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Encouraging visitors to leave crowded hotspots and go in search of more enriching experiences has never been more important for destinations looking to capitalise on the rising tide of visitors from Asia’s emerging outbound markets. This is especially the case in Europe, where local residents in some of the continent’s most popular tourist hotspots have already started calling for restrictions on visitor numbers and outright bans in some neighborhoods.

While better visitor management is clearly needed in some cities, we believe that not all solutions to this dilemma have to involve clamp-downs, restrictions, bans and penalties. Just as forward-looking cities are learning to integrate the sharing economy into their tourism ecosystem (something we’ve talked a lot about recently in countries such as Portugal and Croatia), they are also finding creative ways to spread visitor spending further away from the city centre, or even to surrounding towns and villages.

This is something that we make clear in the report ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd, Where the Next Generation of Asian Travellers is Headed and How to Win a Place on their Travel Itinerary’.

This comprehensive 150-page report draws on unique consumer research carried out among Asian Millennials, as well as expert opinion, case studies from leading travel brands and data from PATA’s own forecasts on cross-border travel. It also gives practical recommendations on where to start when putting a dispersal strategy in place.

Main features of the report:

  • Unique consumer research from Millennials in 13 outbound markets across Asia on their attitudes towards trip planning, city visits and going ‘off the beaten track’.
  • Data from the PATA five year forecast to show how international arrival arrivals will affect APAC destinations in the coming years
  • Expert opinion from 14 market-leading tourism organisations, travel brands and influencers on how to set out an effective dispersal strategy.
  • Recommendations to public and private sector organisations on how to create more effective and rewarding products that encourage dispersal for Asian Millennial travellers.

How to get the report:
Full report – PATA Store (free for PATA members, US$100 for non-members)
Executive Summary (free download)
PATA press release

Video & Case Study

TOPOSOPHY makes the best of what every place has to offer

As a destination marketing and management agency whose long-term commitment is to help destinations to ‘make the best of what every place has to offer’, TOPOSOPHY is delighted to have been part of such a groundbreaking project. We believe in smart planning that understands market dynamics, combined with innovative marketing that makes use of creative technological solutions. We also know that ‘hidden gems’ are what can put your place on the map. So if you’re interested to learn more about how to make the best of what your place has to offer, just drop us an email or come and meet us at our forthcoming events. We’d be pleased to talk with you!

Click here to watch the case study video 

New Sustainability Criteria for Destinations

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) recently announced the second phase of its new Destination Criteria.

Overseen by GSTC’s Destination Working Group and managed by NGO partner Sustainable Travel International, the GSTC is once again soliciting input and comments from all travel and tourism stakeholders on this exciting project, ensuring diverse feedback is collected.


The Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Criteria for Destinations are designed to orient destination managers, communities, and businesses toward the steps that are needed to sustain their natural and cultural assets, while benefiting local communities. The Destination Criteria complement the existing GSTC Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators, which have become a worldwide standard for tourism businesses.

Based on the results of the first phase of this project, which included an international public call for feedback and pilot testing of the criteria in six Early Adopter Destinations around the world, the GSTC has revised and improved the Destination Criteria.

The new draft version is available for public consultation and input until February 15, 2013.

These comments, along with feedback received via early-adopter destinations, will inform a final version of the Destination Criteria.

More info: www.gstcouncil.org


MEXICO CITY, JANUARY 26, 2011 – A cooperation agreement was signed today between the Organization of Latin-American and Caribbean Tourism (OLACT) and the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL); both organizations will work together to implement conservation programs for the coral reefs and the marine life in Latin-America and the Caribbean.

Through the members of OLACT, both in the tourism and educational sector, CORAL will be able to share and disseminate the knowledge and tools developed throughout their long experience of working in reef zones in Hawaii, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Fiji, and Indonesia.

Through its educational and financing components, OLACT will promote CORAL’s conservation tools and trainings to the tourism industry and will foster sustainable tourism programs to ensure the protection of the reefs by helping communities develop innovative local initiatives that conserve reefs and return tangible benefits to local communities. Finally the university partners of OLACT will leverage the trainings to help spread the educational messages about coral reef conservation throughout Latin-America and the Caribbean region.

The agreement was signed by the Interim Executive Director of CORAL Mr. Rick MacPherson and by Mr. César Castañeda Vázquez del Mercado, Secretary General of OLACT.

About the OLACT

The OLACT is a not-for-profit organization aiming at fostering cooperation within the Latin-American and Caribbean tourism industry, strengthening measures to protect the environment through the tourism activity and promoting the improvement of quality in the offer, promotion and exchange of tourism services. To achieve its mission, the OLACT offers technical, practical and tangible assistance to its international, national, regional and local public and private members. The OLACT´s headquarters are located in Mexico City and counts with a multinational team of professionals from several countries of Latin-American and the Caribbean.

