Trending: Adventure Travel & Responsible Tourism

Supported by a global trend towards itinerant traveling, back to nature and authenticity, responsible travel markets showed encouraging signs for the summer season: adventure tourism and trekking continues to attract travelers interested in nature and in local community meetings; voluntourism is democratizing and developing a growing number of customers on a really niche market; eco-tourism is doing well despite the crisis, affecting less the higher income travelers; participatory tourism especially in urban areas increases but is still very dependent on the weather and individual last minute bookings.

Within a difficult economic climate, travelers are looking to cut costs without losing quality of services; looking for travel adapted to their expectations, they are increasingly likely to move toward tour operators specializing in tailor-made travel. At the same time, atypical, original and environmentally responsible accommodations are still valued in regions where the territory’s identity turned to authenticity, the landscapes and to sustainable development policy.

When leaders of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), WWF International and Google addressed more than 600 tourism industry professionals during the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit in Lucerne, Switzerland in October, a common refrain emerged: “adventure travel” had arrived as a new face of responsible tourism.

“Adventure tourism is what tourism should be today and definitely what tourism will be tomorrow,”said Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) referring to inevitable shifts in the leisure tourism market toward more experience-based, responsible and lower-impact – environmentally and culturally – travel.

Later in the week, WWF corroborated the trend toward more responsible tourism, upping the ante by introducing a new travel division with new leadership, while Google’s chief of travel, Rob Torres, indicated serious consumer trending toward more experience-based, responsible tourism. In additional keynote and concurrent sessions, tourism, conservation and technology leaders such as Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and co-founder of Blue Legacy and Darrell Wade, CEO of PEAK Adventure Travel indicated a shift in attention on the global stage to the power of adventure travel as an economic driver, as a force of sustainable development and one that delivers to travelers transformative experiences in nature, culture and active travel.

Sources: ATTA, TIES

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Voluntourism Study: Help us make your experience the best it can be. Make your opinions heard!

Planeterra, along with research analyst students at Georgian College, are conducting a study to determine what travellers like you are looking for in volunteer experiences in order to make voluntourism the best it can be for both travellers and communities abroad. As members of the Planeterra community, we want to hear your opinions and ideas. You have been chosen for this study because you know what it’s like to experience a new culture, or discover one of nature’s wonders. You have also likely wanted to give back in some way to the communities you’ve visited and maybe you already have by donating to one of our projects. You may have thought of volunteering, or maybe you’ve done one of our voluntours. By filling out this survey, you will be providing us with the information we need to help plan a better travel experience for you. This survey will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete – it’s quick and easy – and your responses will be kept entirely confidential. Thank you for your time and being part of the Planeterra community! Take the online survey now!

Presentation: International Centre for Responsible Tourism

The International Centre for Responsible Tourism at Leeds Metropolitan University is a post-graduate training and research centre. The ICRT plays a leading role in responsible tourism and hospitality, generating change through advisory, mentoring and development work with industry and government, and we support our students to play leading roles in the Responsible Tourism Movement.

Moroever, ICRT offers consultancy services in the fields of:

  • Certification, Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Tourism & Conservation
  • Planning & Management
  • Economic Development & Pro-Poor Tourism
  • Marketing & product Development
  • Policy & Standards
  • Responsible Tourism
  • Private Sector
  • Supply Chain Management


The staff and associates of the ICRT have a very broad range of experience and expertise in training, particularly focused on working with people in the tourism industry, in government, in academia or conservation. They have run tailor made training on Responsible Tourism for the Association of Independent Tour Operators and a number of companies including Exodus and The Adventure Company.

ICRT can offer any of the material taught in the MSc as intensive short courses taught anywhere in the world and people can complete the courses as CPD or if they register formally with the university and satisfy the coursework requirements they can earn credits towards a Masters.

  • Building on from work undertaken during 2008 with a number of small, independent museums in West and North Yorkshire, we are currently providing training and mentoring support in business planning and forward planning for five Turst-run museums in Scarborough and Ryedale Districts
  • ICRT is currently working with the Federation of Tour Operators to develop training materials for the UK industry on Responsible Tourism Management
  • ICRT has written a sustainable tour operator management guide for UNEP, and delivered in the UK, Belgium, Italy, Jordan and Nepal amongst others
  • ICRT also teach sustainable supply chain management applied to hotels and destinations, for example for the Colombian Hotel Association on behalf of the World Tourism Organisation
  • ICRT has taught 3 and 5 day intensive courses on tourism, local economic development and poverty reduction in Bolivia, Honduras, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and The Gambia
  • ICRT worked with Heidi Keyser of ICRT South Africa to provide a high –level training course on Responsible Tourism for university academics in South Africa
  • In The Gambia ICRT run intensive short courses for Gambians and international participants on Local Economic Development and Pro-Poor Tourism; Achieving Responsible Tourism in The Gambia; Responsible Tourism in Destinations
  • Other training includes ecotourism planning for Conservation International, in Gabon; database and internet marketing for small tourism firms in Southern Africa; environmental management systems for Instituto de Hospitalidade in Brazil; and Corporate Social Responsibility and environmental policy training with Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and Tourism Concern

