The Eurapart Project
I'd love to know who all the artists are. I recognise a few like D7606's Snowden and Paul "Don" Smith's Mandela. In some cases the artist has left has clearly identified themselves. Please, please give artists a mention. They were good enough to make the art, without which this post wouldn't exist.
Shouldn't that be a pre-requisite for covering Street Art?
Sadly the artists don't get a mention, but even worse, neither do the photographers!
Sonja, thank you for letting me know about Gringo Trails. I joined a Twitter chat last week on Sustainable Travel. Most of the responses to define good practice were: "Leave no trace". I pointed out that we always leave a trace. Perhaps by supporting community based tourism projects we can ensure that our traces are mainly positive, but we still need to think about the impact of our travel in order to arrive at the project, the impact of extra food and goods that may need to be imported to the project etc.Anyone interested in further reading on this topic may be interested in reading 'Final Call' by Leo Hickman.
Following on from Sonja's question, I too am wondering why your film concentrates on backpackers. Backpackers are just the 'scouts' from the tourism army that then descends on these places. Your film shows us the damage caused by these scouts, but afterwards the infantry arrives in the form of mass tourism. Do you have plans to continue your project to include all types of travel?
So far the common thread appearing in this discussion is that we know 'we' are a part of the problem, yet who has limited their travel aspirations as a result? Has 'exotic' travel has become another status symbol like the car on the driveway and the latest HD home cinema system? What is the big deal with standing on a part of our planet that costs a lot to get to? When I was younger I was happy to know that Antarctica was still a wilderness. Now it is a cruise ship destination and some people go there on their charity hikes and I'm only exaggerating a little when I say this. But the truth is we damage Antarctica without even visiting there just by our (yes, I'm including myself here) effect on the climate as a result of our travel and food choices.In Timbuktu the locals posed the question "Why are you here?" I will ask "Why do I wish to visit X, do Y or eat Z?" before making travel plans in future. Which question do you think all travellers should ask themselves before travelling anywhere?
Personally, I don't think it matters who is causing most of the damage whether it is the "scouts" or the "infantry" or the "armoured divisions". Damage is being done and it is good that we are becoming more aware of this fact. There are too many voices shouting how travel is only a good thing and that it is positively virtuous compared to other forms of consumption. Gringo Trails is another pin amongst these misleading advertising balloons.The guide book writers interviewed seemed to agonise on whether to include a new location in the guide. Gringo Trails makes it clear why these writers struggle with their consciences.
Submitted for the forthcoming discussion following the recent tragic events on Everest. http://outbounding.org/articles/view/sherpas-consider-boycott-after-everest-avalanche.
The "don't go" message worked well for me. It got me hooked and wanting to know more as Karen and Eric point out. It warned me that these destinations are likely to be very crowded (I'm no real lover of crowds). Finally the minimal information got me wanting to learn more.
The amount of equipment carried on porter's backs and by helicopter to film the Live transmission of Joby Ogwyn's wing-suit suit jump from Everest is astounding. What is this obsession with Live broadcasting? I watched a paraglider descent from Everest that was filmed using GoPro cameras. They didn't need all of the heavy live broadcast equipment. The footage is no less impressive as a result.
The film shows Sherpa porters carrying loads for the film crew. One of the crew tries to carry one of the loads but cannot. Sure, the porter has the physiology to carry the load, but are Sherpa's discs made of stronger cartilage than anyone else's? Well I leave that to the medical experts because if not then the porters' vertebral discs are getting worn away quickly carrying the loads even though the bones and muscles will carry the load without problems. I'd like to know what the health of 50 year old Sherpa porters is like.
Apart from the harrowing avalanche disaster, the footage of a man radioing to ask whether the buried man are carrying avalanche transceivers and being told that not one of the buried had one. It is easy to be an expert after the event, but I'd love to know how the people spending the most time in avalanche prone areas weren't wearing them. Massive amounts of money change hands when Everest climbs take place and a risk assessment would identify avalanche transceivers, probes, shovels and avalanche rescue training would be essential. The risk assessment would identify that if climbers with avalanche transceivers are buried, the only way that they could be located and dug out in time, would be if the rest of the group were similarly equipped and trained. What would the headlines have been if the paying clients and their Western Guides has been buried and the nearby Sherpa climbers could not rescue them as they couldn't locate them? All for an electronic box costing about £100 each and some training in the non climbing season.
