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WTM London explores responsible tourism efforts

WTM London explores responsible tourism efforts

WTM London explores responsible tourism efforts

The first panel session of the day at World Travel Market (WTM) London explored tourism’s efforts to address its carbon and water footprints. Speaking by video from Australia, Professor Susanne Becken from Griffith University said that tourism continues to base its approach to meeting these challenges on what she called the ‘fallacy of incremental change’. She explained that this means the industry focuses on gradually improving the efficiency of how it works while it keeps growing its overall impact, rather than making absolute reductions in its impact. “We are like dieters who give up fizzy drinks but keep eating more and more food,” she added.

Becken’s sense of urgency was amplified by John Proctor, Chief Executive of the UK’s Green Tourism, who said that while the accommodation sector has to do its part, the real issue is the costs from transport, in particular aviation.

In a session titled ‘Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission’, Dr Venu, the state’s Principal Tourism Secretary, opened by explaining that the state’s responsible tourism journey has been defined by developing a community tourism network so as to “include the local community not just as a participant, or even a beneficiary, but as a leader.”

Jose Dominic, managing director of CGH Earth, shared the story of Coconut Lagoon, an incredibly sustainable property his company runs in the village of Kumarakom, which is itself a pioneer in Kerala’s responsible tourism mission. He explained how the commitments CGH Earth has made when it comes to operating its lodges are not just the more responsible way to act, they have also improved profitability, since their businesses stand out from the crowd and offer remarkable experiences. For example, he explained that Coconut Lagoon is zero waste, has its water needs served entirely from rainwater harvesting, and is now even preserving and reintroducing the endemic Vechur cow species, while engaging its guests in all these stories.

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