Moreover, ICRT can tailor the following training workshops according to each company’s needs, with its preference being change management workshops. In the UK ICRT tends to work with the private sector directly while overseas often partners with a host organisation (association, NGO, government or donor) to develop strategies for the companies being trained to implement the changes suggested in the workshop, providing assistance before and after the event for maximum effectiveness, and promoting an accountability and monitoring process. Also, ICRT can offer the option of taking four modules as part of a Professional Diploma in Tourism Management.

1. Responsible tourism management
2. Pro-poor tourism
3. Strategic Planning
4. Marketing
5. Product development
6. Ecotourism
7. Tourism in protected areas
8. Wildlife tourism
9. Financing conservation through tourism
10. Management systems
11. Tour operating
12. Business plans for new tourism companies
13. IT and revenue management
14. Tourism education and training
15. Corporate Social Responsibility
16. Heritage tourism
17. Events as destination marketing tools
18. Sustainability management for accommodation
19. Developing sustainability and quality certification programmes
20. Retailing for tourism development

Click here for more information on ICRT.

Miami Tourism Cares

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is spearheading an effort to support the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.  In cooperation with The American Red Cross, “Miami Tourism Cares” will provide immediate and long-term aid to Haiti.

The multi-phase program launched on February 2, 2010, incorporates immediate efforts to secure cash donations as well as longer term aid initiatives, with the cooperation of Miami tourism partners, residents and visitors.

“GMCVB recognizes its responsibility in assisting the Haiti relief efforts,” said Steven Haas, Board Chair of GMCVB. “Greater Miami is home to a large Haitian community that plays an integral role in our tourism industry, with thousands employed at hotels, resorts, attractions and restaurants. It is important we support our Haitian colleagues at this time of urgent and ongoing need as well as for the long-term recovery.”

Phase I of the initiative is an immediate request for donations to the American Red Cross, through a dedicated account.  The GMCVB will match all employee donations to the American Red Cross dollar-per-dollar and is calling on tourism industry members to donate to the dedicated account at

“In South Florida so many of our neighbors are from Haiti and many still have family on the island,” said Sam Tidwell, CEO of the American Red Cross South Florida Region. “The best way for us to provide assistance is to make a monetary donation to the Red Cross.”

The second phase of the relief effort  is in partnership with The Greater Miami and The Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA) and will roll out in February 2010 with the launch of two special programs as part of “Miami Tourism Cares Month.” Miami hotels will encourage their guests to “Add-On, Add-Up” by asking at check-in if the guests would like to make an optional donation in various  amounts – that would be added to their hotel bill. Hotels can also donate rooms to rescue workers, evacuated expatriates, and families of those receiving medical care in Miami through the “Be a Knight, Give a Night” program. Click here for the full article.

Greater Miami Official Website

UNWTO Barometer: 2010 – Improved prospects in a ‘year of transformation’

Growth returned to international tourism in the last quarter of 2009contributing to better than expected full-year results, according to the latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. International tourist arrivals fell by an estimated 4% in 2009. Prospects have also improved with arrivals now forecast to grow between 3% and 4% in 2010.This outlook is confirmed by the remarkable rise of the UNWTO Panel of Experts’ Confidence Index.

2009 – Last quarter sees return to growth

International tourist arrivals for business, leisure and other purposes are estimated to have declined worldwide by 4% in 2009 to 880 million. This represents a slight improvement on the previous estimate as a result of the 2% upswing in the last quarter of 2009. In contrast, international tourist arrivals shrank by 10%, 7% and 2% in the first three quarters respectively. Asia and the Pacific and the Middle East led the recovery with growth already turning positive in both regions in the second half of 2009.