Personally, I would try to lead by example and explain thoroughly why I wouldn't go somewhere. Whether someone else decides to go is up to them. I certainly would feel very hypocritical going somewhere then telling others not to do likewise. The problem arises when you have a member of family in such a crisis point. I found myself in this situation as my son lives and works in Japan. He disregarded my advice and that provided by the UK Consulate regarding protection against the Fukushima Daichi Disaster in March 2011 even though I have experience in Nuclear Emergency Response Management. Which I demonstrates the futility of telling someone not to go somewhere, or in this case to take certain precautions if they do. I did actually go with the "I'd take these precautions..." but as he took no notice, my concern showed and he just dug himself in to his position. Fortunately the wind direction was out to sea, not towards Tokyo.
Travelling without any form of insurance in countries where the Health Service is only for paying customers is something I wouldn't do, but that's just me. You can always go and take out a loan for a few hundred thousand dollars if things go seriously wrong. Not for me. As it is difficult or even impossible to get insurance cover in destinations affected either by serious crime, coups, wars etc it would most likely mean I wouldn't go either. I'd explain why if I was publishing or if I was loading the tumble dryer.
In the case of destinations under threat from tourism then I personally would research beforehand and probably stay away. But I wouldn't go as far as saying people shouldn't go. That said I would oppose any moves to allow tourism developments in Antarctica, which currently protected by Treaty, but my efforts would be to protect the Treaty not to single out people or organisations who would like Tourism development on Antarctica.
As a travel consumer I see the terms 'responsible tourism' and 'sustainable tourism' being used mainly to market a niche segment of travel. But I personally would like to see it as a way of travelling. I don't believe for one minute that you need to buy a product or service marketed as 'responsible' or 'sustainable' to travel in this way. I personally believe that the run of the mill traveller struggles to grasp 'sustainable travel' due to the Holy Trinity of People, Planet and Profit, or perhaps I haven't grasped it due to working as an Environmental Adviser in the past. The ordinary traveller understands Fair Trade, Human Rights. This traveller understands the need not to litter, pollute and to conserve energy and maybe water, The traveller also understands that for a business to continue to operate a fair profit must be made by all parts of the supply chain. However, when all of these elements are lumped under the all embracing 'responsible' or 'sustainable' they switch off.Marketing using these terms even confuses me, For example I attended a Travel Bloggers conference in Rotterdam last year that was hosted in one of the Netherland's highest rated hotels under the country's Green Key Certification Scheme. Some room even had personal saunas. I stayed on a camping site in a wood cabin without heating, no power sockets, a single fluorescent light and a washbasin with only a cold water tap. The communal showers were time limited to conserve water. It was a one off home based enterprise employing locals. The camping site was not marketed as sustainable. But it got me thinking how would the two enterprises compare, and I came to the conclusion that it depends which elements 'responsible' or 'sustainable' are given most weight. I have absolutely no idea how that should be done, but can see scope for projects giving a higher weighting to the elements that are easier to achieve.
Hi Andy, What are the arguments for killing the whales and dolphins? The published average earning on the islands would indicate that there is no economic necessity for the grindadrap. In fact the health issues you mention would indicate that it can cause more harm than good.
There is much truth in your argument about knowing where our food comes from. In many parts of Europe the meat we eat is a very emotive subject. The horse meat scandal of recent years is still fresh in our minds and maybe in some of our freezers. But just because there is abuse all around the world including the UK, does not dilute the argument against whaling. It should be noted that non violent respectful action by Sea Shepherd and others have currently stopped Japanese whaling. The 'deep disdain for the outrage of foreigners against the grindadrap' expressed by islanders is understandable. The islanders have been painted as less than human and worse by angry posters on social media. Too many folks on social media hate the 'sinner' instead of 'loving the sinner and hating the sin'. The real problem is of course that many of us have too many logs in our own eyes to be able to see clearly enough to remove the speck of dust from someone else's eye.