About The Coral Reef Alliance

The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) unites communities to save coral reefs. We provide tools, education, and inspiration to residents of coral reef destinations to support local projects that benefit both reefs and people. Originally founded in 1994 to galvanize the dive community for conservation, CORAL has grown from a small, grassroots alliance into the only international nonprofit organization that works exclusively to protect our planet’s coral reefs. Visit www.coral.org or call1-888-CORAL-REEF.

Source: Organization of Latin-American and Caribbean Tourism (OLACT)

Information: Efraín Angulo, Public Relations

E mail: eangulo@olact.org




Tourism & Biodiversity

A panel of leading tourism and biodiversity experts will meet in China on World Tourism Day (WTD) to explore the synergies between tourism, biodiversity, and sustainable development in an event marking the official celebrations of WTD 2010 (September 27).

WTD, is held this year under the theme “Tourism and Biodiversity,” in support of the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity. China, one of the world’s most biologically-diverse countries and a major tourism destination, will lead the 2010 official WTD celebrations.

The High Level Dialogue on Tourism, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development, meeting in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, the host of the WTD celebrations, will debate issues ranging from the economic value of biodiversity for tourism, to how to integrate biodiversity protection into planning for sustainable tourism.

Participants include representatives from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); the president and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); and the CEO of Six Senses Resorts; as well as the Ministers of Tourism of China, Kenya, and Malaysia. The conclusions of the High Level Dialogue will be presented to the tenth Conference of the Parties to the CBD as part of UNWTO’s contribution to the post-2010 targets of the CBD (Nagoya, Japan, October 18-29).

UNWTO is also proud to count on two prominent media representatives to conduct this year’s WTD celebrations. The renowned TV presenter Yan Lang and CNN’s International Beijing Bureau chief, Jaime FlorCruz. CNN is an official media partner of UNWTO and of the 2010 WTD celebrations.

The official WTD celebrations, organized by UNWTO, the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), and Guangdong Province, are held in conjunction with the Guangdong International Tourism and Culture Festival and also include a road parade for WTD celebrations and the Asian Games, and a photo exhibition along the streets of Guangzhou, featuring photos from this year’s WTD photo competition.

Further activities are being organized by the tourism community across the world. Information on these events can be found on the dedicated WTD websitewww.unwto.org/worldtourismday/index.php?lang=E .

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 http://American.RedCross.org/GMCVB.

“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

Climate Change & Tourism: Not Whether, But How Much!

It’s Real, and It’s Happening
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) recently issued a report outlining how the EU would lose between EUR 20 billion and EUR 65 billion if we were to experience the climate projected for the 2080s today, with a temperature rise of between 2.5° Celsius to 5.4° Celsius.

The PESETA (‘Projection of economic impacts of climate change in sectors of the European Union based on bottom-up analysis’) project evaluated the annual economic impacts of climate change in Europe in coastal systems, river flooding, agriculture and tourism — four elements that are sensitive to climate change.

The study presented diverse regional impacts of climate change across the EU: southern and central Europe would sustain a number of damages, while northern Europe would be the only region to benefit from climate change, especially in terms of the economy and the four elements. Besides the increase in temperature, the report predicted that the sea level will rise between 48 cm and 88 cm.
On the whole, the EU’s economy would contract substantially each year. And global warming would have an adverse impact on the level of economic growth for Europeans. It should be noted, however, that the overall cost of global warming could be higher since the PESETA study did not take into account non-market variables including natural disasters or biodiversity. The report has suggested that welfare could drop by 0.2% if the temperature increases by 2.5°C. However, a 5.4°C increase could slash EU welfare growth by half.
In terms of the four elements, coastal systems (sea floods and migration costs) would decrease annual welfare by 0.46% and affect up to 5.5 million people. River flooding would decrease annual welfare by 0.24% and affect up to 400 000 people. Agriculture would sustain 10% losses in crop yields each year. Tourism is considered the only sector that will not really be affected, but officials speculate variances across the regions will emerge. Read the full report Impacts of climate change in tourism in Europe. PESETA-Tourism study

On the same course with European Union, a 2009 report published by the U.S. Climate Change Action Program called “Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region” is actually a comprehensive guidebook for dealing with those changes.

The report — a collaborative effort among the EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — provides extensive findings on what the societal impacts of rising oceans are likely to be along with recommendations for how to cope with those impacts.

Sea levels along much of the U.S. coastline have risen 5 to 9 inches in the past 100 years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are several causes for the rise, but one of them is the changing climate. If temperatures and ocean levels continue to rise, as climate change models predict, some of the first casualties in the global economy will be felt in the tourism sector.

