan ‘travel like a local’ and that’s a lot more marketable.”

EcoGo.org Founder Pamela Lanier said in an ideal world responsible travel will penetrate people’s general consciousness so all holidays ultimately are responsible.

Meanwhile, Kirby said small genuine responsible travel companies are facing problems marketing themselves as larger companies use the phrase to market themselves, whether or not they meet the criteria.

She added: “If you Google ‘responsible travel’ you get 400 companies that have just added the word responsible. How can a consumer realize what’s responsible? They’re all jumping on the bandwagon without spending the money that needs to be invested to help.”

However, Pearce argued this may be less of a problem after revealing only 2.7% of traffic arrives at her site via a search for responsible travel. She added: “They just type in ‘holidays’, and what happens is they are then offered something different, something enriching. What we think the consumers want is an enriching experience, if that’s then labeled responsible tourism then so be it.”

– See more at: http://www.wtmlondon.com/page.cfm/Action=Press/libID=1/entryID=2056#sthash.JB3XFjck.dpuf

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