I wonder what would happen to the travel industry if travellers could no longer boast about their trips to friends and on social media? Loved the bit about Belgium.
As far as I'm aware all of the big players selling 'Responsible travel' offer trips to Antarctica. Kudos to those that don't serve this market for ethical reasons.
Andy, after considering the opening paragraph of your post, it is clear that the Faroe Islands are a tarnished tourism product. If they want more income from tourism they need to make some hard decisions. If they changed from hunting pilot whale pods to using the whales as an attraction they would probably make more money than the grind generates, even though the financial contribution is hidden as the meat is distributed freely. In the case of the seal cull in Namibia it was found that in 2008, the seal hunt made only £320,000, while seal watching netted £1.3 million in direct tourism spend in the same period. Of course they can decide that money from tourism is unimportant but if they really think that to be true, why engage your services?
Firstly, let me say that I consume way too much carbon while travelling. My wish to consume less is worthless unless I can transform it into action. Flying always gets highlighted mainly because the carbon footprint of flights is readily available, but why isn't the carbon footprint of my hotel room or a ferry crossing made available to me as a consumer? Then what about the carbon footprint of the food I eat? Our food is a big part of our overall carbon footprint. A vegan diet is the least damaging, sadly am not vegan, and cutting down on meat doesn't really count.
Simple actions like choosing economy or standard class over First Class can more than halve your journey's carbon footprint (Ref: How Bad are Bananas by Mike Berners-Lee p42,p135). We can all make a difference by being aware of the consequences of our consumer choices. Changes to the way we live when not travelling can make a massive difference as Ayako points out.
Transitions Abroad have nailed it by saying 'holier than thou' responsible travel 'puritanism' is self defeating. Expecting everyone else to change their behaviour while justifying our own excesses isn't going to work. Facts, however unpalatable are the prerequisite for allowing responsible travellers to choose their travel in line with their ethics. Glossy certification schemes pale in comparison to the figures for ecological footprints (carbon, water, waste etc). If an organisation scores well on these it is likely they perform well on environmental protection. Metrics for people should include the percentage of visitor revenue that ends up in local employee's pay packets, percentage of visitor revenue shared in the local community etc. With a set of worldwide industry adopted standardised metrics, as opposed to misleading Gold, Silver, Bronze certificates we can all choose the travel that aligns with our own personal values.
The real killer for Responsible Travel is complacency; just because a
product is marketed as 'Responsible Travel' doesn't mean that it
aligns with your own personal ethical standards. Research, and if that
means educating yourself on the issues surrounding ecological footprints and much more, the whole planet will benefit.
Full marks for not sweeping the enormous impact of transport especially air travel under the carpet. Can anyone with a carbon footprint above 2 tonnes, label themselves as a 'responsible traveller'?
Sadly we are all causing Climate Change. We all need to look at our own lifestyle before calling for regulation because how many of us know exactly how big a footprint our travel creates? A good start is to ask your travel provider to provide you with figures for the carbon and other footprints of their products and services. I find most of them react as if you are from another planet when you ask them questions like "What is the carbon footprint of a night in your hotel?"
Actually they use the same script as many responsible travel orgainisations. They will use MGO instead of HFO, use only two engines to minimise CO2, they are engaging with local communities, will provide funding for educational / medical facilities after consultation with the locals, limit numbers visiting shore. They seem to know how to talk responsible travel.http://www.crystalcruises.com/ContentPage.aspx?ID=191Compared to the Antarctic Cruises this might well be more responsible, but as the cruise lines involved don't publish carbon footprints for a passenger comparisons are difficult. I have pointed out in other comments on Outbounding all the big 'responsible travel companies' offer trips to the seventh continent.
The impact of Mandi opening her heart about her voluntourism experience is immense. Her impotence in the face of her desire to make a difference is heart rending to read. This should be on the reading list of anyone considering such a position.
This has to be the biggest issue in Responsible Travel. But it is not just Climate Change that threatens 'Business as usual', but the 'Perfect Storm' Sir John Beddington predicted for 2030 will include energy, food and water shortages. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8213884.stmThere are solutions, but they are not easy fixes. The first step is for the public and industry to identify Climate Change, food and resource limitations as priorities requiring behavioural change.