Among other things, rising sea levels erode beaches; upset the delicate balance of wetlands, which are a major source of recreational activities as well as a habitat for wildlife; increase the sensitivity of coastal areas to flooding and storm damage; and affect coastal water supplies by increasing salt levels in both surface and groundwater.

On the same course, studies around the globe ( carribeanindian ocean, australia among others) measuring the impact of climate change for tourism and the local economies are confirming the aforementioned findings and raising concerns about the actions to be taken in the immediate future.

The Tourism Sector’s Response

During a week when world leaders gathered in Copenhagen to hash out a way to confront the grim effects of climate change, a Joint Communiqué from UNWTO and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) is taking place to set the Standard on Climate Change for the global travel & tourism sector.

In order to show their commitment both organisations will jointly host a side event during the COP-15 negotiations titled: Addressing the Challenges of Climate Change – Perspectives from the Travel & Tourism Sector. The event is highlighting innovators from the private and public sector from across the world and all sectors of the industry. Under the leadership of WTTC and UNWTO examples of best practice will be presented in order to communicate to policy-makers and the rest of the industry Travel & Tourism’s proactive approach to carbon emissions’ mitigation and adaptation.

A sound framework is critical for the Travel & Tourism industry to give companies the transparency necessary to make informed investment decisions, many of which can strongly influence a nation’s economic development. The Copenhagen Agreement provides a unique opportunity to set the foundation upon which a resilient green economy can be developed.

“UNWTO’s Davos Declaration Process on climate change response paved the way to position the tourism industry as a relevant player of global climate neutrality,” said UNWTO Secretary-General ad interim Taleb Rifai read UNWTO’s  Background Paper  From Davos to Copenhagen and beyond: advancing tourism’s response to climate change . “Joining forces for tourism to speak as one in Copenhagen responds furthermore to a key recommendation of the UNWTO Roadmap for Recovery, highlighting the importance of building a strong public-private dialogue and boosting strong partnerships. The great cross-cutting impact of our industry makes it necessary to establish and maintain this close collaboration,” he added, “and I am confident that together we will contribute to a better positioning of travel and tourism in the global climate response agenda.”

Check the full UNWTO list of resources for tourism & climate change

Read WTTC’s report Leading the Challenge on Climate Change

“Live the Deal” – New Travel & Tourism Climate Initiative launched in Copenhagen

To this direction, “Live the Deal”, an innovative, global campaign to help travel companies and destinations respond to Climate Change, reduce their carbon footprint and move to the Green Economy, was launched this week during the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

“Live the Deal” follows the pattern established in the UN led Copenhagen Seal the Deal campaign by its single minded focus, its simplicity and its broad based engagement goals. It will seek to encourage the sector directly and through representative organizations. The campaign will be underpinned by a simple carbon calculation tool that allows easy correlation with government targets and implementation measures, as well as a Think Tank and Annual Innovations & Investment Summit. The inaugural Summit will be in Abu Dhabi in the last quarter of the year.

Watch the “Live the Deal”  Spot

Presentation: European Network for Accessible Tourism

Europe – like other parts of the world – lacks many appropriate accessibility provisions for the general population. This is a problem which affects many people both in their daily lives and also as tourists.

Physical access and access to information are often less than adequate in transport, at tourist destinations, in accommodation and all kinds of venues and attractions. This lack of accessibility has a direct and negative effect on tourist numbers (both inbound to Europe and within Europe) and on the quality of tourism destinations and products. Many tourists and would-be travellers experience access problems, especially those with physical or sensory disabilities, people who are older and perhaps a little more frail, as well as pregnant women, families with small children and people with a chronic health condition or a temporary disability. All of these people need “accessible tourism”.

Some of the access difficulties we find today are due to many years of ignorance about access requirements when planning, designing and managing buildings, transport systems and infrastructure. For a long time, customers’ needs were not known or understood, and even today – despite improvements – these needs are not being taken sufficiently into account in the tourism sector.

Planning laws and policies, building norms and standards in accessibility vary widely between the regions and Member States of the European Union, and among neighbouring countries. The availability of expertise in planning and designing accessible infrastructure and services also varies considerably. This situation gives rise to some confusion and lack of certainty when planning and developing accessible tourism facilities and services. – either when upgrading or starting from scratch.

ENAT is working to improve accessibility in the tourism sector by consolidating existing knowledge and giving all actors the opportunity to put this knowledge to use through collaboration, wherever they are based in Europe.

With ENAT, we want to help make Europe as a whole an accessible destination, where all travellers can move freely, enjoy new experiences and be sure of getting the service they need and expect. We believe that accessible tourism must be made a priority – for the good of the tourists and for the long-term sustainability of the European tourist industry.

*ENAT was established in January 2006 as a project-based initiative of nine sponsoring organisations in six EU Member States.

For More Information about ENAT please visit ENAT official website or

Download ENAT’s official brochure