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Overtourism Represents A Potential Hazard To Popular Destinations Worldwide

Story: Report from the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – At it’s Global Summit in Buenos Aires, the WTTC unveiled its new Office of Healthy Tourism, an operation “committed to ensuring that as tourism becomes a larger portion of economies around the world, local people and the communities they live in are the primary beneficiaries.”

At this years Summit, discussions about “overtourism” were held with travel industry CEOs – Arne Sorenson from Marriott, Peter Fankhauser of Thomas Cook, Geoffrey Kent of Abercrombie and Kent Friedrich Joussen of Tui.

 What is overtourism?

In August 2016. Rafat Ali, the CEO and founder of Skift, wrote a foreword to an article about the impact of tourism in Iceland. It was entitled “Foreword: the coming perils of overtourism“.

In this, Ali wrote: “Overtourism represents a potential hazard to popular destinations worldwide, as the dynamic forces that power tourism often inflict unavoidable negative consequences if not managed well.

“In some countries, this can lead to a decline in tourism as a sustainable framework is never put into place for coping with the economic, environmental, and sociocultural effects of tourism. The impact on local residents cannot be understated either.”

Harold Goodwin of Responsible Tourism elaborates in this point, saying: “It is the opposite of responsible tourism which is about using tourism to make better places to live in and better places to visit. Often both visitors and guests experience the deterioration concurrently.”

Why is overtourism happening now?

On a very basic level, there are more tourists now than ever before.

The world is getting richer, with an ever-growing middle class emerging in developing countries, and many of these people are spending their disposable income on travel. The Brookings Institute recently released data suggesting that the global middle class could currently stand at around 3.7 billion, with another 160 million set to join the group annually for the next five years.

In 2017, international tourist arrivals grew by 7% up to 1.3 billion. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) forecasts that this will continue to grow in 2018, but at a more sustainable pace of 4–5%.

There are a few factors at play here. One is the Chinese market. At the beginning of the 21st century, just 10.5m overseas trips were made by Chinese residents. In 2017, the figure was 145m – an increase of 1,380 per cent. The China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI) predicts that overseas trips by the country’s residents will increase to more than 400m by 2030.

Less seismic, but notable nonetheless – there is another group that is contributing to the rise in global tourism: millennials. As a group, 22 to 37 year olds are prioritising experiences over “stuff”. So rather than buying TVs, clothes and getting a mortgage, an entire generation is more interested in spending their money on holidays.

Of course, tourism is a huge player in the global economy and a boom has its positive forces. In 2017, tourism contributed just shy of $8 trillion to the global economy – that’s 10 per cent of the world’s GDP. There are around 300 million workers in the tourism and travel sector, a number that the WTTC predicts could rise to 380 million in the next ten years.

But the fact is that more and more of the world’s top destinations are eliciting the symptoms of chronic overtourism: any combination of overloaded infrastructure, bottlenecks at “must-see sights”, physical damage, the alienation of locals and emergence of tourist traps.

Where are the destinations affected by overtourism?

Venice is the go-to example of a destination sinking under the weight of its own popularity – on Easter Sunday this year it received 125,000 visitors. That’s the same number of tourists that visit entire countries, like Bangladesh, annually.

But Venice is not alone. Dubrovnik, Macchu Picchu, Iceland, Barcelona, Thailand have all made headlines in the last few years for taking action against the negative impact that tourism has brought.

What can be done to stop overtourism?

There is no single solution to the world’s overtourism problem, not least because the problems faced at each destination are completely different.

Some believe that increasing the price of travel will curb the problem. Geoffrey Kent, CEO of Abercrombie and Kent, told Telegraph Travel: “I’ve always said we should charge more. Tourism should be a high yield product, not a cheap product.”

Whether this manifests as higher flight or cruise tickets, tourist taxes or entry fees to destinations, the idea of increasing travel costs to curb international tourism is not a straightforward fix. In doing so we would risk retreating to a world where travel is only available for the rich, not the masses.

