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    Ten Years of Progress in Responsible Tourism

    Reports of the outcomes from Rio have expressed disappointment at the absence of commitments; certainly the results are less dramatic than Rio in 1992 or Johannesburg in 2002. On the other hand only a few issues are genuinely global – carbon emissions are the best example of a genuinely global challenge, one where pollution created in Europe causes negative impacts in Africa or Asia. As we bump up against the limits to growth we will experience commodity price rises and food shortages, this will affect us all but the economically poor will be hit hardest. But progress on sustainability results from the efforts of people in particular places, global thinking…

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    Rio +20: Time to refocus on sustainable development through tourism

    As delegates  gathered in Rio for Rio+20, twenty years on from the Earth Summit, I am in Brazil’s second city co-chairing the 6th International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations. There are delegates and speakers from 21 countries discussing what progress has been made in sustainable tourism since 1992. We have heard some great examples from, among other places, Oman, Brazil and South Africa. Speakers have been open about their successes and the challenges they have had to face along the way. We have heard too about approaches that didn’t work. That is important, we learn more from failure than from success, our failures and those of others. Such candour…

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    Myanmar: why cautious optimism?

    A number of people have asked why I concluded my last blog saying that as I left Myanmar I was “cautiously optimistic.” As I left the first reports of the ethnic disturbances in Rakhine, in the west of the country, were coming in. The government has now declared a state of emergency following clashes between Muslims and Buddhists. The politics of Myanmar are very complex and peoples’  expectations of change are high. read more The transition to democracy will be challenging to accomplish, there are many different groups with grievances, all will compete for economic resources, all seek growth. The path to democracy will be bumpy, and that can deter…

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    Will Myanmar use tourism or will it be used by it? Only time will tell. It depends on what individuals do …

    I am just back from Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon in Myanmar where I facilitated the workshops, and the joint public/private sector conference, which agreed a draft Myanmar Responsible Tourism Policy. The policy will now be further developed by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism and go through the necessary processes to become a national policy. The development of the draft policy was funded by the German Hanns Seidel Foundation  and the Myanmar Tourism Federation.  Nicole Haeusler and Achim Munz worked with Kyi Kyi Aye and Phyoe Wai Yar Zar to run a series of ten workshops with the public and private sector. I arrived in Myanmar after this series…

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    Kumbalanghi in Kerala to be officially recognised as a Responsible Tourism Destination

    Kumbalangi in Kerala is to be declared a Responsible Tourism destination bring the total declared in Kerala to five, over the last few years there have been a series of initiatives in Kumarakom, Wayanad, Thekkady, and Kovalam. Kumbalangi is recognised as a sustainable agriculture village, the plan is to supply products from the village to hotels in Fort Kochi as Kumbalangi more home stays than hotels. The Ministry if Tourism, working with the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies has an ambitious plan: 30 per cent of the classified and approved units located in rural areas will be converted to RT classified units in 10 years. Responsible Tourism investor…

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    Roads are changing the trekking experience in Nepal

    Nepal is opening up to China with new roads being constructed, in a country where everyone used to walk new highways are being built across the Himalaya. This will ease access and speed egress.And what will be the impact on trekking tourism? Who want’s to fly halfway round the world to trek beside a highway? The tourists appear to be abandoning some of the trekking routes – perhaps Nepal will find development through trade with China, but the new roads are not necessarily good for tourism. James McConnachie finds bus passengers praying out loud as they navigate the most notorious new road in the Himalayas. Hear more on BBC Radio…

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