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Focusing on the future.

The Future of Tourism Coalition is pleased to host a webinar series throughout 2021 addressing three key themes:
  1. Destination stewardship and community engagement
  2. Managing tourism’s impacts
  3. Local and sustainable supply chains
Our first is coming up  in early March and more details will be announced soon. 
We want to hear from you.
How will you protect and support destinations in 2021? And how can we best support your plans this year?  Send us your thoughts by following the link below. 
Developing a blueprint.

The Future of Tourism Coalition and Tourism Declares have come together to develop a “blueprint” for climate action in destinations.

The blueprint will combine the frameworks, tools, best practice and resources required for destinations to deliver action plans that align tourism with the need to reduce global emissions by at least half by 2030. It will be published in time for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November as a free, practical resource for anyone to use with hope that it will be adopted as the standard approach to scale up climate action and transform the industry. 

A year of resetting.

The six founding organizations of The Future of Tourism Coalition have combined their efforts to create more resources, connections, education and action around sustainable tourism. Here are some of the ways you can work with each organization in early 2021:
Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) | Last year was unprecedented for the travel & tourism industry but with the uncertainty also came lessons learned. CREST aims to take that knowledge and work with destinations, businesses, and communities to build back a better and more resilient industry.
  • Tourism in a climate crisis: we are continuing to focus our work on one of the biggest threats facing the tourism industry: climate change. This means working with destinations, businesses, communities, and travelers to push for a more holistic approach to sustainability.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: it is important to us that we take the time to look inward at our policies around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We aim to understand how we can improve and look forward to making meaningful changes across our programs and communications.
  • Destination stewardship: we are working with destinations and local communities across the Americas to promote resiliency and compile best practices that can be applied in other destinations.
Destination Stewardship Center (DSC) | Last year, courtesy of Covid-19, we had an unwelcome chance to see what happens when international tourism goes away. Skies and waters became cleaner, urban overtourism vanished, and residents could find parking spaces. But poaching increased in Africa, tourism-dependent economies collapsed, thousands of flavorful small businesses serving both locals and visitors closed, and – as we have reported – overtourism cropped up in natural areas suddenly crowded with domestic tourists untrained in rural etiquette. 

As 2020 set a new baseline, the DSC in 2021 will concentrate on how to do things better as destinations emerge from the crisis:
  • Destination Stewardship Report: continued publication, jointly with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), of this e-quarterly, focused on all aspects of improving destination sustainability, resilience, and distinctiveness.
  • Destination stewardship councils: free distribution of a newly edited collection that profiles places demonstrating various models of holistic tourism management, in keeping with GSTC-D Criterion A1.
  • Coalition knowledge center: further development as a knowledge center for the Future of Tourism Coalition, collecting and distributing actionable destination stewardship information for Coalition members, participating signatories, and destinations worldwide.
Green Destinations | Last year we have seen that sustainable destinations were far more resilient against the Covid-crisis than overtourism places. While overtourism collapsed altogether, some of our green destinations only reported a 15-20% decrease of tourism income. That is the benefit of destinations keeping control of their own tourism, preventing reliance on air travel, cruise and mass tourism. In 2021 we will continue to support destinations, stakeholders and local communities in the following ways:
  • Destination assessment of sustainability and resilience: using new metrics of success, moving away from quantity of arrivals towards quality of life and leisure.
  • Credible and transparent certification: moving away from greenwashing and the label jungle, showing what the real contributions are to sustainability.
  • Inspiring tourism destinations and stakeholders: by sharing community best practices: our " Good Practice Stories" is a collection of real stories about sustainability practices that are available for all destinations to learn and implement.
  • Countrywide sustainable tourism: our Global Leaders Program provides a holistic approach for national and regional tourism boards that are committed to achieving recognition based on their sustainability efforts.
  • Training future leaders: our Training Program is universal, inclusive, and adaptive. We take a regional and thematic approach to the program so that the courses are not only updated to global trends but are also well-suited to local conditions.