Tourist boards have their part to play, too. A serious option could be for them to focus on alternative destinations that would benefit from a tourism boost, simultaneously relieving the strain on the blockbuster sights. An example of this is the North Coast 500, which has brought attention to a corner of the Scottish Highlands that few international tourists previously visited.

Then there are the sharing economy websites, like Airbnb and HomeAway, who have been accused of undercutting hotels while not collecting tourist taxes (where they are required). In cities such as Barcelona, the site has been blamed for the rise in rent prices, as investors move to turn entire buildings into luxury apartments for short-term lets to international visitors.

Shows:

00:00 Soundbite: Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriott International

01:44 Soundbite: Peter Fankhauser, CEO Thomas Cook

02:58 Soundbite: Geoffrey Kent, Founder and CEO, Abercrombie & Kent

03:51 Soundbite: Friedrich Joussen, CEO, TUI Group

05:02 File GVs Various Tourist Destinations

Other: Overview of WTTC: 

World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit, where the world leaders in Travel & Tourism come together annually to discuss, debate and align the industry in matters of travel facilitation, policies for growth & importantly look celebrate best practices in environmental sustainability.

The great and the good of Travel & Tourism attending the Council’s Global Summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina include His Excellency Mauricio Macri, President of the Republic of Argentina, HRH Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, film director Francis Ford Coppola, and the presidents and CEOs of major travel companies, airlines, hotels, airports and others from every part of the world.

For more information www.wttc.org

Ends

Apr, 20, 2018

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Industrial-Scale Illegal Poaching Threatens Tourism & Produces Global Response To Save Animals & Communities

Report from the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“There are massive threats to wildlife – perhaps the most immediate threat is coming from the illegal wildlife trade. It’s because it is involved, involving trans-national organised criminal groups, rebel militia – they go in and they poach and smuggle at an industrial scale.” – John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, defines the problem

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – The issue of illegal poaching and smuggling is set not only to threaten the lives of endangered animals but also kill-off the livelihoods of the communities that rely on wildlife to provider: doctors, schools and jobs.

Travel & tourism has been targeted by lifelong wildlife campaigner, John Scanlon and his words along with a real understanding from ground level operations sparked an industry-wide rally cry to tackle the issue of poaching. With 40 companies & organizations already signed up to a detailed declaration, the travel and tourism sector finds itself on the front line because of the numbers of people it employs on the ground, in the affected remote destinations. Utilizing this intrinsic link to vulnerable communities through education, as well as liaising with government law enforcement, means big business is set to make a major impact in the fight against poachers.

There was a real sense of urgency at the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit, which opened April 18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Industry leaders including John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and Executive Chair, the Intrepid Group and Chairman and CEO of Abercrombie & Kent, Geoffrey Kent all appreciated that time was indeed running out for a meaningful response.

John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, defines the problem:

“There are massive threats to wildlife – perhaps the most immediate threat is coming from the illegal wildlife trade. It’s because it is involved, involving trans-national organised criminal groups, rebel militia – they go in and they poach and smuggle at an industrial scale.” 

Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, describes how wildlife sits at the heart of travel and tourism:

“I think because travel and tourism, if you look at it – the very heartbeat of travel and tourism is about the environment, it’s about wildlife. These are the attractions that drive a lot of travel and tourism.” 

Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and Executive Chair, the Intrepid Group, explains how the travel & tourism industry has specifically picked poaching as the issue to focus on:

“Wildlife Tourism is an important part of tourism and so there’s a direct link between our interests, as an industry, and the issue of wildlife preservation. And I think certain players in the industry have looked specifically at the issue of poaching and are saying, ‘you know what – we can do something about this.” 

John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, warns of the direct danger to the travel and tourism sector:

“You’re going to lose the fundamental resource that underpins wildlife-based tourism if we don’t get on and do something about it and you have a fundamental role.”

And describes the draft declaration action which sets out what the sector must do:

“Now what’s so exciting here is the travel and tourism sector did not hesitate. It drafted a declaration, setting out in clear detail what the sector would do. There’s already 40 members that have signed up.” 

Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, outlines travel and tourism’s commitment to the declaration:

“And it’s really saying, we as the tourist industry have a responsibility here and we can have a positive impact.” 

Geoffrey Kent, Chairman and CEO, Abercrombie & Kent captured the determined mind-set at the Global Summit when he commented:

“You’ve got to be very active and proactive and do real things. People have got to be arrested, people have got to go to jail. We’ve got to stop it because only elephants should wear ivory.” 

Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group, identifies the need for the local community to benefit from action the sector takes:

“That’s where you’ve got to get into this and that’s how you’ve got to be clear to be about setting these things up so that the local communities benefit from what we’re doing.” 

John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks, looks to underline the raft of important services that local communities rely on endangered wildlife to support:

“Giving them access to healthcare, access to education, access to employment, then they become the best protectors of wildlife. They see their development path through wildlife.” 

And his sobering appraise of the situation, comes from a lifetime of gleaning genuine insight into the issue:

“If we don’t stop it now, these animals and plants, they will be lost and they will be lost on our watch – so we have to move now.”

Shows:

00:00 Title Plate

00:07 B-Roll: Poachers Stock Footage

01:09 Soundbite: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks

01:27 Soundbite: Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group

01:43 Soundbite: Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and Executive Chair, the Intrepid Group

02:06 3 x Soundbites: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Parks

02:27 Soundbite: Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group

02:38 Soundbite: Geoffrey Kent, Chairman and CEO, Abercrombie & Kent

02:51 Soundbite: Gary Chapman, President, Group Services & dnata, Emirates Group

03:03 Soundbite: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Park

03:16 Soundbite: John Scanlon, Special Envoy, African Park

03:26 B-Roll: H.E. Mauricio Macri, President of the Republic of Argentina

03:56 GVs WTTC Global Summit Buenos Aires 2018

05:09 B-Roll Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council

05:21 GVs Argentina / Buenos Aires

Other:

Overview of WTTC: 

World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit, where the world leaders in Travel & Tourism come together annually to discuss, debate and align the industry in matters of travel facilitation, policies for growth & importantly look celebrate best practices in environmental sustainability.

The great and the good of Travel & Tourism attending the Council’s Global Summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina include His Excellency Mauricio Macri, President of the Republic of Argentina, HRH Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, film director Francis Ford Coppola, and the presidents and CEOs of major travel companies, airlines, hotels, airports and others from every part of the world.

For more information www.wttc.org

Ends 

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WTTC Warns Airports At Over Capacity – Biometrics Solutions Only Way Forward

Report from the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA – At the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit, which opened April 18 in Buenos Aires, there was a sense of urgency to deploy biometric solutions as industry leaders warned that airports, many already over capacity, cannot handle an additional 21 million additional fliers annually. Governments, they acknowledge, have little appetite to spend money expanding current facilities or build new ones. 

Biometrics, they note, have the potential of doubling capacity by speeding more travellers through existing terminals more quickly while simultaneously making the experience more pleasant. In the U.S.A, 8 airports and 3 airlines have launched test programs.

On the back of the Facebook data breach – can biometrics deliver queue-free travel for passengers who agree to share data?

Industry leaders including Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, WTTC CEO Gloria Guevara, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, former CEO of Visa International Christopher Rodrigues, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Leader Guy Langford and Emirates Airlines president of group service Gary Chapman all weigh in on issues of privacy, technology, intergovernmental cooperation and trust. 

Facial recognition, iris scans, fingerprints and finger vein readers hold the promise of removing the hassles that currently make airports a test of endurance and patience. 

Shows:

00:00:00 Title Plate 

00:07:22 B-Roll Biometrics Stock Footage  

01:15:06 Soundbite Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council 

“The answer is technology. Technology can help us because we all have a unique identity. Biometrics, for instance, can help us to make the journey more efficient and seamless.” 

