The total number of climate management delegates in Marrakech, Morocco is expected to reach 20,000 people before the full event is over. Our small group of some 150 experts in sustainable tourism has been brought together by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to discuss how the tourism industry can respond the climate crisis.
There are a wide range of perspectives– from small ecolodge owners to the sustainability leadership of the largest travel and tourism corporations in the world. This group of experts acknowledges that the traditional approaches to managing tourism need to change, and that the process of bringing this change about must move from a business as usual approach to big data mining and reporting.
Our group of experts acknowledge that the traditional approaches to managing tourism need to change.
Tourism’s fragmented supply chain, with over 80% small and medium business, is well known among this group of experts to be difficult to harmonize . There are few here with the typical illusion that the market can drive change in sustainability practices within tourism corporations, or that the current sustainability reporting systems are adequately serving corporations or the processes of managing environmental and social impacts.
…most recognize that we are facing a planetary emergency…
Instead, most recognize that we are facing a planetary emergency that requires the response to the total global limits on the growth of industry, including tourism. And, it is understood that there must be a holistic response to the growth of industry with feedback mechanisms that offer incentives to manage its total impacts, using realistic smart indicators to measure progress.
This is very new… This is a new generation of thinking. The movement towards realistic, realpolitikthinking is heartening.
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Megan Epler Wood is at COP22 exploring the advances in sustainable tourism. She travels the world investigating how to make travel and tourism a more sustainable industry that both conserves environments and contributes to local people. You can follow Megan on twitter @Eplerwood or visit the Harvard Sustainable Tourism Website