Sustainable Travel International | This year, we are challenged to go beyond “reactivating” travel to the way it was before. Together, we can make 2021 a year of transformation and resilience. By embracing a new, regenerative model of tourism, we can strengthen the places, environments, and communities on which tourism depends. Here are a few of our top priorities: 

· Mitigating tourism's carbon footprint and boosting climate resilience: building a network of carbon neutral destinations, starting with Palau, and helping businesses and travelers to reduce and offset their carbon footprint.

· Educating and training stakeholders: equipping travelers, businesses, destination leaders, and local communities with the knowledge they need to adopt more sustainable practices. 

· Greening and localizing supply chains: helping tour operators measure and transform their impact on people, places, and the planet.

Tourism Cares | In a year full of so much promise, we look forward to building from the great sense of community 2020 gave usWe see the path forward as one paved with a collective belief that travel can change our future for the better. By doing what’s right for the travel industry, we will do what’s right for so many more. Here are a few of the things we are working on in the early part of the new year:

  • Establishing a diversity in tourism scholarship: a program to bring more diversity into the travel industry by offering scholarships to help students or young professionals from historically excluded backgrounds.
  • Adding to our Meaningful Travel Platform: more chapters, resources, tools and training around sustainable tourism practices are being added to our online education platform on a regular basis.
  • Building out our US and Canada Meaningful Travel Map: the interactive map connects travel companies – and travelers themselves – with local social impact organizations across North America. 
  • Hosting “sustainability journey” conversations: inspiring and supporting our members on their sustainability journey through shared learning sessions and individual counseling.
Travel Foundation | 2021 is the year to put “Build Back Better” into action, and we will be providing practical tools and technical support for companies and destinations:
  • A destination recovery framework and training programmedeveloped after working with a range of destination organizations across the globe to develop their recovery plans and optimise benefits for communities and the environment as tourism returns.
  • “Building Back” with local and resilient supply chains: we know how to help companies adjust their procurement practices and enhance their product offer, while working with small businesses (SMEs) to ensure they can connect, adapt, innovate and thrive.
  • Knowing what “Better” actually means: better understanding of tourism’s impacts leading to smarter investments and decisions that maximise the benefits, protect shared assets, and manage the burdens.

Guiding Principles

Each month, we will take a deeper dive into our Guiding Principles in an effort to continue sharing further thoughts and resources . This issue we’re spotlighting Guiding Principle #4. We invite you to join the conversation on social media by posting what your company or destination is doing to embody this principle using the #FutureofTourism hashtag.

The footnotes:  Prior to the pandemic, we saw the burden that an influx of tourists can put on any particular destination. These implications include, but are not limited to, degraded environments and cultural sites, usurped resources, overloaded infrastructure and heightened tensions with locals. In tourism, more is not necessarily better. Counting sheer numbers of tourist arrivals can be the crudest, least meaningful, and most dangerous metric—but also the easiest to obtain. Promoting lesser known places and non-peak travel, respecting carrying capacity (including infrastructure, social and environmental limits), and developing tourism in line with community needs, will serve destinations and the businesses that rely on them better.

A real-life example: Vanuatu has drafted its Vanuatu Sustainable Tourism Policy (VSTP) (2018-2030) which includes objectives based on the GSTC Criteria for sustainable destinations and seeks to attract visitors who are quality visitors – higher yield, longer stay, culturally aware and environmentally responsible.

Further resources: The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics 2018 

The Future of Tourism Coalition is a collaborative effort to chart a new, more sustainable direction for tourism and shift the status quo. The Coalition is pursuing a shared global mission: to place destination needs at the center of tourism’s new future. Through the commitment of their Guiding Principles, the greater travel industry and destination agencies can align around a path forward for a more sustainable future for tourism.  
Coalition Advisor: The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) 
Copyright © Future of Tourism Coalition. 

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The Future of Tourism Coalition · C/O The Travel Foundation, The Create Centre · Smeaton Road · Bristol, Avon BS1 6XN · United Kingdom

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