01:33:14 Soundbite Arne Sorenson, President & Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International 

  “I think more and more, you look at what’s happened with Facebook – is this concern now about privacy and about how information gets used.” 

01:52:19   Soundbite Gary Chapman President Group Services & dnata Emirates Group

“We’re not going to be in the business of spying on our customers. Where there are security issues – think about how security markets where we are already searching cars maybe, searching baggage before it comes into the hotel – by and large that is not happening in the United States or Canada.” 

02:03:09 Soundbite Guy Langford Vice Chairman US Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Leader, Deloitte

“Actually, the US Customs and Border Protection has deployed Biometric technology at 8 US airports, to my knowledge. And they’ve actually entered into a pilot, effectively, with 3 major airlines and are talking to several more.” 

02:25:11 Soundbite 2 Guy Langford Vice Chairman US Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Leader, Deloitte

“There’s a great example where using Biometrically-scanned information, they were able to board a flight – I think it was leaving, an international flight leaving LAX, in less than 20 minutes for 350 passengers using that technology.” 

02:49:08  Soundbite Christopher Rodrigues CBE Chairman, British Council 

“If you can interoperability between governments then the technology is the easy bit.”

02:58:09 Soundbite Paul Griffiths Chief Executive, Dubai Airport 

“There’s some very exciting new technology that’s being used in the banking industry and that’s finger-vein recognition. Because, apparently, one of the most unique identifiers about any human is the vein-structure in our hands. And there’s some very intriguing technology where, if you simply pass your hand over the top of a low-energy x-ray scanner, it gives you the entire vein-imprint of your hand and that is utterly unique.” 

03:35:00 B-Roll H.E. Mauricio Macri, President of the Republic of Argentina 

04:05:20 B-Roll Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council 

04:17:17 GVs WTTC Global Summit Buenos Aires 2018    

Other:

Overview of WTTC: 

World Travel and Tourism Council’s Global Summit, where the world leaders in Travel & Tourism come together annually to discuss, debate and align the industry in matters of travel facilitation, policies for growth & importantly look celebrate best practices in environmental sustainability. 

The great and the good of Travel & Tourism attending the Council’s Global Summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina include His Excellency Mauricio Macri, President of the Republic of Argentina, HRH Sultan bin Salman Al Saud, film director Francis Ford Coppola, and the presidents and CEOs of major travel companies, airlines, hotels, airports and others from every part of the world. 

For more information www.wttc.org 

Ends 

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H.E. Ban Ki-moon To Be Keynote Speaker At PATA Annual Summit 2018

BANGKOK, THAILAND – The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is proud to announce that former Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon is set to be the opening keynote speaker at the PATA Annual Summit 2018 (PAS 2018).  The event, generously hosted by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Gangwon Province, will take place from May 17-20 at the Lakai SANDPINE in Gangneung, Korea (ROK).

“We are truly honoured to be welcoming His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon to the PATA Annual Summit 2018. His vision and leadership in encouraging partnerships, global citizenship and sustainable development are aligned with the Association’s mission in creating a unified and strong Asia Pacific travel industry where our potential is powered by our connections to the world,” said PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy. “Among his many accomplishments during his two consecutive terms as UN Secretary General between 2007 and 2016, he was instrumental in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the introduction of tourism as an integral aspect of it. Furthermore, he also oversaw the negotiation of the Paris Agreement on climate change and is a strong advocate for women’s rights and gender equality, having successfully pressed for the creation of UN Women, an agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area. This is indeed an incredible and rare opportunity for our members and delegates to be inspired by one of the world’s top global thinkers.”

PAS 2018, under the theme ‘Building Bridges, Connecting People: How Collaboration Creates Opportunities’, is a 4-day event that brings together international thought leaders and industry professionals that are professionally engaged with the Asia Pacific Region.

The Annual Summit programme embraces a dynamic one-day conference that will examine the various connections that are helping to shape the industry as we move towards a more exponential future, bringing together a diverse line-up on international thought leaders, industry shapers, and senior decision-makers.