Regional panorama

Except for Africa, which bucked the global trend, all world regions show negative results in 2009:

  • Europe ended 2009 down 6% after a very complicated first half (-10%). Destinations in Central, Eastern and Northern Europe were particularly badly hit, while results in Western, Southern and Mediterranean Europe were relatively better.
  • Asia and the Pacific (-2%) showed an extraordinary rebound. While arrivals declined by 7% between January and June, the second half of 2009 saw 3% growth reflecting improved regional economic results and prospects.
  • In the Americas (-5%), the Caribbean returned to growth in the last four months of 2009. The performance was more sluggish in the other sub-regions, with the A(H1N1) influenza outbreak exacerbating the impact of the economic crisis.
  • The Middle East (-6%), though still far from the growth levels of previous years, had a positive second half in 2009.
  • Africa (+5%) was a robust performer, with sub-Saharan destinations doing particularly well.

2010 – Improved prospects in a ‘year of transformation’

Against the backdrop of both the upturn in international tourism figures and overall economic indicators in recent months, UNWTO forecasts a growth in international tourist arrivals of between 3% and 4% in 2010. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just recently stated that the global recovery is occurring “significantly” faster than expected, as compared with its October assessment which already counted on a clear return of economic growth in 2010 (+3.1% worldwide, with stronger performance for emerging economies at +5.1%, alongside a more sluggish one for advanced economies at +1.3%).

Upside opportunities:

  • Business and consumer confidence has picked up;
  • Interest rates and inflation remain at historically low levels and are expected to rise only moderately in the short term;
  • A slump is generally followed by a rebound due to pent-up demand and destinations are expected to actively leverage this opportunity;
  • There is scope for a revival among source markets which were hard hit in 2009 such as  the Russian Federation or the UK;
  • Major international events will take place in South Africa (FIFA World Cup), Canada (Winter Olympics) and China (Shanghai Expo), creating potential extra travel demand;
  • The momentum of the spirit of cooperation and partnership bred by the crisis is expected to be maintained by stakeholders;
  • The flexibility shown by the tourism sector in dealing with rapid shifts in demand and volatile market conditions has made it stronger;
  • Crises provide an opportunity to address underlying structural weaknesses and implement strategies fostering sustainable development and the transformation to the Green Economy.

Downside risks:

  • Unemployment is the key challenge. The jobs crisis is not over yet, particularly in major advanced economies and many valuable human resources are still at risk;
  • Economic growth in major source markets, specially in Europe and the USA, is still fragile;
  • Stimulus measures are likely to be phased out due to increasing public deficits while a number of advanced economies may see increases in taxation, putting extra pressure on household and company budgets;
  • Oil prices remain volatile;
  • Although the overall impact of the influenza A(H1N1) virus was milder until now than anticipated, experience from previous pandemics shows that the situation could once again become challenging;
  • Security threats and the potential of increased related hassle and costs for travellers are still a challenge;
  • Revenues and yields are expected to recover at a slower pace than travel volumes.

Go To UNWTO website for further information.

Download the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer: 2009 International Tourism Results and Prospects for 2010

Presentation: is an online one-stop-shop where users can access the latest critical information and communication tools in anticipation of, or in response to, natural and man-made crises with potential impacts on tourism. The system aims to support crisis preparedness in the tourism sector and assist in rapid recovery from crisis situations. also serves as a valuable resource for travellers by providing in one place the tools and information they need in order to make informed decisions about their own safety and security, and to obtain assistance in case of an emergency.

Through, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) supports its Member States in deploying the very latest developments in modern media communications to facilitate their crisis management activities, thereby minimizing harmful impacts on destinations. Aside from being a public site, offers UNWTO Member Countries and Destinations easy-to-use tools and procedures to create Stand-By Web Pages that are ready for when a crisis occurs. Stand-By Pages by definition, are not made viewable to the public unless deemed appropriate by the Member State responsible for managing them, and generally not until a crisis breaks. By putting together a Stand-By Page, the Countries or Destinations can enhance preparedness and coordination among players with a role in a potential crisis. Once activated, the pages also provide a powerful communication platform for sending important messages to the public, the Tourism Emergency Response Network (TERN) of industry leaders, and to other groups.

Finally, serves as a hub of secure communication, facilitating the timely exchange of critical information between and among TERN members and participating International Organizations. Through the deployment of identification safeguards, the system enables executives in different organizations facing similar challenges to better coordinate their efforts and rapidly exchange information with the confidence that the information will only be read by the intended recipients. is a UN System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC) funded initiative created and managed by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO).

For more information, contact:

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Tel. No: +34 91 5678 100