Matthew, I agree, which is why I identified that the public as well as industry need to be involved, while the article focusses on destinations. As consumers tend we to be unaware of the impacts of our purchases. The other discussions currently live on Outbounding reinforce this point:
Was Volunteering Abroad the Most Selfish Thing I've Ever Done?Environmental disaster tourism to the Arctic
An Elephant Never Forgets [video]
SeaWorld Concedes Blackfish Hurt Attendance in Second Quarter
When we discover the damage our consumer choices are making we tend to change our buying preferences as demonstrated by the last article link. What does surprise me is where the industry envisage the energy to create emissions that "are on a course to grow 130% between 2005 and 2035" is going to come from. Anyone researching into the 2008 economic crash will find spiralling oil prices heavily implicated in the collapse of the unsustainable lending system. Without ecological sustainability the economic system is itself unsustainable. So in an attempt to answer your question, yes there is a limit to what we can expect of the travel industry. However, their plans for 2030 are either based on the infinite growth in a finite world model with the climate unchanged from 1980 or are wishfully thinking that some new technology or discovery will save their business. The biggest onus lies with us as consumers to see the consequences of our actions clearly.
He puts more than "Bucket Lists" to bed, he goes much further and challenges why we travel.
"Often, we get the most out of it when we connect, bond, do good for people in the places we go to. But we should do it for ourselves not the points we'll win at the office water cooler when we get back home."The office water cooler has now gone global through social media, and it is not just places and experiences that are considered to be worthy of points, but how expensive they are to buy.
The graphs Skift include, indicate that air travel is getting more expensive. By manipulating the x and y scale of each graph they make it appear as if flying as the percentage share of a domestic flight as a percentage of disposable per capita income is hardly rising in the first graph. The second graph shows that in fact the price of flights is rising in real terms. As one of the graphs on one of your presentations on slideshare demonstrates, only the disposable income of the top 20% of earners in the US is increasing. I think it is pretty clear that the price of flights will continue to rise in real terms as aviation fuel is getting evermore expensive to produce. The only energy source that is getting cheaper with time is renewable energy, and is likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Such a depressing read. Too many people dont see or want to see the
negative side of tourism, but where is the hope, where is the love? What
will you do to make sure your next visit to Cambodia makes a positive
Sorry somehow I pasted the previous link saved not the relevant one. PLEASE DELETE>
Advice from Justin Francis and the Independent. I missed the #RTTC Twitter Chat on zoos, aquariums and the like but looking at the recap it seems that there was significant support for banning zoos with the alternative being watching films and one suggestion of holographic animals but also to see them in the wild. How reasonable is it to for present zoo visitors to switch to viewing the animals in the wild? According to The World
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) 700 million visitors visit zoos and aquariums each year. What if these 700 million zoo visitors turned up in the wild? What is the realistic solution?
The article can be found here: http://outbounding.org/articles/view/elephant-tourism-why-the-call-of-the-wild-is-too-loud-to-ignore-news-advice-travel-the-independent
Then I guess you will be even more shocked Sonja: The Namibian seal hunt is responsible for the largest slaughter of marine mammals on earth and is considered to be the most brutal of all seal culls: http://www.seashepherd.org/desert-seal/seal-cull-facts.html(Couldn't get the link function to work in two different browsers and operating systems) But seal watching brings in more money than the seal hunt. Quote:
A new economic study has confirmed the seals are worth three times as much alive rather than dead. In 2008, the seal hunt generated only £320,000, a poor comparison to seal watching which netted £1.3 million in direct tourism expenditure in the same period.It is probably even more likely to apply to the elephants. News of elephants being shot is not likely to boost Namibia's Tourism Industry.
So far we have "Better than nothing" and "It's a start". My hope is that this story has sown the seeds of something much bigger. I wonder if the Responsible Travel Keynote speech and interview will extend to discussing the issues Leo Hickman wrote about in "The Final Call"? If some of the bloggers go out and report on Responsible Travel issues beyond captive dolphins, that really would start something.