The one-day conference is followed by the half-day UNWTO/PATA Leaders Debate, where tourism leaders from both the public and private sector will come together to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the industry. The Honourable Edmund Bartlett, C.D., M.P., Minister of Tourism of Jamaica, has confirmed his participation at the debate.

Before the conference, the Association also provides the opportunity for students and young professionals to engage with industry leaders at the PATA Youth Symposium. A primary focus of the Association’s Human Capital Development programme is upon the development of the ‘Young Tourism Professional’ (YTP) and the symposium highlights PATA’s commitment to this endeavour.

Other confirmed speakers during the event include Adrienne Lee, Director of Development, Planeterra Foundation; Alistair McEwan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Development Asia & ANZ, BBC World News; Amy Kunrojpanya, Director of Communications, Asia Pacific, Uber; Dr. Chris Bottrill, Vice Chairman of PATA and Dean of Global and Community Studies, School of Tourism Management, Capilano University; Ambassador Dho Young-shim, Chairperson of UNWTO ST-EP Foundation; Edward Chen, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, oBike; Faeez Fadhlillah, PATA Face of the Future 2017, CEO and co-founder of Tripfez; Kyle Sandilands, Director and Cinematographer; Michelle Kristy, Associate Expert-Women and Trade Programme Sustainable and Inclusive Value Chains Section, SheTrades; Pai-Somsak Boonkam, CEO & Founder, LocalAlike; Raya Bidshahri, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Awecademy, and Vinoop Goel, Regional Director-Airport, Passenger, Cargo & Security Asia Pacific, IATA.

The event will explore various topics including ‘Connecting Communities: Harmonising Local Interests with Global Sustainability in Tourism Development’, ‘A case study of Korean local tourism development’, ‘Designing Intermodal Connectivity for Destination Competitiveness’, ‘Connecting Generations’, ‘Bridging the Gender Gap’, ‘The New Way to Connect’ and ‘The Human Touch in a Digital Marketing World’.

Delegates attending the event will experience the diverse landscapes of Gangneung, Korea’s best all-year-round destination. A popular destination among locals, Gangneung combines the white sandy beaches that stretch across the East Coast with the misty peaks of the Taebaek Mountains, also referred to as the spine of the Korean Peninsula. It is expected to have perfect weather with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius during the event. Serving as the location setting for popular Korean drama, Gangneung is gaining traction as a destination for fans of the Korean Wave, or ‘Hallyu’. The city boasts a unique cultural heritage – the Gangneung Danoje Festival serves to preserve the folk culture of the Joseon Dynasty, and has been UNESCO-designated as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Gangneung also co-hosted the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, along with the cities of PyeongChang and Jeongseon.

Registered delegates for the conference also receive complimentary access to the PATA/UNWTO Leaders Debate on Saturday, May 19.

For more information or to register for the event visit www.PATA.org/pas or email events@PATA.org.

— ENDS —

About PATA

Founded in 1951, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) is a not-for profit association that is internationally acclaimed for acting as a catalyst for the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region. The Association provides aligned advocacy, insightful research and innovative events to its member organisations, comprising 95 government, state and city tourism bodies, 25 international airlines and airports, 108 hospitality organisations, 72 educational institutions, and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond. Thousands of travel professionals belong to the 36 local PATA chapters worldwide. The chapters organise travel industry training and business development events. Their grassroots activism underpins PATA’s membership in Uniting Travel, a coalition of the world’s major Travel & Tourism organisations dedicated to ensuring that the sector speaks with one voice and acts in unison on the major issues and includes  ACI, CLIA, IATA, ICAO, WEF, UNWTO and the WTTC. The PATAmPOWER platform delivers unrivalled data, forecasts and insights from the PATA Strategic Intelligence Centre to members’ desktops and mobile devices anywhere in the world. PATA’s Head Office has been in Bangkok since 1998. The Association also has official offices or representation in Beijing, Sydney and London. Visit www.PATA.org

Mar, 08, 2018

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